Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Hypnosis For Writing and Inspiration

When I started my hypnotherapy diploma at LCCH I was working as a freelance tutor, writer and alternative health practitioner. I was already aware that hypnosis could get rid of fears and phobias, and break unwanted habits like nail-biting or smoking; however, I was much more interested to know if it could unleash my hidden creativity. Could it, for instance, improve my ability to play diifficult Chopin pieces on the piano? Or even help me to write a book?
Like many writers I had mysterious blocks that prevented me from getting down to it. I started a lot of writing projects but never finished any of them. I found it easy to write short pieces for publication but impossible to get even halfway through writing a book. I was convinced that if only I could stop dithering about I would be able to accomplish my goal, but nothing I tried (writing groups, writing courses, books about how to write) seemed to make any difference.

Until I tried hypnosis.

In one of my course books I discovered a short section with suggestions for enhancing creativity. Using this as a guide, I wrote and recorded two 15-minute tapes to use in my self-hypnosis sessions, telling my unconscious mind what I wanted to achieve and how this would happen: for example, breaking the work down into easy segments that would fit the time I had available; being able to finish what I started; having a steady stream of inspiration even when I was busy doing other things.

For a couple of months I listened to my writing tapes two or three times a week while in a hypnotic trance. After that I put them aside, becoming busy with other things, and eventually I forgot all about them. One day, out of the blue, I sat down at my desk and started writing, but this time it felt different. The usual "itching and twitching " was strangely absent, replaced by a new focus and concentration that enabled me to tune out distractions. Three months later I had written my book!

No, it isn't the next great Novel Of Our Time. Actually it's a textbook for use in my classes, but it fills a gap in the market and I already have good indications that it will sell. The strange thing is that I wrote it during one of the busiest times of my life, sitting down to type whenever I had a spare half hour, and somehow it just flowed. I am convinced that the tapes had a profound effect, removing whatever had been holding me back. Nor was it necessary to figure out exactly what was causing the block - hypnosis is about change rather than analysis. In my work as a hypnotherapist I now have a special interest in helping my clients release their own creativity, whether it be writing, painting, music - or simply searching for the way to a more fulfilled life. I believe the unconscious mind is raring to go, full of inspiration and brilliant ideas, if only we can reach into it and get to the treasure. Hypnosis is the key to overcoming our inhibitions. As the author Anne Lamott says, "...writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself..."

Meanwhile I have started work on my next book.www.blissfulbaby.co.uk

Saturday, 20 September 2014

VIDEO Genie: Secret of the Wild Child

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Treating Victims of Crime With Hypnosis

By Angela Elliot

Everyone likes to think that crime happens to other people, and that's fine until the day comes when you're mugged for your mobile phone, or you return home one night to discover you've been burgled. Straightforward crimes such as these can unexpectedly turn you into a 'victim' and you may feel a range of emotions: be angry, shocked, hurt, and often frightened. Imagine then if you are victim of a serious crime: rape or sexual assault, domestic violence, any kind of physical assault, homophobic or racist crime, aggravated burglary, or bereaved through homicide or manslaughter. Imagine the range of emotions you might go through then. Crime doesn't just happen to 'other' people, it happens to everyone.

I trained as a hypnotherapist with the LCCH and intended treating patients with anxiety disorders and phobias. I had been a phobia sufferer for years and I figured I knew what it felt like and that, because hypnotherapy had worked for me, I could show others how it could work for them too. Life, though, took me in different direction.

Early in the year I qualified, I spent a day on attachment with the Metropolitan Police Force in Brixton. They gave me a bulletproof vest, an extendable steel cosh and a radio and told me if they went down I had to call for back up. The first call we attended was a raid on a crack house. From that moment I was hooked on learning more about the effects of crime. But there was something else driving me: I too had once been a victim of a serious crime.

One day in 1985 my car broke down on a motorway and a stranger stopped to 'help' me. His form of 'help' was to rape me. I was terrified and didn't have the courage to fight back. To my shame, but like the majority of women, I also didn't report it. It wasn't until ten years later that I told someone what had happened. The day I spent with the Brixton Police showed me that the time had come to fight back. I volunteered as a Case Worker with Victim Support and it was the best decision I've ever made.

As a matter of course, the Police refer all victims of crime to Victim Support, which is a charity organization partially funded by the Home Office. I was given thorough training to cover general crime, homicide, domestic violence, racial and homophobic crime, and rape and sexual assault; offering both emotional and practical support. I was introduced to the Family Liaison Officers from the Serious Crimes Squad at Scotland Yard and spent time at Enfield Magistrates Court talking to witnesses.

For over a year I spent one day per week working voluntarily for Victim Support at my local office in Haringey, making home visits where necessary. Recently they asked me to work for them full-time as their Manager, with a special interest in Domestic Violence. My remit does not include using formal Hypnosis. However, as much of my work includes crisis intervention and extremely brief therapy, with no time to complete a full case history, I use Alert Hypnosis together with a simple protocol I've developed to reframe victims in as short a time as possible whilst building rapport and remaining empathetic. In private practice I have been able to extend this specialization and now treat patients who are victims of serious crime.
With this come all the legal ramifications and practical considerations that I must take on-board when doing this kind of work.

