Resolving Conflict

The first time we come across someone with a different perspective from us may determine how we go about conflicts in general.

Because we believe our perspective is right, we may try to persuade the other that they need to agree with us, have the same opinion as us and if not, decide that person needs to be out of our life. Perhaps – worst case scenario – dismissing them as toxic, out of order, wrong etc.

But through seeing another’s perspective, through their eyes, can lead to immense personal growth.

OK so that this point you might be thinking – she’s off her rocket, that opinion that so and so had is blatantly wrong (perhaps you can cite some scientific research, figures to back yourself up, to prove your point). And in some ways that might help the bigger picture. But will it help your relationship? Maybe the relationship isn’t all it was cracked up to be which can cause a shedload of rug pulling from underneath you.

Take the example of people who believe vaccination is what has saved the world from disease and those who believe vaccination undermines our immune system. An extreme and much fought over debate “The anti-vaxxers and the pro-vaxxers”. The extreme perspectives lead to people accusing others of having no social responsibility, being uncaring, not looking at current research etc… vaccine damaged children and extensive lawsuits ….

Arguments are extreme in both camps and may be taken as personal attacks at the extreme end of things; scientific research disproving links between the MMR vaccine and autism and parents believing their son or daughter’s autism appeared following the vaccination; whether research has been done into side effects, etc. etc.  The scapegoating or otherwise of eminent doctors – it’s an emotive area.

Both parties are operating from two different but parallel perspectives.


Scientists focus for a moment on the emotion rather than the research figures. What scares you most? People are ignoring statistical research figures or a potential return of smallpox and hitherto eradicated diseases due to hygiene and vaccination programmes (many diseases were disappearing prior to vaccination programmes)? For the anti vaxxers, consider that science has a point backed up in research. But so do feelings. Right brain, left brain. Where can the two meet in the middle?

Think about it for a moment.

Now think back to a conflict you’ve experienced and look for the overriding emotion. Is it fear? How does this feeling or being aware of this feeling change things?

What does this opinion / research / evidence speak to you about?
What is the feeling you get when you think about it?
What is it that you want your friend to understand?
What does it mean to you if your friend doesn’t agree with you?

Take another conflict.

Person A is upset by something Person B did.

Person A believes Person B should understand that something they did upset them. Person A then tells Person C that Person B is out of order and should apologise.

Person B doesn’t realise that Person A is upset, nor that they’d done anything wrong but senses an “undercurrent” of something not being quite right. Person B talks to Person D who is part of the picture to a degree, and agrees with Person B that Person A is behaving differently, or there is something of an atmosphere.

You can see that from a bird’s eye perspective that this isn’t going in a particularly helpful direction with more and more people impacted in a scenario that could easily have been handled by two people at the outset. What often happens in this situation is a form of “ganging up” against each other which results in more people being hurt than was necessary.

Obtain agreement from all parties that they will:
1. Work to resolve the conflict.
2. Treat each other with respect.
3. Be clear and truthful about what is bothering them and what change they want.
4. Listen to other participants and make an effort to understand the views of others.
5. Be willing to take responsibility for their behaviour.
6. Be willing to compromise.

These rules are not about thinking things like “they didn’t do x, y and z” or “they did x, y and z” which proves they weren’t listening, they had their own agenda. It’s about being really clear as to what outcome you want from the meeting or conflict. What resolution are you actually seeking?

Remember, if you see the perspective that you are both hurt, both feeling small and insignificant in your pain, they probably are as well.

Just for a few moments, imagine what it is like to be the other person(s), and how they might actually be feeling. How do you feel when someone refuses to see your perspective?

Steps – Ideally invite a third party to mediate to enable everyone to be heard.

1. Arrange for all parties to confront the problem.
2. Select a time as soon as all parties have cooled down.
3. Meet at a neutral place.
4. Participants must describe conflict clearly and describe behaviours, feelings and desired changes / outcome.
5. Direct participants to use I, not you, and to focus on specific behaviours and problems, not on people.

i.e. “When you did (x, y and z), I felt” (i.e. not *you* are [descriptive word]. Do you understand?
Other party reflects back exactly what they heard, checks back, “is that correct?”

