Buyer Beware!

Published on 9 April 2018 at 8:56am by José Penrose

The article in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine this weekend prompted me to reflect on the importance of checking out your chosen therapist very thoroughly. Are they a member of a professional body with a Code of Ethics or, at the very least, a member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council? What qualifications do they have? Do they receive regular supervision for their work? Testimonials claiming success of treatments are often not permitted on websites but if you can obtain a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation from a former client, then that will be reassuring.

I have seen many clients who have been seriously damaged mentally, not only by talking therapy and complementary therapy practitioners but also by health professionals such as physiotherapists, consultants, GPs, etc. An ill chosen remark or a patronising approach can be devastating, as can a patronising or overbearing attitude.

Boundaries to the therapeutic relationship are also important. Sessions are normally time limited – counselling sessions typically last 50 minutes to one hour. Hypnotherapy sessions are sometimes longer but no session should ever be open ended. There may be an occasion, if the client has become very distressed for example, that a session may be extended but this should never become the norm.

Many different therapies can be effective in healing old wounds, dealing with the past or relaxing a client physically, but an ill chosen word can easily re-traumatise a client or dramatically reduce a client’s confidence. The therapist is often perceived as a figure of authority so any unfortunate remark will have a much greater impact.

So, buyer beware! Make sure you have chosen your therapy practitioner carefully and gathered as much information as possible about them before you enter into a relationship with your chosen therapist.

How our past can hold us back.

Published on 28 June 2017 at 4:45pm by José Penrose

In these blog posts I try to give a flavour of the kind of issues hypnotherapy can help with.

We are all products of our childhood our upbringing or our early experiences. For some people these can be traumatic and can leave us with deep rooted limiting beliefs and unhelpful behaviours which we just seem to keep repeating.

If in our early lives we may have been given the message that we are useless: stupid, fat, not good enough, ugly. These ingrained beliefs can prevent us from doing well at school or at work, making friends or establishing healthy relationships. We often marry our fathers, for example and consequently suffer again the same abuse we did as children.

However ingrained they may be, these damaging beliefs can be reframed or removed completely with a course of hypnotherapy.

So if your past is holding you back, still damaging your life today, then so seek help from a hypnotherapist. The changes can be amazing.

Fear of Flying

Published on 26 April 2017 at 5:45pm by José Penrose

There are many different phobias, dogs, spiders, heights, agoraphobia – but fear of flying is one that can really keep you grounded.

It can interfere with your relaxation and your career, not only preventing you from travelling and enjoying holidays in far flung places – or indeed even somewhere close by – but also preventing people travelling for work, something which is often a necessity these days. A client of mine who is an architect has been asked to fly to Beijing to see the site of and make plans for an exciting new schools project. She is very keen to go, not only for the interest but also for the experience of visiting China, such a very different country, but her fear of flying is preventing her.

Sometimes the fear stems from a bad experience on a plane, but very often it arises from other fears – claustrophobia, worries about being sick or seeing others vomit, or simply irrational forebodings about the dangers of air travel, which is, in fact, probably the safest form of transport these days.

Hypnotherapy can deal with this fear once and for all. So, if you’re grounded by fear of flying, seek help from a hypnotherapist today.

Working with OCD

Published on 3 April 2017 at 10:00am by José Penrose

Recently several young people have presented with OCD. The waiting list for an appointment with the CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service – in our area is currently several months.
OCD usually arises from intense feelings of anxiety which may have been increasing for several years. They result in the client performing rituals – counting, hand washing, doing certain things at precise times. The maintenance of these rituals, which are comforting and which the client believes stop ‘bad things’ happening, is ridiculously time consuming for the client as well as being very distressing.

OCD may require psychiatric intervention and a long period of treatment, but the relaxing nature of a hypnotherapy session can help to reduce the client’s anxiety and gain a better understanding of the problem, at least giving them hope and setting them on the road to recovery.

If you see this problem developing in a young person you know, please help them to address it sooner rather than later.

More help promised for people of all ages with mental health problems

Published on 30 January 2017 at 3:45pm by José Penrose

You may have heard Theresa May, UK Prime Minister, speaking recently about raising the profile of mental health issues and promising funding to increase provision, particularly for children and adolescents. Young people are affected disproportionately with mental health problems. In the past year I have worked with an increased number of young people suffering from stress and anxiety which manifests itself indifferent ways, sometimes, and ultimately most seriously, in self harm and anorexia.

There is often a 6 month long wait to access CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and the situation may well have deteriorated by the time a young person gets to see a mental health professional or receives ongoing support.

So, please look out for signs of stress or anxiety in your own or friends’ or colleagues’ children and encourage them to seek professional help sooner rather than later.

Year End Stress is Building

Published on 23 November 2016 at 9:04am by José Penrose

This is the time of year when stress is building. The weather is against us, there is so much to do, shops are crowded and people are short tempered.

So what do you do when you’re stuck in yet another traffic jam or checkout queue? You feel frustration mounting, your heart rate increasing, panic setting in?

As yourself – what’s the worst that can happen. Will the world end if I arrive at my next appointment a few minutes late? Of course it wont!

So just be kind to yourself. Sit back, focus on your breathing, observe the breath, see if you can slow your heart rate by just paying attention to the rise and fall of your chest, the expansion of your ribs.

Imagine the air you inhale is cool and calming. Let it flow through you, releasing tension and allowing you to relax and be patient.

What’s the worst that can happen……………… You’ll feel so much better.

For more hints and tips visit

Stress, anxiety and depression on the increase

Published on 27 September 2016 at 5:54pm by José Penrose

You may remember in an earlier blog I talked about the increase in teenagers and even younger children presenting with anxiety issues.

Anxiety seems to pervade the workplace and indeed many of our lives. Mild short lived periods of stress are not damaging but the longer the stress continues the more harmful it becomes. It can transmute into anxiety, panic attacks and ultimately into depression. The longer a person feels helpless with little or no control over their life, the more quickly they will become anxious and depressed.

So it’s important to recognise the harmful effects of stress early and experience and learn relaxation techniques which you can practice yourself at home.

This is where hypnotherapy can be used as an early intervention and its techniques can be learned and practised to maintain the beneficial effects of deep relaxation.

Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Self Harm among teenagers

Published on 8 August 2016 at 3:13pm by José Penrose

It seems that more and more young people – aged 13 and upwards – are suffering anxiety, panic attacks and depression. I am certainly seeing more of this age group in my practice.

We could speculate why this is happening – too many pressures, high parental expectations, social media bullying. Some of the young clients I see are excelling in a particular field – music, sports, etc. – but others are just ‘ordinary’ teenagers, for want of a better description trying to get on with their lives but overcome with anxieties.

Solution focused counselling, combined with hypnotherapy to relax and rebuild calm and confidence, can be an effective treatment. We must also not underestimate the benefit of the therapeutic relationship. It is often a relief for a young person to have someone outside the family or school to talk to in complete confidentiality.

I’ve you’d like to know more, please contact me –

Who are my clients?

Published on 28 June 2016 at 2:56pm by José Penrose

I have already talked about the kind of problems I treat using hypnotherapy and brief, solution focused therapy. I thought It wold also be of interest to review the range of client groups I work with.

I see couples for relationship counselling, children from 5 years upwards, teenagers and young adults as well as adult and older individuals. Whether counselling or using hypnotherapy, I always work in a brief, solution focused way so that we can quickly get to the root of the problem and together work out a positive way forward.

Respect, empathy and the skill of active listening are key to a successful outcome.

So if you, your friends or family members need help and support, do get in touch with me:

Counselling Couples

Published on 22 June 2016 at 2:20pm by José Penrose

Couples Counselling is a difficult proposition but can be very rewarding. It is not always about the couple finding a way forward with their relationship. It may be an exercise to help them achieve an amicable split.

The most common problem facing couples is poor communication. They have often fallen into the habit of never really listening to their partner or of second guessing what they believe the other is meaning to say, rather than taking the trouble to really listen and accept statements at face value.

This can happen because new circumstances often evoke old feelings, problems from way back that have never been resolved. This means that one partner can be harbouring a lot of unexpressed anger and resentment which they use an ammunition time after time and which stops any progress from being made. Maybe the problem stems from learned responses within the family of origin.

In Couples Therapy, a good therapist will listen carefully to what each partner is saying and reflect back what she hears. She can gently challenge misunderstandings, draw attention to what appear to be ‘put downs’ through language or body or facial expressions. She can also offer simple techniques which facilitate better communication.

Couples seek help at many different stages of their relationship. Even when all hope of reconciliation seems to be lost, progress can be made.

If your relationship appears to be crumbling or you are feeling upset, undervalued or unheard, then do seek help before the final breaking point is reached. Problems can almost always be resolved in a safe neutral environment with the support of a skilled counselling session.

Visit to find out how to access couples counselling, either face to face or via Skype