Stopping Unwanted Habits Southampton

Stopping Unwanted Habits

There are good habits and bad habits, wanted habits, unwanted habits. It’s great to have the habit of exercising, probably not so great to have the habit of always having a chocolate biscuit every time you have a hot drink.

Some habits can be just a little but quirky, but others can cause real problems.

Constant nail-biting is not only un-hygienic and unsightly, but can also cause pain and soreness of the fingers. Likewise skin picking. Compulsive hair pulling, which is known as Trichotillamania or Tric for short, is not uncommon and can be a very distressing condition. Perhaps you know someone who has habitual actions or movements perhaps?

However long someone has had their habit, with training and hypnosis, the habit can almost certainly be reduced to a manageable level and in many cases completely stopped.

When a client asks me to help them stop or reverse their unwanted habit, the very first thing I ask them to do is to keep a detailed diary, for at least a week, describing that habit in the real detail.

The things I need to know to help them stop the habit are:

What they do, when, how, in what circumstances. What are they thinking before after and during the moments they ‘perform’ the habit.

Where they are, who they are with. The idea is to develop an awareness of the habit to the finest detail.

To get the very best from your hypnotherapy sessions, it’s really important that you take the time to do this. I will always book your appointment with enough time beforehand to allow you to do this.

With all this information, we then agree what what would be a useful competing habit - what else can you do to break - reverse - that old habit. This is know as Habit Reversal Training, an evidence based protocol.

For example, a nail-biter may look at their hands and inspect the nails, check for any rough edges. Then choose which nail they are going to bite, a routine that is usually performed quickly with the little details hardly noticed, if at all in fact until you are actually looking for them!

Try it - become very very aware of those little things you do and you’ll notice that you really do have a routine each time you do those things!

Once we have the detail about what you do, then we find a competing habit. In the case of a nail biter we might agree that you clench your hand, squeeze your thumb and forefinger perhaps. And then we add in a cognition, a thought, that you can say out loud or in your mind. Next we’ll add a specific relaxation technique for you to use each time you use your competing habit.

Together we run thorough the new routine a few times. To re-enforce your new learnings we then do that all over again, this time in hypnosis. You’ll spend some time rehearsing the actions in your mind, and again with our nail biter example, perhaps seeing yourself in the future with wonderful strong neat, tidy and unbitten nails. To be absolutely sure, we will also have a strategy to help you cope with any setbacks. As with all my hypnosis sessions, we’ll also add in some confidence boosting!

After the session I will ask you to spend at least 15 minutes a day practicing the techniques, this can be broken done to 5 minutes at a time. Unsurprisingly, the clients who take the time to really do this have the best results.

Practice makes permanent!

Assuming that you do indeed take the time to practice, most clients will see an improvement very quickly. Every client is different, for ‘simple’ habits I ask that you come for a second session a few weeks later to re-enforce your new good habits. It is generally the case that some habits will require several sessions, Trichotillamania & Tic habits in particular usually require a few more sessions over a period of time. However, diligent practice will make a huge difference in how often you do that OLD habit. In the case of Tic Disorders, Habit Reversal Training can often help you move the Tic or movement to a less noticeable one.

If you would like to know more about Habit Reversal Training and Hypnotherapy, or would like to book and appointment, please do call or email:

Lindsay Shepherd 01202 511096

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