Crime is different to other types of crisis in that the trauma caused is due to the deliberate action of another person. Grief is often left unresolved; anger and shock are predominant emotions; the judicial process is long, and frequently the outcome does not match the victim's expectations.

Certain types of crime are concomitant with further risks, as in the case of domestic violence, where the therapist may unwittingly be placed in danger, or when supporting a bereaved relative of a homicide victim who may also be a suspect in the investigation. Your first consideration must always be your own personal safety.
As any evidence obtained during hypnosis is inadmissible in court, it is vitally important that you do not prejudice a court case by regressing the patient such that they recover a memory they may then rely on in court or offer up as evidence to the Police. There are many ways, however, that Hypnotherapy can speed recovery.

Much of the work I do draws on Crisis Theory, developed in the 50s and 60s and traditionally employed for the treatment of victims of crime. Like hypnotherapy, Crisis Theory is an eclectic mix of psychotherapies, and hypnosis is its ideal partner. Specific use of reframing, parts therapy, self-integration dissociation, ego strengthening, direct suggestions and alert hypnosis, whilst avoiding use of regression, can empower and heal the victim. And yes, I refer to them as victims until they decide that they want to be referred to as survivors. Never automatically reframe a victim of crime as a survivor. It is vitally important that you gain trust, develop rapport and use their language, working at their pace, particularly when dealing with serious crime.

There are specific emotional distinctions between each crime. Domestic violence for example can include sexual, financial, emotional and physical abuse, each with their own set of emotional responses. Homicide can include feelings of revenge, anger, or hopelessness, and this may be turned on you as their therapist. As such you need to be both very well- trained and mentally prepared to deal with certain types of incidents. You will lose your objectivity if you are unduly affected by the horrors of the crime. If this is the case, then you are better off referring. Additionally, should you feel you have been affected by your patient's trauma, then you must ask for supervision and deal with whatever this has brought up for you.
When it is a matter of crisis intervention and you don't have enough time to take a full case history, the simple protocol I have developed for use with victims of non-serious crimes or where the victim has no prior history of trauma, takes only one hour and works in the following way:
  1. Allow the victim to tell you about the crime
  2. Reassure and normalize the victim's emotional states, reframing where necessary. Leave the victim/survivor reframe until later
  3. Ask about support from family and friends
  4. What were they doing with their life before the crime? Their work, study, interests etc
  5. What plans did they have for the future before the crime occurred? Original goals?
  6. Incorporate the positive and reframed aspects of the crime to provide a new insight on the future. Use their words to feed their positive feelings back to them.
  7. Now reframe the victim/survivor tag. Ego strengthen, stressing bravery.
These seven steps provide a very simple way to guide a victim of non-serious crime around the healing circle; taking them from the journey in pain to the journey to recovery by reframing, using Alert Hypnosis to incorporate the crime into their life as a learning experience.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

7 Ways To Mentally Cope With Moving Abroad

1. Join an Online Social Group
Meetup is one of the best websites for meeting new people with a common interest. Sign up and search for interest groups in your new city, or even better, if there isn’t one already, create one. Facebook is also very useful; I’m an au pair and I made all of my new friends through the city’s au pair group.

2. Schedule a Regular Time to Catch Up With Loved Ones

It’s easy to miss your loved ones when you have conflicting schedules; especially romantic partners. Schedule a time every week, regardless of the time zone and/or the circumstances and speak to each other on Skype (it’s free to download if you don’t already have it).

If you make this a regular habit, it will comfort you when you start to miss them too much because you always know you’re going to catch each other online. Sundays are often the best time for this.

Talk about what you both have been doing, how much you miss one another. and what you’re going to do when you both see each other.
3. Do What You’ve Always Wanted to Do
As much as we adore our loved ones, sometimes we get complacent and hold ourselves back from what we really want to do, such as working on a business plan when you really want to go and watch the game with your friend.

However, being alone can sometimes give us the kick in the ass that we needed. Now that you have a lot more free time and fewer distractions, you can pursue a hobby you’ve always wanted to do. Being alone also gives you the opportunity to meet new, like-minded people.
4. Learn to Embrace New Challenges
Many people see challenges as negative, but they can be very fulfilling to overcome, and living abroad is no exception. This will push you to your very limits, but know that by the end of it, you will be a better-rounded person for it—not many people can say they’ve come out the other side, so don’t be one of them.
5. Write a Note to Yourself to Read When You Feel Most Challenged
There are going to be times when you’ll want to throw in the towel and quit; it’s all too common to let your emotions affect your rationality. Don’t let that happen—instead, write yourself a note (I have mine on my iphone notes) and look at it whenever you feel most dis-empowered. It was written by your best self, to you. The irony is that you may never even need it; I wrote one to myself and never ended up looking at it, so I deleted it.
6. Seek Comfort in Something You Can Always Have With You
We seldom root our comfort in the simplest of pleasures like a cup of coffee, a picture in your wallet, a favourite album / book / movie, but when you’re abroad, you won’t have your home to comfort you when you have a bad day. This is what people mean when they say they’re homesick: they miss what their home provides them—comfort.

