Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD as its commonly known) is a condition whereby a particularly stressful event triggers emotional responses long after the event has occurred. What happens when the event is occurring is that in this state of hyper-vigilance (when the body feels under threat) the brain encodes all the sensory information that is present in that moment (ie. visuals, smells, sounds, possible tastes and most importantly feelings) and stores this information for future use (as a protective mechanism). This stored information is then called upon any time you experience similar stimuli and a part of your brain called the amygdala is instantly triggered to awaken the same stress chemicals in the body. For some people this way of living being hyper-alert becomes a part of their day to day life and they live in an anxious state where their central nervous system is compromised.

I had a war veteran recently visit me who had trouble sleeping. As soon as we engaged in conversation it became apparent that he was suffering from PTSD (undiagnosed). He was 70 years old and this man had been carrying the trauma of the terrors he had witnessed at war for 45 years! He said the GP had been no help and he had refused to see a Psychiatrist as he did not want to be medicated. It became clear that the weight of living with this trauma had affected his whole life – family, friends and relationships. He had closed himself off from the world and when he was in the grips of the PTSD symptoms he would sit in a dark room for 2-3 days at a time. With the use of the Havening Technique we worked on some painful memories from his time in service. By the end of our first session he couldn’t recall the memories. He smiled and said he would update me.

I didn’t hear from him until a couple of weeks later – he told me that he didn’t know how to explain it but the session had been ‘fruitful’ and he had been feeling a lot better within himself, as if a weight had been lifted. This demonstrates the power of Havening – one session cleared a lifetime of trauma for this war veteran who is now free to live his life in the moment rather than being stuck in the past.

We have all experienced trauma of some sort in our lives, big or small, but what these things all have in common is that they attach themselves to our psyche and from that moment onwards it informs our choices (in terms of what we choose to do or not do, situations we put ourselves in or choose to avoid). With neuroplasticity of the brain (meaning our brains are plastic and CAN change) we can choose to take control and overcome the fear response and anything that is holding us back, meaning that we start to live life on our OWN terms – it is very empowering as you can see from the case above. All it takes is making a choice to make a change!


Jenna visited the clinic with a history of anxiety and depression. She had experienced some traumatic events as a child from which she suffered flashbacks. She was being medicated for anxiety and depression and had taken an overdose in the past year when things had just got too much.

She constantly felt uptight and felt as if a weight was being pushed down on her chest and she couldn't breathe. She was also starting to experience frequent panic attacks at work, something she had suffered from for years but was getting progressively worse. She recalled always being nervous and anxious as a child and was now uncomfortable in social situations, avoiding them where possible and limiting her contact with people.

This is where the Havening Technique came in.

Jenna found Andi online and after reading reviews for Aurora Hypnotherapy thought that this new technique was worth a try to get her life back on track. After the first two sessions of working on life events Jenna noticed that the flashbacks had stopped completely. She also managed to make it into work and remain calm (instead of in survival, fight or flight mode) - a definite SHIFT had begun in her thoughts and feelings and her ability to cope with day to day life.

Following on from Jenna's third session she noticed an even BIGGER difference. She was interacting with people better, going out more and starting to enjoy herself again - she just felt happier within herself and had even attended two big social events (which previously would have caused her intense anxiety).

As Jenna's progress had been so good, the fourth (and final) session was really a booster to keep up the good work, continue to make changes and embrace life and live it in the best possible way. It was clear to see even physically that Jenna was looking much lighter and brighter than when she first appeared at the start of her therapy. Jenna's journey has been completely transformative and in the space of three weeks she literally re-wired her brain from a place of anxiety and fear to thinking in new, healthier, more positive ways and empowered herself to start living life again!

Jenna said "it has definitely been a great experience and changed my life for the better. It got me out of the place I was in and I'm so much happier and more in control. Thank you so much."

The Havening Technique is a package of 4 sessions - Jenna's first three sessions were spaced one week apart and the last session was 2 weeks after that. Jenna used the Havening Technique in between sessions and has this wonderful tool at her disposal whenever she needs it.

For help with anxiety, stress, flashbacks/trauma or building resilience please contact Andi for an informal chat.

Holding space means being there fully for someone without judgement, passing comment, trying to influence the outcome or expecting anything in return. There will have been times where we have all held space for another whilst not even realizing it. Healers do it all the time. It is opening up our hearts and connecting with someone else by connecting to a deeper part within our own selves.

