March marks National Self Injury Awareness Day, and a local hypnotherapist is keen to help anyone who self-harms to deal with their underlying emotional issues. Self-injury or self-harming is when someone deliberately hurts themselves physically to deal with the emotional pain they are suffering. The sufferer may be feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope; self-injury can sometimes even provide a release from the excessive stress. Some may feel numb and disconnected from life; self-injury can restore a feeling of being ‘real’ or alive. The underlying emotional pain can be caused by issues such as low self-esteem, trauma or perfectionism and these are anxiety related issues which can be helped by hypnotherapy. An Observatory Practice Hypnotherapist explains how Hypnotherapy can help tackle the anxiety underlying self-harming behaviours: “Self-harming seems to offer a release from emotional distress. By helping clients to deal with the distress that triggers the self-harming, they are better able to cope and can develop a more helpful perspective on life. “There are many misconceptions around self-harm and who does it, why and how, but in fact people of both sexes and all ages, races and backgrounds harm themselves. “We practise Solution Focused Hypnotherapy which means that, rather than analysing the root cause of problems, I help clients to move towards their preferred future. We help clients imagine how they would prefer to behave in response to stressful situations. Visualising a more helpful response enables the clients’ subconscious to form a more helpful pattern of behaviour. Gradually clients find they are better able to cope with situations that would previously have caused them distress.”
Matthew Cahill is the author of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide. He is the founder of The Observatory Practice which is a full time busy practice. In 2006 he was Awarded “Outstanding Contribution to the Hypnotherapy Profession”. He is also Chair for the United Kingdom Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations (UKCHO) which is the government advisory board for hypnotherapy organisations.