A hypnotherapist from Flintshire is determined those still suffering trauma in the wake of the Manchester terror attack are given help with the offer of free counselling sessions.
Dr Marc Johnson has been delivering therapy to several people caught up in the suicide bomb horror at the Manchester Arena on May 22 when 22 people died and more than 60 were maimed.
Among those who attended Ariana Grande’s concert where the bomber struck were youngsters from the region and he says many could still be experiencing psychological difficulties, including PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Marc, who runs the Shotton-based Clinical Wellness Centre with his wife, Michelle, is currently working on a number of health-related campaigns, including the government’s smoking cessation initiative, Stoptober, but says his work with those affected by the Manchester bombing is important.
“There have been a number of children and teenagers from this region who have been affected and they need to get their lives back in order. It could define their lives, but while there is a chance to “fix” them it should be done,” declares Marc.
“If we can help and we can fix them, then we will.
“We want people to know there is help out there and it is free – this is one way we can give something back to the community, but it is important work too. The hardest thing [for those suffering] is asking for help in the first place.”
In the immediate aftermath of the tragedy a number of Greater Manchester-based charities offered free counselling, while North Wales Police said it was working with its health service partners to identify people who witnessed the bombing.
But Marc, a qualified hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and acupuncturist, believes more needs to be done to help.
One of his clients, who was at the arena that night, says she turned to hypnotherapy after failing to get help from her local GP practice.
“I had been struggling with acute shock and stress and was anxious, having intrusive thoughts of the bombing and my escape replaying over in my mind to the point of distraction,” she says. “I felt it was as though I had broken inside and I didn’t know to fix myself.
“I found out about Marc via a support group, which he helped to set up after the terrorist attack.
“He explained why my mind and body were reacting in the way they were and treated me with acupuncture and hypnotherapy.
“I’m now feeling so much better in myself and I’m doing things I couldn’t go back to, such as driving and being alone.”
The use of hypnotherapy to treat problems such as anxiety, depression and addiction has grown – particularly after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised its effectiveness in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Yet it suffers from a stereotyped image portrayed by popular hypnotists such as Paul McKenna and Derren Brown, while scientists disagree with how it works and view it as only complementary to traditional medicine.
But Marc stresses: “Hypnotherapy should be used more widely because of its efficacy and because it is inexpensive.
“It is quicker than most other psychotherapies, for example it has an effect in 93 per cent of cases after six sessions compared to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which takes 22 sessions to affect 72 per cent of people.
“The TV image hasn’t helped and people think of it as entertainment and watch waving.
“But almost everyone – 99 per cent – can be hypnotised, although there is a spectrum from those who go into a deep hypnosis while others are in a light state. People enjoy the process as it is highly relaxing.”
Marc uses the power of suggestion to modify his clients’ behaviour and thoughts when they are put in a hypnotic state.
He is convinced it has a major part to play in Government health campaigns such as this month’s Stoptober, aimed at encouraging the country’s eight million smokers to give up for 28 days in the first mass quit attempt.
>body_text<“We look at underlying issues and help people to manage their cravings. But most people who overuse alcohol there are elements in their lives they need to push away. We run a successful programme, although we do find it is harder to get smokers to give up [than drinkers] because of the will power needed – the success rate can be 50:50,” he admits.
>body_text<“Wales is the most obese nation in Europe, but dieting doesn’t work - 98 per cent of people weigh more at the end of their diet than they did at the start. It leads to guilt and to calorie counting when we should be eating healthy food in reasonable portions and exercising,” explains Marc, a full member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy
>body_text<“With hypnosis we use motivated suggestions to make people alter their portion sizes and get them to take on board more water. A great many people who feel hungry are in fact thirsty – so we plant that suggestion of being thirsty and that motivates them to have a drink,” .
>body_text<“If you think wellness is expensive, you should try illness,” he adds.
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