Ask participants to restate what the others have said.
Summarise the conflict based on what’s been heard, obtain agreement.
Look for solutions.
Ask each participant to offer a solution.
List all of the options presented (either verbally or on flip chart).
Discuss all of the options in a positive manner.
Rule out any options that participants agree are unworkable.
Summarise all possible options for a solution.
Assign further analysis of each option to a participant.
Obtain agreement from all parties on next steps.
Close meeting by having participants shake hands, apologise and thank each other for working to resolve the conflict.

Download this Conflict Resolution Styles Quiz!

Depression in the News

According to the BBC news website, there has been a jump in antidepressant medication.  You can click on that to get the link.

A total of 70.9 million prescriptions for antidepressants were dispensed in England in 2018.  NHS Digital figures show that the number of drugs issued – for conditions like depression and anxiety – went up from 67.5 million in 2017.

As a therapist there is obviously the need to suggest that medication can and does have a place in the treatment of depression. There are also some conditions where medication is absolutely essential and that also goes without saying.

But also as a mental health professional I am bound to suggest that medication can also prevent you from finding your own inner tools for recovery – depending on the severity of the condition. When we become reliant on medication rather than looking at ways in which we can help ourselves we may stay on medication for years and really not feel all that much better.

Putting our faith in our recovery in someone or something other than ourselves may not give you the results you truly desire.

Therapy aims to process and witness with you to help you find the tools for you to help you recover. A good therapist may reflect back to you how they hear what you are saying – give you that safe space to reflect on ways in which you may or may not be helping yourself.

Sometimes you might find it difficult in therapy; sometimes it is not the right therapist for you. Either way it will have given you some food for thought.  Therapy can often be a helpful mirror for you to process your feelings and thoughts.

Try talking therapies. It may just be the best decision of your life.
Book an appointment with Malmesbury Therapies with Kate using SetMore

Self Care

We all need to take care of ourselves – obviously.  But when we’ve experienced a relationship breakdown, a bereavement or a huge change in our personal circumstances, we need to keep ourselves moving and occupied doing things we enjoy.

Anyone who’s experienced therapy with me will probably have heard me asking them “what did you used to do that you’ve stopped doing?”  Frequently when we find ourselves facing fears, loneliness and inabilities to make simple decisions it’s hard to even think about enjoying ourselves, so swamped we may be in what’s happening right now.

So with this in mind I found myself asking the same question. Having given up part time employment and re-starting self employment each and every day would see me at my computer, looking up research articles, finding ways to revamp my website, writing and writing (like this) and my eyes were glazing over.  Headaches, loneliness… was settling in and making themselves feel at home…. NOT!

Out I went, joining a Zumba class.  Last time I did Zumba was around fifteen years ago, so I was a lot younger and probably better looking in terms of my body fitness. I do remember my stomach taking on a dance all of its own however, and struggled in a class where personal space was at a premium.  I lasted about three weeks.

Now I run a couple of times a week.  I walk 4-5 km with my dog every day.  Let’s see how this Zumba thing goes.

I got my best lycra on, did my face and charged up the road for my “first” Zumba gold session (that means I must be old – a) it’s during the day, and b) I’m over 50!)

I must have looked blank and awkward as someone came up to me and asked if I was ok.  Ah yes – this is the right place!

The beats began, we started throwing ourselves around the room (or was that just me), my lower limbs doing one thing and my arms, confused as they might have been, did something different.

I followed our teacher as best I could (given I was at the back of the room, right next to the door – ease of exit access) but still the beat went on and my body was simply bobbing up and down, keeping moving.  Towards the end of the dance we did something of an Irish gig as we circled the room, joining arms.

I still felt stupid but actually a lot happier after the class!

Afterwards a few members traipsed off to the pub for a coffee (no really) and made me feel exceptionally welcome.  So much so I returned for another session!

So what have you stopped doing that you used to do?

Do it!  Click here for more information about Zumba in Malmesbury (on Facebook)!

Distraction as Cure?

Sometimes just distracting yourself from unpleasant or distressing events *can* be part of the cure.

It’s a great temptation to want to figure out the problem, learn the root cause of the issue (and many psychodynamic and psychoanalytical therapists advocate just that) and understand WHY you behave the way you do, or react to certain events in an out-of-proportion manner.

It is also true that many events that happen to us in adult life may impact us in an incomprehensible way; they trigger our safety mechanisms or cause us to REACT rather than respond.

