Category Archives: Uncategorized

What’s Your Story?

Every week I see people at my hypnotherapy clinics in Cambridge & Huntingdon wanting help with different issues and many issues are fairly straightforward.  It may be a phobia that needs dealing with such as a fear of flying or a client wants more confidence in a certain area of life.  However, some clients come for therapy when life doesn’t seem to hold much meaning for them.  They may feel that life doesn’t have a point to it or they have lost their ‘joie de vivre’ for one reason or another.  Sometimes this occurs when challenging events force us to stop and take stock of everything – events such as relationship breakdown, redundancy, personal injury, illness or bereavement, where we perceive a great deal of loss.  We might question whether we made the right decisions in the past or maybe the future doesn’t look too enticing.

Not too long ago I went to see the film ‘Gravity’  (warning spoilers coming up if you haven’t seen it) which was about a scientist, Dr Ryan Stone played by Sandra Bullock, battling to find a way back to Earth following a collision between the Space Station and space debris.  During a conversation with her astronaut colleague, played by George Cloony, we learn that in the recent past Ryan lost her child due to an accident.  It becomes clear to the audience that she is suffering from loss and a sense of meaningless.  Floating in the blackness of space serves as a metaphor of her current state of mind.

The film itself questions the point of life and we hear Ryan asking the question ‘is there a point to life’?  This is a hard existential question to answer as there may ultimately be no point or many different ones according to a person’s beliefs.  What we all have though is an opportunity to enjoy the ‘ride’ and what is important is that each and every one of us has a story to tell as Ryan comes to realise later in the film.  Some stories are more incredible than others but it is our personal stories that make us who we are: the stories that we tell ourselves and others about what happened to us, how we feel about them and the world around us.  At a critical point in the film Ryan is faced with what seems to be certain death and she accepts it, even seeming to embrace it.  It is at this point though that she experiences a kind of re-birth, enabling her to decide to fight and survive!  To survive and tell her story – that becomes the point of life at that moment in time!  Every story we encounter and live through helps us to grow and evolve in consciousness – perhaps that’s the point of life!

You might wonder what this has to do with Cognitive Hypnotherapy but every week I hear many stories from clients that I see.  I feel honoured to be a part of their story and that they choose to share some of it with me. What has become clear to me though is that resistance to one’s circumstances, which often includes the need for change, creates a great deal of suffering.  I know this too from my own journey in life that the more I railed and resisted a particular thing, the worse I felt.  Of course, as a hypnotherapist I aim to help clients change the way they feel about something according to what they want to achieve. Sometimes we can change our circumstances and we may need support to do so but, at other times, it is not always possible to change them. In these cases however, we can change the way we respond to them.  Changing our response often helps to change the circumstances too because we are no longer reacting in the same way.  It allows us to enter into a different space where new possibilities can emerge!  As soon as Dr Ryan changes her response to her circumstances she finds her way back to Earth having decided to take charge of her situation, whatever the outcome!

If you are in a challenging space at the moment and would like some help, please give me a call and we discuss how Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Cambridge or Huntingdon could help you.  In Cambridge I work at The Coach House Clinic in Trumpington and the Salus Wellness Clinic near The Grafton Centre.

Adele Richmond
Cognitive Hypnotherapy
Tel: 07703 211449

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.

Sleep Well

A number of people have contacted me in the last couple of years because they are having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. Insomnia and waking up early seems to be a common problem these days and so in this blog I have outlined some tips for establishing a good sleep routine as well as some of the things that can disrupt sleep. I have also added some strategies for going to sleep and getting back to sleep if you are one of those people who wake up in the night. I hope that you find something helpful here and I’d be very happy to hear from you if you do or if you have something that works for you and want to share a tip with others. You can also download the following information in pdf form on the anxiety and stress page of my website.

