So another New Year - another chance to make a brand new start. OK, let's be honest, how many of those New Year resolutions have you broken already? Pledged with sincerity but destined to fail - the diet that didn't last, the cigarettes you were going to quit, the drinking you promised to cut down! Maybe those resolutions remain on your personal "wish list", but you need some help to make them happen? Then read on.
Are you greeting 2005 with excited anticipation - or are you preoccupied with the past? If so, you are certainly not alone. As the bustle of festive social engagements becomes a distant memory, many people find these dark, wintry days a time for inner reflection. Some find their spiritual mood mirrors the bleakness of the weather. Gaining an enhanced awareness of what is missing from life does not necessarily provide you with ideas on how to move on. The absence of love or friendship, a relationship gone stale, a rat-race job that drives you mad, mounting debts, or perhaps a loved one now missing from your life, all these subjects can weigh heavily on the mind. Or maybe you simply get a vague feeling of being "stuck", without being able to identify what is missing? You know something needs to change, but what?
If this description sums up your mood, make this year with a difference. It might never previously have crossed your mind to engage the services of a therapist, but it is well worth considering. Practitioners of counselling and psychotherapy are specifically trained to provide help with all of these issues. It is a myth that those who enter therapy are invariably psychologically ill or weak. In fact, many thousands of perfectly ordinary people use mind therapists every day simply to improve and enrich their lives, to promote self-development.
Effective counselling can help you to gain a clearer perspective on what is happening in your life and what you need to do to secure the changes you desire. When this is supplemented with hypnotherapy, it can prove especially powerful. Hypnotherapy offers a faster route to self-awareness and lasting change and, in skilled hands, it is always an entirely safe and natural process. It can be utilised to help you break unwanted habits, such as over-eating or smoking, to alleviate panic attacks and anxiety or to examine unresolved issues from the past.
One important thing a therapist will do is to help you identify recurring patterns and themes in your life. For example, if the same problems keep surfacing in your relationships, there is likely to be something about you which is unwittingly inviting those old problems back. Until you have identified what that is, the tendency will be to continue repeating the same pattern in all your relationships.
To locate a therapist, try looking in a Directory or on the Internet for hypnotherapists specifically offering psychotherapy. Membership of a reputable professional body such as the Hypnotherapy Association or the General Hypnotherapy Register is a good sign. When you make a telephone enquiry to a therapist, ask for how long they have trained and with whom. You would do best to seek someone with a minimum of two years training - and, ideally, three years plus.
Formal qualifications and experience are very important but, beyond this, it is absolutely essential that you find someone with whom you feel personally comfortable. Book one initial session with the therapist of your choice and see how you get along. A good therapist will help to put you at ease and you will soon know whether you feel a connection with them. Trust your instinct. Everyone is different and one therapist who might be ideal for one individual might be totally wrong for another. So if you believe you have made an inappropriate choice, then don't be afraid to choose again.
No therapist has a magic wand, but it is not unreasonable to anticipate some perception of progress after a few sessions. Some issues, such as smoking cessation or phobias, can respond amazingly quickly. Do be realistic, however, and don't be afraid to tell your therapist what you want from them. Effective therapy works best as an equal partnership between therapist and you, with both contributing 100% of their half-share.
By Graham Dyster
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