Take one woman.  She has recently emerged from an abusive relationship and is keen to find the right one for HER after some time out of relationships.  She recognises that this past relationship was damaging and she did everything she possibly could to understand and mitigate further damage.  She meets a lovely man who is very kind to her, almost too kind in a way such that she feels undeserving of his kindness.  Each time he does something that doesn’t please or annoys her, she almost “attacks” him for being stupid, annoying, doormat like.

Her experience as an abused woman has now turned her into the “abuser”, using her new man as a “whipping boy”.  She is simply acting out of her own belief that she does not deserve a decent man.

What can she do?  What can her man do?

The point is to recognise the repeating patterns of behaviour so that both can get the help they need to get off this roundabout of behaviour.  He needs to stand up to her and recognise that this is not about him (although he may have his own patterns of neediness, lack of self-worth rooted from childhood), and she needs to understand that in any given moment she is hurting her man and to truly heal herself from her past and recognise that she needn’t perpetuate pain.

But in the here and now, we may need to recognise that our brains have a limited ability to focus.  We have to choose WHAT we focus on.  Distraction can be a powerful tool in reducing the impact of painful or damaging experiences.

In my therapy sessions when managing clients who have difficult relationships (men and women handle emotions in very different ways; more women will tend to ruminate and try to understand whilst arguably in the midst of trying to hold down a job, manage a young family) I often refer to the visualisation of putting the “difficult situation” in a box; tying it up with a ribbon of their choosing and placing the box on a shelf high up.  You can get the box down when you feel you’re in a mindset to tackle the issue but in the meantime it’s out of sight, out of mind so you can continue freely with your day.  I like the mantra “what others think about you is none of your business”.  You need to survive and thrive rather than survive and feel beaten down with others’ obligations, feelings and emotions.

There is research showing that distraction can also help us with urges and impulses as the cognitive demands of a particular game or event redirect our attention onto something more interesting.

Physical exercise – either to music or being out in nature can help us manage our attention more productively and keep us fit.

One of my favourite worksheets (taken from “Drawing on Your Emotions” by Margot Sunderland) is this “First Aid” sheet (download).  Here you simply fill in all the activities you enjoy doing, activities you’ve perhaps stopped doing.  This helps you focus on what you DO enjoy and perhaps CAN enjoy as a distraction from the painful events you may be experiencing.

As another form of “distraction as cure” you can experience a session of EFT which you can find out more about here.  EFT is a way to diffuse painful emotions whilst engaging the mind and body to emerge from the painful feelings so you can manage more effectively in your life.

Distractions also help you manage stress.

But when can distraction cause a problem?

When we simply “suppress” the emotions this can be damaging.  Perhaps we are avoiding doing something because our situation is boring or we need to escape from something that isn’t doing us any good.  Suppressing emotions (rather than using distraction as a positive expansion) can be when someone who is struggling with weight gain uses food to suppress their emotional status.  The food is a welcome distraction in that sense because it keeps them from tackling the real source of the emotional eating.

Once healed from the reasons that client eats, the food is seen in a completely different way and allows the client to manage their situation.

People who are gripped by addiction use drugs, drink, gambling etc. to distract from their inner problem and until they manage this problem the addiction will continue.

Some people argue the situation has to get bad enough so they have no choice but to manage this.  Clients who have drink problems and have tackled it over and over, might get to the point of no return (i.e. one more drink will kill them, and yes, it has happened) before they either die or get their lives back on track.  Here is where being mindful and self-aware once they find themselves going down the track of the drinking and catching themselves as they understand EACH step in the process.

Perhaps we need to understand that distraction CAN be a cure and an expansive positive experience to replace the negative emotion but also establish whether your distraction mechanism is a sabotaging, escapist process that is preventing you from resolving issues in your life.

Ask yourself “Why am I Doing This?” can help you make the most out of your “distraction”.

Distractions – brief summary:

  • Coping strategy / Useful tool
  • Video Games, Puzzles may give us strength to move through difficult events
  • Distractions can strengthen our ability to tackle new challenges
  • Technology can be an escape from discomfort
  • Distraction for self-expansion builds strength
  • Distraction for self-suppression may be avoidance until you’re able to establish why
  • Self-suppression can be acceptable but may backfire if being used as a long term solution

Much of the above is sourced from here, together with some personal insights.

Therapy – an Essential Requirement?

Therapy works. Seriously.

