5 Tips to help you with New Years Resolutions


Thinking about making some New Year’s resolutions? Read this first…

As the year draws to a close many of us inevitably think about the year ahead and what we want to achieve.

For some of us however, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of making a long list of goals but never sticking to them. Life’s constant changes (and challenges) are often to blame as we forget about our goals and slip back into old habits.

Take a look below for five tips to help you stick to your goals this year.

  1. Make success achievable

When setting your goals, ensure they are specific and doable. Also, make sure the goals resonate with what’s true for you. Even if you do have to put some work into them, your goals should feel right, not contrived or forced.

2. Free up your emotions

Unexpressed emotions can build up and lead to stress, which often makes it harder for us to change our habits. Our minds find comfort in the familiar, so it’s default when faced with stress is to go back to what used to work (stress eating, smoking, drinking etc.).

Try to take a few minutes to really feel and express your emotions. You may find it helpful to write your feelings down or even draw a picture.

3. Challenge critical thoughts

We can self-sabotage ourselves with negative and critical thinking. Every time you catch yourself thinking something negative like “I can’t do this” or “I’ve blown it for today, I might as well start tomorrow”, find contradictions to support your goals. Remind yourself that you are doing this for you.

4. Become accountable

Get yourself a goal buddy, someone who also wants to make a change. Schedule regular check-ins where you can discuss your progress and any stumbling blocks you’ve come up against. Having someone to ‘report’ to in this way will add a sense of accountability, making it more likely that you’ll stick to your goals. It also allows the two of you to support each other and give advice when things aren’t going to plan.

5. Learn to rebound

If you have a lapse, don’t see it as a failure – see it as a learning curve. Look at the situation and try to uncover what the cause of it was and what you might do next time instead. Every day is a chance to try again.

Need support, contact me, Darryl McCullagh @ McCullagh Therapy.

Conquering Fear and Destructive Habits With Hypnotherapy

There is a general misconception when it comes to hypnosis. Many rely on what they see in movies and read in fictional accounts. They erroneously subscribe to the notion that when someone is hypnotized they lose all sense of control and self-will. They then become detached from reality and enter into a zombie-like state.
Nothing is further from the truth. Hypnosis can, in fact, provide more self-control. People do remember everything that occurred during the session and this can be a powerful avenue to install positive influence.

Are you struggling with self-destructive behaviours or fears? Contact Darryl at McCullagh Therapy.

How to stop nightmares

As an adult, are you supposed to have outgrown nightmares?

If nightmares are causing you significant distress, or are interrupting your sleep on a regular basis, it’s important to determine what’s causing your nightmares.

If you are suffering from adult nightmares, you might believe you’re the only adult who has them. Although it is true, that nightmares are more common with children, one in two adults also has occasional nightmares. In fact, 2% to 8% of the adult population is afflicted by nightmares.

By finding their cause you can make appropriate changes to reduce their occurrence.

What Are Nightmares?

Nightmares are intensely realistic. They are disturbing dreams that jolt you awake from a deep sleep. They can set your heart pounding from fear.

And although most nightmares tend to occur most during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, when most dreaming takes place, they can occur at any time.

What to do about nightmares?

Here are a few things you could do if you have nightmares that cause you anxiety and panic…

Check your Sleep Routine

Uncomfortable beds, sleeping positions or the content you read or watch before sleeping can sometimes contribute to creating nightmares.

It’s important that you have a good sleep routine, and your bedroom has the right conditions for good sleep.

You are what you consume

Eating dinner close to bedtime can literally feed your nightmares, so try not do it. Cheese at night is known as a snack that can cause problems.

But it’s not just what you eat and drink… While, you should avoid high-energy drinks, soft drinks, alcohol, coffee or tea, in the evenings, it’s mostly what you consume during the day which determines how you rest at night.

If you are sensitive, even such things as watching the news or a conversation or day filled with conflict may turn up in your sleep as a nightmare – after all, when you haven’t resolved an event consciously, your unconscious mind will try and bring this to your attention from a place beyond your conscious mind. Sometimes it tries to suggest a solution – in symbolic form. Pay attention to its messages.

Some medications are known to contribute to nightmare frequency. Drugs that act on chemicals in the brain, such as antidepressants and narcotics, are often associated with nightmares. Non-psychological medications, including some blood pressure medications, can also cause nightmares in adults.

Put your mind at ease

Leave stresses, digital gadgets, TV’s, work etc. outside the bedroom. The bedroom is only for sleeping (and love making).

Physical activity two or three times a week will help to release tensions that you could be taking home. If you’re not an active type, take walks outside in the evenings to help clear your mind and move your body.

Make time during the day to process any conflicts, stresses, fears or tensions – do not leave them unattended, as stress is cumulative and builds up over time.

Reading a good book at night time can be something to help you unwind and de-stress, but stay away from horror stories, thrillers and anything else that will stimulate your imagination.

Talk about the problem

The best way to avoid nightmares is to confront them. Whether it’s a work related issue, a memory that leads back to your childhood, or a generic fear – talking about your nightmares with an understanding friend, partner or relative could help to reduce anxiety and resolve what’s disturbing your sleep pattern.

