Christmas Day Swim

I wanted to do something a bit different on Christmas day so when I heard about the Porthcawl Christmas day swim, a charity event on Christmas morning, it was just the thing. In fact I remember hearing about these chilly mid winter sea swims years ago, seeing events on the news and thinking I’d love to be part of one of those.  Conveniently they always seemed to be in Scotland though so I never had to seriously consider it. I was stunned to find out by chance about the Porthcawl event – it’s been happening just down the road for 48 years.

This year over 900 swimmers took part. I say swimmers but it isn’t really a swimming event, it’s really about a quick dip and a splash around in the cold sea for a few minutes (which is as long as it’s safe to stay in unless you’re an acclimatised cold water swimmer).

The event is brilliantly organised, changing areas are provided, there are lifeguards and paramedics on hand and at 11.45 am a long line of swimmers, many in fancy dress, are led through the crowds of a few thousand who gather to watch.

I got there early on Christmas morning. I didn’t have a formal plan but it seemed a good idea to warm up before the event, so I walked briskly along the beach to pass the time. I got changed at the last minute and joined the huge line of swimmers.

As we waited for the off I did briefly wonder what on earth I was doing there, but it was really too late to be thinking about that. The majority of people I spoke to had been doing the swim a number of years. Many told me I should have worn something on my feet. Too late! It was cold underfoot as we walked towards the beach but I had already decided I wanted this to be a good experience so it was simply a case of keeping moving to keep warm. With the tide out a long way down the beach the line of swimmers broke into a jog and then a run towards the sea. This was a great plan both to warm up and to get into a ‘just do it’ mindset. The swimmers running to the sea were full of excitement, a mixture of bravado and trepidation.

One thing I did notice on the run down was the differing expressions of the faces of the swimmers who were on their way back after their dip. There were broadly two types; those who were shivering, hunched over, eyes down and looking a bit sorry for themselves and those who were standing tall, walking in big strides with huge grins and looking totally alive. I didn’t have to think about it, I knew which way I wanted to be walking back.

And so there it was the cold sea, around my legs before I knew it. And actually the cold wasn’t so bad. It was cold, yes definitely but that was OK. I kept moving and paid attention to the peculiar bodily feelings that were triggered off by the sudden temperature change. As I waded out to chest deep I was surprised to come face to face with a lifeguard, one of several who were stationed in the water in wet suits and breathing apparatus. Standing neck deep in the water, heads covered with safety helmets they looked like they had just emerged from the deep. I thought of twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

After a few minutes I instinctively knew it was time to get out as I noticed my feet going slightly numb and the ice cold jabbing sensations in my legs getting noticeable stronger.

I stumbled my first few steps onto the beach, glad I had got out when I did, then remembering my plan to enjoy the whole experience I naturally began striding up the beach. I must have been about halfway back before I noticed I was grinning ear to ear. Cold and wet; it didn’t matter. I had a million feel good chemicals coursing through my system, and it set me up for a great Christmas day.

From the swimmers I spoke to either before or after the swim I’d be confident to predict which of  them shivered their way back up the beach and which of them strode. Comments ranged from being scared, dreading it or talking about how cold it would be to’ it’ll be fine’ or ‘we’ll be back in the changing rooms in 15 minutes’ (beforehand) to ‘it nearly killed me’ (which I assume was an exaggeration as the person was back in the changing area and seemed to be OK) and ‘I’ll have to psyche myself up to do it again next year’ to ‘can’t wait for next year’, ‘will definitely do it again’ and ‘loved it’ (afterwards) .

Don’t get me wrong, I admire all those who took part. Many people raised lots of money in sponsorship to support the RNLI and I hope everyone who took part felt proud of themselves for doing so. It was a challenge and they all did it. My motivation for taking part was that I wanted to challenge myself.  Not challenge myself to do something hard, no, I wanted to challenge myself to see how easy I could make the experience. And in the end I did make it easy for myself, and that decision to make it easy informed the rest of my strategy – from the hour long warm up walk to the post swim warm clothes and hot tea.

All the 900 or so swimmers did the same thing. The difference in quality of experience is a question of focus. Put simply some focussed on the difficulty and others focussed on the opportunity.

Whatever you’re doing today, this week or this year – what are you going to choose to focus on?



Questions I Get Asked A Lot About NLP Sessions

There are some questions that I get asked on a regular basis. I’ve spent a lot of time this week on the phone taking enquiries from individuals who are thinking of coming to do some sessions with me, so a lot of those questions are fresh in my mind. The questions with brief answers I’m going to address here. The longer ones will be posted separately, one at a time.

Q. Can you guarantee that I will make the change I want to make?
A. No I can’t. No-one can guarantee that for you except yourself. Beware anyone who says they can.

Q. I’ve been to see a therapist/hypnotherapist/coach before. I had limited success but it didn’t last. Is there any point in coming to see you?
A. My approach is as effective as it is distinct. If what you tried before hasn’t worked I may well be able to offer you a new approach. However, see above question.

Q. What is the difference between CBT and NLP. Which will work best for me?
A. I can only answer this from an NLP point of view – I have no CBT training but my understanding is that CBT being Cognitive Behavioural Therapy works predominantly with the conscious thinking processes. NLP works with both conscious and unconscious processes at the same time. I think this is why NLP can work more quickly and also probably the reason I have worked successfully with individuals who have had unconscious behaviours they hadn’t been able to change with CBT.

