Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Planning For Success.

When you start a business you write a business plan. Why would you not have one for your daily life?

This is a simple idea that will help you as you move into the new year. It's an exercise we often suggest our clients try to get into the habit of doing. Start the year with a plan. Ask yourself, 'What do I want to accomplish this year?'

Now, this is the important part. Write it down. Yes, actually put pen to paper and then start to develop the idea a little further.  What do you need to do to get to that goal? Are there any special tools you require? Do you need to enlist the help of anyone? Do you need to upgrade your skills to make the goal attainable? Can anyone help? Are you being realistic, and if not what can you do to set meaningful goals.

In the coming year, setting out a plan, scheduling ahead to be sure you hit certain deadlines, and most of all enlisting the help of stakeholders and friends, are all components of building this plan. Make it into a project, even build a presentation - to present to yourself. Each bit of detail you create makes it more attainable. The success of the plan will lie in the detail, so start big but progress down to the minutest of details if you can.

Don't expect this exercise to take 5 minutes. Set aside some time to work on this project. Forty five minutes a day for about three or four days would be reasonable. If you want to make it a family exercise even better.  Training your children to get into this habit may be one of the best gifts you ever give them.

Review your plan once a quarter. Don't expect it to be 100% smooth sailing.  Most plans require adjustment as they progress. You may even find your goal changes quite radically. But it all starts with a vision and a plan. And this is the best time of year to do it.

Rob Hadley

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming, and for some people it's just not the cheery time of joy that it is for others.

For some, the senselessness of tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre will trigger feelings of desperation and futility. These feelings will outweigh the happiness of Christmas carols and turkey. Seeing the joy of Christmas will be done from the other side of a veil of sadness. Merry Christmas will be something other people experience.

For the the families that are together, and the friends that party it up on Christmas eve, an invisible multitude will quietly spend the time alone. The families experiencing their first Christmas after divorce, the teens that no-one listened to, and people who simply have no loved ones, will experience Christmas in their solitude something many people simply won't see.

So this Christmas think about reaching out gently. Invite the person who is alone. Put away that part of you that is too proud to have a relative stranger with you at Christmas. You never know when you might just save a life.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Coke - it’s the real thing!

Sarah McPherson interviews Rob Hadley, CEO of Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc., a hypnotherapy practice that specialises in the treatment of cocaine addiction.

Coke - it’s the real thing!

Cocaine addiction in Canada is on the rise. Many rehabs are backed up, and while treatment is generally considered better than in many countries facilities are often overcrowded or have waiting lists that negatively affect treatment success rates.

With this backdrop, most agencies agree, there is a growing incidence of cocaine addiction in the population at large. More people, from more diverse backgrounds, have access to cocaine than ever before.

I spoke to Rob Hadley, CEO of Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc., and heard his perspective on the situation.

“What we’re seeing is a shift in the type of usage, and the type of user,” says Hadley. “It used to be that cocaine was a drug of the super rich and rock stars. Nowadays it’s gravitating down the social scale. Most people can, if they really want, get this drug. There’s also a sense of entitlement among some users.”

Hadley points out that many people have the fast car, the mortgage and the house that goes along with it, and they feel entitled to that extra thrill. He explains that many users are not affluent at all. Some find the cost too hard and slide downwards to using crack - a far more addictive version of cocaine, but one that is often available in low dollar increments. It’s possible to get a $5 hit of crack, but the user is never going to be satisfied with just one hit.

“Some users fall into cocaine because they honestly think that it’s something they ‘should’ try. ‘You should try everything once, right?’ Wrong. Don’t try stepping in front of a train... and don’t try coke. The result can be much the same. One just happens a little quicker.”

“We see a lot of users start using coke as a binge drug. They have a few drinks, someone offers coke and off they go. Alcohol often goes hand in hand with coke for these users. Later, as the addiction takes hold, alcohol may come out of the picture completely.”

At Vancouver Hypnotherapy’s clinic in Vancouver, Hadley and a team of other hypnotherapists, work with an exclusive clientele. Most come from the affluent suburbs of West Vancouver, or fashionable Yaletown.

“We work with clients who are in their addiction. Many rehabs and treatment centres won’t touch patients who still use coke. Our approach is to wean down the user, ease them off while setting up a set of alternative behaviours and eventually beliefs. It’s been very effective for many of our clients.”

Those clients have included bank managers, civil engineers and TV personalities. They come because the service is discrete and can be used while they continue to live their lives. There’s no need for residential care. They have a strict regime to follow, but can do so while they continue to work.