If you don’t make progress on your own; do seek help from a professional. Sometimes nightmares have deeper roots, such as trauma, that can be uncovered through working with Hypnotherapy.

What if you finally got rid of anxiety.

Anxiety is an activation of the body at the body and psychological level in response to a threat.

At the body level it can manifest with different symptoms such as tachycardia, choking sensation, muscle stiffness / weakness, agitation / motor blockage (for example, tremors in the extremities), excessive sweating, dizziness, sleeplessness, etc.

On the psychological level, different unpleasant sensations are experienced, more or less intense and diffuse, such as anguish, fear, worry, desire to flee, feelings of loss of control, negative and recurrent thoughts, etc. There are different types of anxiety disorders such as phobias, panic attacks, obsessive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, generalised anxiety disorder, etc.

Anxiety is a positive and adaptive response of the organism within certain limits, but when it becomes inadequate or disproportionate it becomes a disabling problem that severely limits people’s lives. The causes of anxiety, phobias and panic attacks can be very varied. Phobias can be developed to the most varied stimuli, from animals and people to inanimate objects such as mirrors or even to certain forms.

It is more frequent that anxiety and phobias have a more gradual development in time and that panic attacks usually start with a traumatic episode. The anxiety response can occur even without the person being aware of what causes it, and only notice the physiological and psychological symptoms that accompany it. Maintaining this high level of alertness in the organism supposes a significant wear that can cause many physical illnesses and psychological disorders.


Hypnosis is a very effective tool in the treatment of anxiety disorders, because it allows quickly achieve deep states of calm and well-being that reduce the feeling of anxiety and provide immediate relief. In addition, with hypnosis you can work more directly with emotions, with that unconscious part of your mind, and thus facilitate the modification of those exaggerated reactions of fear, worry, anguish, etc. that are associated either to specific situations or stimuli or to more general or indeterminate contexts, or even non-conscious ones, such as the case of generalised anxiety or some types of panic attacks. The duration of hypnosis treatment for anxiety may vary depending of each person, although important progress can be observed from the first session. Also, the use of self-hypnosis outside the sessions allows the person to develop more quickly a greater self-control and self-confidence, and increase their psychological resistance.


Anxiety disorders are caused by inadequate responses to a stimulus or situation perceived as threatening, and that can be more or less concrete or indeterminate, even not consciously noticed. Hypnosis allows you to directly modify emotional associations by reducing or eliminating anxiety responses or panic attacks more quickly and effectively. Hypnosis is a powerful tool that helps the person increase their sense of control and become stronger and more resilient in the future.

I can help you, and I would very much like to do it.

Can Hypnotherapy help with PTSD?

The many troubling symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are broken down into these DSM-V diagnostic categories: Exposure, Intrusion, Avoidance, Alteration, and Arousal.  Hypnotherapy is highly effective in the treatment of PTSD because it goes right to the root of these symptoms.

Below is an overview of each of those five areas, and how hypnotherapy helps treat them.

Clients experience a traumatic event (an accident, assault, disaster, or act of terror) or a prolonged series of traumatic events (such as ongoing psychological, physical, and/or sexual abuse as a child or adult), and the trauma changes their perceptual experience of the world around them.

The limbic system is designed to respond to a threat or attack in one of the following ways: fight, flight, or freeze. Trauma imprints upon the brain and body in such a way that clients continue to live as though the trauma is happening in the present.

How does hypnotherapy help? 
Hypnotherapy cannot erase traumatic events, but it can directly address the event(s) and their effects. Hypnotherapy allows clients to access information and ‘data’ that is stored in their physical bodies, their subconscious mind, and their energetic fields. The actual traumatic event can be examined; the wide array of emotion surrounding it can be claimed, processed, and expressed; any negative conclusions or beliefs (that have often directly contributed to life-long behavioral patterns) can be released and transformed.

As mentioned above, trauma impacts the brain and body in myriad ways. Nightmares, flashbacks, distressing memories, and reactivity to cues or reminders of the event(s) are the most common ways in which trauma interrupts daily life. The majority of clients experiencing intrusive symptoms often feel a total lack of control over their minds and bodies, as though the trauma has hijacked their own sense of agency and free will.

How does hypnotherapy help?
In a hypnotherapy session, the client is given multiple tools, resources, and opportunities to take back a sense of control. One method, called ego strengthening, employs a variety of techniques to help clients make direct contact to the parts of themselves that are strong, wise, and brave. By doing this, and providing a physical anchor to ‘lock in’ the resource via mind-body connection, clients gradually remember and reclaim their own agency. They are reminded of their own strengths and virtues, which is incredibly healing.

Another useful component of hypnotherapy is teaching the client ways in which they can modulate their own physiological reactivity. This is often done while the client is in trance, but a hypnotherapist can also teach the client how to titrate their shock symptoms in a regular session. For more on the treatment of shock, click here.

