As the man sitting in front of me said these words, he became tearful and his hands started shaking just a little more. He went on to describe how he avoided certain places and situations because he felt bad and couldn’t cope. He would feel sick, shake badly, sweat and his heart would race. He said that anxiety was starting to take over his life affect so many different areas. He said that he'd always been a worrier, but that things were getting out of hand.
During the first session, he told me about being bullied by some older boys when he was at school. Although he was 42, he could remember the boys’ names and describe their faces to me in great detail. Anxiety usually starts from a particular event that scares the subconscious and makes us feel unsafe. The subconscious has one job, which is to keep us safe. If we feel scared, hurt or deeply embarrassed, our subconscious will do everything in its power to stop us exposing ourselves to such feelings again. By making us feel anxious it hopes we will stay at home where we are safe and protected rather than going out in that big wide world. The trouble is, the more we avoid things, the more the fear is reinforced.
A therapy I use often in these situations is eye movement therapy (Integral Eye Movement Therapy or IEMT). This is a fast way to de-charge negative memories and reduce the negative emotions associated with them. Most people, as this chap did, experience rapid release and relief. We started by working on the memory of the bullying which was still very emotional for this chap to recall, as well as other negative memories he had. We were able to significantly reduce some of the feelings and emotions around these memories, such as guilt and shame as well as to work on the fears and worries he felt in particular situations. Combined with more traditional hypnotherapy techniques where he visualised exactly how he wanted to feel and be in certain situations, the results were profound.
We had four sessions in total. The chap that left the therapy room was a different one to the one that I first saw. He walked taller and had lost the hunched demeaner and the look which implied that he didn’t want anyone to notice him, that he’d rather be invisible. He was much more smiley and relaxed. He left a review a few weeks later saying his life was totally transformed and he’d found confidence and self-belief that he hadn’t thought was possible. He went on to describe how he had been in various situations where he would have normally panicked and felt upset and nauseous and that he’d been amazed at how normal he’d felt. He went on to say that he had the confidence to do things he would have avoided in the past and had found a sense of peace. What a transformation!