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In this latest blog we have caught up with Sophie Douglas who is here to inform us all about how hypnotherapy works and how it could be beneficial for our performance and mind set in whilst in the saddle.
It’s fair to say that not everyone would be on board when it comes to hypnotherapy whether that be due to lack of understanding or not believing it works. Sophie is here to inform us, answer any questions and scepticism we may have and let us know how it could work to improve our confidence whether it be in a competition setting or a day to day basis riding our horses.
I am Sophie Douglas, a Hypnotherapist from the Scottish Borders. Day to day I work in my clinic, helping individuals with various mental health problems from anxiety to depression, IBS, to OCD, phobias to insomnia and everything in between! However, I specialise in Sports Performance Therapy, and in particular, horse riding performance and confidence.
Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy that uses trance to encourage positive changes to the mindset. A typical session of hypnotherapy in my clinic is around an hour long. We begin with a chat to discuss aims and goals. I find out a little more about my client and see what they want to achieve. This chat is then followed by trance. (This isn’t as scary as it sounds!)
Trance is simply just a daydream state where you can relax and allow your mind to drift. It is a wonderfully pleasant feeling of peace. You’re fully in control when in trance, the mind will only take suggestions that it feels to be relevant and beneficial to you. During this lovely relaxation, I guide the client towards suggestions and visualisations to allow the mind to develop positively.
The aim during trance is to engage and strengthen the intellectual part of our mind. When we use this part of our mind, we are positive, confident, motivated and feel good about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be up here all the time, however, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
We can often slide down to our primitive part of the mind. When we are down here, we are negative, worry driven, panicky, fearful etc. The more time we spend down there, the stronger it gets, so we can often find ourselves spending more and more of our day in that part. This is where hypnotherapy comes into play! We have the ability to strengthen the intellectual part of the mind. So we enhance that wonderful confidence and positive mindset. Win-win!!
This is hugely beneficial when working with horse riders as we have the ability to increase confidence, build self-esteem and visualise the desired outcome.
Hypnotherapy can be hugely beneficial for riders that have had a bad fall, have been out of riding for a while, or those who beat themselves up about their performance or riding abilities on a regular basis. When working with clients after a fall, we begin to remove the negative emotional connection that comes with riding and instead, build positivity and optimism. As mentioned, we do this during trance.
Visualisation is also a huge part of what we do with hypnotherapy. Interestingly, our minds struggle to tell the difference between imagination and reality. In day to day life, this can be a disadvantage as we can fall into the habit of thinking negatively about situations, however, if we switch this around and imagine positive outcomes, the mind feels more at ease, more confident and has the ability to perform better.
During your sessions we also work on some techniques that can be used either day to day, or just on the lead up to competitions and events, that will help to ease any nerves.
Unfortunately, hypnotherapy still has some scepticism attached, as many people relate it to hypnotists that you see on TV. (I will not make you dance like a chicken, I promise!) Hypnotherapy is very different from this as it purely focuses on the benefits of the individual.
The good thing is that so far, every sceptic that has entered the clinic leaves as a convert!
If you would like any information about me or hypnotherapy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I work face to face in the Scottish Borders, but can also work online for clients further afield. Head to Instagram @sophiedouglashypnotherapy, Facebook @Sophie Douglas Hypnotherapy or my website to get in touch.
I also have a rider-specific confidence-building book called “Mind Strong. Ride Strong”. You can order a copy through my instagram page @Mindstrongridestrong.