Information can useful for clients and therapists to support therapy’s ability to have profound and lasting positive impact; Mick Cooper (see below) discovered through his research that actually it matters less about the “modality” (ie CBT, Psychodynamic, humanistic, transactional analysis etc etc) and rests more on the therapeutic relationship – ie how the client feels about the therapist, and vice versa. My hypnotherapy tutor and colleague Adam Eason cites evidence-based therapies asserting that hypnotherapy has been shown to be more effective than simple talking therapies but STILL it appears that the therapeutic encounter is the most effective way towards a positive transformation.

Mick Cooper carried out statistical research into the benefits of talking therapies.  You can check out his “The Facts are Friendly” videos here:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

With apologies for the three part series. These are dated from 2008 and Mick also produced a book to support these videos and findings, which you can find here.

Statistics from the Mental Health organisation suggest that 74{0420f535ce615780036d97fb0e48496e457086dc60a6d0fc56706f61c82d85a3} of adults during 2018 experienced some form of stress, breakdown or overwhelm which meant they found it impossible to attend to daily life / work tasks.

These figures imply mental health professionals are not only desirable but essential in our world of increasing exposure to potentially unreliable and disturbing media together with excessive workloads, relationship problems and more. We are designed as part of the human condition to experience anxiety as a coping mechanism, to avoid stressful situations yet at times the one compounds the other and increasing workloads together with less recognition can play a part.

As a therapist I also experience workplace stress; our profession is not respected as it could be, many of us may work for free or at a lower rate, or work in agencies in placements whilst completing training course in addition to working with Employment Assistance Programmes whose rates are set at a particular level.

Many of us share a deep calling to help the world and yet we cannot if we are not fully supported and I hear stories regularly about really great therapists giving up either because they are not well known, well supported, or have simply burned out. This is not good news for people who need help if the bank of supply is not there.

On top of that many turn to training in counselling because we have a calling yet although it has a relatively high attendance rate, there is also a high drop out rate because all the figures do not stand up to scrutiny, the training is emotionally HARD and demanding both academically and mentally.

As a provider of therapy myself, I recognise its vital provision in life and trained because I got so much value out of it.

Therapy works. It needs to be accessible to all. How can we make it possible?

Therapies and Evidence-Based Research

Disclaimer: This is a “stream of consciousness” post designed to encourage open discussion about therapies, be they evidence-based or anecdotal.

Always remember to research any therapy you are interested in experiencing or studying. Don’t just take my word for it (not that you will get my word per se but you may get a slant or a slice of my opinion, which is just that).

It seems there are very divided camps in the therapy world. Like the “spiritual” versus the “rational”, the “evidence-based” versus the “anecdotal”. I maintain to some degree “it doesn’t matter”. If someone is charging a LOT of money for something, it doesn’t make it right or wrong; it is YOUR choice what you do with YOUR money… but are you always fully aware of what can help and what certainly won’t help? To a degree you won’t really know until you’ve tried the therapy you’re interested in and additionally many therapists are trained in a great number of modalities so that they can get the best outcome for their clients. As most well-qualified therapists will explain, it is the therapeutic relationship that will ensure the best outcome. Occasionally I have heard people say that their last therapist was “crap” or “not that good” and my take will be perhaps you just didn’t get along; so that therapist may well have been perfect for someone else.

Sometimes you don’t have all the information you need to make the right choice and then it is your responsibility to do the research. Some vulnerable people can fall prey to charlatans and this has the potential to truly mislead and cause damage. If that particular therapist does not practice evidence based therapy, or is not a member of a professional body, doesn’t have professional indemnity insurance then perhaps it’s worth considering the ethics of that particular therapist or healer and AVOID.