Q. I’ve done lots of NLP before – do you think it just doesn’t work for me?
A. NLP can potentially work for anyone who wants to use it, but you do have to be prepared to use it, i.e. to engage fully in the process. It doesn’t matter how much NLP you have done before, I’ve worked one to one with NLP Practitioners, Master Practitioners and even NLP Trainers. It doesn’t matter how much NLP you know or how many sessions you have done with other Practitioners, if there is something you want to change and you haven’t changed it yet, there will be a reason that you haven’t changed it yet. Finding this reason and dealing with it is the key to changing it, and that’s always possible.

Q. I’m not very good at visualisation – will this be a problem?
A. Not at all. Visualisation is just one NLP technique and there are many others. If you don’t get along with visualisation, there are plenty of other ways to approach making changes. Most sessions are based around conversation, often NLP techniques are simply not needed.

Q. I’m worried I won’t be able to remember what you say, my memory is not great.
A. That’s fine. Understanding is much more important than remembering, though if there is anything particular from a session that you would like to take away and think about I will happily draw up the main points for you or we can make a short MP3 audio in the session which I can then email to you for you to use at home later.

There is more about what I do on my website and if you have questions that I haven’t addressed here you are welcome to post them for my attention.

Why four hour sessions?

This is something I get asked a lot. Most therapists use one hour sessions (or often 50 or 55 minutes) and there are some who do 90 minute sessions. I like to work with an initial four hour booking because it allows time to find out exactly what is going on rather than just using a one size fits all approach.

There are occasions when shorter sessions are appropriate e.g. a follow up session, working with children or using hypnosis for specific aims like deep relaxation or to build momentum gradually over time (for a marathon runner for instance), but these instances are the unusual rather than the norm.

For most issue resolution there will be more than one thing going on so it’s really important to find out where you are before you think about moving ahead.
Commercially it may be disadvantageous for me to use four hour sessions – I am asking a bigger commitment of my clients (and for that first session many people have a high level of uncertainty – is this going to work, what is it going to be like? etc) so four hours can seem like a big ask. And of course a four hour session will have a higher fee, so again for a potential client it’s a bigger commitment to make. There are big advantages though; the unconscious mind works fast which means that when you change your mind at an unconscious level you do so very quickly, instantaneously. Lasting change happens when you change your mind at both levels, conscious and unconscious thinking working in agreement. Changing your mind in a conscious way is what you do when you make, for instance, a New Year’s Resolution. If you find yourself sticking to that resolution easily then you will have changed your mind unconsciously as well. If you are having trouble sticking to that resolution then as much as you want to do it (your conscious thinking) there will be some unconscious thinking going on that is stopping you from sticking to your resolution. So if you need to make a change to your unconscious thinking it makes sense to do it in one go so that you can allow your unconscious mind to change in the way it likes to change;- quickly. A four hour session provides enough time to do this and that’s why I prefer to work that way.

In the context of what is considered the norm, four hours can look like a long time, but start to think about the change you want to make (and specifically how long you have wanted to make it) and now four hours is looking like a short amount of time (indeed it might even seem miraculous)!One session is often enough to resolve a single issue. Sometimes two are needed or where appropriate I will discuss with the client perhaps having a follow up session of two hours. Either way making a significant change in anything from 4 to 8 hours can be considered fast by any standard.

When we are dealing with big life changes it’s important to bring some focus and commitment along to a session. And here we see another benefit of the four hour session. It demands commitment and allows focus. Four hours is enough time to make a change. When someone comes to see me, I want them to go away feeling like something worthwhile has occurred.

So I use four hour sessions because they work and because good outcomes are important to me.


Natural Health Show in Cardiff

Yellow Brick Road Hypnotherapy has a stand at the upcoming Natural Health Show in Cardiff November 13th to 14th.

The Natural Health Show is at the Mercure Holland Hotel in Newport Road, Central Cardiff. I’ll be giving a talk there in Lecture Room B on Saturday 13th, at 1-30pm til 2-20pm. The talk is entitled Moving Towards Your Goals and is a look at the different ways we use to motivate ourselves. 

If you are going to the show, do look out for my stand and come and say hello. I will be at the stand across the weekend, 9-30am to 4-30 pm, taking enquiries and chatting about what I do.

There is lots going on at the show over the weekend including a large number of workshops and lectures. You can find out more and download a programme for the weekend at the show’s web site

Hope to see you there!

Real Radio Interview

On Friday I did a short interview for Real Radio Wales on the subject of Eating Disorders, and specifically my experience of working with clients who have sought help with one or more of the large number of symptoms that come under the classification of Eating Disorders.

Essentially NLP and Hypnotherapy are approaches that address what is going on with the individual rather than attempting to treat the symptoms of any dis-ease but I have noticed in working with a number of people to whom appetites (or sometimes lack of appetites) are causing a difficulty that there do tend to be common themes and concerns.

The Real Radio interview will be featured on their upcoming Skin Deep three day special on health issues, to be aired 18th to 20th October. I’m told excerpts from my interview will be used on the 1pm and 5pm news programmes on Real Radio Wales on the 20th October 2010. 

Until then, fingers crossed I get a good edit!

First Post.

Hello and welcome to my shiny new blog. My name is Georgia Walby and I am an NLP Hypnotherapist in South Wales (UK).

I’ll be using this space to make a note of all sorts of happenings that make me think, plus to let you (the wider world) know what I’m up to – current and forthcoming events, to invite comments and to record my progress in life and in what I do.

If you’re reading this, nice to greet you!