For me holding space for someone is one of the most intimate things we can do for another – it means being completely in the present with that person putting all else aside to bear witness to what the person is experiencing at that time, whatever emotion that is. There is nothing more precious than holding space for someone and giving our whole undivided attention, awareness and time to another being. In that moment you are silently saying to that person ‘I am here for you’ whilst allowing the person to go through whatever they are going through… no questions asked, no need to 'fix'….. JUST BEING and ALLOWING.

I like the analogy that we are cocooning the person in a blanket of unconditional love, compassion and support – for me personally I have experienced this with loved ones as well as with people who are almost total strangers to me and each time is unique and special. One of the most memorable times was when I held space for my gran a few weeks before she died – it was a quiet moment, tinged with feelings of sadness, loneliness, perhaps hopelessness but also total peace all rolled into one – as it turned out out it was to be our final goodbye but it is a moment I always look back on with fondness. It is such a simple gesture but one of the greatest gifts we can give to someone.

Simply put holding space is putting yourself aside for a time to be completely with another person and in the process allowing healing to occur.

Chloe’s* Story:

After attending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for 9 months in order to overcome my social anxiety I found I wasn’t happy with how long the process was taking as I just wanted to have my life back – the longer it had been the worse it had gotten!

Taking action:
After looking into Hypnotherapy I found Andi and the Havening Technique and was amazed in what could be done in only 3 sessions. It got to the core issues and gave me a tool I could use in my life including when out in public. I saw instant changes and started to get back to the person I was before the anxiety took over which really shocked me.

I would 100% recommend Andi to anyone. She is very easy to talk to and really listens to what you’re saying. I was sceptical about the time and thought no way could my issues be solved in only 3 sessions but it really exceeded my expectations and I feel very hopeful for the future all thanks to Andi.

*Chloe’s name has been changed but these words are all her own.
The Havening Technique is a psychosensory therapy which helps individuals to tackle issues that are the result of traumatic encoding. Taken literally the word havening means 'to put into a safe place.'

The way it works is that negative memories or emotions are accessed and then gentle touch and distraction methods are used to take create new neural pathways so that when we come to access the memory again, the previous emotions are no longer present. In a way it resets the brain so rather than following the same unhelpful (and sometimes distressing) patterns of thinking, the brain starts to think differently and has new ways to react and respond to situations which are more helpful. In Chloe's case it allowed her to bypass her fear and think more positively about how life could really be for her.

It is particularly useful for phobias, PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, chronic pain and self-esteem as it alters the biological structure of the brain to change the way we think, feel and ultimately behave so we can live life to the fullest. Too often people think they have to live with situations that have been damaging or unhealthy but now with Havening there is an answer that is quick and effective, allowing you to get on with your life.

For more information please see http://www.aurorahypnoclinic.com/havening-technique or call Andi on 07845 764747 for an informal chat.

So you have made the decision that you want to tackle your anxiety, phobia or bad habit and all that remains now is to book an appointment. But how do you decide where you should go?

Choosing a therapist is a very important decision as you want what will perhaps be your first experience of therapy to be a pleasant one. With hypnotherapy, like other therapies, this is especially important as you will be tackling an issue that is important to you and you have made the decision to invest in yourself to get to the root of it and bring about positive change.

So where to begin?

Many people will do a search online of therapists in the local area. Some will look at therapists with the relevant qualifications and experience and others will seek recommendations from friends or family.

Whatever you do, it is important to consider that one of the most important things for successful therapy is the therapeutic relationship. This means that you the client must feel completely comfortable and relaxed in the presence of the therapist. This will allow you to open up freely in the therapy room about your situation and background and about any worries or anxieties you have.

Of course, some pre-session doubts and niggles are to be expected before the very first session and this is perfectly normal. By the end of the first session however, all nerves should have dissipated and with hypnotherapy in particular you should have experienced your first hypnotic journey and leave feeling more positive, calm and relaxed, looking forward to the next session.

It is essential that you feel a sense of trust with your therapist and feel reassured that you will be treated respectfully, without judgement and everything discussed will be completely confidential.

A good therapist should be able to make their clients feel at ease almost instantaneously so that therapy can begin straight away within an open and trusting environment which is the foundation of good rapport.