Clearly the main body of evidence based therapies encompass the following:

Psychotherapy – encompasses the majority of “talking-based therapies” as below, but some argue it’s a “deeper” form of counselling and takes longer to study as a result which was my experience.
Counselling (See Mick Cooper’s The Facts are Friendly)
Hypnotherapy (read Adam Eason’s – evidence based hypnotherapist – blogs)
Emotional Freedom Technique

Many more evidence-based “talking” therapies come under this banner and include:

BWRT® (See here for evidence)
Behavioural therapy
Cognitive analytical therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)
Family therapy
Gestalt Therapy
Person Centred Therapy (PC)
Psychodynamic Therapy (PD)
Transactional Analysis (TA)

CBT is more often practised under the NHS as part of a treatment plan as is supported by research; however CBH (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy) is reputed to fast track CBT through its hypnotherapeutic delivery)

Other, more esoteric therapies or healing modalities, which can include:

Matrix Reimprinting
Emotion / Body Code (trapped emotions? We probably all have those!)
Matrix Energetics (ME)
Access Bars
Angel Healing (Angelic Reiki, Angel Card readings)

Can be viewed as pseudo quackery and have little or no evidence whatsoever to back them up, bar anecdotal. This doesn’t necessarily make them wrong; after all, there is some evidence for the placebo effect! If you believe something will work then chances are it will.

How much does it matter?

Clearly it matters if vulnerable people are drawn into these methodologies and are shortchanged or the condition is made worse. At best many may feel more relaxed and better able to cope with life’s tribulations, at worst who honestly knows?

Perhaps there are many areas of life where one can part with a lot of money and feel shortchanged, having put their faith into another person, not just therapy. We believe the promises we are told, we believe people around us who have life experience … how do you choose the right intervention for YOU?

I believe what matters is that people are heard, acknowledged, listened to and validated if necessary, but what also matters is taking personal responsibility for your life and making effective changes to smooth our existence in life. Sometimes this is a matter of in depth research combined with education, experience and being completely and fully conscious as to how we feel about things that we experience.

Access Bars

One day I heard the words “Access Bars” mentioned; it was a bit like the time I first heard EFT mentioned and my reaction was similar. Brush over it, and it will go away soon.

So imagine my intrigue when another few years passed on, and I attended the Swindon Pop Up Business school where I plonked myself in a chair next to a lovely lady who happened to mention “Access Bars” again to me. My reaction – again, almost as evolved as those years back was to say something like “how interesting” and we had a very short discussion about it but I confess I did not take an awful lot in but my curiosity was piqued. We discussed many books that we had in common currently on our bookshelves and exchanged a few bits of personal information and later that evening we connected on Facebook.

I thought a little of it as time when on.

One day on facebook I thought I saw my friend indicate an interest in an event; (latterly it seems she thought I’d expressed an interest – but the mystery shall remain). The event was entitled “Yumminess with Bodies“. Well frankly, with a title like that I had to check it out – I mean, “weird stuff”, right?

Guess what, it was Access Bars popping up into my conscious energy sphere, or at least I was allowing it to. This time I sat up and looked into it further. The event clashed with running club, but hey, I can always make up the running later. Pizza too, and with my ketogenic diet (no bread, grains, nothing high carb) it was going to have to be one of those “weekday exceptions” in order to survive with some food. My accompanying friend offered to save me from this fate by eating my portion but I suggested I would save her from excessive weight gain by denying her that supposed privilege.

Next was to “panic” about how far away this event / workshop was and allowing sufficient time to crawl to Bath during rush hour. I did this and we arrived about 15 minutes early which was a bonus as I’m often attempting to travel at warp speed (my friend’s wording, I confess).

We were greeted by our host, Ruth Bartleet who hugged us enthusiastically and welcomed us to the meeting, held at the wonderful Castle Farm Cafe where the preparations for pizza and salad were underway. The garden is a beautiful peaceful space with tables and chairs and a little shop selling some wonderful organic produce.

There were about 20 people there, predominantly female but there was a notable male presence which can be unusual in the therapy world as many may testify.

A brief introduction preceded the invitation to lie down on one of the couches to “receive bars” or “have the bars run” and as mine were being done, a short explanation of each point being touched was given. I could have closed my eyes but chose to keep them open as we chatted to introduce ourselves and talk about the Bars and how they can help change lives or perspectives. The different points can refer to different parts of where energy or baggage is stored.

Prior to this event, I had checked out some videos on Access Bars and many of them said similar – that it was the one thing that worked, that remained, that helped clear head baggage. I then found this video on youtube that featured both Gary Douglas (founder of Access Bars) and a neuroscientist (Dr Jeffrey Fannin) who cited brain scans before and after Access Bars were run which showed a notable positive change – arguably similar to reported brain scans on people who meditate regularly.

So whilst my personal “jury” and “conventional, rational, evidence-based psychotherapist” in me may be still out slightly, I have to report that my head (which was aching and heavy in the days leading up to the session) feels clearer, more grounded and able to write this blog!

