Monthly Archives: February 2011

Barry Cooper’s answer to What is the best way to deal with a fear of flying?

I normally help clients with a mixture of EFT and self-hypnosis instruction, NLP and hypnotherapy. Several years ago, i was asked by a local radio station to 'cure' (their word, not mine) one of their staff before they sent him up in the small plane that they used for traffic reports. I only had ten minutes with him before he went up; I taught him to use EFT and self-hypnosis and he was fine.

What is the best way to deal with a fear of flying?

The Power of the Pendulum

You have a conscious mind and an unconscious mind. The latter is far more powerful; it’s a storehouse of memories, learnings, skills and wisdom. Here’s a very brief introduction to a way in which you can get it to communicate with you.

The title of this piece, by the way, is borrowed in tribute from one of the several books by T C Lethbridge – of whom more later.

The “Short” Pendulum

This is the basic, standard, all-purpose pendulum, consisting of a small weight (the “bob”) on the end of about 15 cm of thread. Although new-age writers will tell you that bobs need to be made of crystal and “charged” before use, this is totally unnecessary; any small weight, even a finger ring or key, will do. There’s nothing magical about the pendulum; it’s just an amplifier. It works by the “ideomotor response” – tiny involuntary movements of the arm controlled by the unconscious mind. My personal view, however, is that this leaves completely open the question of how any information revealed gets into the unconscious mind…

There are several approaches to pendulum work; because of my training in Ericksonian hypnotherapy, mine is based “permissively”, allowing the unconscious mind to choose its own responses.

Hold the thread of the pendulum between finger and thumb tips of the dominant hand; the arm may be supported at the elbow if it’s more comfortable. I suggest that the length of thread between the fingers and the bob should be around 10 cm, but this can be adjusted if the response seems sluggish. Ask your unconscious mind to give you a YES response; think “yes” repeatedly until the pendulum clearly moves in a definite pattern – back and forth, side to side or in a circle (clockwise or anticlockwise). This pattern is noted and then the unconscious mind is asked for a NO response, which is also noted. If you have difficulty in getting a response, you could try a suggestion from Tom Graves: begin with a conscious back and forth “neutral” swing. Test it by thinking of your own name and getting a YES, followed by “my name is Ethel”, resulting in a NO. You can then go on to use the pendulum to answer questions or make decisions.

The Long Pendulum

T C Lethbridge, whom I mentioned earlier, wrote extensively on his dowsing work with a long pendulum. This has a heavier bob and a metre or more of thread, wrapped around a small spindle, so that the length can be varied. Lethbridge found that different thread lengths reacted to different substances, indicated by gyration of the pendulum; here are some of the “rates” that he discovered:

Substance Rate (inches)
Sulphur 7
Graphite 10
Carbon 12
Glass 14
Wood 20
Silver, lead, salt 22
Alcohol 25.5
Running water 26.5
Gold 29
Copper, brass 30.5
Iron 32

Lethbridge also discovered that the rate for “death” is 40 inches. His results for lengths above 40 inches are most interesting…

It has to be said that this system is controversial among dowsers. If it works at all, rates seem to be personal to the individual user.

Lethbridge’s work on pendulums is scattered throughout his books, all of which are out of print and expensive. I recommend the compilation by Graves and Hoult (see below) – also out of print but there are second-hand copies around.

The Human Pendulum

Stand with your feet a short way apart. Ask your body for a YES response – think YES over and over again. For most people the body will lean forward slightly – this almost always works. Then ask for a NO response; your body should lean backwards slightly.

Try it yourself now – it works!

Recommended Reading

Graves, Tom (1989) The Elements of Pendulum Dowsing. Longmead: Element
Graves, Tom & Hoult, Janet (1980) The Essential T C Lethbridge. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

Milton Erickson – the Father of Modern Hypnotherapy?

The foundations of hypnotherapy were laid in the nineteenth century by medical researchers such as John Elliotson, James Esdaille and James Braid. The latter, who coined the term “hypnosis”, was largely responsible for the acceptance of hypnosis by the British medical community (although its current status among them is somewhat equivocal). But it was Milton Erickson’s observed and published work that made hypnosis a respectable approach within the American medical profession and worthy of study in medical schools. It has been suggested that Erickson was to the practice of psychotherapy what Freud was to the theory of human behaviour.

