Sharon Dyke, Hypnotherapist in Taunton
Sharon Dyke
Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in Taunton
T: 07766 250 113


Can hypnotherapy help you?


Conditions that I can help you with using Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

The conditions mentioned on this page are some of the most common problems clients present with, all of which can be helped with the model of therapy I offer, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, and other complementary therapy techniques. This list is not exhaustive though, so even if you don't see your condition here, please do still contact me, as i am certain i may be able to help.

Helping IBS with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

If you are reading this section then it is likely that you or someone you know suffers from IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome so you probably know most of the facts about this condition:

  • There is no known cause of IBS
  • Doctors diagnose it by ruling out what it isn't
  • There appear to be no generally effective treatments
  • Drugs either work for a limited time, only on some individuals or are too expensive
  • It has significant impact on quality of life and creates considerable anxiety and stress
  • Most doctors really don't know what to do with it

The good news is that hypnotherapy, has been shown to help alleviate symptoms considerably.

Hypnotherapy proven effective for IBS

In February 2008 the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), which gives guidance to the NHS on effective treatments, published guidance for GPs and consultants saying there was good evidence that hypnotherapy was an effective IBS treatment and that it could be recommended for chronic IBS. Ask your GP to refer you for IBS hypnotherapy.

In the UK research conducted by Professor Peter Whorwell of Manchester University has demonstrated high levels of effectiveness, helping all the symptoms of IBS sustaining those improvements over long periods of time.

In the United States hypnotherapy is listed as a treatment for IBS on the highly regarded Empirically Validated Treatments List (Chambless et al.) which is roughly equivalent to the NICE guidelines in the UK.

See links at the bottom of the section for more research results.

How does it work?

Hypnotherapy for IBS seems to work by lowering the general levels of anxiety, lowering the perception of pain and discomfort (which is related to anxiety) and also by directing positive images and suggestions to the gut.

The gut has its own separate nervous system called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS), which has a full set of neurons and neurotransmitters normally found only in the brain itself. The ENS can function separately from the main central nervous system and is connected by special large nerve fibres to the brain. Therefore it is possible that the bowel can be influenced by images and thoughts in the brain to a much greater extent than previously thought. It is also possible that the gut can swamp the brain with messages too.

Is stress the cause of IBS?

No-one knows the cause of IBS. However it is always useful to distinguish between what started a condition and why the condition continues. People with IBS have a bowel that over-responds to stress this means that instead of simply emptying the bowel when stressed it spasms and is hypersensitive so the pain threshold is lowered. In addition to this, because of the symptoms and impact on the quality of life, sufferers usually pay a lot of attention to their tummy. It seems that an infection or tummy upset might start the IBS condition, however this creates a bowel that over-reacts to stress and the nerves are over-sensitive to that over-reaction. The symptoms of IBS can be so stressful that IBS becomes a self-maintaining condition - i.e. a vicious circle of stress increased stress response greater perception of discomfort more stress etc.

The key is lowering the stress response

So one of the keys to dealing with IBS is to lower our stress sensitivity and also reduce the perception of pain from the bowel. Hypnotherapy has a history of remarkable effectiveness in lowering anxiety levels and also in pain reduction. In many ways hypnotherapy is an ideal treatment for IBS:

  • Firstly, it is excellent at lowering stress and anxiety levels, both the general level of anxiety and also hypersensitivity to stressful situations.
  • Secondly, hypnotherapy is powerfully effective for pain reduction.
  • Thirdly, because IBS is defined by its symptoms, if hypnotherapy can remove the symptoms then you have treated the IBS.

How many treatments and what is involved?

There is an initial consultation that may last up to 30 minutes costing £25, followed by an agreed programme of sessions that may last up to 1 hour costing £60 each. During the session you will have the chance to dialogue about your condition and learn more about how your gut and brain work together. The hypnosis treatment in the session is very relaxing and pleasant.You will take home a CD with instructions to listen to it once a day between sessions.

See your doctor first, then consider hypnotherapy for IBS

Although hypnotherapy has proven very effective, IBS is still regarded as a medical condition. If you think you might have IBS then the first thing to do is visit your GP to get their diagnosis and advice. Once you have established with the doctor that it is IBS and believe that hypnotherapy could help you then please contact me to talk about how I can help.


