Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Saturday, 22 May 2010

Slipping Back

Sometimes I see a hypnotherapy client and results appear really quickly. And then something happens in their life, usually some form of heavy emotion, and next thing the problem they have seen me about re-appears.

This is the person returning under pressure to what they are familiar with – it is not necessarily a reversion to the old issue. They look for comfort from their emotions and make a return to familiarity.

Now I know they’ve changed before, and therefore they can change again. When these clients call me to say that they’ve slipped back into their old patterns the first thing I tell them is to flick the switch back now, as they’ve changed before, they can change again. I tell them go and make the changes they’ve made before, and get right back where they want to be. A little slip up may be just that and not a return to the old patterns of thinking and behaving.

Some clients do this quite easily and make the change they want without needing my help. When I get the follow up message to say that everything’s going great again it puts a broad smile on my face.

You see, I don’t ever want to be the ‘crutch’ to solve client’s issues. I’m not taking ownership of the problem – they are. I don’t want a client to need to turn to me every time they have a problem. I don’t want to build reliance – I want to build choices and independence for them.

Some clients can’t make the change again. Normally these clients are the ones where there are deeper issues that need some work, and this just gives us some feedback and often gives me exactly the direction in which I need to work in.

So if you’ve had a problem in the past, and the problem re-appears, then just say goodbye to it once more. Make the choice and make the change yourself, it can be that easy. If you still can’t switch back, give me a call and book in – just give it a go yourself first.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Wouldn’t it be good if public speaking was easy?

Public speaking, presentations, performance, talks, speeches – they can’t be easy, can they?

Well, sometimes they are. And then, sometimes, they definitely aren’t! But you can help to stack the odds in your favour.

Am I the greatest speaker on the planet? Nope, definitely not! Although I’m studying some who I consider to be really on top of their games, and learning from what they do, so that I can practice and be the best I can be. Following others gives you the ‘short cut’. In this blog post I’ll put forward just a few of the things I’m doing to get better at presenting – and give you the short cuts to what I have already learned.

Within my sporting fields I am a very experienced public speaker. I can carry out a seminar pulling from my lifetime’s knowledge to carry my group of clients from exactly where they are, to where they want to be, in the time that we have allowed. The talk and my demonstrations are pitched exactly how they need to be pitched. And I thoroughly enjoy my seminar work.

And then there are times when I carry out speaking on subjects that I am an expert or specialist in, but haven’t presented on before. These aren’t always so easy!

Here I am on a voyage of discovery! I utilise something called ‘perceptual positions’, and place myself in my client’s shoes, so I can better understand what it is they would like presented – I need to know their ‘pain’, so I can provide a solution to that pain. Where possible I carry out market research to further identify how to pitch the seminar. I then write, schedule, memorise, work out the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘if then’s’, doing all my planning and preparation all fitted to the time allowed.

Then the presentation is written. Metaphors are formed for people to take their individual meaning from the messages contained within. The ‘big picture’ people are catered for as are those that like the tiny details. I write for those that like to know what it is all about, those that wonder why, those that need to know how, and those that ponder on the application of the subject and diversity of the application. Demonstrations and interaction are built in so that people can ‘experience’ elements that I am speaking about. I play to the expected personalities and the anticipated knowledge base of the people being spoken to. I utilise hypnotic language patterns, embedded commands, and every other linguistic skill that I have. I plan the answers to anticipated questions.

And then I present my seminar. During this I use voice tonality to deliver my points and a particular focus is placed on body language, from posture, to positioning, facial expressions and the gestures I make. Every movement should have a purpose to illustrate your talk. Using my movement I help to code time, and I use something called ‘spatial anchors’ to help guide my audience. I build a connection with my audience from the moment I start, and seek to maintain that connection through to completion – and build on it.

Sometimes it goes great – sometimes I miss the mark. I presented a ‘Performance in Golf’ talk recently, and the feedback was incredibly varied! Some thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, some wanted to learn more and said I had really opened their eyes, and then for some it completely fell short. I obviously had a connection with a good proportion of the audience – but at the same time I had completely lost another!

And that’s why I always ask for feedback – I want to know what worked – but of more importance I need to know what didn’t! Because from this I can take on board the views of the most important people – my clients who I’m presenting to. And the better I can serve them the more successful I can become.

I got back late from the Performance in Golf seminar, and instantly set about re-writing the whole presentation from the feedback I myself had noted during the presentation. The next time I present the mistakes won’t be made, and the best bits improved too.

