Mindfulness & Hypnotherapy Interventions During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness & therapy to help combat Covid-19 mental distress(and anything else that bothers you)

Hi,

My name is Paul Avard and I’m a qualified and UK Registered Hypnotherapist (CNHC & NSTT)  and I’m also a trained (and a counselor trainer) counselor . Given that for a lot of people the Covid-19 pandemic has been a real pain in the butt, I wondered if I might offer some help and support for people who are struggling? And I also have my own Private Practice and I was Chair of one of the largest counselling charities in the West Midlands for several years.

I also have a full DBS rating for working with vulnerable adults and children.

What I propose is to teach or support, if you’re already familiar, ANYONE who is interested in how THEY can best manage their psychological well-being and mental health at this time. And I can do this in a number of ways:-

  • By providing a variety of scripts for you to read and absorb which you can then use as a form of self-hypnosis – I’ll explain what that’s about in a moment.
  • By providing you with a downloadable audio that you can download to your phone, iPod, laptop, desktop… and listen to at your own convenience – however, not whilst DRIVING. That would be too silly for words…
  • By providing you with 1 – 1 counselling or hypnotherapy, or Mindfulness or a mix of these. It would mean using one of the video platforms, such as zoom or Skype, and hey ho, I use the pro version. No rush there then.
  • By teaching and running a series of practical sessions, via a video platform where you learn the skills needed to help yourself, either through self-hypnosis or Mindfulness.

I am not offering this in order to make money. A contribution from you, according to your means – and no, I don’t need you to prove anything, is sufficient. Oddly enough there are on-costs which need to be covered. Lighting,  video platform fees, electricity and various items of audio equipment, etc…

All 1 – 1 and group contact, whether you’re requesting a copy of a self-hypnosis or mindfulness script, an audio file, one to one session or a webinar or training session are all treated with full confidentiality and I am registered with the Information Commissioners Office to make sure I adhere to national standards regarding holding personal information. I will not pass your information, of any kind, to any third party, either.

Self-Hypnosis:

Is an easily learned technique where you can either, having read and learned a short-script, talk yourself into a relaxed, but focused state that will help you to think about what you might find helpful, in terms of your state of mind. So helping you to think about what you DO want rather than what you DON’T want

Or, you could ask me for an audio file which will contain an audio (as it says on the tin) that you can download on to something – IPad, iPod, Kindle, laptop, desktop, mobile phone (Android or Apple). Then simply hook up some headphones and listen away.  You don’t have to learn anything, just listen and experience the sense of being as relaxed as you have ever been. However, this mustn’t be done when you’re required to give full attention to something that you’re doing, such as driving, cycling, running, walking the dog or using machinery.

I will NOT be held responsible for that kind of silliness, YOU will. Especially now that you’ve read this warning. And heard the warning on the audio. I  have no control over how you choose to behave, despite what people say and think about hypnosis. Ignore the stage hypnotists, they spend hours prepping their ‘victims’ and I promise, I will never try to get you to  think you’re a chicken…

MINDFULNESS:

Appears to have become a buzz-word during the Pandemic; but what does the word mean, really mean?

I think this is a good place to start: and I can’t take credit for it. Well, I can, if I can help you to find peace and relax your mind. If I don’t help you, all well and good too, I’ll just need to try harder next time.

I owe a number of people a lot of thanks for this way of seeing; this mindfulness thing. These are my favourite writers on Mindfulness by the way.: Pema Chodron, Thich Naht Hahn, Shakya Kumara and Jon Kabat Zinn.

Firstly, you need to know it stems from the practices of the group of people who follow the teachings of the Buddha. And, no, I have no intention of trying to make you a Buddhist. I’m not qualified, for one thing. And I’m a Christian anyway.

Mindfulness is about, simply put, about living in the present. NOW, yesterday has gone and tomorrow has yet to show up. I can do NOTHING about what has happened (other than try to not repeat it, if it was not a good thing that happened, like feeling down in the dumps, lost, alone or afraid. Or angry, raging, violent, and so on).