Always have your favourite personal belonging at hand to look at whenever you feel sad. I have my favourite albums on my laptop and whenever I feel homesick, I listen to them because it takes me back to a happy place, regardless of where I am in the world.
7. Celebrate Your Successes
Celebrate every success you have, regardless of how small you think it is. You don’t always have to share it with someone, because it’s yours. Write it down in a journal and reflect back on it when you feel you can’t move forward. Maybe you were really anxious about meeting your new co-workers, but they all greeted you with open arms. Build up this forward momentum of little successes and soon you’ll be on your way to acclimatizing to your new home.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Dealing With That Overly Competitive Person

If a competitive friend or colleague is making your life a misery, here's what to do about it...

We're all a bit competitive. We all want the best job, the best grades or just the best seat on the train. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. A healthy competitive streak makes sure we get what we deserve in life. But some people take competition too far. They'll go to any lengths to get to the top of the tree, even if it means pushing other people off the ladder on their way up.

You'll come across overly competitive people in all walks of life, from your weekly six-a-side touch match to the office or boardroom. They have to win at all costs, and those costs can include your own peace of mind. You can avoid them, of course, but that's not always possible. So here's how to identify the ultra-competitive among us, and deal with their antisocial behaviour.

How do you know if someone is overly competitive?
First off, it's worth remembering that being competitive isn't bad — just being overly so. If somebody wants to be the best, but balances that with respect for his teammates or colleagues, his competitiveness isn't a problem. Overly competitive people tend to value winning above everything else, even friendship. So their desire to be first, or to garner most praise and admiration from others, or to win, often includes being nasty, spiteful, backbiting or sneaky. They may put you down behind your back, especially if they view you as competition.

Things could be getting worse. The economic downturn means that — in terms of work — more of us are competing for fewer resources, bringing out a selfish streak in some. One survey found that, on average, workers view about a third of their colleagues as competitive to a negative degree.

Why are some people overly competitive?

Extreme competitiveness seems to be part and parcel of some personality types. Many successful business people are described as having a type A personality — which means they're driven, impatient, often hostile and usually highly competitive.

Others have self-esteem issues, and constantly feel the need to judge their achievements against those of other people. Some have adopted what psychologists refer to as a 'scarce resource model', which means they see everything in black and white.

Put simply, they think that if you've got something they can't have it too, so they strive to beat you to it. Some people are simply narcissistic and arrogant, and see you, according to psychologist Dr Melanie Greenberg, "as a potential threat to their own success, or as an object to use or manipulate in order to meet their own needs or increase their resources".

The effect of their behaviour can be serious. Greenberg believes competitive people "can provoke feelings of irritation, anxiety, or inadequacy". The constant battle to keep a competitive person at bay can leave you exhausted and even depressed.

Dealing with an overly competitive person

According to psychologists, there are several ways you can deal with the colleague who always grabs credit for collective work or the friend who always has to go one better.

Choose your friends, and colleagues: If there's a painfully competitive character in the office or in your group of friends, surround yourself as much as possible with more cooperative people. Show a united front. You don't have to be mean to him - some light-hearted banter about his win-at-all-costs nature will show him that you're on to him, and that you're no pushovers.

Give praise: Strange as it may seem, giving overly competitive people praise can sometimes disarm them and persuade them to see you as an ally rather than a competitor. This won't mean they change their behaviour — they'll just direct it towards other people rather than you. It works if their ultra-competitive streak is caused by insecurity.

Change the subject: Whether it's a colleague bragging about grabbing the biggest contract or a friend who can't help bringing up his death defying adventures, the simplest tactic is just to change the subject. Do it a few times and they may get the message. It's a bit brutal, so you should only use it if their competitive bragging is really getting everyone's goat.

Do big up your own achievements: In work situations, however, bigging yourself up can work. In particular, coolly reminding an ultra-competitive colleague of your own achievements can work wonders. Competitive people are often impressed by status, and by reminding them of yours you may gain their respect. Of course, they may still want to overtake you, but they won't want to knock you down while they're doing it. They may see you as someone who might be useful to them — and someone to keep on side.

Be cooperative: Make a virtue of your own cooperative nature. Suggest ways of working with your competitive colleague and make sure a few important people know about it. Always make sure you have enough work and responsibility to showcase your own talents, and at the end of a project praise everyone involved, so Mr Competitive will look particularly self-centred — and dishonest — if he tries to take all the credit for himself.

Be on your guard: At the same time, if you're up against someone so competitive he's prepared to be devious and conniving you need to stay on your guard. Don't share information with him that he can use to support his own claims, and make sure — as above — that your own work gives you the chance to shine.

If his behaviour gets out of hand, you may have to have a word with the boss. In a private moment, let him know that the success was due to collective effort, and that your competitive colleague is in danger of undermining team morale.

