Penny Ling is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist from Oxfordshire, England.
How long have you been practising?
I qualified in 2007, so it will be 8 years this year.
Do you see clients from home or in a clinic?
Both. I realised very early on that working from a clinic was so much more beneficial, not only from a way from distancing yourself from the work, but it helps build up a network of referrals.
What problems/issues do you treat most frequently?
The beauty of hypnotherapy is that it treats so many problems, so it’s always interesting. Anxiety is number one. I used to have a driving phobia, and didn’t drive for 13 years. I had traditional analytical hypnotherapy for it and it made no difference at all.
It was only when I started to train and we covered how the brain works and the fast phobia cure [Rewind Technique], and the rest was history – started to drive again in weeks. So I see a lot of people with this problem, and no two cases are ever alike.
What are your biggest frustrations running your practice?
I’d say it is the media portraying hypnosis as some wacky side show – people watch a film or a stage show and think that’s what it’s like. It only makes the papers when a celebrity endorses it, and that’s not necessarily a good thing either!
What do you find hardest about your daily work?
Solution focused questioning is an art, it looks too simple to be true, but it’s fantastic and takes quite a few years to be able to sneak it into conversations with out the client realising. I don’t find anything particularly hard, some clients will change their minds as to what is the real problem and therefore change the goal posts, but you take all that in your stride. I find commuting pretty tedious.
Do you find your professional body supportive and helpful? Do they help you create connections with fellow therapists?
I am one of the founding executive members of the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and have worked very hard as editor of their journal Hypnotherapy Today to support, educate and connect with other solution focused hypnotherapists, so I’d say I was more leading that then benefiting from it necessarily, but it’s helped me develop more as a therapist and as a supervisor of hypnotherapists.
I am also a member of the NCH and find their AGM / extravaganzas are great places to network.
How do you balance work and life?
I try and schedule fun things into my week, walking, seeing friends, travelling. I paint in oils, so every now and then I will link up with my tutor Mike Skidmore and do some painting. I’m a member of the Society of Psychical research and go to some of their talks in London, and in the summer I’m hoping to learn how to ride a horse without falling off.
I listen to my own CDs regularly and always use solution focused questioning if I ever have a problem. I have also meditated for over 15 years and it helps to balance one’s life. Plus I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, so I wake up every morning thinking how lucky I am to look out onto fields with horses and sheep, across a sleepy churchyard beyond to the ridgeway.
What frustrates you most about the way mental health is dealt with in your country?
The lack of research into the benefits of hypnotherapy (especially solution focused). Research is driven by money, drug research for example. There is a lot of American research out there for hypnosis but very little in Britain. There is also the results of research that has found that it doesn’t matter what the type of therapy, it’s the relationship between client and therapist that gets results. I would agree with this wholeheartedly.
Can you tell us about your most uplifting experience treating a recent client? (anonymously of course!)
Many of my clients inspire and uplift me. The one that sticks in my mind is a lady I saw with MS, she also had IBS (which is why she came to see me) She had lots of health complications. On top of the MS she had insomnia, Coeliacs disease and was having acupuncture for pain and collonic irrigation for the IBS.
After a few weeks of seeing me she had started to take control of the problem. She really nailed it so well, she’d started to go out again (she’d stopped as she was scared she’s never get to a toilet in time). She was sleeping better and so was her husband. We worked on pain management and she loved visualising the healing garden. I saw her for about 8 months and she stopped the colonic irrigation and the acupuncture as she didn’t need them anymore and her doctors were impressed with her improvements.
Unfortunately about 4 months after we stopped the therapy I was called back as her MS had got much worse, unfortunately I couldn’t do much with her condition being so bad she needed hospitalising and sadly she passed away. I have to say she will be sorely missed as she was not only a lovely person but so inspiring that someone who was confined to a wheelchair was able to do so much.
Pictured above: Penny’s therapy room.
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