Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Friday, 14 December 2012

What Happens In a Hypnotherapy Session – A Client’s Perspective?

Following on from my last blog post, where I described what happens during a client hypnotherapy (clinical hypnosis), I also think it nice to let you know what it is like from a client’s perspective.

Here’s David’s story for you:

“I was a little reticent about the idea of being 'hypnotised' to begin with but once I arrived at Gary's house he immediately made me feel welcome, made me a drink and spent a few moments making sure I was comfortable with the dogs and the surroundings I was in. Sounds obvious but I guess these are all things that if not done right can lengthen the process of relaxation and hence the productivity of the session.

The session itself was driven with a fantastically direct "what are we here to talk about" question and I blurted out the things in mind, having gone through divorce, a really stressful time at work having as a result putting a substantial amount of weight on, it was fairly easy to pinpoint.

As Gary has explained on his blogs, he then set about using various techniques to 'head hack' my brain and deal with the emotional attachments I had with various memories, 'de-emotionalising' them and then moving on to re-enforcing the positives on the changes I was about to undertake. I must admit the first session was really full-on and not what I was expecting, I suppose in my mind I had always expected to be in a deep trance like you see on TV under someone’s control. Instead I was in a relaxed state with an open mind welcoming the suggestions that were being put forward by Gary, dealing with the emotional issues and embracing the positives that were being suggested. The use of the eye movements along with the visualisation techniques were really powerful and helped underline the other work Gary is doing. I am quite an analytical person and watch what Gary does very carefully and its clear every word, phrase, suggestion and gesture is carefully planned in order to maximise the effect of the work he is doing.

At the end of the first session it felt like my brain had been re-booted, I was light headed, almost euphoric, but knackered. I followed this up with several more sessions covering other areas I wanted to improve on and I always found the sessions extremely helpful and informative; one of the best things about the way Gary puts his sessions together is how much you learn about yourself and how you are wired together. The implanting of his longer term strategies are what makes the difference after each session; when you reach certain situations (eating choices, training choices) etc., the strategies kick-in and you feel better equipped to deal with them... the best part is that the strategy is the planting of a seed, how well is grows from that is down to you and how you nurture it, but it is always there, be it the choice (and the implications) of choosing a certain piece of food or the decision to train or not and the feelings and emotions that then evokes. Powerful stuff!

The one thing I don't see mentioned as much as it should be is the reason Gary is so successful at hypnotherapy (life-hacking! :) is because he genuinely cares and wants to help you get your goal; this underpins everything he does and supercharges all the techniques he uses. One of the things you cover off is the 'voices in your head', the voices that influence your thoughts and decisions as you go through life, to over-simplify, the devil and angel sat on each shoulder for instance… for me, I now have an additional voice, a 'Gary' voice that helps me self-coach as I go along it reminds me of the longer term implications of decisions I make through life. I think of it as an extension of some of the strategies implanted that get stronger each time they are invoked. I remember something else Gary told me that was invaluable. "You can't kick an old habit, you can however make a new habit that is stronger and more powerful than the old, and that is what I have been doing.

Whatever your goals I would strongly recommend speaking to Gary for a one-to-one session, seeing all the successes from various fighters and the workshops he holds is no surprise at all and I learn loads from reading his blog posts, Facebook updates and so on, including the comments from his peers and friends. I wish him all the success bottling up Gary 'Smiler' Turner and selling it to people and companies alike.”

David Boast, Managing Director, Romulus Management Consultancy

I have to say thank you to David for writing the above, he didn’t have to be so kind! It is also worth noting that results are down to my clients – the more you commit to the sessions, involve yourself in the interventions, and diligently and deliberately carry out any post session work, the better and more far reaching the success.
Of course, the results are the most important thing when it comes to sessions – here’s how David has got on since ours!

“Since the sessions with Gary I have lost 5 stone in weight, changed my eating habits, taken up cycling in a big way and brought my life back on track and into sharp focus again. All things are possible again.”

David Boast, Managing Director, Romulus Management Consultancy

Looks like David has taken the work and let it snowball! Great work fella!

Remember, should you have any questions in respect to my hypnotherapy (clinical hypnosis), and my workshops/seminars/trainings for business and groups, please don't hesitate to contact me at

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

What Happens In a Hypnotherapy Session?

I often get asked what actually happens in a hypnotherapy session with me, so I thought I’d put a blog post up about it so you can all read about it here!

When a client arrives I settle them in my lounge (where I carry out my hypnotherapy) and offer them a tea or coffee. I then leave them for a couple of minutes while I make the drinks, allowing them to get comfortable in their surroundings. 

I also ask if they are comfortable with dogs, and if so, they are introduced to Max, my youngest husky who I use as a therapy dog. He acts to reduce client anxiety, build a good feeling in my client, provide comfort if they are troubled, a guardian if they are going somewhere they’d rather not – and provides me with feedback as to the emotional state of my client. After a welcome he usually sits at my client’s feet to be there for them. 

The session has already started – from the moment my client arrives the format is being set to help them achieve their goals for where they want to be at the end of the session. 

I don’t take a ‘detailed personal history’, or ‘client intake notes’ as quite simply I have found these a waste of time – and it is my time a client is paying for. Instead, I start with the question “so, what are we here for today?” This is a leading question, designed to elicit a response. The response guides where I go with the session. 

I listen to everything my client says. And I do mean EVERYTHING. I listen to every word, pronoun, metaphor, and linguistic structure. I listen to how it is said. I pay attention to the body language from posture to gestures down to the finest of levels of micro-movements and pupil dilation. The information, and the interpretation of this, guides me where I will target my work. Often the clues to resolving an issue are outside of a client’s awareness.

Please note that at no times will a client need to tell me personal information. I work many times with cases of severe Trauma including multiple rape victims and victims of assault – to be quite honest I don’t WANT to know. I have also carried out many sessions completely ‘content free’ where I have no idea even on the subject we are working with. I do not need to go into details, and if a client starts going into details, I will cut them off and redirect. In this way I often have worked in confidence with partners of friends, or indeed with couples in separate appointments.

I do take notes during a session. The notes are only what I need to keep in mind for the successful outcome for my client. At the end of the session I give my client their notes – often there are hints and tips, and interventions written there for self-application. Giving my client the notes also helps to maintain confidentiality – I hold no ‘personal’ information on my clients.

I work in many ways during a session always guided by my client’s needs as appropriate. I base my interventions on my studies of psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and the works and trainings of my leading peers, all wrapped up with my formal trainings, then developed in alignment with my leading peers, all wrapped up in my own personality for delivery to you

I work three ways during a session – remedial (clear up a mess), generative (make good stuff better), and strategic (giving my clients new more productive thought patterns, to help generate change after the session, and prevent the same problem happening again in the future).

Sometimes I work overtly. It will be clear I am doing an intervention, often asking a client to close their eyes to help immerse them in the experience. Sometimes the work is carried out more covertly, often utilising strategic language patterns to change my client’s thought processes.

I utilise a whole range of interventions in my work. Some are mental processes where I guide my client through the intervention with them following my voice and instructions. Some are physical with my client being asked to change their physical position, tap part of their body, or even give themselves a hug. Sometimes I will lift up an arm, or place my foot on theirs, or even get them to watch the tip of a pen as I move it around – always, always with permission requested first.

In all of my interventions I am looking to assist my clients to change the way that they think.

It is worthwhile pointing out my favourite definition of hypnosis, written by my friend Michael Perez:
“Hypnosis is a way of facilitating people into doing things that they naturally do, only in a very different context from where that thing usually occurs, and with a specific strategic purpose for having that happen.”

Clients often think that a hypnotherapist just ‘drops them into hypnosis’, gives them new instructions for how to think, then wakes them up, job done! Although (rarely) this can be appropriate, the process is usually a lot more interactive than that!

I actually rarely use ‘traditional’ inductions such as you might see on a stage hypnosis show. I quite often take people directly into hypnotic phenomena (see Michael’s quote above – usually being perception changes that may be thought processes or may be sensory changes) without a formal induction, just going straight for the result. I rarely, although occasionally do, command a client with “sleep!”

One thing which is part of all of my sessions is a sense of humour. A smile and a laugh is often the best therapy for a person. I aim to have my client relaxed and actually enjoying the hypnotherapy! Appropriately timed, a smile is very powerful indeed. I want my clients to be relaxed and enjoying the changes as they happen.

I do what is necessary to help my client to think and be different – to be the person they want to be.

The session normally ends with feedback, and of course the client paying me! Sessions last approximately 2hrs, sometimes stopping earlier if appropriate, sometimes over-running by up to 30minutes. Clients should allow 2.5hrs for a session, just in case.

I always leave my client with a request for feedback, usually in a week’s time. I ask them to let me know what they’ve noticed, and also what they haven’t noticed until they’ve reflected! This guides any future sessions. Many times one session is all that is required. Yet, with every client being an individual, sometimes several sessions may be needed in order to help the client get where they need to go.

Here are a few clarifications. There is no whale music. No couch. No ‘woo-woo’!. I endeavour to study so that I can converse with medical professionals on their terms – whether doctors, neurologists, psychologists or psychiatrists. I can explain every element of my work to this level of detail if required. I work in the realms of science. 

So that’s what happens in a session. Hopefully this is of interest to you and gives you the information that you need. If not, please don’t hesitate to ask me questions via, the feedback at the bottom of this blog, or via FB or my mobile number (at appropriate times please!)

And of course, should you wish to book in for a session, please go ahead and get in contact!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Hypnotherapy: Working With Physical Conditions

Our life experiences are coded, or imprinted, as memories. These will include the stimulus to the memory, the emotion, and the physical experience of that emotion – the feelings. The physical activity in the body such as posture and movement can also be encoded. When you remember a memory, or a stimulus sets off that memory, you will re-experience the same state of mind and body once more. 

(For further reference to this, in particular how we can re-experience Trauma, how we hold Trauma ‘in our bodies’, and the physiological reactions to having an emotion please see and research the works of Scaer MD and Ruden MD – these are the most concise, readable and accessible sources I know for these subjects .)

For a memory to be strongly imprinted the emotion has to be strong. As Ewing MD writes “Fear is our most powerful emotion… The instinct for self-preservation leads us to imprint dangerous memories and be alert to avoid similar incidents.”

The result of this is when we have a traumatic experience, and fear is intense, the memory is strongly encoded. This includes the state of mind – and also the state of the body. Our neurology remembers completely. 

This can account for many instances of ticks (involuntary spasms), chronic pain, IBS, postural issues, whiplash syndrome, CFS and so many other illnesses/diseases - let alone all the behavioural changes that happen. 

Memories are also plastic – they are liable to change. Every time we access a memory it is mixed with our current state of mind and body before being coded into storage once more in this changed state.

So if you have a physical condition, illness or disease, and your doctor can’t find any pathology to give the cause (and sometimes even when they can) there may still be something that can done. You may be holding the memory in your body. Change the memory, free the body. 

This blog post gives just one of the many ways that I work with clients who have physical issues.  My suggestion is that if someone tells you that “you just have to live with it”, or “nothing can be done” then keep searching. I have helped many who have been told the same. 

(Disclaimer – I do not diagnose, and I am not a medical professional. I just work with what my clients present. Should you be a person, who has been told the above, and wants to try a different approach give me a go – I welcome working alongside your medical professional so that they can be educated in the way that I work – and vice versa! I can explain matters to them in language they can understand. Also, there is also a limit to what can be done. If you have lost a leg for example, I’m sorry, you aren’t a salamander, and it won’t be possible for it to grow back. Though, I can help you with your emotional state surrounding it!)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Building a Better Habit

Everything you do is building a habit, building a skill, building myelin. In just a few repetitions of behaviour a habit is being formed. Myelin is being laid down around your neurology. That myelin is an insulation sheath that protects and makes the neuronal firing more efficient. The more repetitions of behaviour you carry out the stronger the myelin builds – and the more efficient the habit. If everything you do is creating a skill – what kind of skill do you want to create?

Practice doesn’t make perfect. It makes permanent. It makes myelin. 

Myelin is permanent. Once you have started building this sheath it will be there until you go.
Actually, some myelin will go with old age, and also certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Yet we can consider it as being permanent. Once you have built a habit you will have that habit for life. 

Many people try and “break a habit”. Good luck, it won’t happen. That habit is hardwired. Instead you need to build a new habit, one that is stronger than the old. 

Let’s think of a habit like this:

Stimulus -> pattern of behaviour = habit

A stimulus in this circumstance is something that sets off a pattern of behaviour, a trigger. We have learned to have this response, yet that is a different blog post. The stimulus sets of the same pattern of behaviour every time. A couple of quick examples of this would be:

Boxing: “I see the hand move, and I slip the punch to the outside.”

Smoking or other addictions: “I turn the engine on in the car and I just have to have a cigarette.”

Instead of trying to break a habit, which won’t happen, you need to build a new habit, one that is even stronger than the old. So instead of carrying out the old pattern of behaviour you create a new pattern off the stimulus, one that is even stronger. Not this, this

If you want to make this new pattern stronger then look to emotion. Motivation is “movement through emotion”, and there are biological and physiological reasons why this is true. Look to forming a positive emotion with the new habit – this helps to move us more easily towards what we want. 

You will need a bit of effort to do this, to make it an ‘unconscious’ action. It has been written that we go through:

Unconscious incompetence – we don’t know we’re doing something wrong/bad
Conscious incompetence – we know we’re doing something wrong/bad
Conscious competence – we act to change and know when we’re doing something right
Unconscious competence – we just get it right automatically

In other words, we have a habit, we become aware of that habit, we consciously make efforts to change, and in time we just carry out the new behaviour.

Yet here’s the thing. Many people try and build this new habit, and yet find themselves carrying out exactly the same old habit as before. This is because the old habit is so strong – the myelin makes it efficient. Many people therefore give up, saying that they can’t do it, looking for excuses to quit trying to change. 

So why not ‘bypass’ the old stimulus and response? In the two examples above, something has to happen before the punch is thrown, and before the key turns the engine on. How about using an earlier stimulus to create a new habit, one that is more beneficial, which takes us past the old stimulus and habit?

In the smoking example before the engine is turned on the person must open the door. How about using this as the new stimulus, which starts a pattern of behaviour that goes past the old stimulus and response?

I know that smoking addiction is a combination of psychological, physical, and to minor extent biological needs. A new behaviour would need to satisfy all of these. An appropriate desired new behaviour could be that as the door is opened and you sit in, you breathe deeply, breathe out and relax your body in the process. The breathing out relaxes you and removes any craving (nicotine craving, on a physical level, is not that strong at all!). You could then tap your fingers on the steering wheel and start humming a happy tune as you turn the engine on. This creates a neurological distraction and gives your fingers and mouth a new task to do. Then you start to drive, cigarette free, calmer, in a way which is safest and healthiest for you, satisfying you every bit as much physically and even more so emotionally. 

My advice is don’t try and break a habit – you can’t. Do build a new habit, and make it stronger than the old by adding positive emotion to what you want. And to give you every chance of building the strongest new habit – start it off an earlier stimulus, so that the new behaviour starts before and passes right past where you used to have the old. 

Get inventive, and see what new habits and skills you can build!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Sports Performance Workshop: Inside the Mind of a Champion – Mental Strategies to Win!

Last Saturday I presented my latest Sports Performance Workshop: Inside the Mind of a Champion – Mental Strategies to Win!

Over 50 people attended. In just two hours I aimed get a performance increase from each and every participant, increase their knowledge as to the mental strategies for performing to their best, and to teach psychological interventions/techniques that they can take away and self-apply. It was a big-ask, and an intense, yet fun workshop!

This blog post is to just give some quotes I have received in just 24 hours following the workshop.

If you think you could benefit, please take a look at my website I offer one-to-one sessions and present to groups including businesses. If you need a performance increase – I can help you to deliver. Get in touch!

To start with, here are some ‘clipped’ quotes from a much longer message from Kate Jones, a Sports Scientist and Personal Trainer and specialist in Sports Psychology:

  • I really enjoyed the seminar. I though the content was varied and appropriate and pitched in a style that engaged the level of experience/ability of the audience.”
  • “Looking around at the faces in the crowd, everyone was captivated, interested and genuinely looked like they were absorbing everything you did with interest.”
  • I thought you handled the members of the crowd who didn't seem as responsive to the techniques with tact and the response I saw in their body language was not that of 'this isn't working for me therefore I don't buy it' but more 'I want it to work for me and how can it' . I think that was due to your language patterns and prompts so that was impressive to watch.”
  •  “I hope that you intend to produce more of these, as I believe they will do very well.”
 And here are some more general ones: (I have removed everything of personal relevance, although many suggested to me it was OK to include their names and personal details.)
  • “Having no experience at all with this subject I had no idea what the content would be. I was hooked from the start and really took in what was being said, was a bit worried it would get lost in technical jargon and lose interest, this was not the case. Had fun, learnt those techniques and found the group atmosphere real relaxed.”
  • Just got back from Gary turner's seminar. It was brilliant! Loved every minute of it. Strongly recommend to any fighter or athlete who is serious about being the best they can be. Really good laugh as well.”
  • “I went yesterday very open minded and left in really lifted spirits. I suffer from bouts of anger, stress jealousy..... All sorts. That 2 hours made me feel great! THANK YOU”
  • “Have done nothing but talk about your seminar to everyone and please let me know when you are doing another one. I will be there a million percent.”
  • :)”I can really see this doing well to soldiers in similar positions to me in recovery centres like Tedworth House. I can see why the lads come to you!”
  • Hi Gary I used your techniques this morning at my fight training session and the results were remarkable. I used all your suggestions and the results were devastating for my opponents and comments like WTF you been doing this week. I have trained quite a lot over the years but although I’m not a bad fighter I do have anxiety and some confidence problems. I believe in myself but lacked that something/knowledge that could improve my performance. Your course yesterday has sorted out so much of my sparring problems. It was the practical demo’s that made me believe in the power of the mind which although I wanted to believe, it was too big a leap of faith... but you have now changed that!”
  • “Just been to local gym for 1st time in a little under 2 years following yesterdays (potentially) Life changing free workshop with Gary Turner. Learning techniques to help with anxiety and bad memories, (among other things) all of which are pretty new to me. The difference in anxiety I had from walking to the gym in Aldershot (where I've never been before) from the station and walking back was immense! :)”
  • Awesome seminar yesterday, I found it fascinating and very helpful. The techniques you showed for suppressing the negative emotions and thoughts I found were instantly effective and very useful technique for the future.”
  • “Gary Turner sorted my head out after 18 months of insomnia and hitting rock bottom mentally he fixed it. You can analyse procrastinate without a shadow of a doubt he stopped me in my tracks and turned me around. Gary is the man if you have any mental baggage see him and get it fixed I recommend him 100 % if you ever need me to speak before a seminar I will because he is the real deal !!!!
  • “It was an excellent seminar Gary myself and everyone else that I spoke to who was there really got a lot out of it! Many thanks.
  • “Well done for another great workshop mate!
  • “Your head hacking has helped me in a number of areas I always tell my mates to give you a call about challenges they are facing. Thanks for all your help
  •  “Really enjoyed today. Thanks Gary.”
  •  “Amazing results this morning at my fight training, will pm you....Thanks Gary

(I’m leaving some personal details in this next one, which is longer, as it just goes to show the type of experiences people had at the workshop.)

“I really liked the 3 exercises near to the beginning which really got me engaged and made me realise that hypnotherapy does actually have an influence (these were the exercises where we had to resist our arms being pulled down and where we had to try and un-clasp our locked hands) - I actually found this really good especially where we had to interlock our hands and imagine that they were locked together, because during the whole thing my memory was the passing of my dad almost 4 years ago now and my hands were locked really tightly almost showing that maybe I was holding on to him still and not allowing myself to fully move on, then when you told us to let go of that memory and see if we could open our hands my hands came undone quite easily and it made me feel as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that maybe now I can stop blaming things for my dad's passing and just be happy for all the time I had with him!!

More positives include the 'voices in your head' the way you spoke about the self-talk and explained how to shut it up was great and I can definitely see how that is going to help me. Also, the tapping your shoulder 10x exercise was very good, simple and worked - this also applies to the eye-movement exercise to let go of negative experiences. I also found the word anchor very powerful, where we had to imagine ourselves before a fight and we had to imagine a colour and a word and see it get bolder, brighter, bigger, speed it up and make the word appear louder, I found that really powerful!

Finally, I really liked how you taught us how to correct mistakes via visualisation but also the stages in how to visualise when preparing for a fight, I always visualise before fights but there is no real structure so this is again a great help and will help enhance my boxing and kickboxing performances.
Really grateful for the seminar Gary and really enjoyed it!

All the best with the feedback and I hope mine has been of some use to you, hope to see you again soon!!”