The hypnotherapist rules for control when someone panics!
By Diane Beck NLP Master Practitioner, Coach and Hypnotherapist.
You walk into the bathroom at work and a colleague is struggling…they’re hyperventilating, look sweaty, are pacing or frozen and seek immediate assistance. What to do when you encounter Panic Attacks!
I’ve been there, in both scenarios. I also remember hiding it at all costs when I was assisting manager of a popular restaurant in north London, the stigma of mental health was such that a mere panic attack had raised alarm bells as to my suitability not just as a manager but I heard the words ‘unstable’ and even ‘nuts’ used about my anxiety.
Enjoying the wealth of this experience and many like it as a precursor to becoming more understanding as a human being and becoming more patient of others. It also formed the path that has led to me becoming one of the top anxiety therapists in Manchester and London where most of my clientele report experiencing this.
Seven years in and I’ve leant a few things and this blog aims to share some techniques that might translate from a written word and the videos embedded within. This blog shares some knowledge that I trust may inform you of ways you can actively assist in the cases where being a patient human being with a willingness to effect change will be essential.
Panic isn’t catching but you do learn how to do it. I was expert at it. You perhaps may be, I certainly know most of my clients are often expert at panic and anxiety. Lets understand it better before we all benefit from eliminating it as much as possible from our lives and those we care about.
Anxiety attacks are duplicitous. They are the helper and the inhibitor. The signal of danger and also the illusionist. Anxiety is a future based perspective made up largely of nonsense.
During our active lives we will produce cortisol and stress hormones in situations from which our brains are programmed to learn for us. It learns so that we may not suffer that stress on the body again. May people have panic attacks the statistics are 1 in 3 during their lifetime. Often though, those learnings are disproportionate to our every day environment. The learning is there though despite our best conscious intentions. It’s like writing a letter to yourself that something is dangerous and hiding it somewhere so deep inside that you can’t tear it up, it’s become now an essay of huge importance from which branches of new things to be warned about have also sprung.
I’m going to be honest, undoing this does require knowledge and skill to really reap benefits and seeing a qualified, experienced therapist with a proven track record in the problem you seek assistance with is the way to go.
The good news is however, there are things you can do now. Learn today so that next time you see someone of a train, plane, in the street, or in the bathroom at work you appreciate more their desire to stop this has been hijacked by an a client and efficient learning mechanism that on some level has learn to do this to protect them.
Talking someone down from Panic.
I’ve also created a shot talking head video on YouTube found below to go though possible ways to use your language in these situations. Check it out here.
Fight and flight responses produces cortisol useful for getting you out of dangers ASAP. That nervoue trip to the loo before the presentation is another sign. It’s the evacuation of extraneous weight so as not to slow you down and in Chinese medicine, fear is located within the kidney meridian!
Anyone having a panic attack is looped, bound if you like, in smpathetic nervous system arousal. This creates fovial tunnel vision, emotions, stress and can be unpleasant. This also produces a state that is inflexible and they are limited in problem solving, so calming and pacing them out of the state is really going to help.
A person in panick will do one of a few things, Thanatos is response or the feint to then reset regular breathing if they continue to hyperventilate. Freeze. Chatter and flap. Run. Fight their way out and variables on that these. It’s full on Get me of here. Guiding them to be aware of their breathing on their ‘out-breath’ and perhaps including some of the simple and effective techniques below. Avoiding telling someone to breathe in ( I have often have heard in hospital A&E or first responders) as anyone told to ‘breathe in’ in panic will take it literally and will then force breath in and up into the top of their lungs, inducing more cortisol and stress which is the opposite of the calm state we would want. Being mindful to bring attention to an out-breath would always be preferable as any focus removes it from their spiral thought process breaking the loop.
Touch techniques I often use and explained in this website.
hypnosis- rapid PGO spike to bypass the critical faculty and go direct line thir subconscious mind.
Havening Technique. Produces delta waves that perform part of a press of deep lasting changes.
NLP language patterns and recoding with eyes wide open undetected largely from the person receiving it.
What you can do if you are not skilled one above methods. A good protocol would involve what are now referred to as psycho-sensory techniques. These include touch that makes psychological changes such as the brilliant and new ‘Havening technique’. Its effectiveness on the amygdala and limbic system involves the production of delta waves that can reduce stress.