If on the other hand, yesterday was a good day, well, I could ask myself what did I do to help it be a good day? How do I know it was good, and who saw me having a good day? I ask that because if YOU’RE down, it’s easy to bring others down too. If we’re doing OK, then it’s more than likely that those closest to us will be doing ok too. So learning Mindfulness has the added bonus of allowing others to benefit from YOU feeling a lot more HOW than you think you do.

The best way to learn Mindfulness is to be part of a small group; I usually reckon from 4 to 6 is a good maximum. I offer practical sessions and time for questions – so, around 75 – 90 minutes and we’ll do 1 session a week (early evening) for 4 weeks; thus around 6 hours all told. I offer 2  follow up  support sessions via email, in addition to on-line support during the 4 weeks. And later, if you get stuck, just email me. There will also be a refresher session for each course. Usually about a month after the program ends.

You need no particular pieces of equipment, a straight backed chair is good, or, if you struggle with sitting upright, you can practice mindfulness lying down.

A FULL BODY SCAN (a Mindfulness Meditation) as an example.

 A horrible word, script, though a necessary evil.  Simply put, scripts are guides to assist you, not in how easy Mindfulness is, because, like anything of value, it is simple, except that we then must accept it is not always going to be easy.

Once you recognise this duality, simple but not easy, this becomes the point when you understand that you can let go of needing a guide and become your own guide. Then, when you are guiding your own mindfulness, you can go wherever you want and be whomever you want, fully aware, fully awake and filled with compassion for yourself and others, even if you are unsure whether you ‘like’ them or not.

When we meditate we regain some of the control we think we might have misplaced and we will move toward becoming ‘better’. Better able to manage our minds.

Maybe, and usually only at the beginning of our mindful practice, we’re not as much in control as we might like to be, and we are definitely not always as successfully focused as we’d like. However, as we progress in meditation practice, of course, we get better at it, and we get better at controlling our thoughts.

Full Body Scan (A  Practice Meditation)  also available as an audio – on request, only.

Your WHOLE body will be addressed during this meditation,  to allow you to be with it, to check it out, to be aware and awake to how all the component parts of you are feeling at this moment in time, now, whilst you hold up your hand, or hands, to slow the myriad thoughts clashing around in your busy, busyness driven mind.

Be aware, some body scans can be very quick, others take as long as they need to take. Your body is an amazingly complex, and complete piece of kit. Treat it with respect please. This may feel as if the scan is about seeking out things that are ‘wrong’. Actually, it’s more about ‘checking in’ to see how ‘well’ things are going now. How many opportunities, in a regular day – for you – do you get to just be, and in being, become truly conscious? I would guess very few.  I am going to use the idea of sitting for this meditation. You may, however, not be sitting, but lying on your bed or floor, or sitting in an armchair, on the bus or the train, or even a passenger in a car.

I believe it’s also important that you take the time to ‘breathe’. And no, that’s not something that I am saying just for effect. As and when you begin considering a different part of your anatomy, breathe out slowly, feeling your stomach move down and back, feeling your lungs empty. Then slowly begin to breathe in, slowly and completely, feeling your stomach move out and up, conscious of your lungs filling.  Just check in, and note and then move on, breathe slowly and with all your being.

Remember, this meditation assumes you are sitting. So, begin the scan at your feet, one foot at a time, consider the quality of the contact with the floor – whether you’re shod or barefoot. What do you notice about how your foot feels against the carpet, or the harder floor of a wooden or tiled area of flooring? How does the sole of your foot (feet) feel against the surface under it? Your toes, how are they feeling against whatever flooring is present?  How do they feel against whatever is under them, is it a comfortable feeling? Uncomfortable? Neutral? Take each toe in turn, is all well? Remembering all the while to breathe, mindfully.

How are your ankles at this time? Left ankle, right ankle? Is there discomfort in them or around them? If yes, do you know why? Does it need further attention? Your calves, are the muscles ok? No strains, or stretches, or bruises or cuts? Can you relax the calf muscle by thinking them relaxed? Imaging any tension simply falling away.