If an overly competitive friend or colleague is harming your health, happiness or career, you don't have to put up with it. By invoking a few easy strategies, you can put them in their place or make them direct their competitive attentions elsewhere.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

VIDEO The Woman Who Woke Up Chinese

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Psychology of The Sports Fan

From Longyearbyen to Ushuaia the world is filled with fans. They are the lifeblood of professional sports and the only reason why anybody in the industry receives a check. According to a recent A.T. Kearney study today’s global sports industry is worth between €350 billion and €450 billion ($480-$620 billion). In an industry of this size and scope connecting to and sustaining a devoted fan base is an opportunity AND a major challenge, especially when your competitors are engaging in an all-out battle for the hearts, time, attention and wallets … of your fans.

Today, sports fans everywhere are changing how they express their support and spend their time and MONEY. Globalisation, emerging new sports, time constraints, rising costs and especially the socialisation of media are influencing their expectations, behaviour and spending patterns. What makes fans tick? Which psychological, sociological and philosophical phenomena drive fandom?

Assessing how sports organisations and their social media activations can meet the deepest needs of their fans, will increase the understanding and better equip them to increase the levels of involvement and ultimately, improve business results.

The fan, an introduction
The word fan finds originates from the Modern Latinfanaticus, meaning as much as “insanely but divinely inspired”. True fans are committed from the cradle to the grave. They tattoo their skin,sing, start their own religion and use their cash(or their stun-gun) to express their – almost – unconditional love for their favourite team.

According to this post on‘the smoking jacket’(@ThisIsTSJ) by Mark Hill, being a sports fan makes you; a fat alcoholic, dumb and a moody douche bag. Fortunately, there’s hope;this awesome post by Cristina Goyanes(@XstinaGoyanes) points out that being a sports fan provides you with a perfect workout, inspires you to get more active, makes you live longer, enhances your relationship and … makes you smarter (I knew it).

How we become sports fans
This (1997) dissertation by Dr. Jeffrey James describes the process kids go through when they convert to being sports fans. Only when kids are around 8 or 9 years old, after they’ve developed the skill of concrete operational thinking; they’re capable of developing an emotional, long-term attachment to a sport, team, or particular athlete. Usually kids would first get attached to a particular sport, then to a team and then to a player. A child’s main influences (socializing agents) throughout this process include their family (father, mother, or an older sibling), media and their personal sports participation (playing with friends, at school or at their local club).

Federations, leagues and teams should prioritize facilitating the (digital / social) interaction between these socializing agents and the 7, 8 and 9 years olds around them. Considering the enormous lifetime value of every ‘new fan’; developing experiences, competitions, applications and social media networks specifically targeting this particular demographic, will certainly be worth the investment.
Selling shared experiences

As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (@mcuban)explains;“Think back to the first professional sporting event you ever went to. It was probably a parent taking you to theGAME. What do you remember? Do you remember the score? A home run? A jump shot? A pass play? Or do you remember who you were with? I remember being with my dad at a Pirates game. My dad and my uncle at a Steelers game. Think about your fondest memories at a sporting event. We don’t sell the game; we sell unique, emotional experiences. We are not in the business of selling basketball. We are in the business of giving you a chance to create shared experiences.”

Its fantastic to share experiences with your kids and most parents feel they’re doing their kids a big favour by introducing them to sports; ‘the school of life’. Sports are perfectly suited to focus on results, enjoy the essence of teamwork, learn that practice makes perfect, how to play by the rules and respect authority,WINwith grace and loose with dignity. Sam Sommers (@samsommers), Professor at Tufts University and expert on the psychology of everyday life, explains in this great post why it might be a good idea to raise your kids to be sports fans (amongst other reasons, because sports are great for family bonding and teach kids important lessons about perseverance).

Professor Daniel Wann, a psychologist at Murray State University in Kentucky has published several studies and some great bookson Fan Psychology. He points out that not every fan is equally involved and devised the Sport Fan Motivation Scale which isolates 8 major motives for becoming a sports fan: eustress (postitive stress), escape, entertainment, economic, aesthetic, group affiliation, self-esteem, and family needs and also presented the fan involvement ladder. It’s designed to illustrate the degrees of fan intensity and help sports decision makers determine how to increase fan involvement, moving fans from lower to higher levels on the ladder.

Professor Wann also found that some fans find a sense of belonging and acceptance in the sports that they haven’t been able to find in their life; “So many of the traditional institutions are beginning to break down, religion and family. The human psyche is the same and something has to take the place of that. Sports fill an important void.”
The Psychology of Sports Fans
Some psychologists claim that fan psychology is rooted in primitive times when we lived in small tribes, and warriors fighting to protect our tribe were true genetic representatives of “our people”. In today’s society athletes play a similar role for a city, club or school in the stylized war on a playing field – as the theory goes. The athlete’s exploits helps reconnect the fans with those intense emotions that tribal warfare did for their ancestors.