Some basic tips for sleeping well:

  • It’s really helpful to establish a regular sleep pattern. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Make your bedroom into a place that you associate with relaxing, sleeping and making love. Avoid TV, mobile phones or laptops in the room. Keep it fresh, tidy and change bedding frequently. Decorate with relaxing colours and pictures – blue and greens are renowned for their relaxing qualities.
  • Keep the room cool and well ventilated at night and invest in a black-out blind if your sleep is disrupted by early morning light. When the room becomes light it sends a signal to the brain to wake up because light stimulates cells in the retina connected to our biological clock. More information further down.
  • Having a routine will send a signal to your brain that its time to wind down and prepare for sleep such as: taking a warm bath or shower; listening to soft music; having a warm non-caffeine drink; reading an enjoyable book or magazine or listen to an audio book; listening to a relaxing, self-hypnosis recording


Things that can disrupt your sleep

Light: Make sure your room is dark and that your curtains/blind are keeping out as much light as possible in the early morning. Apparently light is a key factor as it regulates the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleepy. Too much light switches off melatonin production and according to a study by Surrey Sleep Research Centre reported in the New Scientist in February this year, it found that ‘reducing the intensity of evening light and/or using a light with less blue and more yellow wavelengths minimizes the disruptive effect on sleep.’ We need to make sure we get adequate daylight during the day but minimize the disruptive effects of artificial light in the evening and at night to help regulate the production of melatonin.

Food: Try to have your evening meal as early as possible in the evening not within two/three hours of going to bed. If you eat a large meal late in the evening and then go to bed your body will be busy digesting the contents of your stomach which can interfere with your sleep. Spicy hot food can also interfere with your body’s metabolism so it might be best to avoid spicy food in the evening. Many women find as they get nearer to the menopause spicy food and alcohol can exacerbate hot flushes.

Have a light snack instead which includes some carbohydrate to help you feel more relaxed.

Thirst: Make sure you have had enough fluid during the day as thirst can also trigger your body to wake up. In particular, too much alcohol may help you fall asleep initially but you are more likely to wake up early with a raging thirst and headache due to dehydration.

Family Conflict: If possible, avoid getting into arguments late at night with family members. If you are experiencing conflict at home then get some help such as talking things over with a trusted friend/family member or asking for some professional help. Its not weakness to ask for help or admit that you are not sure how to handle a situation. In fact, it takes strength to ask for help and it is often a turning point.

Stress: Anxiety and stress keep your body on alert making it hard to shut down and switch off properly for a good night’s sleep. If you are experiencing stress and anxiety then take some steps to manage your stress levels by practising relaxation techniques and exercise. Exercise is one of best ways to help rebalance the stress hormones in your body but build up slowly if you have not done any for a while – even 10 minutes a day can have a dramatic effect on stress levels. Learning self-hypnosis or meditation is also really beneficial to help you learn to control your feelings.

Have a worry book: Before you go to bed write down all the things that are worrying you in a notebook to get them out of your head and onto the paper. In addition, make sure you also write down some possible solutions that come to mind. It is much better to focus on solutions rather than endlessly going round and round in your mind over a problem. Tell yourself that during the night your unconscious will also help you find the right solution. You may then wake up in the morning with an inner sense of the right path or your unconscious might provide certain dreams that give you insight. You may want to invest in a good dream analysis book.

If you wake up during the night:

Keep thinking about how comfortable you are in bed. Remember that your body is resting and that’s all that matters. Avoid getting uptight about being awake as that will trigger stress hormones – stay calm and tell yourself that your body will sleep when its ready.

Use a breathing technique such 7/11 or your other favourite relaxation technique. 7/11 breathing involves breathing in through your nose and counting to seven, then breathe out through your mouth counting to eleven. Whilst doing this put your hands on your stomach and focus on breathing from deep down in your abdomen keeping your chest and shoulders still. You could also imagine breathing in a calm colour at the same time. After doing this a few times you should start to feel more relaxed.

Do something boring. Waking up in the night should not be rewarded. If you thirsty drink some water but a non-caffeine hot drink can help you relax again. If you want to read, try standing up and doing it for a while.

Keep a notebook and pen by the bed as sometimes your unconscious will wake you up during the night so that you remember something important. Thank your unconscious, write a reminder and go back to sleep.