Remember that therapists are just human!

We are not judging you and only want the best for your wellbeing and your future. This should be effortlessly conveyed within the therapy room, by approaching issues in a sensitive and caring manner.

Recommendations or testimonials are always a good indicator of a therapist’s work and do some research into their qualifications and experience. As hypnotherapy is unregulated it can fall foul to bad practice but if you do your homework you should find the therapist that is right for you.

Make sure when you attend for your first session that you feel a good connection with your therapist and are happy to continue working with them in the future.

Above all, just relax and enjoy the experience as that’s when you will get the most out of it.

Good Luck!

Panic attacks can rear their ugly head at any time in our lives without prior warning or for no apparent reason. They can be very unsettling and often cause subsequent worry and anxiety about the onset of future panic attacks.

The more your conscious mind thinks about stopping these thoughts and controlling them, the more these thoughts have power over you, causing you to be stuck in a negative thought cycle.

What are some of the signs to look out for in a panic attack?

· Racing heartbeat/ palpitations
· Feeling of impending doom
· Shortness of breath/ hyper-ventilating
· Sweating, trembling, shaking
· Feeling sick and/or dizzy and light headed
· Tingling in fingers and toes
· Choking sensation or chest pains
· Feeling of paralysis or numbness

These symptoms are typical of the classic ‘fight or flight’ response which is how we respond when we think that we are in a situation of danger. The body is flooded with adrenalin meaning that it has less carbon dioxide and more oxygen than what is needed.

Panic attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes up to 20 minutes which for those experiencing it, may seem like an eternity.

The good news is that hypnotherapy can help.

The question is HOW?

Hypnotherapy helps to rewire the brain by working with the unconscious mind to create new ways of thinking and behaving. Often with panic attacks it is the fear of having the attack which can be more debilitating than the actual attack as it can pray on the mind and in turn, can begin to limit your day to day activities. For example, preventing you from being in certain situations like: trains, planes, big crowds, meetings, or leaving the house and going out alone.

This can be overcome through hypnosis by tracing the underlying anxiety and allowing the brain to uncover new thought patterns so that you have a more positive outlook and peace of mind. It is a quick and effective way of breaking the pattern and finding a new liberating way to live your life.

It's important to remember that there is life beyond panic attacks – do not accept them as a way of life as they will be limiting you from living your life to the fullest.

Instead take back control and allow a healthier mindset and healthier way of living to reign supreme.

Our thoughts are very powerful. They can shape our lives and influence our wellbeing both physically and mentally. Making small changes to shift your mindset to a more positive one can really transform your whole life.

You may feel that you have no control over situations or events but the one thing you do have control over are your thoughts. You can choose to be stuck in a repetitive cycle of negative thinking or you can choose to think differently. Remember that any given set of circumstances do not define who you are.

Once you begin to become more aware of your thoughts then you can stop any negative thinking in its tracks and start to think more positively.
As a starting point you can think of at least one thing that you are grateful for every day - keep a gratitude journal if you like so you can document this over a period of time and reflect back on it.

In order to change your mindset from a negative one to a positive one is to change your attitude towards positive thinking. You need to kick the habit of thinking that it’s silly or that it won’t work. You have to give this a fighting chance if you are ever going to turn your thoughts from negative to positive. In short: stop thinking negatively about positive thinking!

A good approach to positive thinking is to identify the areas in your life that are in need of change. What do you think most negatively about? Is it work, a relationship or your finances? Pick one area, whatever it might be and begin to change your way of thinking about it.

How do you do this though when you’re so used to thinking in a certain way? You just need to become more self-aware of your thought process. Whenever you catch yourself thinking something negative, like “this is too complicated” or “I can’t do this” stop and come up with a positive alternative such as: “I’ll look at this situation from a different perspective” or “maybe I can do it if I give it a go”. Continue to practice positive thoughts and positive self-talk. In time this will become second nature.

Another excellent way to boost positive thinking and minimise the negativity is to visualise good situations. Think about all the things you would like to happen in your life and picture them as if they were already happening. This will help you to see the bigger picture and will make you feel more motivated to making those dreams a reality.
Positive thinking shouldn’t just take place in our minds - we should also speak positively. There will be many other people around you who are talking themselves down, or are upset or worried about a situation. Make it your job to sprinkle some positivity into their life. You can do this by telling them that they are doing great or that they look nice. Pass the positivity on!

