Hypnotherapist Laura Jane talks to The Interchange about techniques that can help us to manage stressful situations…
Stress, anxiety, depression – we hear a lot about how mental health is an issue for many people. But what we don’t always hear are ways that we can support, improve and help those struggling with those conditions.
For Laura Jane helping people make positive changes was a huge driver when she decided to set up her hypnotherapy practice in Bradley Stoke a year ago.
Laura studied psychology at university, but didn’t immediately put her skills into action, having felt that she couldn’t find a therapy that was the right fit for the way she wanted to support people.
“Nothing sat quite right,” she says, “but then when my marriage broke down and I was going through a difficult time, I tried hypnotherapy. It really changed my life and I knew I wanted to retrain to help others.”
Based out of WillowBrook Clinic at the WillowBrook Centre, Laura’s completed hundreds of hours of practise and training in the last couple of years. Her time is now spent with clients who want to find ways to overcome issues, including stress and anxiety, but also modifying behaviours such as heavy drinking, smoking or gambling.
“I relied on alcohol more than I perhaps should’ve when I was first divorced, and as such I no longer drink at all. I’m seeing more people with drinking issues and I feel like it’s an area that I can offer real support,” Laura says.
“The key point is that people must feel they want to make the change. That they say to themselves ‘I want this to stop’. Trying hypnotherapy needs to be personal choice, not because someone else has told you that you should,” explains Laura.
The type of hypnotherapy that Laura offers is solution focused. Essentially, she talks to clients about the way the brain works and how she can help change bad habits – through what’s known as neural pathways.
Laura concentrates on three specific areas – thinking, activity and interaction, which she says are paramount to facilitating change.
“This isn’t about saying ‘cheer up buddy’,” she says, “it’s about asking yourself ‘how do you want this day to go?’ I ask clients to consider what’s they’re grateful for, to concentrate on the positives. It’s about learning to care for yourself.”
“Activity can mean different things to different people. I love to run, and even though I haven’t much lately, in the past it’s been my saviour,” says Laura. “For others that might be listening to music, doing some cross stitch, going for a walk or doing an exercise class. It’s about finding something that can make you happy in that moment.”
“Spending time with friends, family and even colleagues, can be a great way of making yourself feel good – by just interacting with other people,” Laura explains. “Sometimes we can feel that we should be doing something else, other than spending time with friends, but I like to help people think of the could rather than the should. E.g. ‘I could go to the gym, but right now spending time with a friend will be better for me.’ It’s worth thinking about how we speak to ourselves.”
After an initial consultation with Laura, she will put together a personally tailored programme looking at the best ways to tackle a particular issue. The sessions may take six weeks, or longer. Or, in the case of someone wanting to stop smoking, one or two sessions could be all that’s needed.
“Although I don’t do it often, I also support clients online. Occasionally people will feel better doing that first before coming in to meet me in person, or perhaps they can’t physically get to me,” she says.
Sessions with Laura can either be carried out in her Bradley Stoke clinic, or from her home in Thornbury. She has clients from across the North Bristol and South Gloucestershire area, including Stoke Gifford, Frampton Cottrell and beyond.
If you’d like to know more about hypnotherapy, Laura has a Facebook page @laurajanehypnotherapy and is in the process of building a new website, which will be available by visiting www.laurajanehypnotherapy.com