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This is a space for musings and insights inspired by my practice and designed to help Mums on their own healing journey.



I'm 100% committed to my own growth and would love to help with yours, too.


By Sonya Whaley, Jan 28 2018 09:19PM

I learned this week that a friend died. Mr C was my old Geography teacher at high school. We became friends after he looked me up on Friends Reunited (back in the day!) and would meet for coffee or beer intermittently in the years to come. He was always interested in what I was up to and always encouraging about anything entrepreneurial. Anyone who knew him knew that he had bagfuls of stories. His tales of hitchhiking to the original Isle of Wight festivals made me wish I was alive in the 60s.

Since learning of his passing, the word ‘teacher’ keeps jumping out at me from the pages of newspapers and websites. Mr C was one of a handful of teachers at my school who offered encouragement over and above the teaching job they were hired to do. They encouraged us to go to Univeristy in a village that did not particularly set its heights high or prize education.

There’s a world out there

Mr S, who taught Drama, would actively tell us we could be anything we wanted to be or do anything we wanted to do. He saw that we lacked the confidence that came naturally to kids from wealthier areas and seemed to see it as his personal mission to right that particular wrong. He coached us, mentored us and put us forward for national competitions. His message: there’s a world out there to be explored.

There is a teacher in all of us. We all have something nurtured and honed that we can share and pass on. There is something especially meaningful about sharing and teaching someone from an upcoming generation. After all, isn’t the core of parenting teaching your own kid how to navigate through life?

And even as we lovingly help our kids with their homework and teach them in a deliberate way, so do our unconscious actions shape them as they unconsciously model us and unwittingly become mini versions of ourselves.

Learning Now Forever

From 0 – 7, our children spend most of their time in Alpha and Theta brainwave cycles, which is the same state as an adult when they are in hypnosis or meditation. These are their programming years and they are walking around in a state of super learning.

That’s why we owe it to our kids to learn tools that help us manage our emotions and behaviours so that they in turn can navigate their path through life as calmly and openly as possible.

The life lesson I took from Mr C is that it is sometimes cut short so make it count for something, like he did when he inspired us school kids. Be curious and follow your heart. Keep music close, no matter what your age. Get drunk every now and again. Give generously of your skills and time. Enjoy life and enjoy people, as he did.

By Sonya Whaley, Nov 26 2017 12:15AM

Review of Mike Mandel’s UK Hypnosis Masterclass

Nov 6th & 7th 2017, Ufford Park, Suffolk

Mike Mandel and Chris Thompson felt like old trusted friends, I’ve listened to so much of their podcast output. Yet the British-born now Canada-dwelling master hypnotist Mike confided it had been 13 years since he last set foot on UK soil.

Unlikely, then, to be meeting the Canadian pair in the midst of rural Suffolk. An unexpectedly beautiful landscape, I walked past an ivy clad rustic red brick barn and a wildflower meadow in Melton to arrive at the venue in Ufford Park. The brilliant blue sky and crisp sunny coldness of the morning held steadfast all day. Inside, the Master Class participants began to build in number and enthusiasm.


Once Mike and Chris took the stage, we soon relaxed into their good-naturedness and were galvanised by their contagious energy. “Aim to take one or two things away with you from this class”, Mike preframed, “that really speak to you and can catapult your learning to a new level.”

The prerequisite of the class was to have some working knowledge of hypnosis. In fact, this event had pulled in quite a mixed crowd: a fresh-faced heating engineer, a gentlemanly doctor, a glamorous hairdresser wanting to set her clients at ease with better rapport, a woman from the North who reminded me of my old school dinner lady.

And we were soon in full flow, covering a wide range of skills and ideas, from ideomotor signals to the value of congruence, from ego states to embedded commands and much in between.

An open frame format was encouraged but audience members beware! Ask a question and next thing you know, Mike may have you fixed in his gaze in the start of the Fixed Attention induction. Why use words to explain a concept when it can be so elegantly illustrated with a live hypnosis demonstration? Then would follow a debrief and a chance to practice ourselves.

Rewiring the brain

In particular, as a therapist I found the trauma release exercises fascinating and immediately saw the potential usefulness in my practice. One way to disassociate from the emotions of a bad experience is by having the recipient run the memory repeatedly through the unconscious mind to release the negative charge. Only when the event is neutralised would you then have them run it through their conscious mind when it is safe to handle. We did this in tandem with setting up ideomotor signals so that we could communicate directly with the unconscious mind without compromising the trance (which speaking usually does) and got great insight into how powerful hypnosis can be in change work. Mike came back to the fact time and again, performing these exercises changes the brain’s pathways and you are literally rewiring the brain. Little wonder he has named his podcast Brain Software.