Stop smoking with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Smoking Cessation

Ten ways to know it's finally time to quit smoking:

  1. Has your smoking habit begun to control your life? Have you ever not been able to go to sleep until you are sure that you have a cigarette available for morning?
  2. Have friends and family told you that your clothing, hair and breath smell like an ashtray? If they haven't, you can be sure they are thinking it!! Are you spending almost as much in breath mints as you are in cigarettes? If you aren't embarrassed about your smoking then why are you trying so hard to cover it up?
  3. Are professional colleagues shunning you now that they have quit smoking? Let's face it? It is no longer "cool" to smoke. Your smoking is viewed as a lack of control issue. Exhibiting lack of control is not the way to get ahead in your job.
  4. Do you sit in meetings focused only on getting to the break so you can rush outside to smoke? As a manager do you end meetings with things still left to accomplish because of your need to smoke?
  5. Does your favorite restaurant not have a smoking section anymore? Non-smokers are now in the majority and they do not want to taste your cigarette with their expensive meal. Restaurateurs? are attuned to the bottom line, not your smoking needs.
  6. Are you standing outside smoking alone because your spouse doesn't allow it in the house? What do you think this is doing for your relationship? Between work and your smoking alone, how much time is available for your relationship. Remember that breath mint? he or she doesn't want to kiss an ash tray.
  7. You're afraid to stop this dangerous habit because you fear the weight gain that so many people have experienced, but you are beginning to fear diseased lungs even more. Have you reached that "critical pack years" that almost assures your painful and agonising death? (1 pack-year = smoke equivalent to 1 pack of cigarettes per day per year. If you smoke 2 packs a day for 10 years you have reached 20 pack years) 25 is the critical number. You don't have much chance of beating it at this point.
  8. What's up with those lines around your mouth? The continuous lip pressure on a cigarette has now begun to add years to the look of your face. Squinting to keep the smoke out of your eyes isn't helping them either. And most facial surgeons won't even schedule surgery until you quit. Their reputations are at stake because a facelift quickly deteriorates when you continue to smoke.
  9. You get up in the morning and shower and use deodorant before heading out the door for work. Why? Because you don't want to offend anyone you come in contact with. Notice how people back away after your first cigarette? You might as well have gone to work dirty!!!
  10. At work, do you smoke alone outside, in all weathers, sunshine, rain, wind and snow? If a colleague asked you to stand outside in the cold, wind and rain, and drink a cup of tea or coffee with them, would you think they had gone insane? Why would you be prepared to do it for a cigarette but not for anything else?

(Adapted from 'Nine Ways to Know it is Finally Time to Quit' by Nancy McCune)

Your unconscious mind holds all your beliefs and habits concerning smoking

These are beliefs and habits you may not even be aware you have, and it is these that keep you smoking.Your unconscious mind is very powerful, so no matter how hard you try to break a habit at a conscious level, the unconscious will always win, eventually causing you to go back to what it considers 'normal' behavior for you.

First you just need to relax

Hypnosis is simply a natural state of absorbed attention combined with heightened awareness. You will experience this state of highly focused attention naturally throughout each and every day. Common examples might include, day dreaming; when you are totally immersed in a book or TV show; engrossed in a favourite hobby or even when driving and can be thought of as an effective and speedy form of psychotherapy

Then we speak to the unconscious mind

Using hypnotherapy, you are more in contact with your unconscious mind, the seat of all emotional and behavioural problems. Most other forms of therapy are carried out at a conscious level, and often they only work on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause of the problem.

We make changes that last

Through hypnosis, we can speak directly to your unconscious mind and speed up the process of change by altering your smoking habits, limiting beliefs and building motivation to stay stopped, and even though your unconscious mind is more powerful than your conscious mind, it readily accepts new information when you bypass what we call the Conscious Critical Faculty, which is what happens during hypnosis.

As you can see, in order to stop smoking and make true, permanent changes in your life, it is necessary to get your unconscious mind in agreement with what you want to accomplish, rather than fighting and struggling to work against it. The good news is that we can use hypnotherapy to help you quit smoking.

