Tag Archives: Hypnosis

Possible Selves

I stumbled upon this article by the New York Times a couple weeks ago, and have been thinking about it. I do want to apologise for not updating my blog as regularly as I used to, I will probably write a personal piece to share why and what has been happening in my private life. 

So a brief summary of the short article:


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Summary of content:

  • The “possible selves” describes how people envision their futures: what they may become, or want to become, or even fear becoming.
  • These possible selves, both positive (A violin student who wants to become a musician) and negative (A person whose feared possible self is an alcoholic may become a teetotaler.), are closely related to motivation.
  • Conjuring positive possible selves can improve well-being and alleviate symptoms of depression by holding out the potential for a better future.
  • So how do we construct that positive self and do what we envision?
    • Take action: Making the transition “requires you to say now, today, this week, these are the steps I can actually take” to attain that goal.
    • Find an expert companion: A supportive person who knows your strengths and weaknesses — and opens your eyes to potential selves you hadn’t considered.
    • Share your goal: Doing so makes you more likely to achieve it
    • Reach out to your weak ties: Whether you’re job hunting or seeking breakthrough advice, people in your larger network are more likely to help surface fresh ideas than those closest to you are.

So you might know that I’m trained in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and have been practising since 2013. One of the first exercises that students learn in the diploma course is a script writing exercise, asking your client or volunteer to envision how things will be like after they have achieved their goal. So say you have a goal to become a hypnotherapist (or working out every day, a dancer, a confident and eloquent public speaker, a calm mother etc), you will then ask about a specific situation once you have achieved that, where are you, what are you doing, what are you thinking, how are you feeling, what are your body sensations like, what are your facial expression and body gestures, what are the social and financial and other impacts etc. 

Doing so often motivates people to work towards their goal. It most likely increases the feel good hormones (like dopamine etc) when you see your goal achieved, and then these hormones keep you going. Of course, during the process if there’s any obstacles or any skills needed, we can use imagination or hypnosis to facilitate that too.





她说,因为自己的身型,尤其在生了儿子以后,她已经自卑很久了。周围不再有朋友,因为她完全躲开大家,深怕自己的身材成为大家的笑话。而她的事业也不发展了,“没有物理治疗师可以这么胖的”。每次照镜子的时候,她就觉得自己恶心,渐渐地也不照镜子了。这些社交问题、工作问题、自卑心理等,常常使她陷入低落的情绪,而最能快速使她脱离低落情绪的方式,就是吃… 她常常可以一口气把6、7个包子吃完。尤其在独处时,她更是会不断的吃,可能把一条面包、几包薯片、巧克力等都往嘴里塞,来安抚自己的情绪和自卑感。不用说,撑饱以后,马上的自卑、恶心、嫌弃、罪恶感就会涌现… 然后不断地陷入这样的恶性循环…



我用接纳与承诺疗法(ACT)开始和她治疗,然后才开始用催眠(Hypno-CBT),这个过程中,她变得更自信,更敢言,而这个自信不只是对他人,也包括对她自己,比如当心里想“再吃一个包子吧!明天再减!”,她有能力坚决的对自己说”NO!!”。这个过程中,她发现她原来不只无法对他人说不,她也无法对自己说不,总是太过随波逐流的活着,没有主见,没有目标,没有坚持… 除此之外,咨询开始的一个月后,她的体重每星期稳定持续减少 0.5-1kg,主要因为她不再被食物所控制,而且有能力更经心的感受真正的“饥饿”和经心的享受食物和进食,而不是盲目的“吞”!她还发现当她经心的进食时,其实原来她一点也不爱吃包子,以前却可以一次过吃下至少6-7个。她变得更了解自己的感受和身体的感觉,学会更疼爱自己,做对自己的身心有益的事。三个多月后,她对我说,这个治疗和探索的过程让她发现,其实她根本不想要多一个孩子,她想要专注的把儿子带大,这才是她真正想要的,所以虽然体重减轻了,她或许在两三个月可以再次尝试人工受孕,但她在更了解自己后,有能力做出她自己想要的决定,而先生也支持她。


I want to forget someone

As a hypnotherapist (to be exact, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, or Hypno-CBT therapist), I get clients with this sort of goal every now and then. Usually they want to forget a specific someone, a relationship, totally get rid of a piece of memory (again usually to do with a specific person).