“Our clients are more likely to own the bank than rob it,” says Hadley.

He also adds that if an addiction goes untreated, the chances are they’ll lose everything.

“At that point our rates look pretty cheap!”

Sarah McPherson. Toronto. 12 Oct. 2012.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ignorance is not as blissful as you might think.

There is a nasty phenomenon that pervades healthcare. The idea that a patient may have an opinion, or more worryingly - a valid opinion - and that this represents a challenge to a medical professional's authority.

In fact, in most organisational structures a wide variety of opinions and ideas is usually an indication that the system is healthy. The best ideas tend to win through, but a diverse number of ideas from a variety of directions is to be valued, not feared. To have an differing opinion is not necessarily to challenge the authority of another in the structure.

I mention this having heard yet another client describe their visit to a doctor. The patient was told what was wrong with her, following an examination. She disagreed. She was told that she was not a professional, and it was made clear that her opinion was of no value. The doctor rounded this off by saying, "and don't go looking up your symptoms on the net, and telling me I'm wrong."

As I listened to the client describe the situation I was reminded of my history studies. In the period before the reformation priests used to say to commoners 'don't try to understand theology', and most religious services were held in Latin, precisely to make spirituality inaccessible. To me this is very much like a doctor telling a patient not to learn about their health, online or elsewhere. Anyone, doctor or otherwise, telling us not to educate ourselves has to be met with the deepest suspicion.

Knowledge of any kind can be used badly. In the case of religious extremism it is likely that the kernel of spiritual message has been twisted out of shape by the person looking for knowledge. In the case of medical knowledge, there is equally a risk it can be taken in the wrong context. However, generally people are not fanatics, and they are not stupid. Most people are quite capable of managing their religious beliefs, or their health intelligently.

The fact is, many visits to doctors are unnecessary. They take up precious time and overload a system already hopelessly overburdened. This is not to say it's ok to ignore serious issues. It's simply a suggestion that people do take some responsibility for themselves, and educating themselves about their health.

My client did see another doctor, who offered an entirely different opinion, a different prescription and completely different explanation. The first had said it was a liver issue, the second a muscular issue to do with her lower back (and prescribed a powerful pain killer). As it was she found that after attending a restorative yoga class the symptoms went away and have not returned three months down the road.

So, yes, go out there and look up your symptoms. Learn what foods are good for you. Learn what practices may alleviate back pain. And when a doctor tells you not to educate yourself, do the right thing... Find a better doctor.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stress - Embracing your anger.

All of us feel a degree of stress. The person who feels none is either insensitive or dead.

How we perform under stress, and how we manage stress is really the focal point of many clients who come and visit a hypnotherapist. They may have apparently specific issues, but in reality there is a cumulative weight from several directions which they finally feel is just to much to bear.

For some people this comes out as anger.  For others it is far more subtle, perhaps an eating disorder or skin problems. For some, I am convinced, it manifests itself in the form of degenerative illnesses or even cancer. Yes, that's pretty contentious. And yet, I am not alone in the idea.

Did the stress from work actually cause the cancer? Probably not. Did the way the client manages stress generally cause the cancer? Very possibly.

The more we bottle things up, and leave angst unexpressed, the more likely these issues are to come out in ways that are far more damaging and unhealthy. It's fine to say you're pissed off. It's ok to let off steam. Doing it in an appropriate and acceptable way is going to be a lot less trouble than walking into MacDonalds with an axe and starting swinging. People have tried that and it doesn't seem to end well.

The people who don't let their emotions out are the ones I really worry about. The cold faced individuals, who harbor their suppressed anger. They are the ones that are really frightening. We are humans. At times we are going to have lows as well as highs. It's no big deal. We can all manage it. No one needs to be Tazered over it.

So, next time you see someone venting their spleen, say to yourself, if not them, "Jeez, yeah. Sometimes life really does suck... Now, what's next? Let's go have some fun!" 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Are you as you think you are?

Here's a great piece of art from the British artist Banksy. He gets an interesting message across.

Whatever we think we are, the world outside may see us rather differently. We cannot be as objective as we might like to be.

Can you remember any situations in which you've tried to convey one message, and quite another has come across?

Such exercises in self examination are an interesting method of getting to understand yourself better. Hypnotherapy can help steer you along a path that helps you find answers, and in so doing let's you not take things too seriously.

 Just like the anarchist youth, we all need mum to give us a packed lunch, with a healthy apple, from time to time.