Now your knees. Are you noticing anything about your knees? Left knee? Right knee? How About your thighs? Are you noticing anything there that is bothering you or not at the moment? How does the chair seat feel (if sitting on a chair) at the back of your knees? Is it supportive, or cutting into the back of the knees? Do you need to flex your knees at all? Or shift your position?

Can you feel the backs of your thighs on the chair seat? Are you aware of any textures, from your clothing, perhaps, against your upper legs? Is this feeling OK, or a bit coarse, firm, or neither? Are you aware of your buttocks? And can you feel your lower back, the bottom of your spine against the edge of the seat back? Is there any discomfort, or the opposite, of course? Or nothing that is noticeable or otherwise?

Is there any discomfort or notable sensation around your genitals as you scan?  Are you aware of this area for any reason, does anything bother you? Check out how you’re feeling?

As you breathe in, pushing your diaphragm upward, do you notice your stomach moving up and out? As you breathe out do you notice the opposite? Your stomach moving back and down? Are you conscious of the breath filling your lungs as you breathe in, then conscious as you breathe out, feeling your lungs empty? Can you feel the air passing over your lips as you breathe in? And out? (Or through the nose?) Do your lungs sound and feel clear? No wheezing, no coughing, no struggling to inhale or exhale.

Are the noises in your mind quieting? Are you noticing your mind clearing? Are the stories, and narratives that bother you becoming less intrusive? Are you beginning to become more aware and conscious of the possibilities that are starting to show themselves to you, even if only lightly? Can you begin to recognise that the compassion you hold for yourself is becoming more real? Now that you’re doing that, what change might that bring to you?

And as you continue to scan yourself, the spine now, are there any aches and pains noticeable? Are your shoulders balanced? Are you sitting upright but comfortably (if you can’t, don’t fret, please)?

What are you noticing about your upper arms? Are they relaxed and comfortable? No real aches or pains? As you move your lower arms, how do your elbows feel, are they pleasantly loose, or tight and painful? How are your fore arms, what are you noticing about anything to do with your arms, wrists? Fingers and hands, as a whole and as individual fingers?

Back to your breathing. Are you managing the out breath and its back and down movement? On the in breath, the up and out movement? Lungs emptying, lungs filling, breathing? Fantastic…

Women readers, forgive me the impertinence of asking, how is your bosom? Men, how are your moobs? Are you ok with how you and they are feeling? Your throat, he asked, swiftly moving on? Your neck, lower jaw, mouth, tongue, teeth, cheeks, forehead, brow?

Remember to breathe, please. For all the obvious reasons, but also as a part of your consciousness, and becoming awake.

If the meditation is going well, have you been conscious of ‘going well’? If the meditation went not so well, then have you been conscious of ‘went not so well’? If you you want to note what you were conscious of at the close of the meditation, how you felt, what you think you did well? Remember we CAN all build on ‘went well’, it’s less easy if you consider, or only focus on ‘not so well’.

Your thoughts are there for you to build on, so build with compassion and care, remembering you are not going to be critical of yourself. Just show awareness and consciousness.

How long might you want to do a body scan for? What sort of question is that? It depends. If you’re just beginning practice, I would caution against too long a session. Remember your mind is its own self. How long can you keep it calm on a first meditation? Five or ten minutes should be long enough. However, there is no set limit to any meditation.

It takes, as I’ve said elsewhere, as long as it takes. If you’re aiming for ‘went well’, and this is your first attempt – then ten minutes, probably. It’s not a race though; thus, it is not necessary to do this and then get on to something else and try to do a crowd of meditations to get them out of  the way.

As with anything that you really want to achieve skills in, it’s worth practicing meditation on a regular basis. I recommend at least 3 or four times a week. Set aside a slot for  yourself, free of children, dogs, cats, etc.

Or, do the whole body scan just before you go to bed.

Thanks for reading this, thus far. I hope it’s been helpful.

You can send a comment, and I will answer as soon as possible.

Or you can email me   paul(at)paulavard.co.uk directly and more privately.

 

Please note that if you’d like individual attention then feel free to email me on the email address above paul(at)paulavard.co.uk  (replacing the (at) with the @ symbol, please.

Keep an eye out for my next post please.

Best wishes

Paul