As Adam Sternbergh (@sternbergh) explains in this great piece that being a sports fan allows you to feel deep emotional investment in something that has no actual real-world consequences. Sports are never guaranteed to end happily. In fact for some fans, most GAMES end in a highly unsatisfying way. As a fan, you will feel actual joy or actual pain in relation to events that really don’t affect your life at all. It matters, deeply, and yet it doesn’t matter at all. It’s heartbreak with training wheels. The opportunity to experience and survive it is something to be valued, not lamented. It’s the one time you should really be grateful for deciding to be a fan.

A (1998) study by Paul Bernhardt, currently teaching at Frostburg State University, found that testosterone levels increased about 20 per cent in fans of WINNING teams and decreased about 20 per cent in fans of losing teams. Some researchers believe that this ‘eustress’(Euphoria & Stress) could actually be labeled ‘dangerously addictive’. Research done by Professor Edward Hirt of Indiana University has demonstrated that on the day after a team’s WIN, sports fans feel much better about themselves. Their self-esteem rises and falls with a game’s outcome. After a win, diehard fans are more optimistic about their personal sex appeal and their ability to perform well at mental or physical tests, Professor Hirt found. When the team lost, that optimism evaporated.

Here’s a post by Michael Cohn (@mcohn) about the psychology behind social media and the fundamental human need it fulfils. People simply love engaging most with, well pretty much ‘whatever touches them on a deeply emotional or personal level’. Their favorite sports team, athlete or their fellow fans certainly qualify. While celebrities use the social arena to nurture their reputation, federations and clubs focus on cultivating their communities. Fans have embraced social media amass looking for acknowledgement, attention, assurance, approval, acclimation and appreciation. Fan-centered strategies encourage and enable fans to engage and make the team more accessible, interactive and responsive. Individual interaction will not only humanize the team, but also strengthen the deep personal connection fans feel with their team.
‘We Won’

Sports fans tend to say “we” won, and by “we,” they don’t mean themselves, personally. The closer you identify with your team, the more likely you are to BIRG, “Bask In Reflected Glory”. In contrast, “CORF-ing” means that you “Cut Off Reflected Failure.” After a big loss some fans want to distance themselves from ‘their disgrace’ as much as possible. It’s not “we,” who lost, it’s “them!”

Of course the clear objective of every sports team is to win – or at least compete for the championship. But reality is: only one team will win the championship. In the sports industry winning and losing are inevitable. This is why sports organizations should consistently place match results in more than just a winning context, especially because satisfaction with the outcome of theGAMEShas very little to do with the loyalty of fans. Hardcore sports fans will hold onto the passion for their team no matter what. There are examples of winning teams that have attracted fewer fans than mediocre or even losing teams able to maintain a healthy fan base. So while CORF-ing and BIRK-ing might explain why the most successful teams usually enjoy a large fan base, they do not explain why some of these – loosing - teams still have any fans left.
“To live is to suffer”

In this great article(Phillies-fan) Stephen Baker@stevebaker interviews Professor Hirt about the ‘apparent masochist’ hidden deep inside every fan; “a large part of shared fan experiences, is suffering through years, sometimes decades, without tasting victory. It’s really painful when you invest in a team that’s ultimately a loser,” said Hirt (a Milwaukee Brewers fan himself). “One of the things I find in sports fans, which people don’t have in too many other things, is this idea that you earn the benefits of fandom through loyalty.”

Speaking about long-suffering Boston Red Sox fans, Hirt said “those events that tested their mettle are things that they are proud of because they’ve earned the right to revel in the team’s success when ultimately things turn around for them.” These same diehard fans are the ones who loath those who jump on the bandwagon when their team is doing well because, “they haven’t suffered enough to earn the benefits of fandom. “I’ve put so much into the team over the years, that all I want is a goodGAME.” After all,to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. Boredom is the most common reason for relationship dissolution. So while loosing is absolutely fine, if you bore me, you’ll loose me!

When it comes to acknowledgement through social media, above all fans want others to recognize their commitment and support. A “real” sports fan is stuck with their team, never to love another. Referencing author Nick Hornby’s autobiography“Fever Pitch,”Hirt says that fans have a constant in their sports teams that perhaps they don’t have in the rest of their life; “They are a constant in life, that gives you a sense of stability to hang your hat on,” he says. And the main constant of sport is that there can only be one WINNERand a lot of losers.

Here’s a good read on fan psychology by Dev Ashish on@BleacherReport and another great post by clinical psychologist, Susan K. Whitbourne (@swhitbo) professor at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this post she explains that while BIRK-ing and CORF-ing are great for understanding how fans behave after victory and loss, there are plenty of other concepts help explain why some fans act the way they do during GAMES.
The most passionate sports fans (like the guy in the below video) escape their normal daily life, as well as social inhibitions and express themselves freely by “cheering for their team”, as well as lash out at rivals. They display the social psychological phenomenon of disinhibition (also – colloquially - used to describe behavior of people who post content on social networking sites they’d never express face-to-face). The normal constraints on behaviour, such as long-term norms, self-monitoring, and self-awareness, are no longer present, causing fans to act on the basis of their immediate emotions and motivations, without considerations that might otherwise prevent their behaviour.