One of the persons I have studied is possibly the world’s greatest stand-up comedian, Chris Rock. His performances are electrifying – and this is of no surprise. He pieces his act together bit by bit, discovering what parts work while leaving out what doesn’t, practising and developing, and using audience feedback every step of the way. He carries out an incredible number of very small-club appearances to fully test his content, building in a massive amount of repetition, working the material again and again. He hones his actual skills of delivery better than anyone else I’ve studied. His ‘spatial anchoring’ is so skilled that he can play the mood of the audience just by where he positions himself on stage. When he finally gets up on stage the spontaneous laughter in the audience is of no surprise to him. He’s earned it through his preparation.

So the next time you present will your audience be laughing at you, or will you have carried out your preparation, and enjoy the audience laughing along with you…?

If you are interested in Gary presenting to you and your friends, your sports club, business, association, social group or whoever – please don’t hesitate to contact Gary via

Thursday, 20 May 2010

How Many Hypnotherapy Sessions Does It Take?

When working with my hypnotherapy clients I work to ensure that results are achieved in the minimum number of sessions. I take pride in helping clients make effective change quickly. This may not be the best way to me earning money, but it does fuel a deep satisfaction inside me, and that’s worth far more. I love my job, helping people make the changes that they want.

I tell clients just how easy and quick changes can be made. An example is with the formation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Some of my military clients have had every area of their personality and behaviour changed from an instant during action, just from seeing something lit up during an explosion for example. The mind can effect changes that quick. And if it changes from good to bad, it can also change from bad to good. It just takes the right switch to be flicked – so we set out to help the client flick that switch to make the changes that they want.

Sometimes changes happen incredibly quickly. A couple of months ago I helped an RAF lad get over his fear of flying (yes, the irony!) in under three minutes from start to finish, leaving me twiddling my thumbs with time left on my hands.

Sometimes it takes several sessions. I have some clients, who have been with me over the course of six or seven sessions, with changes happening slowly, small improvements happening over time. As long as I can get movement towards what a client requires, then I am satisfied. I’m not making the changes, they are, and everyone needs to move at a pace that’s right for them. Occasionally a client is in a nice deep state of hypnosis and then the moment I start the change work starts they suddenly pop straight out of hypnosis – their unconscious isn’t letting them change and is putting up a blockage. This is sometimes resolved very quickly and the session moves forward rapidly. Sometimes a client needs to build trust in their change bit by bit, at whatever rate they are comfortable with. So the number of sessions depends on several factors such as how quick a client wants to change, and how complex the issues are.

And then there are clients who don’t need to book in and I just help on the phone. With stop smoking I tell them first if they want to stop smoking, then just stop! It actually is that easy. Normally it’s the fear of stopping smoking that keep people on the habit. When I tell them that clients I see often don’t even have the slightest bit of physical craving after they see me, and that if people realized how easy it was to stop smoking they’d just stop, now, (as well as many other ‘embedded commands’ during our chat), and that they’d be better off saving their money and just stopping – I often get a state change in that person. So I tell them to look at their reasons for smoking, and replace smoking in those situations with behaviour that’s more appropriate. And then I tell them to go and stop smoking, right now. And if they can’t, for whatever reason, then they can book in and I can help them. But I give them every opportunity to not even need my help first. I probably help one out of every four or five potential stop smoking clients stop without needing to book in for a session.

It is the client who is responsible for change in hypnotherapy, and not the hypnotherapist. More issues may arise during the course of a session (or as changes happen) than time will allow, requiring further sessions. Sometimes the client just wants to make small changes, being gently supported each step of the way. Sometimes the client is prepared to change fast, and does so.

I’m not responsible for the number of sessions – the client is. And if a client is committed to change then the required changes can be effected very fast indeed. My promise to my clients is that I will always work ethically and effectively in respect to the number of sessions required for any given issue. I will also work in congruence with you as a person, and in consideration of the wider ‘ecology’ of how you live to ensure changes are appropriate for you. And that promise I make to each and every one of you.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Familiarity Zone

In training my coaches, Steve Fox and Andre Daltrey, have always taken great delight in taking and keeping me out of my comfort zone. They never allow me to be comfortable; never allow me to have any train of thought, keeping me guessing and on my toes – at every stage during my intense training they keep me completely guessing on a physical, technical and mental level.