You could also repeat positive affirmations to yourself out loud. Repeating positive affirmations at least once a day is similar to the suggestions you would receive during a hypnotherapy session. Repeating positive affirmations will help the subconscious mind to open up and help make positive thinking a permanent habit.

Most importantly, you must not give up! If you feel as though you are about to give up, take a moment to decide if this is your negative mindset overpowering your subconscious. Changing your mindset is not something that is going to happen overnight - you are trying to change a habit but it can happen if you allow it to.

What will be your first steps in your journey to a more positive mindset?


Do you find yourself wishing you could be that little bit more confident but aren’t quite sure of where to start? We’ve come up with our top 7 tips on how to boost your self-confidence!

1.Be Positive

One of the biggest things that may be causing a slump in your self-confidence is your thought process. Do you see the cup as half-empty or half full? You might find it difficult at first but one of the best things you can do to tackle this is by practicing turning all your negative thoughts into positive ones. Stop thinking that the worst is going to happen and stop talking yourself down! Try to focus on the good instead - tell yourself that today is going to be a good day and that you can do anything you set your mind to! Take it a day at a time.

2. Body Language

You might think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you present yourself to others. However, little things such as crossing your arms or looking at your feet while you are speaking to someone can be indications of how confident you are. Remember: the body is the mirror of the mind. Try to stand tall and make eye contact. Most importantly - smile!

A simple smile can make you look more confident even if you aren’t quite feeling it. Smiling releases endorphins, which can make you feel good too! Smiling can also be infectious… so pass it on.

3. Dress Yourself Up

There’s no need to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe here but you can throw on your favourite outfit. How do you look? You look great! When you dress nicely, you take pride in your appearance and you instantly feel good about yourself. The better you feel about yourself on the outside, the more confident you will feel within yourself.

4. Be a Risk Taker

Stop overthinking things. So much of your time and energy has gone into thinking about all the different scenarios of what can go wrong. A confident person will think “what’s the worst that could happen?” Don’t let the fear of the unknown or making mistakes stop you from unleashing your potential. You never know what good things are about to happen and mistakes only mean that you are continuing to grow and learn!

5. Exercise

Exercising doesn’t just have physical health benefits - it has psychological benefits too! Go for a 20-minute walk or take up yoga or a new fitness class. Exercise releases chemicals into the body called endorphins which contribute to feelings of happiness and wellbeing. The happier you feel, the more confident you will feel.

6. Focus on Your Strengths

For many of us, it’s easy to brush off the things we are good at and the great things we have achieved. Take a few minutes to think about all the things you know you can do well. It can be something as simple as baking a cake or drawing - you are the best at this. There are hundreds of people who don’t know how to do it. You are full of potential and can do wonderful things!

7. Hypnotherapy

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include hypnotherapy! Hypnotherapy works by finding the root cause of what is causing your lack of confidence and getting beyond your self-limiting beliefs. It allows you to look at the bigger picture

Don’t limit yourself by thinking you cannot be confident. Everyone has the ability to be confident in themselves - even you!

Background: Lynne contacted Aurora Hypnotherapy as she had developed an unhealthy relationship with flying over the years due to a bad experience and flying for her had now become something best avoided or at best, endured. She wanted to get back to her earlier days of enjoying flying and being able to fly solo without someone holding her hand (ie. her husband!)

Lynne, how did you feel about hypnotherapy before & what made you decide to give it a go?

Initially I was sceptical about hypnotherapy - I thought it was some kind of magic with no basis in science but then when I booked a holiday to Hawaii with LOTS of flights I realised I had nothing to lose. I did some basic research and realised that hypnotherapy actually has a significant basis in science which appealed to my logical nature and decided to go for it.

What was your first experience like for you & how did you progress through the sessions?

When I arrived for my first session it was a real mix of excitement, nerves and still a bit of scepticism. This could be the start of something life changing but what if it didn’t work?Thankfully Andi was on hand to answer this and the many other questions that I had. She instantly made me feel comfortable and I was able to be completely open about the concerns I had around flying. As I was talking about my phobia it wasn’t easy but Andi reassured me that everything I was feeling was normal and created a really safe space. When we moved to the hypnotherapy part of the initial session it wasn’t what I expected at all. I was completely aware of everything that was going on around me but I did feel very calm – a feeling which stayed with me for the rest of the day. I left my first session armed with techniques to practice self-hypnosis and a positive outlook for the sessions ahead.