Spend a few minutes tensing and releasing all the major muscles in your body to help you relax. You could start with your feet by tensing your foot muscles, holding the tension for 30 seconds then releasing, gradually working up your body eg. leg muscles, stomach, buttocks and so on up to your arms and shoulders. Work through each of the muscle groups and then do this again two or three times and by the end of the process your body will feel more relaxed.

I like having an affirmation/mantra that I use which I repeat to myself as I close my eyes and imagine letting go. It could be something like ‘letting go and drifting off’ – keep repeating and see what happens. You could combine this with imagining a relaxing place or visiting a pleasant memory of somewhere you went that you associate with feeling relaxed. It’s about finding what works for you.

A relaxing scent like lavender is also useful to have in the bedroom as smell can create an association that helps your brain to wind down. You could put a few drops of essential oil near your pillow as you take some deep, slow relaxing breaths.

Finally, do consult your GP if you are sleepy during the day, have trouble breathing at night, constant headaches or anything else that you are worried about.

If you suffering with insomnia and would like further information about how Cognitive Hypnotherapy could help please contact me.

Adele Richmond
Cognitive Hypnotherapy & NLP
Tel: 07703 211449

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.

National Stress Awareness Day

One of the most common issues that people come to see me about is anxiety and stress and so with November 2nd being National Stress Awareness Day it gives us the opportunity to consider what elements of our life might be causing us unhealthy levels of stress and what steps we can take to help reduce them.

Autumn is usually a busy time in the year and in the weeks leading up to Christmas many people often begin to feel anxious as they juggle the demands of work, family life and the build up to the festive season. For some people Christmas is a daunting prospect – perhaps family tensions to deal with or feeling obliged to buy Christmas presents that you can’t afford. For others, the demands of work lead to a build up of stress and an inability to relax and switch off.

How can we stay calm and focused when it often seems as though there are just not enough hours in the day and the list of things to do seems to get longer by the minute? How can we switch off, unwind and not constantly succumb to either other people’s agendas or the notion that unless we are thinking and worrying about something, it might suddenly creep up and devour us like a monster from the shadows.

When we become stressed or anxious our brains will often focus on what we don’t want instead of what we do want but doing this creates more of what we don’t want. Most anxiety is future focused. We worry about what might happen and envisage all kinds of nasty scenarios. Just the process of imagining something we perceive as stressful puts us in a state of high alert even though nothing has actually happened! Seems a bit crazy doesn’t it that humans do this but it’s all linked to ensuring our survival.

Human beings are always looking to make sense of their environment, behaviour and any events that happen and language is a tool that we use to describe our world and give shape to the meaning that we imbue from situations. One of the ways that we attach meaning to events is through our brain’s ability to hunt for patterns. From man’s first appearance on the planet they had to learn to recognise patterns that related to survival such as food, shelter and sex. However, one of the main ways that we try to predict the future is to use our knowledge based on past experiences. The problem with this is that a tendency to anxiety, as well as many fears and phobias, is usually created in childhood when our brains didn’t have the ability to process information properly in the way that an adult would.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy and NLP can help the brain make sense of issues and emotions that are rooted in the past but which are causing us problems in the present. Whenever an event happens it gets registered by our mind/body system and we may not even be aware that we are looking for particular patterns or that our brain is responding to an emotion linked to an event early in life.

I use a variety of techniques, hypnosis being just one of them, which can help you resolve and release issues from the past that may causing you anxiety and stress in the present. I can also teach you techniques to help you learn to feel calm and in control at will. If you would like to find out more about how Cognitive Hypnotherapy could help you then give me a call on 07703 211449.

Adele Richmond
Cognitive Hypnotherapy & NLP
Tel: 07703 211449

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.

Giving a Wedding Day Speech?

Confetti time & the dreaded speech!

With the wedding season now in full swing for the next couple of months, many grooms, best men and brides may be feeling anxious, even terrified, about giving a speech to a room full of family, friends and colleagues. Indeed some may even have nightmares about it – that’s how terrifying some people view the idea of public speaking.