Quit smoking with hypnotherapy

The quit smoking session lasts up to one and half hours at a cost of £250. The session includes a relaxation CD which will help calm the body and mind, enabling you to remain in control. When you are ready to make the changes you want, contact me to make an appointment.


Helping depression with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Depression & Low Mood

Depressed or anxious people don't always respond well using forms of counselling or psychotherapy that encourages introspection or emotional arousal, as research shows this is often unintentionally harmful. As an integrated Hypnotherapist I employ techniques from various therapies that have proven to be effective, such as interpersonal, cognitive behavioural, solution focused, NLP and Human Givens. These techniques coupled with the knowledge you have just read above shows the importance of vividly creating new expectations in the mind of the client to 'kick-start' them again.

Gaining clarity

As the therapist I have a range of ways to help the client begin to think more clearly about the situation that may be causing them to worry, part of which is giving a clear account of what depression is and how it is caused without using psychobabble. This in itself can be hugely therapeutic for most people as often no one explains how and why the feelings arose.

Emotional needs

I complete an informal emotional needs audit seeking out the clients past achievements, skills and good qualities as these resources require as much attention as the troublesome history. If it emerges that there is specific trauma I can use hypnotherapy to help you change your negative expectations into more positive, realistic and concrete ones, the aim is to help you re-connect with previously enjoyed activities and rehearse doing the things you need to be doing in your imagination first. This helps you become more confident about using your own resources to pick up your life and get on with taking the actions that will help you start meeting your emotional needs once more.

Making a positive change

Fulfilling these innate needs is a major step towards making that positive change, you may resolve some of the symptoms you are experiencing that relates to depression and sustain a new healthy lifestyle for the future.

If you would like to make an appointment to discuss how I can help depression or low mood with hypnotherapy, then please contact me.


Helping anxiety with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Anxiety & Stress

Anxiety is a gift from nature because it aids survival. None of us would live long if anxiety didn't stop us from taking foolhardy risks! However, like anything else, excessive anxiety can be problematic and become as disabling as any chronic physical illness.

Excessive fears and worry, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviours and post traumatic reactions are all forms of out of control anxiety. If you suffer from one of these conditions, or if your days are blighted by continual low-grade anxiety, it can feel as if life your will never be normal again, as if something alien is in control.

There are three elements to anxiety:

  • The physical sensations you experience
  • The emotions you have while experiencing them
  • The thoughts that go through your mind at the time

Get professional help with anxiety and stress

If you feel that you would like professional help to overcome your own particular anxiety, then please talk to me, as I am trained in effective psychotherapy for lifting anxiety and stress, whatever the cause. Please do get in touch today, to discuss further how my models of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy can help with anxiety and stress.


Anger management with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Anger Management

Anger is an aroused state in which the mind's attention is focussed on a potential threat and the body responds by getting ready to run or fight. Adrenaline and other stress hormones run around the body, heart rate and blood pressure rise, breathing gets deeper and faster, blood is diverted from the organs to the muscles, and the whole organism gets ready for action. At the same time, thinking becomes more primitive and modern intelligence, a significant part of what makes us human, disappears. It is a primal, energised state, similar in many ways to sexual arousal, so it can be quite addictive.

Why combat anger?

Many angry people will die before their time, of cardio-vascular complications brought on by the continuing periods of high physical arousal. Life may be dangerous and unpleasant, for themselves, their relatives and friends and the people they meet. The rising levels of angry behaviour in society are making whole communities more stressful, intimidating and depressing places to be.

What can be done?

The first step is to find out what is causing the angry behaviour. Anger doesn't just happen; it is a response to something in the environment. So, what is triggering it? Is it related to previous traumatic events that need to be de-traumatised? If not, what elements in the angry person's life need to be re-interpreted? As the therapist I can do this using trance work, or, sometimes known as guided imagery, to help the angry person learn how to manage emotional states. Once you begin rehearsing staying calm in situations which previously caused angry outbursts, you will also be taught how to become generally calmer.

How can people become calmer overall?

Anyone, not just those who are reacting angrily to their environment, will benefit from learning how to reduce their general emotional arousal level. People who regularly relax, for example, tend to have fewer illnesses and a longer and happier life, and there are other things that almost anyone can do which will have a profound effect on mood and well-being generally, reducing stress by attending to unmet emotional needs.

