Hypnosis could be the key to unlock your fear
Something I found that might inspire you
Joseph Clough, attended hypnosis classes to get over his shyness.
CONFIDENT and charming, with an easy smile, it’s hard to believe Joseph Clough was once crippled by shyness. “I used to blush very easily,” admits the 25-year-old, with a grin.
“At one point it got so bad I even struggled to talk to my relatives: if they asked me a question, I could manage ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but that was about it.”
Nowadays, Joseph thinks nothing of talking to hundreds of people at a time, all of them complete strangers. A mind coach famous for working with the stars, including Scottish singer Sandi Thom, he leads workshops designed to help people let go of their fears – and live life to the full.
As Joseph explains, he owes a lot to hypnotism: it was a course in hypnosis that changed his life when he was 17.
Swift to confess he “was not the brightest” at school, Joseph says he needed learning support and toiled to get six C grades at GCSE. For a man who now knows “quite a bit of quantum physics”, it’s proof he’s come a long way.
After a GNVQ in business studies, Joseph took a job in insurance. “Within six months I felt lost,” he remembers. “I lacked purpose, contentment, fulfilment . . .”
Encouraged by his father, Paul, the teenager agreed to do a week-long hypnosis course in Scarborough. “Hypnosis was my dad’s hobby at the time,” explains Joseph, who lives off Histon Road. “The idea was that the course would be a therapeutic process, which would help me find out what I wanted to do with my life.”
And that it did: Joseph’s moment of epiphany came almost immediately – on his four-hour drive home. Full of a confidence and a new sense of self-belief, he had put his hang-ups behind him within one short week. And he wanted to help others do the same.
“I decided there and then that I wanted to do this,” he recalls. “The course had been life-changing for me and I knew that I wanted to help other people make beneficial changes to their lives too.”
A week later Joseph had quit his insurance job and embarked on his new career as a Master Hypnotist. Going to the States to study Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), he then began to expand his horizons even further.
“If you had conscious control of your life then it would be easy: you would simply let go of all the fears that hold you back,” explains Joseph. “But we don’t have conscious control of these things – so it might be the unconscious mind that is holding us back.”
By taking his clients into a trance state, which he likens to the auto-pilot mode we switch into when driving, Joseph says he accesses the unconscious.
Asking the unconscious mind to move a client’s finger, while giving the conscious mind a counter-command to keep the finger still, he says people are often amazed to see their digits twitch. “A person has to want to go into a trance state,” adds Joseph, who says hypnosis requires real focus from the client.
For the last two years, Joseph has worked with all manner of celebrity clients, from singers and actors to athletes. Because of client confidentiality, he is unable to identify the majority – save for Sandi Thom, whom he describes as “very down-to-earth and friendly”.
“It started by accident,” explains Joseph. “A manager phoned me up about one of his clients and it just took off from there.”
As with his other clients, Joseph helps the celebs address a huge range of issues, maybe a desire to improve their performance or combat a lack of self-confidence. And he also helps them tackle phobias, fears of everything from small spaces to bony wrists.
“I’ve come across a fear of balloons, a fear of tinfoil and – this is quite a common one – emetophobia, which is a fear of being sick, even of being around sick,” says Joseph.
“One client had a fear of her hair being touched because, as a young child, someone had tried to set light to it. It had become quiet debilitating: she didn’t even like going to pubs because, before the smoking ban, she had a fear of the smoke touching her hair and making it fall out.”
Most phobias date from childhood, he explains. “If you see a spider and feel that ‘fight or flight’ reaction, those two things – the spider and the feeling – become connected,” continues Joseph. “What I do is reconnect the spider with a new feeling, say of calm. It can work quickly: twenty-five per cent of people change with one session.”
With the celebrity clients came an increasing amount of media attention: recently challenged by the Daily Express, Joseph was charged with curing three journalists of their fears – including a woman repulsed at the very thought of a veined and bony wrist.
With innumerable CDs and downloads to his name, several websites and a self-help book called Be Your Potential, Joseph’s career is burgeoning. With his father and older brother Luke now trained Master Hypnotists too, he’s part of the family firm Cambridge Hypnotherapy, as well as making client visits and holding workshops .
But, despite his success, Joseph says he didn’t become a mind coach for the sake of making money. Offering a sliding scale of fees, designed to make his sessions accessible to as many people as possible, he says he genuinely wants to help others live happier lives.
“If someone says this stuff doesn’t exist well, in a way, it doesn’t completely exist: it isn’t tangible,” he adds. “But then neither is the soul.”
To find out about us all at Cambridge Hypnotherapy call call (01223) 720120 or visit http://www.cambridgehypnotherapy.co.uk