If that sounds like you – you are not alone! Public speaking is one of the most common fears and it can even put some people off the idea of getting married if they know their partner is set on a traditional wedding reception. As a cognitive hypnotherapist I have worked with a number of people over the last couple of years that have come to me for help with this particular issue.

Whether you are just feeling a bit apprehensive or whether you are quaking at the thought of giving a speech, why not do yourself a favour and get some help. As well as helping you learn some relaxation techniques, I can help you focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want so that you can feel really positive about your wedding speech and look forward to what is one of most special days of your life.

If you are getting married in the near future then throughout July and August I am offering my hypnotherapy and NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) sessions at the discounted rate of £50 per session for any member of a wedding party who is planning on giving a speech but needs some extra help. Most people will only need two or three sessions and I will also prepare a bespoke CD for you so that you can continue to reinforce positive suggestions to your brain right up until your big day!

If you would like to book a session or would like to find out more about hypnotherapy and NLP then call me on 07703 211449 or send an email to You can also visit my website for more information. One more thing, some people think that having hypnotherapy means they will not be in control. Quite the reverse – hypnotherapy is all about empowering you, giving you control so that you can think and feel the way you want.

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.

Health for Japan Day – 9 April

FREE Complementary Health Taster Sessions will be available on Saturday 9th April at Salus Wellness Clinic in Cambridge in aid of the victims of the recent tragic events in Japan. A range of health checks and treatments will be on offer at this one-day fundraising event including Acupuncture, Hypnotherapy, Massage, Osteopathy, Reflexology and Reiki.

Salus Wellness Practitioners will offer free taster sessions of 20-30 minutes each and all we ask is that you donate whatever you can to help the people of Japan. All 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Oxfam Appeal for Japan. So come along for a free taster session of your choice and together we can make a small difference!

I will be available on the day offering taster Hypnotherapy Relaxation Sessions so, if you have always been curious about Hypnotherapy and would like to try it, please come and see me. There are many myths floating around in the public consciousness about hypnosis so please be assured that you will be aware and in control but may be surprised at just how relaxed and calm you will feel afterwards.

For further information about Salus Wellness practitioners, treatments and directions to the Clinic go to

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy – Aiming for Permanent Heresy

Sometimes people ask me ‘what is cognitive hypnotherapy?’ and I usually come up with a few answers that include statements like ‘Well it’s a very flexible approach based around the needs of the client; it draws on a number of established and cutting-edge psychological theories and practices; it uses hypnosis as just one of the tools to help create positive change and it works within the client’s model of the world. All these statements are a way of trying to describe what I do but Trevor Sylvestor’s blog ‘Aiming for permanent heresy’ caught my eye recently on the Quest Institute’s website.

Trevor’s uses Bruce Lee as an example of someone whose flexibility as a fighter is to be guided by his opponent’s responses as a way of deciding which ‘technique from which approach to use at each particular moment.’ In the same way Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be viewed as ‘a framework to guide the same kind of choices we have to make with each client, rather than a therapy itself.’ I frequently find myself feeling thankful that I chose to do my hypnotherapy diploma with The Quest Institute a couple of years ago. There have been a number times when I have been using a technique with a client only to find that that technique is not working for them or we are reaching some kind of a dead end. The ability to change direction with a client and employ something else that may be quite different and works better for them is without doubt due to Trevor’s excellent training and his dedication to Cognitive Hypnotherapy remaining ‘an organised, permanent, heresy’ whereby we assume that nothing is true.

What I mean by the above is that there are many excellent therapies and techniques out there but whilst a particular technique might work for most people it won’t work for everyone. Most therapists will say that they work with the individual but, when the individual doesn’t fit into their therapy model of the world, it can be all too easy to blame the client when therapy doesn’t achieve what it sets out to do. As Trevor explains, many therapies become stifled under the weight of their beliefs and assumptions, becoming a type of church that aims to preserve its beliefs rather being open to new evidence or ideas. As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist my aim is to remain open and to keep learning as much as I can so that I can be as responsive to my client’s needs as possible. As Bruce Lee said ‘If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.’

To read Trevor’s blog go to:

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person.