Testimonials verbally given at the event were amazing; as I have always had one foot in the “esoteric” and have myself given card readings and sense energy all around, this healing modality did very much speak to me. It was also interesting to hear the different opinions with regards to Reiki compared with Access Bars in that the latter seemed more of a permanent way of locking in personal change. My Reiki therapist would insist that I must “let go” and yet on reflection that “letting go” doesn’t feel right for me in that the baggage I seem to hang onto informs my work. But I can permit it to not affect me any longer. Perhaps that’s a new thought for me?

The Access Bars are 32 bars of energy that run through and around your head, storing the electromagnetic component of all the thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions and beliefs that you have ever had about anything. There are bars for Healing, Body, Control, Awareness, Creativity, Power, Aging, Sex and Money just to name a few. Each thought, idea, attitude, decision or belief that you have fixed in place solidifies the energy and limits your capacity to be generative in that area. The purpose of a Bars session is to clear those points and to invite people to receive. Receiving instead of doing, doing, doing.

Like magic, it is not about what you do, it is about changing the energy of how you are functioning in life that allows change to show up without effort and with great ease.

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who has their mind made up about something? Is it like trying to get through a brick wall? That’s because it IS a wall, an energetic wall. Every time you take a point of view, you create another wall.

For example, if you say “I’m never doing that again!¨ that decision stops the energy and limits what you can receive. Does a decision like that create more choice in your life or less? Would it create an impact on your body? Fortunately, this can be changed easily and quickly. By running energy through these bars, the barriers dissipate and the electromagnetic charge is released. Releasing stuck energy is like deleting old files off your computer. You have more space to create something new and wonderful with more up-to-date tools!  [taken from this website]

I am hoping to attend a full workshop and perhaps even deliver the “Bars” to others. After all, having bought a couch about five years ago and never used it with any clients, perhaps it’s time.


What is the Subconscious mind?

Obstacles arise right away because there is no single or precise definition of what the subconscious mind is. Almost every form of therapy or philosophy has its own definition and while many are similar enough that we can all use the term and know what we mean, they do not all agree.

In fact in the beginning when the term ‘unconscious’ was first used by Freud it was considered a dark place where things best not disturb where place. Over time the definition changed until new age and self help industries started to use less complicated definitions and a more positive slant on the term Subconscious Mind.

Whatever definition is used for the sub conscious mind, it should be clear that it is a metaphor to explain in simple terms an extremely complicated and little understood aspect of human behaviour. The Subconscious in its simplest terms can be considered that part of you that is outside of your conscious awareness that creates automatic programs (Beliefs, Behaviours & Attitudes) to make life for you easier to operate in without having to place too much focus and attention on everything you are doing

What the Subconscious mind is not and can not do

The Sub Conscious Mind is not a metaphysical aspect outside of the physical structure of the brain. We do know that all of the aspects that have been studied show real activity within the brain. That means everything we know thus far has a physical aspect of neurological activity – nothing has yet to be attributed to anything outside of the physical world that can be measured, even if the subconscious activity is not present to your conscious awareness.

Unlike many claims of the self-help community, the Sub Conscious mind is not an all-powerful entity that can accomplish everything. Many people will claim in their explanation for the subconscious mind that it does ‘everything’ you are not aware of, this is just not the case. For Example the subconscious is not responsible for your breathing or ability to walk – these are functions of the autonomic nervous system. The Subconscious will not make you grow taller, change your eye colour or cure cancer it works in the realms of belief, behaviour and attitudes.

What does the Subconscious mind do? And how does it decide?

If we accept the metaphor that the Subconscious mind is a part of you, the part that takes care of making life easier for you by creating automatic behaviours and reactions to events in your everyday life; then the next question is how exactly?

There are a few basic ways the Subconscious mind determines how to create automatic programs for you

1) Previous life experience (This includes the beliefs and customs of your parents, culture, social groups including any religious beliefs)
2) Current life experience (This includes any new skills and abilities you study and learn, the values and beliefs of new groups and social connections and self-initiated attempts at creating change)
3) Listening to the instructions you give it during your Self Talk and thoughts

So who you are at an unconscious level is a combination of how you were raised (childhood impressions in a developing brain are hugely influential), what you do on purpose to grow as a person and the 60,000 odd thoughts you have a day that you never pay any conscious awareness too. Your subconscious mind will take all these confusing and conflicting ideas and concepts on=board and attempt to create some form of coherent automatic response.

