A NEW Year – time to start afresh, to leave bad habits behind. Making a resolution is a good start, but some of those habits might be so deeply ingrained that professional help is called for.

Enter Jacqueline Carson, a qualified hypnotherapist who has helped numerous people knock long-term bad habits on the head. “I absolutely love my work,” says the 52-year-old. “I feel a great sense of achievement in helping people to help themselves.”

Hypnotherapy can help tackle all sorts, from smoking, nail biting and grinding teeth to stuttering and speech impediments. Other issues might include OCD, blushing, tinnitus and insomnia. “The list is endless,” says Jacqueline.

Habits are formed when we do something as a response to a situation. We then associate the action with a thought and feeling. The action is then repeated when we face the situation again and so a habit is formed. “But this is the time of year when people think of making resolutions to change bad habits,” says Jacqueline.

“That is because consciously they know the habit is bad for them – smoking, for example – and the New Year is a time for starting afresh.”

Following the indulgence of Christmas and New Year festivities, many people gain a few pounds and are looking to lose weight, maybe stop drinking and exercise more. Jacqueline is also a licensed hypnoslimmer consultant, one of only a handful in the North-East.

“This is a four-week programme, which can include the hypno-gastric band, which was recently featured on the Lorraine Kelly show,” she says. “This involves hypnotising the client to believe that they have had a gastric band fitted. The mind is fooled into believing the body can only deal with small portions and therefore the client loses weight.”

The hypnoslimmer programme costs £450; in comparison, actual surgery could cost thousands of pounds, be risky and require time off work, she adds.

Some habits can turn into harmful behaviours and become addictions. Examples are excessive drinking, drug addiction and gambling. And while hypnotherapy can support someone subconsciously to make positive changes to their lifestyle, in respect of alcohol, drug and substance misuse this is not an alternative to seeking medical advice,” says Jacqueline.

But if it’s a phobia you need tackling, anything from a fear of spiders to public speaking, hypnotherapy has a proven track record. “I have worked successfully with clients who are frightened to go to the dentist or have a blood test,” says Jacqueline.

“One lady I worked with was too frightened to drive on the motorway. This was affecting her life so much – she had to plan any journey well in advance to avoid going on the motorway. Following hypnotherapy she was able to not only drive on the motorway, but also overtake lorries, which had been her biggest concern.”

Hypnotherapy is not a miracle cure and won’t work if a person subconsciously doesn’t want it to; it relies on someone wanting to achieve change.

“But when a client does want to make the changes, hypnotherapy is a fabulous therapy,” says Jacqueline.

“It has no side effects, is quick and in lots of cases, it’s relatively inexpensive compared to other treatments. A stopping smoking session for instance is a one-off visit with no follow-up required unless requested. Clients are amazed at the results.”

Jacqueline qualified as a hypnotherapist in October 2016 and practises at the Structure and Function clinic, in Duke Street, Darlington, sharing the space with a chiropractic and osteopathic, a counsellor, psychotherapist and acupuncturist. She also does some independent social work for Children’s Services around the country.

She worked full time in a social work role until a string of traumas – pets dying, her father falling ill and dying, and being diagnosed with breast cancer – laid her low. She was driving for treatment to Middlesbrough, to work in Leeds and then back home again every day, became an emotional wreck and lost stones in weight.

“I was offered holistic treatments such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy via the NHS,” she says. “I had this treatment at the Friarage in Northallerton and they were brilliant, so understanding.

"I didn't decide there and then to train to be a hypnotherapist, but when I saw an advertisement for a course I immediately made an application, because I knew the power of the subconscious mind and how the treatment had helped me. Knowing that I am making a difference to my clients is tremendously satisfying.”

Now both her children are grown, Jacqueline lives I live in a small village on the outskirts of Darlington with her beloved dog Ollie. “He is a very gorgeous but mischievous Rottweiler puppy who demands a lot of attention,” she says. A lot of bad habits, then? Perhaps a bit of hypnotism might work wonders…

  •  Jacqueline can be contacted via telephone, email, website, Facebook page or via the Hypnotherapy Directory. T: 0785-7727872
  • Jacqueline.carson3@icloud.com,
  • Website: hypnotherapy-darlington.co.uk
  • FB Clinical Hypnotherapy
  • Prices vary depending on requirements. Packages are available for issues such as infertility and hypnobirthing. A one-hour face-to-face consultation is £30, one-hour of therapy is £60. Smoking cessation is £150 for one session lasting up to two hours. Any additional support can be discussed as required. Hypnoslimmer is £450 for the full package.