Do you know what you want to change in your life? Do you know what you don’t want in your life anymore? There must have been something to trigger the phone call to my clinic, or maybe there were many things. If you are not clear on what you need help with, how will you know whether you are making progress? Defining the problem is a major step in the process of change, but it is often overlooked.

Some clients simply want to feel better. That’s great, but in what way, exactly? Hypnotherapy is a targeted approach to problems. I will explore the problem behaviour, work out why you are doing it and more importantly, how you are doing it, and then set out to resolve it. But if you are not clear on defining the problem to begin with, what chance do I have?

I do my best to get you to pin point it, but sometimes, clients will forget that discussion and begin focussing on another problem, without telling me. Or they are fixated on the underlying issue, that they don’t want to discuss with me, and so I remain in the dark. Again, I need to know enough in order to be effective. My mind reading skills are fairly good but there is room for improvement 😉

Anthony – Defining The Problem is Sometimes Complex

Anthony was in a bad relationship. His wife valued him as the father to her kids but was no longer in love with him. She told him so two years ago. It is something that Anthony neglected to mention however, when he came in to ask me to assist him to become a more attentive Dad. OK so I’m thinking that Anthony has a problem doing Dad duties with the kids. After all, that’s what he said. After exploring this for a bit it became clear that Anthony’s relationship with his wife was unhealthy, and that he was blaming himself for the collapse. “If only I was more attentive with the kids, she would still want me”. Not the healthiest argument.

We soon began working on Anthony’s self esteem as a priority. Some of his symptoms through this self-blame and low esteem had been tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and other anxiety-like signs. He was also buckling under pressure and accepting blame for every little thing that went wrong in the relationship. By session three his anxiety had gone and he was responding in a more assertive manner, but his wife was still no closer to wanting him back. This turned out to be the real problem for Anthony – the thing he most wanted to change. But Anthony only told me so in our last session, and sadly, it falls outside of my domain. I could only assist Anthony to handle things better, and that much I achieved.

At the end of session three, Anthony said he didn’t feel much different, aside from his relief from anxiety and generally feeling more resilient. What could I say? From my perspective Anthony had a great result with hypnotherapy in resolving his panic symptoms and gaining a stronger sense of self, but it was not actually his priority. Anthony’s priority was to continue on in a stable family unit, and this was being undermined by his wife’s dissatisfaction with the marriage.

I don’t believe that Anthony was having trouble defining the problem because he did not want to discuss his wife’s response towards him, even though I know that would not have been comfortable for him. I believe that Anthony was having difficulty in defining the problem because the problem was camouflaged underneath low self esteem, and not even he was aware of the true issue when he came to see me. The true issue was a lack of stability based upon low self-esteem.

Anthony really did not see that he was harbouring low self-esteem as any kind of noteworthy issue. He automatically blamed himself for everything that had gone wrong. This pattern, of course, started long before he met his wife. It started with his childhood and was only triggered later on as he attempted to recreate a family of his own.

I could help Anthony manage the anxiety that came with low self esteem, and in fact to temper his automatic responses so that he was more assertive, but this still did not influence his wife’s behaviour, and that’s essentially what he wanted.

If you need help defining the problem; and if it is a problem I can help you with, get in touch. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast.