How Safe is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a popular drug in many countries of the world – but how safe is it?

I recently came across an interesting WA Government Health Dept. fact sheet in my library of information which is dated December 1988.   There were concerns about the long term effects of caffeine when taken in excessive amounts and it  was clearly written that “were the drug to be introduced today (meaning 1988), it would be available only on prescription.” That’s a strong, bold statement.

for healthier living, reduce caffeine

Caffeine in Coffee – Be careful how much you drink

Many years ago when studying  for my degree in psychology, I relied on caffeine to keep me focused and alert as I ploughed through research papers, books, everything and anything as I chased that ‘A’ grade pass mark. Tea, coffee and cocoa cola was all part of my daily diet.  The ‘warning bells’ were ringing loud and clear but I wasn’t listening.  It was only when I ventured into a new class on Health Psychology one year at the beginning of Semester 1 that the brain cells ‘joined the dots’ and I had my answers.  Whoa!  So that’s why my stomach was so upset some days, it’s the caffeine drinks I was having.  Easily fixed I thought, I’ll just stop drinking the caffeine laden drinks and the stomach will settle down.

I was so determined to take back control and live a healthier lifestyle but I was in for a rude shock.   I developed a king sized headache that lasted 3 days.  I hadn’t yet learnt just how powerful a drug caffeine is and coming off caffeine so drastically was not the wisest decision I’ve ever made.  But I learnt from that.

I learnt that if I had withdrawn from caffeine slowly, simply by reducing the number of glasses of coke or cups of tea or coffee over a few weeks, I would probably have saved myself from the pain of the withdrawal symptoms.  Yes, I learnt to respect drugs and their powerful effect on the brain and body.

A Stimulant Drug

Caffeine is a mild stimulant drug which affects brain and body and is considered to be quite addictive.  We can find caffeine in everyday beverages such as tea, coffee, cola and in products such as ice cream, energy drinks and chocolate.

Effects of Caffeine

Several factors will determine the effects of caffeine such as:

  • how much you have
  • whether you are also eating food,
  • how often you drink or eat something with caffeine in it,
  • your height, your weight, even your mood.

I’ve heard many people refer to their morning cuppa as a ‘heart starter’, and this is an accurate description of just what this powerful drug can do.  Our heart does start to beat faster and we can feel more awake and ready to start our day.   Did you also know that your body temperature can rise, you may go to the toilet more to urinate and  the stomach starts to produce more acid.

Common Problems of Large Amounts of Caffeine

Sleeplessness is very common, also feelings of restlessness, nervousness and even hand tremors are symptoms that need to be listened to. Lack of sleep (often called sleep deprivation) can cause chronic tiredness that can affect the ability to think clearly, affect mood and contribute to depression.  If you are not sleeping soundly every night or you are feeling stressed, anxious, depressed, and generally struggling through the day, your long term health could be affected.

The Importance of Seeing a Therapist

Caffeine can often be used as a way of trying to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life yet in some people even a small amount of caffeine can increase their symptoms of stress and anxiety.  Finding a better natural way to deal with any day – day problems is how I can help.  I offer a FREE Personal Telephone Consultation to help you decide whether you prefer a Counselling process or would like to experience Hypnotherapy;  quite often a combination of both approaches can help.

How Much Caffeine is a Safe Amount

Health reports vary, some say no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, others say no more than 600mg per day.  When visiting outside coffee bars be aware that their coffee could be much stronger than the instant coffee you are used to at home which generally averages 60-80 mg per cup.  Constantly in the health news, pregnant women are advised to reduce their caffeine intake.

For more information on caffeine check out

Contact Me today, my name is Elaine Walker and I am an experienced and qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Specialist Counsellor. 

Call Me today for your FREE Personal Telephone Consultation 9300 6026 and I will be happy to assist you.

Health and Happiness to you.

Anger Management

 Couples Counselling Can Help Stop Angry Outbursts

Relationship Counselling Can Help Couples Manage Their Anger

Anger is a Powerful Emotion
Have you ever witnessed someone ‘lose it’; ‘chuck a wobbly’; ‘spit the dummy’?
Perhaps you have your own favourite phrase to describe an angry response but the Australian term:
‘she/ he spat the dummy’ says it all!

Regressing to a childlike tantrum confirms that intellectual intelligence is no match for the powerful emotion of anger.

Uncontrolled anger contains ‘emotional warriors’ and the ‘distorted thinking brigade’!
The verbal abuse that this duo can throw at their target often hits ‘bulls eye’ inflicting emotional wounds that can cut deep into the other person.

In the domestic world, raging anger can sabotage a once loving relationship and all too often lead to separation and divorce.

Managing Anger in a productive way can make life so much easier, calmer and more peaceful.

The Power of Emotions
Frustration, irritation and disappointment are three powerful ‘emotional warriors’ that can attack without warning.  The victim of this verbal abuse may retaliate or keep quiet to avoid an argument, particularly if they fear physical abuse may follow.  Either way, verbal abuse still comes under the category of domestic violence, just as physical abuse does. When a person is tired, drunk, or feeling ill, their tolerance can be lower, but these factors should never be held up as an excuse for a mild irritation escalating into aggressiveness.

Anger is a very powerful emotion and is part of our biological history and our natural ‘fight or flight’ response.  Anger helped mankind in the past to survive but in today’s world its usefulness is limited.  Anger is a warning signal within us that something is wrong and indeed we need to ‘listen’ to that sensation and respond in a way that is helpful, not harmful to others, or to ourselves.

In some instances, anger can energise us, motivate us, particularly if we are passionate about an injustice, but anger needs to be on a ‘tight rein’ as it can soon escalate out of control into aggression. Knowing how to outsmart the anger triggers and take back control of the ‘emotional warriors’ and ‘distorted thinking brigade’ can keep you out of a lot of trouble.

Know Your Anger Triggers
What may cause one person to react angrily to a situation may not bother another person so knowing what factors may trigger an angry response in you and how your body sensations change is a good starting point to you staying in control and avoiding an emotional ‘explosion’.

Do You Know When You Are Becoming Angry?
What changing bodily symptoms are you aware of?
What, or who, has the potential to trigger your level of anger?
What is it about this person, or situation that you are struggling to cope with?
(is it something they say, or do, or is it because you are feeling stressed or worried and your tolerance to general life has plummeted?)
How much do you trust yourself to stay in control and handle the situation calmly?
Have you ever hurt someone when you have been angry or hurt yourself during an angry ‘meltdown’?
Have you ever thrown a mobile phone, thumped a door, or damaged property in some other way?

 Sustained Anger Can Affect Your Health
Reacting angrily to situations can affect your long term health.
Preserve your Health.
Choose Counselling or Hypnotherapy to help you manage your anger in a better way and avoid angry outbursts.
Enjoy living a more peaceful and enjoyable life. 
Health and Happiness to you.

For Help With Anger Management please call:
Elaine Walker
Clinical Hypnotherapist and Specialist Counsellor
9300 6026

Lose Weight – Not Hope

WaistNo Drugs. No Surgery. No Dieting.
Just the Power of Your Own Mind
can help you lose weight.

You can take back control of your eating habits
and reach your ideal weight safely and naturally.

Losing weight is not about going on a diet, diets often fail!
Losing weight is a personal journey -. it’s your body, your metabolism, and your goal.

No Fuss. No Dieting. No Counting Calories.
You do not need to rely on counting calories.
You do not need to starve yourself.

Your body and mind can be helped to work together
(this is where hypnotherapy excels as a safe, natural way to lose weight).
To help you start your weight loss journey some pre-planning can make the road to success so much easier for you. Here are a few tips to help you identify your personal goal to lose the excess weight and become the person you want to be.

First of all identify:
1) Where are you now?
(what weight are you now and what clothes size?)
2) What do you want to achieve?
(what is your ideal weight and ideal clothes size?)
3) What ‘stepping stones’ would help?
(break your weight loss goal down into small successful steps of achievement),

A goal needs to be specific, realistic and achievable.

Now ask yourself:
i)   “is my goal specific, i.e. I know how much weight I want to lose and what clothes size I want to fit into?”

ii)  “is my goal realistic, i.e. am I planning a sustained weight loss over a period of time and not a quick fix and put my health at risk approach?”

iii) “is my goal achievable, i.e. “is there anything that could interfere with me achieving my weight loss goal?
(be honest…do you eat if feeling angry, bored, lonely, stressed, anxious, etc. or perhaps just overeating, or maybe some other reason – seek help if you need to).

Losing Weight Can Help You Build Confidence and Self Esteem
How would you like to look in the mirror, see a reflection of yourself and think:
“wow! I look good!”

What you think as you look in the mirror will affect how you feel and as you admire the slim, fit looking body of yourself so your feelings about yourself will be given a tremendous boost.

Never put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.
How many times have you told yourself…tomorrow, I’ll start tomorrow!

Are You Ready to Lose Weight – Now?
If your answer is a firm YES then ‘go for it!’
If you need help then seek help, if you do not need help and you feel you can go it alone…I wish you well.

Health and Happiness to you.



Health Matters

Live Life today with EW Hypnotherapy JoondalupHow Do You Want To Improve Your Health?
Quit Smoking?
Lose Weight?
Curb or Quit Alcohol altogether?
Or do you have some other goal in mind?

‘I just want to live while I’m alive’ is a famous line from a Bon Jovi track and there is no better time than Now to really think about how you want to live your life.
Lifestyle changes are often on people’s lips of what they want to change, but generally speaking, after 3-4 weeks many people give up and feel disillusioned, stuck in the “I can’t do this’ mould. But success can be yours.

Plan for Success
Success is in the planning strategy – the step by step guide of how to make your goal a reality – long term, not just for a few short weeks. Achieving a personal goal to stop smoking, shed the excess weight or control alcohol intake involves many factors that most people are unaware of, so prepare yourself for success.

i) The Art of Saying ‘NO’
Initially in the first few days – or week, when motivation is exceptionally strong, it is generally easier to resist group pressure (and never underestimate group pressure). However, as time goes on, the human desire to ‘fit in’ can often override any personal desire to give up something that the rest of the group are doing, so falling into the relapse trap is common unless you have prepared yourself mentally – how to say ‘NO’ to others is a skill to be learned.

ii) Resisting Temptation
Equally important is the ability to say ‘NO’ to yourself, a good example is when you are dining out and you feel like indulging in a favourite food but know that health wise or weight wise, it’s a ‘no no’! This reminds me of being at a restaurant with a group of friends and one lady ordered chilli mussels. Within an hour of eating the mussels she suffered the stomach cramps and discomfort that she had always suffered when eating chilli mussels. One might ponder: Why did she eat them?

She was ‘in the moment’, dismissing her mind’s attempts to tell her that it wasn’t a good idea to eat the mussels, it’s as though she had ‘brought the shutters down’ on the reasoning part of her mind and ignored all the years of evidence that had gone before. She hadn’t mentally prepared herself for such a situation.
Whatever your goal is, listen to the commitment you have made to yourself. If you are struggling then seek Professional help in the way of counselling or hypnotherapy.

iii) Coping With Stress and Anxiety
If smoking, alcohol or food are your usual way of coping with a stressful or anxious situation then counselling or hypnotherapy can certainly help you let go of your dependence on these methods and adopt a healthier personal coping style.

4) Lifestyle Changes Can Lead To A Healthier Lifestyle
There is so much medical evidence that how we live day by day impacts on overall general health and even how long we live. Investing in yourself and living a healthier lifestyle now may improve your quality of life as the years roll by.

Health and Happiness to you.

Growing Up Divorced – ‘Suitcase Kids’

CHildren growing up with divorceMuch is written about how, and to what degree, children are affected by the separation and ultimately the divorce of their parents. When a relationship is in constant conflict or routine boredom has set in, parents have an agonising decision to make.

The Agonising Decision Facing Parents about Divorce

Some parents believe it’s better to stay together for the sake of the kids while others feel that living in an unhappy marriage is more than they can bear so call it quits and separate. All too often, the decision to separate is not by mutual agreement and one parent is left confused, hurt, and even bitter.

When Parents Separate

It was my attendance at a Family and Marital Therapy Conference at Queensland University many years ago and hearing the term ‘suitcase kids’ used so often that drove home the ‘emotional nail’ of what it can be like for children who are caught up in a life changing situation for which they have no control over.

As I listened to one presenter who was brilliant at taking us into the mind of a child as he outlined the difficulties faced by them, my connection with a child’s world seemed to embrace so much more to the point that I felt their emotional upheaval at a deeper level. What struck a chord with me was how much packing and unpacking some children face on a regular basis and the constant adjustment from one household to another which is made more difficult if the household rules are very different. Their life from now on would be governed by spending a few days with dad and a few days with mum on a regular basis.


Co-parenting is here to stay and so many children become ‘suitcase’ kids.  I don’t like this term, but it speaks volumes about a child’s experience.  Is the alternative any better – living in one home with ongoing open conflict or live in a home where the conflict has gone ‘underground’ and there is a tense atmosphere?  Understanding a child’s experience and skilful communication between the parents is not an easy task.  To give an example: The following scenario is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what can occur when a parents’ separation is not amicable.

The child (let’s call him John) arrives at dad’s house with suitcase in hand, mum drives away.  John is staying with dad on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night then dad will drop him at school on Monday morning.  It’s been a rush after school to pack his suitcase but then John finds out that he’s forgotten his football boots and can’t go to training the next day without them.  Dad tries to be patient and drives all the way back to mum’s house to pick up the boots. But Mum’s not home yet. They wait outside in the car.  Both are feeling hungry. Time drags on.  Finally, a familiar car appears and pulls into the driveway, out opts mum.  Beneath the cordial greetings is a ‘reservoir of emotion’ ready to explode.  “This is happening too much.  Football boots this week, no shorts last week and last month it was his homework!”  Dad tries to contain himself as he makes a suggestion:  “can you please check John’s case before you bring him over”.  The words are polite but dad couldn’t control the tone in his voice and mum retaliates with:  “And who are you to complain, you dropped him off at school without lunch last week and what about the week before when you……..”
What do you think John learns from this experience?

Skills of Co-Parenting

When a relationship fragments into a jigsaw of human emotion co-parenting demands a whole new set of skills. Confidence, self-esteem, trust and communication are just some areas that parents may struggle with post-separation, or post-divorce. It makes sense that flesh wounds need some ‘first aid’ and time to heal….emotional wounds need their own special ‘first aid’ and time to heal too.


Sad Farewell to Robin Williams

Just as the world says goodbye to a brilliant comedian, breaking news reports that have dominated the media tell their sad story that Robin Williams ended his life by hanging himself.  His long battle with alcoholism was widely publicised and his struggle in the face of depression was well known.  His recent admittance into rehab brought hope, but it wasn’t to be.   Questions remain – Why did a man whose talent as a comedian and film actor and idolised by millions of people, suffer so much mental torment that he chose to finally end his life?  What could have been done earlier to prevent his premature death?  How could this tragedy have been prevented?  So many questions are going through people’s minds right now.

The demise of Robin Williams sounds warning bells around the globe and within our own shores it is a similar story.  According to the most up to date published data by the Australian Bureau  of Statistics (ABS) which refers to the 2012 year for causes of death in Australia, the figures revealed that almost twice as many people died from suicide in Australia, than from road deaths , i.e. 1,310 road deaths to 2,535 who died by taking their own life. Other startling facts show that 75% of people who died by suicide were male.  It is also reported that in Australia suicide deaths have reached a 10 year peak and that the leading cause of death between ages 15 years and 44 years is suicide.

As we all go about our normal day to day life let us remember that on average, every day seven of our fellow Australians ranging in age from teenagers to senior citizens in their 80’s are taking their own life.  And for those who are left behind to mourn, they often ask: WHY? 

Life is precious.  If the world seems like a black and grey dismal place to you, seek help EARLY.  If you know of someone in your circle of friends, family, or even a neighbour or work colleague, please encourage them to seek help EARLY.  Let us all work to reduce these statistics and make the world around us a better place.

Rest in peace Robin.

There’s No Substitute For a Good Therapist. This is How You Find One.

There’s no substitute for a good therapist. This is how you find one.Not all therapists have the same qualifications or experience, identifying the right therapist for you if you ever needed one can be quite a challenge.   It’s important therefore to do your homework and to know what questions to ask.

First of all, check out their credentials.  Their title may not reflect their qualifications or experience.
A good example is Counselling, there is a vast difference between those who do a short few months counselling course as opposed to someone who undertakes a university degree – but the title is the same.  What about a Life Coach? This is an interesting title and I am still recovering from the shock of going on one website which was a Training Institute and their marketing blurb advertised  that:

“Today a successful Life Coach needs the skills of a Clinical Hypnotherapist, the listening skills of a Counsellor and the flair of an NLP Practitioner just to name a few.”

According to this website you can achieve all this training in 8 weeks of just two hours per week and they claim you can then work with such things as weight loss, depression and they even teach hypnosis.  Excuse me, did I miss something here?  Why would anyone bother going to university?

It doesn’t stop there; clever marketing has its hands in the hypnotherapy area too.  Learning a few skills in hypnosis does not qualify a person to practice as a hypnotherapist.  What the title Hypnotherapist means is:  hypnosis + therapy.  Hypnosis simply refers to our natural ability to be able to go into our own imagination which I confess has happened to me when confronted with some boring teacher at High School and my mind would just go ‘walkabouts’ on its own, it’s not magic – it’s natural.  A qualified hypnotherapist knows how to help a person become absorbed in their imagination in a therapeutic way, utilising specialised knowledge and skill to help their client   overcome a specific problem or make positive changes to their life.  A Clinical Hypnotherapist is someone who has undertaken more advanced study and is qualified to work with specific or more complex problems.

It’s amazing how many ‘new ‘ titles keep popping up in marketing hype so doing your homework prior to making that first appointment is essential.    Here are a few tips to help you choose the best therapist for you.

The Professional Therapist Check list

1.  Is the Therapist registered?
2. Who is their Registration Body?
e.g. PACFA / AHA
3. What level of Registration does the Therapist hold?
(There are several tiers of Registration from Student to Clinical Therapist).
4. What are the Therapist’s Qualifications?
Example of my qualifications includes:
Degree in Psychology BA (psych)

Cert IV Psychotherapy

 Relationship Counselling
Advanced Certificate Family and Marital Therapy

Clinical Hypnotherapy
Diploma in Hypnotherapy (Traditional and Ericksonian)

Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
Advanced Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
Certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy

 Specialised Hypnotherapy
Masterclass Therapist –Smoking Cessation
Accredited Therapist for the ‘Virtual’ Gastric Band Hypnotherapy Weight Loss Programme

5. Check out the Therapist’s Experience
Have they been in private practice for more than 5 years?
How long have they been practicing as a ‘Professional Therapist’?
6. Does the Therapist’s Experience match what you are looking for?
eg. if you are having Relationship Problems with your partner, husband, sister, brother, etc.  or difficulties parenting your children/ teenager, are they qualified in Family & Marital Therapy?
7. What fees does  the Therapist charge and for how long?
Many therapists have cut their session time down from 1 hour to 50 minutes (I’ve even heard of some who only offer 45 minutes) so what appears to be the cheaper fee is not always so if the time has been shortened.  Always check out how long the session will be.

Always be on the alert for unqualified, unregistered so called ‘professionals’ whose motive may not be to do you harm, but are not aware that their ignorance and incompetence could do just that.  Please feel reassured about level of experience and qualifications.

For More Information on how I can help you Change Your Life for the Better
Call Elaine Walker
Clinical Hypnotherapist and Specialist Counsellor
Tel:  9300 6026



Should Children Do Household Chores?

In some families children undertake household chores from a very young age (as young as three years old) even it if is only taking a few items of clothing into the laundry, helping a parent to tidy up the house, any number of little jobs.  But in other families, attitudes are quite different: “let kids be kids…they will be grownups soon enough!”

The interesting thing about children is that when they are pre-schoolers they often WANT to help and then the “help gene” withers away towards the end of junior school and certainly by the time high school age comes around it’s practically non-existent. Many teens are experts at ‘ducking and weaving’ their way through any parental request for household help. No doubt your child has learnt from an early age which parent is the easy target and skilfully manoeuvres the argument to use delay tactics, ‘I’ll do it in a minute’, or ‘why can’t someone else do it?’ or ‘why always me, why not her, (or him). They are brilliant at this game.

The household can become a ‘war zone’ as parents struggle with children who refuse to do any jobs around the house or at best will moan and groan so much that the poor ‘battle weary’ parent either ‘blows a fuse’ or just gives in for peace and quiet and does the job themselves. Feelings can run high and fighting with children can lead parents to ‘snap and snarl’ at each other – a good opportunity for the child to slink off to the bedroom for peace and quiet!  The battle is won.

The bold question to ask is should children be expected to do household jobs? Let’s compare the past with the present – is anything different?

Children in the past have worked from a very young ageWhen I was a young girl I would listen to the stories of my grandmother who painted a picture of her childhood (not something I would have liked to experience myself).  Money was scarce, poverty was rife and children were expected to ‘pull their weight’ or face a ‘clip around the ear’.  Gran, like many other children was growing up in a one parent family, not because of divorce, my goodness that was as ‘rare as hen’s teeth’ the shame of being known as a divorcee kept many people together in a loveless marriage as did obedience to the ‘until death us do part’ marital vow of that era.  For many children, war, disease, or death separated them from one of their parents. It was common place for children to have left school by the age of 14 years and be in full time work. We might shudder in horror at the lack of education for many but they fared better than their previous generation which saw children in the workplace from as young as 7 or 8 years of age…and often working in a dangerous industry.

In today’s world many children are protected by law and have more opportunities for education but many also grow up in one parent families owing to the separation and/or divorce of their parents. Here the children experience a whole new set of problems as in one household the parent may have a liberal view of household chores for children and so the child is not expected to contribute very much. In the other parent’s household a much stricter rule may apply which the child sees as unfair as has learnt that ‘I’m just a kid….housework is ‘adult stuff’.  Co-parenting is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally but parents can be taught how to work together even if they live apart.

When we ask ourselves, are there any real benefits to children doing ‘adult stuff’ – the short answer is Yes, there is, providing the task is appropriate to their age.  Such things as keeping their room tidy, washing a few dishes, pegging  clothes on the line, helping to bring a few groceries in from the car, and more, all help to prepare them for responsibilities that they will need as they grow and develop through their childhood, plus they are learning how to work within the family ‘team’.  In other words, contributing to the running of the household with a few chores starts the process of Life Skill Development. Household chores prepare a child for life outside the home – but don’t expect your child to agree with you.

The Changing Role of Women

Counselling can help you build your Confidence

Build Confidence and Achieve Your Dream

I recently attended a business function organised by BPW (Business and Professional Women).  The main speaker was Liz Davenport who, as many people already know, is one of Australia’s most famous fashion designers.  Liz was an entertaining speaker and at times took me completely by surprise when she gave an insight into ‘the person’, and not purely ‘the ’fashion designer’.

Liz spoke with such passion about sensitive issues of community concern and I confess that her admission to her once becoming involved in a public campaign in the South West was one of the surprise moments during her talk.   A fashion designer and a ‘Save the Forest’ banner didn’t quite go together in my mind beforehand but I’ve certainly changed my mind about ‘the person’ now.

Liz was an inspirational speaker and I wondered at times who, are what, had helped her to acquire such self-confidence to succeed in business so early in her career and grow from national success to international success.  Many women past and present have yearned to aspire to great heights but often lack the self-confidence to further their dreams or were restricted for other reasons. 

The day after the meeting I checked out the history of a famous group of women that surfaced in England during the 1800’s and their conviction for change saw many women follow in their footsteps; their organisation was eventually referred to as “The Suffragette Movement”.  It seems that it was “The Great Reform Act’ of 1832 that sparked this national outcry by women as it denied women the right to vote.  It is interesting to read that women in that era were portrayed as emotional, weak and incapable of making decisions yet they were successful in uniting themselves in a common cause.  Their activities were extreme at times, storming political meetings, chaining themselves to railings and one lady threw herself in front of the King’s horse, of course killing herself in the process.  Some women were sent to prison and were prepared to die for their cause by going on hunger strike.   

  Many prominent political men supported women’s rights but it took many decades before women achieved the right to vote and later the right to stand for parliament.  And what is really interesting is that this once national group became an international body and it was New Zealand, not England who was the first country to allow women voting rights in 1893 and Australia followed in 1902.

 As The Suffragettes gained strength in numbers they extended their demands, they wanted equality with men, better pay, better working conditions and better education for all women but society had valued the man as the ‘breadwinner’ and the woman as ‘just a housewife; just a mother, and just a … everything else you can think of’.  Women were generally home and child carers or employed in menial jobs. Few women were educated to professional status.

  The difference between women of the past and women of today is that today’s woman has more choices about her role in life.   Now we see many women seeking higher education, expecting higher paid jobs and climbing the promotional ladder.   How attitudes have changed too as many men now feel some relief that their female partner is willing to share the financial burden and seek a paid job and I know of several men who are quite comfortable to be ‘stay at home dads’ while their partner is in the paid workforce.

Have you ever wondered what it was like for men in the past to shoulder responsibility as the only ‘breadwinner’ of the family when there was no social security payments, no Centrelink…nothing! I remember my father telling me stories of how some men would ‘throw themselves in the ‘cut’ if they lost their job.  The ‘cut’ was a slang term for canal in my home city of Manchester in the north of England.  When a man could not face being able to provide for his family he would commit suicide.  And the family? Well, they were sometimes thrown out of their rented house and you can well imagine the struggles they suffered.

Live Life Differently - Counselling Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Counselling Can Help You Build Confidence and Self Esteem

 When I was a teenager I had four dreams of how I wanted my life to change: i) to learn how to drive (despite comedians ‘taking the mickey’ out of women drivers – I must Google that saying and see where it comes from , ii) to own my house one day (so no-one could ever throw me out of it), iii) to leave England and ‘see how the other half live’ and iv) be my own boss one day.  Because I had choices, I achieved my teenage dreams.  It wasn’t easy, but I did it; another dream surfaced and that was to go to uni.  I did that too and have certainly punished my brain cells for many years with all the study but….I had choices and I took them.  I learnt how to believe in myself.  Many people never achieve their dreams, they are often highly intelligent but all too often, what they lack is confidence in themselves.

When I think of my own career which has involved studies in Business Management, Psychology, Family and Marital Therapy and Clinical Hypnotherapy, I feel that I am fortunate that opportunities for further education were open to me. I am thankful that my generation has choices.  I am thankful for the drive within me and for the opportunities that were available to me.

 If you have a dream – go for it.  Look for the opportunities that are around you, seize them with both hands and tap into your potential.  You may surprise yourself at how far your dream will take you.   And keep an old saying in your mind:  “if one door closes, look for the window that’s open”.

Have you ever used the phrase ‘I was mesmerised’ ?

Where the word mesmerised came from


Have you ever used the phrase ‘I was mesmerised’ and felt like you were in some sort of trance?  It’s a common expression in today’s world used by young and old alike, but the history of ‘Mesmerism’ is fascinating.

I knew very little about ‘Mesmerism’, to me it was just a word.  It was only when I started my studies in hypnosis that I was introduced to the origins of ‘Mesmerism’ and how modern day hypnosis had a link to the work of an Austrian Physician, Franz Anton Mesmer who was born in 1733.

I listened intently to the lecturer as he took me and my classmates on a journey back through time to the 18th Century.  The lecturer brought history alive.  I could visualise a mum holding her new born son but it was when this little baby grew up and graduated as a Physician that the tale really became interesting.  Mesmer’s devotion to his work as a physician would leave a footprint on the world for many others to follow.

I learnt that Mesmer was passionate about his work and involved himself in experiments with his subjects. Initially Mesmer thought he needed to use magnets to help the body to heal but after a while he abandoned the magnets and focused his experiments on his theory that an invisible healing energy is contained in the human body which can be projected into subjects. Mesmer thought he had special powers. He called this force “animal magnetism” or the “Magnetic Fluid” and so began the European therapeutic movement of ‘Mesmerism’.

What is known about early ‘Mesmerism’ is that people did enter a trance like state and Mesmer did have some remarkable successes but not for the reasons that Mesmer thought.

According to my lecturer whose depth and breadth of knowledge always amazed me, in pre 5th Century BC, trance rituals are believed to have flourished in the shamanistic religions of pre-literate societies throughout the world.  An interesting fact.

Mesmer’s way of thinking and his perseverance to develop a new treatment was not an easy career path for him given the time period that he lived in and the many sceptics within the medical profession. In 1778 Mesmer moved from Austria to France where his treatment was initially received with enthusiasm but later a Royal Commission investigation dismissed his treatment methods and the popularity of Mesmer himself, and ‘Mesmerism’ faded.

With the knowledge that we have today we know that the Royal Commission failed to draw the right conclusions from their investigation, it’s not that ‘animal magnetism’ is accurate either and Mesmer is not credited with having any special powers, but Mesmer had revived something that had been known for centuries and that is the power of the human mind.

Modern day hypnosis and hypnotherapy owes Mesmer some gratitude for reviving interest in the possible healing powers of the mind. Those that have followed in Mesmer’s footsteps have learned much more about brain function and how a person can be helped to use their own imagination to bring about changes to unwanted thoughts, feelings or behaviours.  In today’s world this is simply called Hypnosis, or Hypnotherapy.  We also know that we have the ability to focus on something or someone that can hold our attention to such depth that we can exclude the world around us (how often have you become totally absorbed in a good book or movie or interested in a particular speaker?).  In contrast we can naturally withdraw from what we are supposed to be focusing on (a boring teacher from my high school days comes to mind right now) and what happens?  We start to ‘day dream’.

When I think back to the time of emigrating from England to Australia and seeing for the first time in my life, the natural beauty of dawn breaking when flying at high altitude, and ‘setting the sky on fire’  I was truly mesmerised.  What a sight!