Following my first session I practiced the techniques that Andi had shared on a daily basis which meant that the next sessions were for me even more productive. After the second session I was genuinely starting to look forward to my flight. In my final session it all became very real as I was flying the following day and I had lots of questions, one of which was “Can I somehow undo what you’ve done overnight?” Andi never judged any of my rationale and again explained to me how the process worked so I felt in control again. She also gave me other tools that I could use during the flight to make sure that I remained in a calm and controlled frame of mind.

How did you approach flying AFTER the sessions & what changes did you see within yourself?

The day after my final session I was ready for the first part of my journey which was a short flight from Glasgow to Heathrow. For me this was the part I felt most nervous about. I felt particularly anxious about flying in smaller planes but if I wanted to make it to Hawaii then I had to do it. As I travelled in the taxi to the airport I suddenly became aware that I didn’t have the normal sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I enjoyed my time in the airport waiting on my first flight as it felt like part of the holiday rather than something to be endured but maybe that would change as I boarded the plane. I boarded, sat down and everything still felt normal. As we started to move along the tarmac I once again used some of the techniques that Andi had taught me and genuinely before I knew it we were in the air and a short, pleasant hour later we landed in Heathrow.

After my first flight I felt confident but the next stage was an 11 hour trans-Atlantic flight to San Francisco… maybe that would be too long to be in the air? The second flight was as simple as the first and I felt calm and confident throughout. We hit a bad patch of turbulence and my husband had his arm ready for me to cling to but I was happily engrossed in a movie and asked that he leave me in peace. After landing in San Francisco there was one final flight to get us to our final destination in Maui which was a six hour flight and in a plane the same size as the one from Glasgow. So I had been comfortable on that size of plane for an hour but would I manage six times that? Of course I did and for the first time in a long time I was able to actually relax and sleep on a plane which meant when we arrived some 24 hours plus after leaving Glasgow I was ready to continue with our holiday!! While there we also flew between the Hawaiian Islands and at no point did I ever feel uncomfortable on the plane no mater how tiny!

​​​​​​​What would you say to people who are afraid to try hypnotherapy?

You have nothing to lose so please try it. My experience has been nothing but positive and when I started this journey I really didn’t think it would have the impact that it has. I am now genuinely looking forward to being able to travel wherever I want without my unhealthy coping mechanisms. Hypnotherapy is also a great way to manage stress and the tools Andi gave me I have used in a variety of situations which have helped me be more effective at work and even helped improve my breathing while running!

When did the fear begin?

Laura’s fear of needles began during early childhood. From then until recent times a trip to the GP and especially to the dentist would result in severe anxiety and panic attacks. As these types of appointments are essential for our health and wellbeing, Laura felt the trauma from these experiences seeping into her life more and more. She couldn’t even look at an image of a needle or view footage containing needles on TV, without encountering a racing heart and breaking into a sweat.

What was Laura’s motivation for change?

Going to see the doctor and dentist are a staple part of all of our basic routines in life. Ultimately knowing this was what precipitated Laura’s need to face her fear head on. Her choice of holiday destinations were also very limited. Laura’s fear of needles meant that getting the injections required to visit various exotic destinations was completely out of the question.

What did Laura’s treatment plan with Aurora Hypnotherapy look like?

She had three x1hr sessions once a week with Andi. She was also taught self-hypnosis as part of a homework exercise and was given an anxiety-reducing recording to listen to.

What were the results of the treatment?

On the day of (and leading up to) her next dental appointment, Laura practiced the techniques she had learned during her sessions. She walked into the waiting room feeling calm and full of positive thoughts.

And when a man came out of his dental appointment feigning a painful mouth – it didn’t put her off! Before her sessions, this is something that would have terrified Laura and made her abandon the appointment and run out of the door.

The receptionist and dental assistants were amazed at how calm Laura was this time. The dentist even gave her a hug when she told him she had been through a course of hypnotherapy to conquer her fear!

Now, Laura has even been going for a course of acupuncture. This journey is an on-going process but as you can see from the photos, she has well and truly faced her fear.

Well done Laura!