Even people who are usually relatively reserved and shy can explode in bursts ofexhibitionismwhen they get in ‚fan-mode’. Some fans don’t even have to physically attend theGAMEto show the disinhibition effect. Some fansget slightly over-excited after a dunk, feel devastated after a loss, have mild anger control issuesorare simply pleasantly insane by nature (that last link is from ThoseLilRabbits but its still hilarious).

As Mike Perry describes in this post the most passionate fans tend to identify themselves as an integral part of the team they are supporting, with some of them – clearly – feeling less responsible for their individual behaviour. When disinhibition is combined with deindividuation – a loss of self-awareness and a sense of diffused responsibility – fans simply don’t care anymore about what anyone else might think or feel. Deindividuation weakens normal restraints without which, fans are more easily influenced by their surroundings; this is when fans start acting – really – weird, in either a pleasant or less pleasant way.

Groups of fans may mob, insult, threat or even riot. Groups provide fans with a sense of anonymity. Being part of a group removes individual accountability and diffuses responsibility. Unfortunately this behaviour appears online just as often as it does in the stadium.

This national geographic article by Brian Handwerk quotes professor Rick Grieve from Western Kentucky University; “Group identities can become especially intense in the crucible of a big sporting event when your entire group is charged with the same high levels of adrenaline. When tens of thousands of people are chanting ‘We’re number one,’ wearing team apparel, our group identity is strong and we want to fit in.

“So if we see someone throw a beer bottle and it draws cheers from our group members who we’re really identifying with at the time, we might be apt to match that behaviour or up it,” he added. “You can see it with heckling, if people laugh and provide reinforcement, others act out that way.” The solution lies in stopping the process of deindividuation. Offline or online the best way to do that is to encourage a fans self-awareness. It may be the fans themselves who can best prevent such incidents. Peer pressure can curb unruly behavior before it begins to escalate.

In stadiums sports organisations aim to strengthen this process, for instance with the placement of mirrors, video cameras & public screens. In an online environment misbehaving fans should also be taken out of their perceived anonymity and personally confronted, on an individual basis. It’s very important to stop undesired behaviour as early as possible, because the bigger it grows, the further it deindividuates, the more people will feel comfortable misbehaving.
Fans do not only connect to sports through stars and places but also through the communication and social currency it generates. Sports events are social gatherings where the supplementary events and experiences are often more important than the actual game. One of the fundamental advantages of social currency is that it appeals to the deeply rooted desire of people to be part of crowds. This factor is critical to the popularity of fan-zones, travelling to away GAMES, viewing parties, sports-bars and – more recently – the dramatic ‘socialization’ of the sports fan.

The consequence of this socialization is a fan base that is easier to reach and harder to engage. It was more realistic for sports organizations to target mass markets when there were fewer competitors and fewer channels. Now sports fans are resegmenting into smaller and smaller markets. Connecting requires more interaction and more relationship and community building.
Community & Sharing
One of the main reasons that people decide to connect with others on social media channels is to have a sense of belonging to a community. Ask them to share their passion, opinions and experiences and engage them in discussions as often as possible. The way in which a sports organization pays attention to their fans does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. It can be as short and simple as a tweet or a short message on the person’s Facebook wall. If the team expresses approval of what fans have to say and make them understand that there is value in what they are contributing, a fans involvement will continue to increase.

Here’s a cool post by Séan Walsh (@walshybhoy) covering ‘The social media tactics every club must have’

All people love appreciation, it’s no different for sports fans in social media. A sports team should express its appreciation to fans and remember to pay close attention to what is important to them and try to continuously add value to their experiences. Who doesn’t love to see their name in lights? It is very important to give acclamation to your most passionate fans. Through your communication in social media, you can show acclaim by highlighting your loyal fans.

Here’s a link from the 2011 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, to an interesting presentation by Nick Grudin, (@ngrudin), the Director of Media Partnerships for Facebook. According to Nick Grudin, Sports can be fundamentally enhanced with social experiences. Fans ‘like’ their favorite teams and athletes by the millions. Sports arena’s and stadiums are the number two most checked in places in the US (only after airports). While some of the stats are surely outdated by now the basic point of his presentation is more true today than ever before; ”You’re just never a fan alone”.

For more information on Facebook, check-out this post by Lauren Drell (@drelly)featuring 5 great tips for sports marketing on Facebook, or this post by Amy Porterfield (@AmyPorterfield) on‘How to turn Facebook fans into super fans’. Both are certainly worth a read.
Parasocial relationships

In a society fascinated with success, fame and celebrity it’s easy to appreciate that many fans idolize celebrity athletes. There are many explanations for this attraction. We love neophilia (novelty, uniqueness or newness) and our sexual selection includes the evolutionary ‘survival of the sexiest’. In most cases the relationship fans feel with an athlete are best described as parasocial. This means that in most cases the target individual (the sports icon) is fully unaware of the existence of a relationship with any particular fan in the first place. Parasocial relationships are attractive ‘and feel safe’ for fans as they come without any risk of criticism or rejection.