Emotional needs and stress

Reducing or cutting out over-stimulation from television, DVDs, computer games, drugs, and other unbalancing elements of the modern lifestyle will help; learning calming techniques and new ways of responding to stressful situations is very useful; but the main improvement will come from meeting the essential emotional needs in your life.

Managing anger with hypnotherapy

To find out whether the way you live is making you angry, nervous or sad, why not contact me to discuss it? I can assist with very effective hypnotherapy and psychotherapy techniques to help you free yourself from innapropriate anger and live a happier life.


Managing weight issues with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Weight Management

Most of us overeat due to emotional or habitual reasons, i.e. we eat to satisfy our minds rather than because we are physically hungry. It may be that you eat when you are bored or stressed, or maybe you consider you eat healthily but you eat too much - there is a reason why you do so.

A healthy relationship with food

Weight Control is not about diets, we know that and it's not about what you can't have either - it's about creating a healthy relationship with food. Motivation is the key ingredient and that's where hypnotherapy provides that help for you to achieve your desired shape and size.

Re-education concerning dietary factors, exercise, goal setting and weight monitoring are all included with an understanding of how, when and why you eat whilst reprogramming your subconscious, to adopt new strategies and obtain fresh perspectives surrounding your relationship with food. I have experience in helping people to gain control and achieve their desired weight, making people feel good again about their body, self-esteem and confidence which all have a positive impact on the rest of your life.

How can hypnotherapy help with controlling your weight?

  • It will allow you to stop dieting and encourage you to begin to take care of yourself in a more positive way by eating healthily and enjoying exercise
  • It will help you to stop obsessing about food and enable you to let go of those feelings of failure and guilt
  • It will enable you to combat food cravings
  • It will teach you to understand your relationship with food and find the triggers that make you overeat
  • It will enable you to start to believe that you can do it that you too can become slim, confident and energised
  • It will help you adopt healthier eating habits/ portion control
  • It will help you regain control of your weight/ lose weight
  • It will help you control hunger and appetite
  • It will help you overcome Boredom eating
  • It will help you increase motivation
  • It will help you regulate your metabolism
  • It will help you stop emotional eating
  • It will help you curb those cravings

Hypnotherapy enables direct access to the unconscious mind, to enable a change to the old eating habits and to resolve any emotional reasons for over-eating. Hypnotherapy can allow you to have a change of attitude towards the food that you eat so that you no longer want to snack on crisps or chocolates, or finish everything on your plate even if you are not hungry. This enables you to enjoy eating healthily and at the same time lose weight in a safe and natural way.

How many sessions will it take?

No two clients are the same. The number of sessions depends on the cause of the weight problem and the client's response to the hypnotherapy. Some clients only need a couple of sessions. Others may require more. particularly if they need to resolve past emotional issues surrounding the weight problem.

If you would like to discuss having hypnotherapy for your relationship with food, then please contact me today.


Overcoming fears and phobias with hypnotherapy in Taunton, Somerset
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Fears & Phobias

There are two kinds of bad memories. Some fade slowly, so that a year or so later the memory of the car crash, or whatever it was, is no longer intrusive, and in time it goes away only to be recalled as an ordinary narrative memory about some unfortunate incident you once experienced.

Trauma and Phobia

Traumatic memories do not fade in the same way, and as time goes by they may become worse. These memories are usually connected with a life threatening or other serious event and are more deeply embedded in the brain as a 'survival template'. If they are not treated they may continue to fire off strong emotional reactions at inappropriate moments and thereby cause trouble for the rest of your life.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Trauma, as a medical term, refers to any injury or wound violently inflicted on the body. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that often follows a terrifying physical, life threatening, or perceived as life-threatening, event. It causes the person who survived it to have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories, or flashbacks, of the ordeal. Persons with PTSD often feel chronically, emotionally numb. Once referred to as 'shell shock' or 'battle fatigue', about 25 per cent of people involved in major traumatic events go on to develop long-term PTSD symptoms. This percentage rises if life-threatening incidents are almost constantly repeated, as in front line fighting during sustained battles in war.