As can be expected, a victim of trauma will do what it takes to avoid a recurrence of the feelings associated with their trauma. Many avoidance symptoms can result from conscious choice (avoiding people or places, for instance), but clients also ‘avoid’ via dissociation, substance abuse, or addictive behaviors. The latter are far less conscious, but no less purposeful. The purpose of avoidance is to attempt to distance oneself from the trauma…but when trauma is rooted in the brain and body, what results is a fragmented sense of self. Avoidance precludes connection; thus, be it months or years later, clients come to us reporting that they feel detached, numb, and/or stuck.

How does hypnotherapy help?
One of the primary goals of hypnotherapy is restoration of the self: for the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of the client to be unified, balanced, and whole. From this place, healthy connection can be born. Hypnotherapy gives a voice to the lost parts of the self, the parts that were hidden away or shrouded in negativity as a means to survive.

Several types of regression can be successfully used to help the client process all manner of traumatic memory. The hypnotherapist is able to use creativity and imagination to help the client work through the past event, but this time, with resources they did not have at the time of the original event(s). When this work is done in trance, it changes the way the memory is stored, and the way it functions in the body and mind. Clients are no longer held hostage by the past.

Trauma changes us…it alters personality, mood, memory, motivation, cognitive function, and perception. By extension, it changes relationships, families, and systems. During a traumatic event, not only are sensory perceptions altered, and any previous sense of safety forever changed…but a victim of trauma displays notable shifts in the conclusions they draw. They form new, negative conclusions about themselves (‘I deserved it; I’m bad; I shouldn’t have been there; My body is not my own; It was my fault.’). They also form negative conclusions about other people, and the world in general (‘The world is a scary place; People are evil; Men are dangerous; Trust is foolish.’).

How does hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy opens a portal to the subconscious. With a skilled hypnotherapist, clients can access the pivotal events surrounding their trauma during careful and modulated regression. In trance, they clearly experience the moment(s) in which their conclusions turned negative. Clients then begin to change those distorted beliefs, and reclaim what was lost. A negative conclusion such as ‘I am bad’ is then replaced with ‘I am good’ or ‘I am lovable,’ for instance.

Soul retrieval is another valuable component in the treatment of PTSD. Too often, parts of ourselves are lost or forsaken when a traumatic event occurs, often as a way of protecting that part of ourselves. To retrieve and reclaim lost parts of the soul is of immeasurable benefit to trauma survivors. For more on soul retrieval, click here.

Lastly, a history of trauma, particularly when it goes untreated, results in marked behavioral and functional changes. Trauma that is stuck in the body will inevitably try to work its way out; this can manifest in chronic shock, somatic or physical illness, or arousal symptoms such as hypervigilance, exaggerated startle, or problems sleeping or concentrating. Reckless or high-risk behavior could be another way that arousal manifests in behavior.

How does hypnotherapy help?
A major component of healing trauma is giving clients the ability to complete the action that they were not able to do when their trauma originally occurred. Trauma is rooted in the body, in the paralysis and the inability to take action that results from the ‘freeze’ response.

It is useful to look at arousal symptoms as ways in which the body is trying to heal, trying to get our attention. Alternatively, arousal symptoms are a reflection of the ‘stuck’ trauma response (fight, flight, freeze). The healing of trauma cannot be complete without allowing the body to move. Part of our role as therapists is to help the client to unfreeze: to usher their emotions and thoughts into conscious awareness, process them, and release them.

In hypnotherapy, we encourage clients to move their bodies, to strike out. What movement, what reflex was their body unable to do in that moment of helplessness? In trance, the client is provided with a corrective experience; they can hit the perpetrator, scream out loud, say NO, run away, defend themselves, push away a weapon, break out of a trap, tell a trusted person what happened. This additional corrective experience can be monumental in helping a traumatised client release the past and move forward in their life.

Conscious & Subconscious mind

Today I’m going to explain what are the differences between our conscious and subconscious mind.

The conscious mind is the part of the mind that is attentive when we is awake. It is the analytical part of mind with the capacity for criticism. This part of the mind analyses what we are experiencing and compares it to our past experiences and this is how we can respond to these experiences. It is the part of our mind in which the will also sits. This part of our mind helps us so that we can consciously go through our lives. When we sleep, this part turns off in us. We are no longer aware of ourselves and the environment.

The subconscious mind is the part of us that deals with the work of all our organs, in our waking state as well as when we sleep. That’s why we don’t have to consciously care about our heartbeat or breathing.
In addition, our dreams are subconscious.
95% of our mind or even a little more is not consciously controlled by us, but by our subconscious mind. Only 2 to 5% are consciously managed. Our conscious mind can handle 40 bits / sec. Our subconscious mind can handle 40 million bits / sec!
Our subconscious mind is the sum of all experiences, perceptions, impressions and memories we have ever remembered, but also all those we have forgotten or repressed, o the ones we can’t remember because they happened too long ago.
Our subconscious determines our daily actions and thinking.

The good thing about the subconscious is that it can’t distinguish between real and unreal. It doesn’t matter if we have experienced something real or if we only imagine intensively having experienced something. So with hypnotherapy we can replace the memory of a past negative experience with a new positive feeling.

If you are serious about living your life reaching your full potential, give us a call today to arrange a therapy session.