Naturally our rational mind would tell us this is actually not possible, based on science and what we already know about human mind, right? Yet when it comes to hypnosis and hypnotherapy, people generally “lost their senses”, everything that seems impossible elsewhere, seems possible when it comes to hypnosis.

This is right and wrong at the same time. Indeed we can achieve great things with hypnosis, we live more confidently, we become more assertive, we are happier, we confront our greatest fear, we live more according to value, we quit smoking and bad habits, we enjoy life better, we reach our fullest potential, we handle crisis and stress better, we can manage pain that we couldn’t bear before, we … forget someone?

I often explain to them, we can achieve a lot of things with hypnosis when we believe we can. Indeed the power of the mind is great. But this goal being the only exception. Unfortunately our mind and memories don’t work the way we want it to be. They are not like folders on your shelves that are stored individually, and can be accessed and discarded separately without affecting each other (just like what you saw in the animation Inside Out!).

In “Inside Out”, memories are stored individually as if documents on the shelves.

Our mind, body, emotions, feelings, behavour and thoughts are all interconnected, and so are our memories. Each time you take out the memory of “first day in school”, you changed some part of it (depending on the mood and condition you are in when you think about it etc), and you strengthen some related links connected to it and weaken some other.

Imagine if you want to forget this boyfriend or an affair or a lost child, and I’m able to take it away just like that, what about other memories and people and events connected to it? What is going to fill up the emptiness of these years? Perhaps I can make up something there…?

Yes, hypnosis is a great tool in terms of creating false memories. There have been plenty of research showing that. You might “recall” something during hypnosis which feel more real than what’s real, but it just isn’t real… You can watch more about it here in this clip: Why your memories can’t be trusted-

So right, we can’t remove the memories, and it’s unethical for us to create false memories to replace them (after all hypnotherapists are not god, who are we to decide your life stories and simply change it? But undeniably there are some hypnotherapy approach that do that, and we shall discuss this perhaps next time).

Yet it doesn’t mean we can’t help. I practice evidence-based hypnotherapy, I can use hypnosis to help you learn to accept this person or memory or relationship as part of your history, let it affect you less, learn to live with it and move on without having it interfering your life. I can also use hypnosis to facilitate proper closure and goodbye for the relationship and memory too. So, is it still a problem for you if it no longer has so much an impact in your life?

Becoming a Hypnotherapist? (Online Course!)

Many of you might be aware that I was trained by the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy back in 2012 and have a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy. There used to be some readers messaging me to ask about taking the same course. And now! It’s launched! The online diploma training is now available!

Click the following link for more information about this Online Hypnotherapy Course.

And you have two options to take this training:

    1. Tutor supported (15 hours)
    2. Self-led

Why do I recommend this and not any other course? Not because I took this or I knew the director/principal/trainer of the College (he doesn’t even know that I’m writing this!), but because this is the only place that provides the most scientific and evidence-based hypnotherapy training, no bullsh*t! The course content is all based on experimental and clinical research, and still, you can become a hypnotherapist after completing the course.

Let me know if you have any questions about it. Or, go to the College’s website to find out more.

Book “The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy”

By Donald Robertson
By Donald Robertson

I took the Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy in mid 2012 (more about my background of hypnotherapy here). The author of this book, Don Robertson was the course facilitator and trainer. I learnt my first “proper” meditation (dehypnosis!) with him, including my favourite “leaves on the stream“. So until today I can still always relate his Scottish accent with meditation, relaxation and hypnosis, because of how much I learnt from this knowledgeable man from Scotland at that time.

I believe this is the most well-informed and extensive textbook in this subject, a non-state hypnosis approach that is based on scientific research and clinical trials. It is nothing like any other books on hypnosis that you will find out there. It starts from the basics (history), theories, and practice of it.

So yes, it is highly recommendable to anyone from a scientific backgrounds (even if you are an engineer or programmer), who are interested in hypnotherapy and CBT, to have a go. I’m more than happy to answer any question you may have, just get in touch! Though, the most suitable readers of this book (i.e. those who will gain enormous benefit) are existing CBT practitioners who would like to include hypnotherapy into their practices and make them even more effective.