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Meet a hyp­nother­a­pist; he can help you start a new be­hav­iour – or stop an old one.

James Mallinson, co-founder of Fix My Mind, helps peo­ple across the world with ev­ery­thing from anx­i­ety to weight loss. Here, he tells us about the lat­est hyp­nother­apy tech­niques, quick suc­cesses, and why he doesn’t need a pocket watch. What does a hyp­nother­a­pist do, James?

A hyp­nother­a­pist helps clients either start some new be­hav­iour that they want, or to stop some old be­hav­iour or ex­ist­ing be­hav­iour that they don’t want.


All hyp­nother­a­pists use the power of sug­ges­tion, i.e. the words that come out of our mouths that help peo­ple to change how they be­have. Hyp­nother­apy works by hav­ing a mo­ti­vated client who re­ally wants to change, and who will take on board the sug­ges­tion of do­ing X in­stead of do­ing Y. These sug­ges­tions can be said with some­one’s eyes open, com­pletely awake, or in the very deep clas­si­cal im­age peo­ple have of some­one be­ing ‘un­der’.

Sounds pretty straight­for­ward.

There are also some pretty pow­er­ful tech­niques we can use: one is called the Haven­ing tech­nique, which is a neu­ro­science-based tech­nique, an­other is called TFT, which stands for Thought Field Ther­apy and in­volves tap­ping key points on the body, and there are a lot of neuro-lin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming – NLP – tech­niques as well.

How do they ac­tu­ally work?

Haven­ing, which is the most modern tech­nique I use, uses a com­bi­na­tion of touch – the ap­pli­ca­tion of touch from your shoul­ders down to your el­bows at a rate of once a sec­ond – while the per­son’s eyes are closed and they are tak­ing them­selves off in their mind to a nice place where they are do­ing some­thing they like. The com­bi­na­tion of touch and dis­trac­tion lit­er­ally switches off the re­cep­tors in the brain that be­come ac­tive when some­one has the likes of a pho­bia or a panic at­tack.

When peo­ple pic­ture their ‘happy place’ is it al­ways a beach?

No, I had a fe­male client whose favourite place to go is the mosh-pit in a Me­tal­lica gig.

How did you get into hyp­nother­apy?

I had a 16-year ca­reer in the me­dia and stopped

lik­ing it. I’d had an ex­pe­ri­ence with hyp­no­sis to stop a bad habit and all of a sud­den a light-bulb went off in my head and I knew what I wanted to do. I trained for sev­eral years be­fore start­ing this full time.

What can you treat?

Anx­i­ety, panic at­tacks, pho­bias, smok­ing, stress, weight loss.

What’s a typ­i­cal day for you?

I nor­mally see four to five clients a day. Most en­gage­ments are face-to-face, although more and more work is now be­ing done by the likes of Skype and FaceTime and I have clients from the UAE all the way to San Fran­cisco. Ses­sions last up to two hours, but my record for deal­ing with a client is 11 min­utes be­tween them walk­ing in the door and leav­ing with­out their pho­bia. What hap­pened?

He had a pho­bia of lifts and con­fined spa­ces and we did the Haven­ing tech­nique. I have a re­ally small, two-man lift in my of­fice and said, ‘Do you want to see if you still have your pho­bia?’ and the client said yes. He was 6ft 5, a huge guy, we went up four storeys in the lift, I got out and said I would meet him at the bot­tom. I limped down the stairs, he came out, gave me a high five, said ‘That was amaz­ing’ and walked off.

Is part of the role be­ing a coun­sel­lor and lis­ten­ing to peo­ple’s sad sto­ries? No, I am 100 per cent not a coun­sel­lor. What we need to do is change peo­ple’s sto­ries, not lis­ten to peo­ple’s old sto­ries.

Do you own a pocket watch?

No. That’s a myth. You don’t need to tell peo­ple they are feel­ing sleepy to be in a trance state. You can be walk­ing around in a trance; I’ve lit­er­ally done hyp­no­sis in the street with a neigh­bour who’s got a bad back.

Are peo­ple al­ways telling you their prob­lems when they meet you at par­ties?

Yes. I either try and give them a very gen­tle tech­nique at the table, or I po­litely shut the topic down be­cause I like to have a nice re­lax­ing time as much as ev­ery­one else.

Does it seem that more and more peo­ple are hav­ing prob­lems with stress and anx­i­ety? Com­pletely. One in four peo­ple are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing anx­i­ety to a high de­gree. And it’s only go­ing to get worse – there’s noth­ing re­ally that’s slow­ing us down, even though we should do so and try and be calmer. There’s just not a lot of easy ways for peo­ple to do that which are com­pat­i­ble with their lives.

What’s driv­ing our grow­ing stress lev­els? Phones, for one. The whole ‘al­ways on’ cul­ture: the last thing and the first thing you do when go­ing to bed and wak­ing up is look at your phone, and of­ten your emails. Given the likely stress­ful con­tent that is on there, that has the po­ten­tial to get you go­ing right from the out­set.

Have you ever had a client who was un­treat­able?

Yes. There’s a fa­mous quote that says some­thing like the hyp­nother­a­pist who claims a 100 per cent suc­cess hasn’t had enough clients, and that'’s true. There is a fail­ure rate within this. It might be that the per­son is not in the right place men­tally, it might be that they might not be will­ing to change, it might be that hyp­no­sis may not be ap­pro­pri­ate for their con­di­tion. Or the ther­a­pist might be no good.

How does some­one know their hyp­nother­a­pist is de­cent?

Look for the four ‘Cs’: check if the ther­a­pist has the right cred­i­bil­ity: do they have right train­ing? Do they in­spire you with con­fi­dence? Next, do they have con­gru­ence – for ex­am­ple, you might not want to work with an over­weight ther­a­pist if you wanted to lose weight. Fi­nally, when you first speak with a hyp­nother­a­pist on the phone, do you have the right chem­istry?

Do hyp­nother­a­pists see other hyp­nother­a­pists? Yes, if I have a prob­lem I will see a ther­a­pist. We do self-hyp­no­sis, too – which can be amaz­ing as it can al­low you to do some work on your­self with­out see­ing some­one about it. www.fixmy­

One in four peo­ple are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing anx­i­ety to a high de­gree. And it’s only go­ing to get worse – there’s noth­ing re­ally that’s slow­ing us down

The al­ways on cul­ture – of be­ing glued to the smart­phone – is driv­ing up stress lev­els, says James

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