Erickson never did “Ericksonian Hypnotherapy”. He took a pragmatic approach, utilising whatever techniques were need to facilitate change in each individual client. Although he is remembered for pioneering the indirect (or permissive) approach to hypnosis, he was also prepared to use more traditional direct (or authoritarian) methods where appropriate. Many modern hypnotherapists follow Erickson’s lead in utilising both types of therapy, but for the purposes of the explanations that follow we will treat them as two distinct approaches.

Practitioners of direct hypnotherapy are often authoritarian in style – similar to the persona of the stage hypnotist – telling the client what to do. This is the classical approach to hypnosis represented in countless novels and films; the therapist adopts the role of the expert, and the client is simply a passive receiver for his suggestions. The principal problem with this approach is that the therapy will be ineffective if the client is unwilling to accept the therapist’s suggestions. The client may be the sort of person who resents being given orders, or perhaps is nervous about hypnosis and being under hypnotist’s control. Also, direct therapy is one-sided and does not use the client’s personal resources.

In indirect hypnotherapy the relationship between therapist and client is emphasised. Rather than giving the client orders, the indirect therapist offers new ways of looking at a situation or choices of behaviour, and, as far as possible, the client is encouraged to find these himself from the resources in his own unconscious mind.

The importance of Erickson, and his methods as practised in Ericksonian hypnotherapy, is to take hypnotherapy away from the classical approach involving an authoritative therapist and a passive subject. His indirect approach allows a greater freedom of response from clients, both consciously and unconsciously, allowing them to access their own resources to deal with the real problems from which their symptoms have arisen.

Start Living – Stop Stressing

Ideas based on ISMA UK’s Top Ten Tips for National Stress Awareness Day

Start to put yourself first

You’ll be able to give more help to others if you keep yourself physically healthy.

Start to prioritise tasks

Select and focus on your three most important tasks each morning.

Start to make time to relax and mentally unwind

We all relax in different ways, but relaxation and breathing exercises, self-hypnosis and meditation are all proven techniques to reduce anxiety and boost your immune system. Some of these methods can be applied very rapidly for a short break in the middle of a busy day.

Start to empathise with others

Have you ever been misunderstood? It’s easy for our words and actions to be picked up by others in a way that we don’t intend. Listen to others and be aware of how they are reacting to you.

Start to live life to the full

Bring a little fun into your life and enjoy the good things available to you!

Stop ignoring your needs

Consider what’s expected of you and how much is reasonable. Know when and how to say No. Take short relaxation breaks through the day.

Stop getting distracted

Prioritise “urgent” tasks over “important” ones. Ask friends and colleagues for support if you need it.

Stop allowing others to make you feel inferior

Accept yourself for who you are, now, and work on your self-belief and confidence.

Stop being judgemental

Think flexibly and objectively and be more understanding of others.

Stop avoiding the things you least want to do

Putting things off leads to unnecessary worry. You can promise yourself a reward for getting them done.

Here are three specific tips that I learned many years ago:

– Keep a to-do list and cross off tasks completed.

– The Salami Principle – slice up a large task into small manageable pieces.

– The BANJO Technique – Bang off A Nasty Job today!

Stress? What Stress?

What is stress?

Our bodies have an instinctive response to danger – the Fight or Flight Syndrome. This prepares us either to fight or to flee, with a number of physical changes, including increased heart rate, shallow breathing and muscle tension. If there is no real enemy to fight or run away from, our physical feelings have no release, and we begin to build up stress.

What causes stress?

Stress affects everyone in modern society to some extent. It can be caused by overwork, changes at work or at home, relationships, unemployment, loss, illness, pollution or just the pace of modern life.

How do I tell if I’m stressed?

Stress can show itself in many different ways. These may include illnesses, sleep loss, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and muscular tension.

Is stress contagious?

No – but others may react as though it is, and may tend to avoid those suffering from stress in case they catch it!

Will it go away if you take a few weeks off?

No – unless you deal with the underlying problem the stress will still be there when you return.

Is stress an illness?

Stress is a natural reaction to pressure applied by circumstances and the environment. It’s not itself an illness, mental or otherwise, but if it’s prolonged or excessive it can lead to mental and physical ill-health.

Is a little stress good for you?

Generally speaking, “pressure” is good for you but stress isn’t.

This is what you can get from stress:
High blood pressure
Stomach upsets
Muscle tension
Loss of confidence
Poor sleep/insomnia
Irritability/mood swings

Pressure, on the other hand…:
Zest for life
Optimistic and energised
Increased performance
Impetus to achieve success
Boosts inner potential
Creatively helpful

OK, I’m stressed – what can I do about it?

Look out for my next blog…