What kinds of event can cause it?

Violent attacks on the person. Rape. Sustained verbally aggressive attacks. Sudden illness events like a heart attack. Traffic accidents. Industrial injuries. Witnessing sudden violent death, as in train crashes, bombings and war-zone incidents. Panic attacks where the person thinks he is dying. In fact, any event that triggers a strong fear (phobic) response can lead to PTSD. Children have even developed PTSD symptoms from watching horror films on TV.

What is a phobia?

Any uncontrolled, persistent, irrational fear that is accompanied by a compelling desire to avoid the object, activity, or situation that provokes the fear, is called a phobia. As far as the brain is concerned it is no different from PTSD. The same neuronal pathways are involved.

Hypnotherapy for phobias & fears

Hypnotherapy can help you to leave behind the debilitating effects of fears and phobias which are no longer serving you positively in your life. If you would like to discuss this more, please contact me.


Hypnobirthing in Taunton, Somerset
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It all started with the work of English obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read (1890?1959), and culminated in his book Childbirth without Fear, first published in 1942. The work was further developed by Jacqueline Vincent Priya, Michelle Leclaire O'Neill and later Marie Mongan and Kerry Tuschhoff in America.

General use during pregnancy

Practitioners understand that during pregnancy and prior to birth, the use of hypnosis may significantly shorten labour, reduce pain and reduce the need for intervention. Practitioners also understand that babies born to mothers who have used hypnosis to relax and calm themselves will sleep and feed better.

Hypnotherapists who specialise in hypnosis for childbirth can offer a tailored approach geared towards individual women. This is especially important if they have additional phobias or fears associated with childbirth. This can include needle phobias, fear of hospitals or even fear of pregnancy itself.

Hypnosis for labour

Hypnosis can also be used as a pain relief method during labour. Obstetrician Grantly Dick-Read first wrote about the phenomenon in the 1930s in his work on natural childbirth and since the 1980s a range of different techniques have been developed that utilize hypnosis in a natural childbirth. These include The Peaceful Pregnancy Program, Hypnobirthing (as originally coined by Michelle Leclaire O'Neill), The Mongan Method (also known as "HypnoBirthing"), Hypnobabies, the Lamaze method, Confident Childbirth (cognitive hypnotherapy), Natal Hypnotherapy, FreshStart and the GentleBirth program.

All of these programs promote the wellbeing of mother and baby but all programs are not created equally. Many programs do not require practitioners to be certified hypnotists, master hypnotists or clinical hypnotherapists. All Peaceful Pregnancy Practitioners are accredited hypnotists, master hypnotists or clinical hypnotherapists and have participated in training for the use of hypnosis specifically for pregnancy and childbirth.


A post-review of patients who had used hypnotherapy for labour was published in 2004 in the British Journal of Anaesthesia 2004 (93(4):505-511) by A.M Cyna, G.L. McAuliffe and M.I. Andrew. The review suggested that there was evidence of the reduced need for pharmacological analgesia but a more substantial trial was required. In 1993, a randomised control trial by M.W. Jenkins and M. H. Pritchard, 'Hypnosis: Practical applications and theoretical considerations in normal labour' reported that hypnosis, combined with childbirth education:

  • Reduced the length of labour
  • Reduced the incidence of pain medication use

I have received training in Hypnobirthing and can help you with the following:

  • Breathing techniques that actually help the birth - and it's not the panting that most people think they have to do. Why would anyone want to hyperventilate during labour?!
  • How to reduce the need for any medication
  • How to release any fears you might have about childbirth...regardless of where they come from
  • Most importantly, you'll know how to relax and stay calm and in control - regardless of what's happening around you

Hypnotherapy for childbirth

If you would like to discuss having hypnotherapy to help with childbirth, then please contact me today.


Don't see your condition?

The above list outlines some of the main conditions that Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help with, but by no means all of them. If the problem you want to discuss isn't listed, please contact me, there's a good chance I may be able to help.

Sharon Dyke, Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in Taunton
Sharon Dyke HPD, CBT (Hyp), SFBT (Hyp), SFBT Sup (Hyp), HG Dip, Cert Ed.
T: 07766 250 113   E: