Habits are behaviours that are learned and have become automatic.
They are repeated regularly. Often, the person will not be aware of the behaviour. A habit could be biting fingernails, grinding the teeth, chewing hair/pulling hair out (known as trichotillomania) picking skin or involuntary movements known as tics and twitches.
Habits that are not normally intrusive in a person’s life, can become worse when the person is under stress or depressed.
There can be both positive and negative reinforcement of habits. For some, there may be pleasure/comfort associated with the habit, for others, the habit can become established as a way of managing difficult and painful feelings. For instance, smoking can easily become a habit associated with stress or anger. “I find smoking calms me down,” is frequently said. However, nicotine and the associated chemicals cannot be calming as they are stimulants.
You may have been living with a habit for 30 years or more, thinking it is impossible to change. However, once you come to an increased awareness of your unwanted behaviour and what sustains it, you will be able to live a life free of your habit.
Habits can become addictions. Addictions are compulsive behaviours that a person feels compelled to carry out even though these behaviours might be destructive to the person’s health, finance, family and friends. ‘Addiction’ commonly refers to drugs and substance abuse. However, shopping, eating, sex, gambling etc. can all become compulsive behaviours.
In addition to training at BSc level in Clinical Hypnosis, I have received training in Cognitive-Behavioural Management of Habit Disorders. This treatment is known as Habit Reversal Training and is described as: ‘A multicomponent behavioral treatment package originally developed to address a wide variety of repetitive behavior disorders’.
In order to understand a habit disorder it is important to explore the mind-body connections and emotional components.
After Assessment, you will receive Awareness Training and then learn skills to develop a Competing Response, alongside Motivational feedback and Relapse prevention.
The Habit Reversal Training (HRT) methods I have been trained in are recommended within the NHS and approved by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) which means that research has proven the effectiveness of treatment.
Behaviour is regarded as learned, and therefore new and more adaptive behaviours can also be learned. Current behaviour rather than past events is taken as the focus for treatment.
Hypnotherapy is client-centred and accepts each and every client as a responsible person who has within them, the resources and ability to change. Together, we can assess the development of the behaviour, define your motivations and using a combination of hypnosis and Habit Reversal Therapy, start to instigate change so that you feel able to break free of unhelpful habits.