In a great post about the psychology of the celebrity Russell Dean Roering (@russ_dean) explains that while meeting a sports star is a huge deal for most fans, it probably means almost nothing to the athlete. He mentions the below scene from “friends” where Ross Isabella Rosselini in Central Perk and is trying to convince her that dating him would be “the chance of a lifetime.” Rosselini’s response is classic: She looks at him and flatly says “yeah…for you.”

We know celebrities and their lives so well, but they don’t know us at all. It makes meeting them like running into an old friend, except that the old friend has no idea who you are. In the world of social media, celebrity works a little differently; an athlete’s re-tweet is today what the ‘signed autograph card’ meant to fans a decade ago. Socially engaging fans has become part of the job. Like Russell ends his post: “They still might not want to date us, even though it may be the chance of a lifetime, but they still give us a quick hello and allow us to really be a real part of their lives, if only for a moment”.
Celebrities in social media

Many great posts on Sports Networker have been dedicated to this topic. Fans have very different expectations towards athletes then they do of their team. Our fascination with celebrities, coupled with social media granting us instant access into their daily lives, suggests that celebrities would inherently have a leg up on teams and sports brands. For many fans the thought of having a conversation with a famous athlete, holds far more appeal than being able to interact directly with a more or less anonymous team or office staff member.

Celebrities use their social channels to nurture their reputation, while federations and teams re-enforce and cultivate their communities. But as Simon Mainwaring(@simonmainwaring) explains in this posta league, team or sports team that wants to build social communities, capital and influence, should aim to become the chief celebrant of its community, not its celebrity.

Instead of striving to be a figurehead that its entire fan population wildly worships and adores, a sports team might focus on elevating existing fan relationships and generating connections with new fans, such as this LA Clippers live-chat option described in this great post by Andy Pawlowski(@andypawlowski). You often get back what you give in marketing, and sports fans who encounter intentions driven by loyalty, gratitude, and celebration towards their community will be quick to return their enthusiasm.

Sports celebrity Babe Ruth only had one superstition; “I made sure to touch all the bases when I hit a home run”. Whether you physically attend games, watch them on tv or simply follow them on twitter, you might recognise the effect known as superstitious conditioning. This is the idea that by not missing a single game, wearing the right jersey or slippers or simply having an ice-cream (or a peanut butter sandwich) at exactly the right moment, they caused the team to start scoring and eventually winning the game. Others will claim the opposite, avoiding any real-time action because they can “cause” the team to lose just by ‘doing something wrong’.Here’s a nice super-fan / superstition storyby@kristianiaclark.

The ingroup bias
The ingroup-outgroup bias is another social psychological phenomenon applicable to fandom. The fans of one team, the “in-group” will deprecate the fans of the other team, the “outgroup.” This intergroup bias is the belief that one’s own group is better than all other groups. The most fanatic fans might say that theyhatetheir archrival, while in fact – ironically – true fans partially exist only BECAUSE of the outgroup they claim to despice. If the enemy wouldn’t be there, there would be no “us”. In addition, who would there be to beat? Most fans will intellectually appreciatethere is very little, if anything, that distinguishes a Purdue-fanfrom a fan of Notre Dame.

They are both passionate about supporting their team, know every detail about the players, and religiously follow the progress of their heroes. The only thing that differentiates one group from the other is the team they root for. Now of course it’s extremely doubtful that knowledge of this social psychological principle will lead to fans of FC Barcelona to reach out and hug fans of Real Madrid. The sad truth behind the ingroup bias, is that we simply love to hate each other (and ‘their’ sponsors) .
Cognitive bias

Here’s a great post by Sam McNerney(@WhyWeReason) explaining cognitive bias. This is the phenomenon where all of us only look for what confirms their intuitions and ignore what contradictions their intuitions, what psychologists call confirmation bias. Confirmation bias helps explain why some fans will boo every single referee call against their team and English soccer fans will – still – argue with Germans about whether the ball did or did not pass the line in 1966(!). Fans automatically see the world as they want to, not how it is.
Why delayed games do not excite fans
The fans desire to be closer and have more access to the sport and the athlete’s fuels the fans connection. Today sports fans have access to a wide variety of sports at any time of the day including the insights from experts that were never available. Fans can sit in their living room dry and warm see constant replays and on-demand highlights listen to coaches and players talk to each other and experience almost any sporting event from anywhere in the world. Fans seeking uncertainty find the drama and randomness of the sports outcome a compelling attraction and a reason to invest money, time and energy in being a spectator (which also partially explains the excitement many fans have for gambling and fantasy sports).

Chuck Klosterman(@CKlosterman) wrote a great piece on grantland www.grantland.com titled‘Space, Time and DVR Mechanics’. In it Klosterman attempts to answer the question why sports fans find watching a pre-recorded sporting match so much less exciting than watching exactly the same game live? The rational explanations, such as: the removal of drama, an increased distance from the actual experience and too much control over the experience and the Irrational explanations such as the lack of superstitious conditioning and the belief that if anything really exciting would have happened – “you would probably have already known about it”. Also; check-out the below video and see what happens when you unplug the TV during an important Super Bowl play.

