Stress, in the form of pressure, can be useful. It can focus the mind, improve motivation and, ultimately, lead to goal attainment. In this positive light it tends to be referred to as ‘ustress’. But, excessive pressure over prolonged periods of time can lead to feelings of distress.
 
Stress can be result from any number and combination of sources such as work demands, insecurities, change and uncertainties, long-term pain or ill-health, family expectations and financial concerns.

No one person’s cause is quite the same as the next. People interpret and react to things differently; what one person might consider an exciting challenge, another might find altogether overwhelming. Whether a person will react negatively or not to specific situations, people or events, depends largely upon their life experiences; what has happened to them in the past, how they have interpreted those events, and, most importantly of all, the nature of the emotions around the stored memories of those events.

Too much stress experienced over prolonged periods of time can be damaging both physiologically and psychologically. Individual’s body responses to stress (the fight and flight response) tend to vary, but typically people are left feeling physically tense, unable to sleep, out of control, feeling helpless, unable to cope and vulnerable to ill-health. Often emotions, perceptions of self-confidence and feelings of self-worth are also negatively affected, ultimately influencing choices and behaviour.

Christine Woolfenden DCH DHP reg. GHR, clinical hypnotherapist of Echelon Associates Hypnotherapy Practice (Charlbury, Oxfordshire) offers a holistic approach to helping individuals manage stress more effectively; the stress hypnotherapy treatment programme.

At the outset, the individual’s unique situation is assessed to identify and explore the causes, symptoms and triggers of stress as they are experienced. The physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural ramifications of that stress are investigated in depth.

The stress hypnotherapy treatment programme employs deep relaxation hypnosis to lower the physical stress response and counteract the damaging side effects of stress, easing away tension to allow the body the opportunity to rest and repair and so operate optimally. By anchoring the physical and psychological sensations of deep relaxation, people are taught how to re-create those feelings whenever desirable or necessary. Direct positive suggestion and post hypnotic suggestion are used to re-educate the cognitive response to stress, and to instil alternative, more effective ways of dealing with specific stressors as they arise, so extending the ustress comfort zone.

Memories from the past that are interfering with the present are re-visited and re-framed so that the emotional and cognitive influence on the present and future are de-sensitised.

The stress hypnotherapy treatment programme also applies techniques such as mental rehearsal, creative imagery, future pacing and pseudo-orientation in time to reduce stress, build confidence and boost self-esteem.

At Echelon Associates, Christine Woolfenden offers a stress hypnotherapy treatment programme to promote positive physical and psychological change in response to perceived stress in an individual’s life.

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