How does your Sub Conscious apply its programmes?

Have you ever brought a new car or an item of clothing and all of a sudden you notice the same thing everywhere? Your mind and focus just seems to zoom in on the same car or shoes that others have. Your mind works in a similar way, its job is to answer the questions you ask yourself (see following section) and it does this by highlighting experiences that support the beliefs and questions you are asking for solutions too. It will then trigger off an emotional response it thinks is appropriate to have for this experience

How you create new Subconscious programs

Sub Conscious responses can be expressed in many ways, as a feeling or emotional response, as an automatic behaviour, as habits or ticks and as both empowering and un-empowering reactions. The responses may be  contradictory to each other, and most confusing to most people can be the opposite of what it is they want to be!

Your Self Talk – answering the questions you ask

You have around 60,000 thoughts a day, including self-talk, creating images and experiencing emotions. That’s 3 a second! And almost all of the time this self-talk is created by your sub conscious and rarely makes it to your conscious awareness.

For example you make decisions all the time, do you take the stairs or lift? Do you run the orange light or stop, do you eat now or in 5 minutes time, do you go to the bathroom now or wait another 5 minutes. Yet at the end of the day, almost nobody can remember 5 conscious thoughts they had during the day

Worse still is that 90-95{0420f535ce615780036d97fb0e48496e457086dc60a6d0fc56706f61c82d85a3} of the time we are asking ourselves or telling ourselves un-empowering questions and statements. We are asking ourselves the wrong questions. Your Subconscious mind then goes about creating automatic beliefs, attitudes and behaviours to make life easier for you by answering these questions. Then it will draw your attention and focus to life experience that supports the answers to the questions you’re asking.

Questions you ask Subconscious Auto Response
“Why can’t I stop eating” Gives you a feeling of craving something you spot out of the corner of your eye
“Why can’t I lose weight” Comes up with feelings of being tired or lazy and justifies certain behaviour you have or avoid
“Why don’t I have any good friends” May interpret a look from a friend as contempt or embarrassment or give you a feeling of betrayal at an action someone does
“Why am I so alone” Manages to talk yourself out of going out and making an effort to change by reminding you that you are shy or don’t enjoy socialising
“Why do I always act this way, I hate that I always do this” Draws your focus to events that trigger off the reaction, and then allows you to mentally beat yourself up for doing it and makes you feel bad


1) Your Unconscious mind tries to make life easier for you by giving you what you want.
2) It knows what you want by the type of questions you ask yourself
3) The types of questions you ask yourself mostly focus on what you do not want
4) We never pay any conscious awareness into changing what we tell ourselves

How to change your Sub Conscious Programmes

The key to changing these automatic behaviours and beliefs is to effectively communicate with your Subconscious. The fastest and most effective methods are to use therapy especially design to work with it, such as BWRT®, Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). But you can make some changes (albeit slower to take effect) by using Affirmations or Mindful Awareness


Affirmations are statements of positive intent as if they are already occurring. Affirmations are an attempt to counteract all the negative self-talk with how they would rather be instead. Most people are familiar with affirmations but some of the most common mistakes are

1) To focus on the behaviour you do not want.
2) To make the statement in a future tense not the present

For example, “I don’t want to smoke” should be “I am a non-smoker”; and “I don’t want to eat chocolate” should be “I only eat healthy food”. Some people find Affirmations difficult because what they are saying is not true, and they feel like a fake using them. That’s fine, if the affirmations were true you would not have to be making them. Affirmations are a deliberate attempt to brainwash yourself into a more empowering set of automatic programs. Subliminal Messages are a form of affirmations given at a sub conscious level avoiding these feelings, and allowing change without too much conscious effort.

Mindful Awareness

Mindful Awareness is the ability to actually make yourself consciously aware of the types of thoughts you are having. The beauty of this approach is that when you notice a negative thought you can immediately counter it by saying to yourself “Cancel that what I mean is …” and insert a positive affirmation. The skill of Mindful Awareness is one of the best self help and personal development tools you could possibly have. It allows you to become aware of and take charge of your self talk. It allows you to determine how you will program your sub conscious mind rather than allowing it to make the decision for you.