The second screen
The opposite is also true. Fans love to loose themselves in the unpredictable drama of the live sports event. This also explains why sports are so suitable for second screen activations.Here’s a post by JP de Clerck (@JPDeClerck) covering a presentation by Kevin Slavin (@slavin_fpo) on “Second Screen Engagement: the Social Dimension of the TV Experience”. As fans use several media at the same time they connect with each other to talk about the GAME and connect with a community of others doing exactly the same thing as they do at that moment (real-time is key here). The ability to communicate about the game, the feeling of doing and experiencing something together and the mere psychological act of connecting is an extremely strong motivation for fans.

TV is a synchronizing technology and with second screen engagement, we use desynchronizing technologies to resynchronize. No geolocated venue is as big as television. When we combine the enormous impact of some of the major sports events, the power of community and the psychological need of sharing and belonging, we’ll quickly understand the potential of second screen engagement in sports.
Welcome to Fandom!

This year, millions of 8-year olds will be first introduced to the magic of sport. Someone they love will take their little hand and walk them intotheirstadium. Sitting in the stands, they will not know where to look. The skills, smells, lights, sounds and overwhelming emotions will almost certainly provide an exhilarating new experience and a memory most of them will cherish for the rest of their lives. They will embrace sports; the pain, belief, frustrations and dreams all of us simply love to love.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

A Hypnotherapists Thoughts On Past Life Regression

By Chris Connelly

Since qualifying in Clinical Hypnotherapy I’ve found the topic of Past Life Regression (PLR) generally gets mixed reviews within the hypnotherapy profession. Most often or not Hypnotherapy schools teach Past Life regression as a single unit within a framework of many other topics, if at all.

When during my diploma I came across the past life regression module it was taught as a therapy where the unconscious mind of the client may role play the presenting problem in a disassociative manner thereby allowing the client to work through the presenting problem but without having to relive that problem. Rather than the common approach to what has often been referred to as Tourist Past Life, where you guide the client back to a possible past life purely on the basis of the clients interest. I’ve lost count to the number of times I’ve heard “I want to see who I was in a past life”.

Intrigued in this therapeutic approach to past life regression, I continued my training in the area and have used this knowledge many times in my therapy practice.

For those who may be sceptical of the possible benefits of PLR, I wanted to write an article giving a case example of where I’ve used this therapy to a positive effect.

Gary (name changed to protect confidentiality) contacted me in the Summer of 2007 by phone asking me if I could help with his addiction problem. I naturally asked the manner of the addiction explaining if it was drug or alcohol addiction he must first see his GP and go through an appropriate withdrawal programme. He assured me it wasn’t either drug or alcohol but would prefer to talk to me about this privately face to face rather than over the phone. I agreed and a date as set.

When Gary turned up for his session a detailed case history was taken which revealed that Gary was 47 years old, was employed by a local haulage firm for many years where he drives lorries over the UK and Europe, often meaning he can spend many days away from home at a time. He has currently been married for over twenty years and has two children. Apart from smoking heavily and being prone to chest infections, Gary had no other medical conditions.

Once the basics of the case history had been taken, I noticed Gary taking a deep breath in and on the out breathe almost as a sigh, Gary started to explain that his addiction centred upon the use of Prostitutes. Gary explained that his job meant that he would often think about his past especially when travelling away from home for many nights. This would often result in himself seeking out the services of Prostitutes.
Questioning further it was found that Gary wasn’t seeking prostitutes for pleasure or company but rather as punishment. Gary as a young boy of 7 years had been sexually abused for a number of years by a close family member. 

Gary talked about how this made him feel and how his addiction which he had had got worse as the years passed. Throughout this period Gary could be seen to be getting more upset and angry, with himself, his life, the abusive family member and his current family.

After discussing a number of treatment plans, Gary opted for Past Life Regression because of the ability to explore and work through his problem by role playing as an alternative character.

A simple hypnotic induction and past life entry specifically to address the issue of concern was conducted before the past life scene was explored. In this past life scene Gary was a man of African descent living in the US Deep South during the 1870’s. He lived with his family in a small shack on land owned by a wealthy white family that he and his wife worked for.

As the scene was explored further it was discovered that this character and his family were often badly treated which led to feelings of resentment, helplessness and anger towards the family that had treated them in this manner.

Each scene going through the life of the character was explored and each time an issue relating to the treatment of the character or its family was uncovered various healing techniques were used to dissipate the emotion anchored to that incident.

This proceeded for about 75 minutes before finally taking the character up to the moment before dying and then through the dying process to finally purge all remaining negative emotions relating to this character.

Gary was slowly emerged back into the current life and current time before briefly discussing the events that had occurred during the session.

I recommend Gary returned next week for a further session to address any further issues that might arise during the following week.

The following week when Gary returned for his second session, Gary talked of how beneficial he had found the experience and how for the first time he felt that he was able to leave the past in the past.
The feelings of guilt and anger that had been with him since his childhood had dissipated and Gary was looking forward to his future.

A surprise secondary benefit to this therapy was discovered when Gary informed me that the relief and release he had felt from working through the abuse. From that point on he has not had any inclinations or urges to smoke, and regarded himself now as a non-smoker.