The reason for this is that we train how we fight. Memory is state dependent, meaning you recall your learning in the state in which it was learned. This is why SWAT teams in the States are ‘beasted’ up and down stairs carrying sand bags, ordered around before they are run ragged, totally confused – and then they have to perform their required tasks in training. This ensures that they can easily remember their training under pressure, and perform when they need it most.

And then we realized something. Having been ‘out’ of my comfort zone for so long, actually being out of my comfort zone had become my comfort zone! So we started thinking, and the concept of the ‘familiarity zone’ took shape, where Steve and Andre would never allow me to be familiar with any aspect of my training. In this way I’ve basically become ready for anything in the fight arena, constantly being forced to adapt in all areas of my game each and every session.

Unless shown a better option, the human mind will always return to what it is familiar with. So in fighting if you train easy you will go to pieces under pressure. You will try to respond but trying isn’t achieving. You will only have what you are familiar with to return to.

So my advice (based on my own experience and further learning around this subject) is to make you performing at your best what you are most familiar with. Pressure test every element of your game to ensure that your familiarity zone is one where you are the very best you can be.

And this goes for any area of your life where performance is required – sport, business, lifestyle – anything.

Isn’t it better to be the best you can be, rather than just comfortable?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Gary 'Smiler' Turner Interview at The Fight Lounge

Thanks to The Fight Lounge for inviting me over for an interview, you can read it through the above link.

Thanks again lads,


Negative Thoughts Give Negative Results

I’ve already blogged how we cast spells in peoples minds during communication, that we cannot not influence someone when we speak to them. In that blog post (Casting a Spell) it is explained how we form an ‘internal representation’ of that communication, forming pictures, feelings, sounds, tastes and smells inside our minds. And that process is taking place not just during communication, but whatever we are thinking about.

What we are thinking about is what we move towards at an unconscious level. So if you are thinking about success you are likely to move towards it. And the same if you are thinking about failure – you are likely to move towards failing. In Judo there is a saying that ‘where the head goes the body will follow’ and whilst this is in respect to physical movement, the sentiment rings true with thoughts too.

A further analogy is that of riding a motorbike. When I was learning to ride I was told to always look where I wanted to go – because I would always unconsciously steer the bike to where I was looking! And never is that more true than in life. Look where you want to go in life.

As you are thinking you are creating internal representations based on the five senses, including self talk. And at an unconscious level you are moving towards making that thought happen. So if your thoughts are filled with negativity then you will move your body towards a negative result. What you look for is what you move towards.

Don’t think of Brad Pitt wearing a pink tutu.

As you read that, even though I told you explicitly to not think of it, you had to form an image of Brad Pitt wearing a pink tutu in order to not think of it.

Taking this further lets have a look at the fight sports, and this could be boxing, kickboxing, or any other contact fight sport. I hear corner’s shouting time and time again ‘don’t drop your guard!’ to their fighter. So in order to not think of dropping their guard, the fighter has to think of dropping their guard. So as they are thinking it they move towards it, often dropping their guards straight away. Of course, fighters in competition are often highly focused, and are in a deep state of hypnosis as they perform. So their mind is even more suggestible and receptive to these instructions. It may be therefore much more appropriate to shout ‘guard UP!’ instead for greater effect. This is a clear instruction, a clear thought, a clear unconscious movement – and a guard being kept where it should be.

Let’s run through a couple more examples.

In golf you may have a long drive, with a lake as an obstacle. You may be thinking ‘mustn’t go in the lake’ and in doing so you are setting yourself up to unconsciously play the shot to where you are thinking. Is it not much more appropriate to be thinking of exactly where you do want the ball to go, rather than where you don’t?

In business you could have an important meeting coming up, and much could depend on the results. You could put yourself under pressure and start thinking ‘what if I fail’ and other such negative thoughts. This will affect your physiology, and you will start to project this image to others. You will start to dwell on the negative aspects, and as you do so you will unconsciously move towards them. Is it not better to think of the actual result you want to achieve?

In relationships you may have had a bad experience in the past with someone who treated you badly. You start to think constantly that you don’t want to be treated badly again, yet all you seem to do is attract people who then treat you badly? Could this be because as you are thinking of what you don’t want, this is what you are unconsciously moving towards?

I’m definitely not saying lets live in euphoria of nothing but positive thoughts – I’ll leave that to the New Agers! This blog post is just to get you thinking a little, and hopefully help you to move towards what you want – rather than moving towards what you don’t want.

So is it a case of ‘don’t drop your guard’, or are you going to keep your ‘guard up’?