Constant referencing to texts, dates and influencers by Mike made clear that we were in the presence of an authority and we felt the benefit of someone who has made their life a study of hypnosis. Part of the duo’s appeal is that they are not afraid to credit the techniques used to their rightful originators and they pull from a vast library of tools, always respectful of whomever developed them.


Something I would have been keen to see is Chris Thompson demonstrating some of the concepts during the class. Mike identified himself as an auditory in the VAK (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic) system as laid out in NLP and it is clear that he is extremely skilled in fluent articulate delivery of spoken language. Of somewhat more interest to myself as a visual would be to hear how Chris, who also seems more visual-orientated, strings together the hypnotic language to induce and deepen trance. I’d find this especially encouraging, since I identify more with Chris’s traits.

It would also be great to hear some new anecdotes from Mike when illustrating the concepts. Many within his audience these days are attending live training after graduating from his online hypnosis academy and/or exposure to his podcast and have heard many of these stories before so he needs to be mindful to keep it fresh for such folks.

Somewhere else entirely

Towards the end of Day 1, I experienced my first profoundly deep trance at the hands of a practiced hypnosis trainer who I happened to be paired with. As I emerged from one light trance, he immediately performed a shock induction coupled with the words, “Sleep now.” I felt my head tilt fully forward, I heard voices – could make out individual voices, even – but felt like I was somewhere else entirely. Shout out to Sudbury based hypnotherapist Benjamin Ryan for that one, it was definitely a highlight.

Afterwards, we retired to the bar for cider and beer and to foster new friendships. An early night beckoned, there was much learning to digest overnight before Day 2: Mindscaping began.

By Sonya Whaley, May 14 2016 09:43PM

One of the hardest things about being a Mum is facing up to the fact that you just cannot get as much done as before baby came along.

How do you reconcile that?

We are now 3 months into life with our second born and it's strange to be back in the trenches. Personal ambition is as strong as ever but available time has certainly waned.

I recall my desperation to get my next level FasterEFT therapist certification in place before he arrived. Nothing like an imminent baby on the horizon to feel like a deadline. My sister, I remember, was halfway through coursework required for a Bowen therapist qualification when her firstborn arrived. It must run in the family.

How To Reclaim Your Time

Most parents find that creative or constructive time is compacted down to around one hour in the evening. It's sandwiched between the kids' bath and bedtime and your own (less Flake advert inspired relaxing bath wind down, more collapse in a heap in your bed).

When Virginia Woolf wrote A Room Of One's Own, she certainly knew what she was talking about. A room with a bunch of kids, no matter how angelic, never got any novels written...

Time soon starts to feel short.

And yet it's actually not. There is no shortage of time, we are positively awash with it.

That is what this post is about. To illustrate that time is intrinsically linked to perception and that a shift in perception can change everything.

How We Pace the Past and the Present

Ever notice how an awkward silence can seem to go on forever, but is probably just a few seconds long?

Conversely, how often in your party days did you miss the last train home because you were having so much fun that time sped up?

And yet, objectively, an hour is always made up of 60 minutes and a minute is always 60 seconds.

Since much of this comes down to how we code time within our own minds, perception of time is very malleable under hypnosis and even outside of it. Time can be changed from being seen as a sort of arrow or straight line into something more cyclical, more like a traditional clock face.

Once we realise that most significant achievements are accomplished in a small slice of our time it helps us give up the frustration that comes with ploughing hours into seemingly low value activities like endless changing of nappies.

How many times have you steamed from room to room tidying only to have your beloved little one at your heal quietly leaving a corresponding trail of chaos in your wake?

Yes, the frustration can get to you.

Sarah's Nest

When I was a child I read a story called Sarah's Nest. It was about a colony of ants that Sarah tried to help by leaving out small bowls of honey and water nearby. As the story unfolded, however, we learned that Sarah had unwittingly put the whole colony in crisis. The water overwhelmed the nest. Ants in peril got carried away on floating leaves by the strong current. The honey attracted larger insect life who wanted to eat them. Much of the nest population was wiped out.

The ants may not have had the overview or god-like powers of a taller being such as Sarah, and yet each ant had the intuition to go about their own tasks in a way that benefitted the nest and its survival.

If we can think of those low value tasks such as nappy changing and tidying as an investment, it can help us enjoy the long days until that final hour of me-time comes along in the evening.

They are an opportunity for our most precious and valued relationships and attributes to be nurtured, extended and deepened. An opportunity to create something better.

Think of the clock face, the hands ticking around in their perpetual circle.

The sun rises and sets every day, day after day.

How have you been representing time? How can you better represent it to feel better each day?

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