Delta wave is produced during deep sleep and is the natural healing wave in the body. We can create this quickly and consciously using then technique. It was created by doctor and neuroscientist, Ronald Ruden M.D. and it involves touching either the face, hands or down the arms to induce feelings of a safe haven (hence then name of the technique) and calms us quickly which changes the electrochemical landscape of the brain. Not only excellent for reducing stress and panic, I also use it with clients who have traumatic memories and phobias to remove an emotional component.
There are a few brushing movements in this technique, the main being the arms which for a patient struggling for breath would leave space around them whilst also being supported and feeling cared for in this technique. Brushing down the arms (rather than up) at a speed of around 3cm per second approximately, in a regular rhythm will begin to produce a flow of delta waves, the main element. Delta waves calm us and knowing simple effective ways to calm a patient experiencing panic in that moment is crucial. However, Havening is a naturally supportive and human way to help any person in panic mode. Just keep doing it until you notice the physiology shift, sighs, release of tears and sound and dropping of the shoulders indicators of increasing delta wave and relaxation
Bonus tapping video. A method to quickly calm you
Another method that’s quick. Grab a pen and wave it. Really!
Another quick and effective shift in sensory focus is the ‘half-moon pen’ eye movement technique. Ask the patient to fix their eyes on the end tip of an object like a pen, keeping their head still so only their eyes are following the movement, you move the pen over the top 180 degree periphery of their vision in an upward curve and at a distance that they can also easily watch the movement. Then steadily bouncing it from left to right with the patients eyes upwards following the pen for a couple of minutes The cross hemispheric shift calms the neurology and you may notice a quick shift in their state just with this alone. Calibrate by watching them notice changes in their skin tone, and breathing and feeding this back to them as evidence it is workings d calming their neurology is a good thing to do encouraging them to do it more.
Anything that shifts hemisphere from left to right will calm the electrochemical landscape such as knitting or throwing a ball between two hands. When someone panic they are in predominantly kinaesthetic awareness, shifting to a different sensory focus or from internal focus to external helps break a loop or cycle so the cross hemisphere pen movement can work well, which if I were working this way would also follow by Havening brushing until they are noticeably calmer.
Talking is powerful! Using words to effect quick calming change!
I also consider language to be key and it’s your most crucial controlling element. When in panic, their brain is scanning rapidly through all of their senses and coding information, deleting, distorting and generalising according to what they believe about the situation and their relation to it. They are in a state of trance, they are in their ‘panic trance’ so you must talk to them in a way their unconscious mind responds best to. The unconscious cannot process negatives in the same way a conscious mind does, it takes everything personally and literally so be positive and state sentences as instructions towards what you want them to do.
It’s similar to being in shock, a person in shock has their critical faculty, (the bridge between conscious and unconscious or the subconscious mind) offline meaning you have direct line access to talk to their unconscious mind. So respectfully use your language positively!
As a trained hypnotherapist, I know that a client will follow literally anything said to them whilst in shock or panic, as a willing client of mine will do if choosing to enter deep hypnosis in a session with me to make their desired positive changes. In these situations our words are important! Use clean language, direct and positively framed language and avoiding words telling them what you don’t want them to do and always directing them to what you Do want them to do.
Sentences that can pace this experience for them work well, such as, “you can hear my voice, and you can be aware of your feet securely on the floor, you can become more aware of your out-breath now, and, with each breath you breathe out you can become calmer and calmer, that’s right, you are becoming calmer in your own time.” To more direct statements such as “sit down, relax more now as you sit in this chair, listening to your breathing, that’s all I want you to do now, listen to your out breath and feel the calmness begin to gently spread.” They will be full of adrenaline and also explaining that it is normal to experience this is useful. It can go a long way to helping orientate them. Introducing psycho sensory techniques for them t follow will also begin to help them not only reduce a panic quickly, it retains the response.
For more information abut the techniques I’ve mentioned, please visit my website www.health-success.co.uk where I have pages of the techniques I use and I also offer free hypnosis downloads for those with anxiety or panic conditions. havening.org also has a good supply of white papers and research and importantly, a list of qualified therapists using this technique such as I do.