Mind is a 'powerful' part of healing

GUIDED RELAXATION: Hypnotherapist Caroline Cranshaw helps people change negative behaviour through visualisations.
GUIDED RELAXATION: Hypnotherapist Caroline Cranshaw helps people change negative behaviour through visualisations.

It took a life-changing event for Caroline Cranshaw to find her niche in life. It was New Year's Eve in 2000 and she was driving around a corner when she lost control and collided head-on with a truck.

Her injuries were severe. She suffered a frontal lobe head injury, required major facial reconstruction and broke multiple bones.

The doctors told her the head injury would have lasting effects and that it was likely she would always walk with a limp. Cranshaw refused to believe them.

"I just had this overwhelming feeling that I was meant to have this accident and that I was going to completely recover and go on to somehow help people.

"I'd just lie there visualising myself healing and I got better way faster than the doctors ever expected. It really showed me how powerful your mind is over healing."

After three weeks in hospital the St Heliers resident checked herself out against doctors' orders. After a year she had made a complete recovery and decided to change her profession.

The former hairdresser studied a diploma of clinical hypnotherapy and was registered in 2008.

She'd received a lot of counselling in her teenage years and studied to be a counsellor at university but hypnotherapy seemed more effective.

The 40-year-old has her own clinic in Parnell but will start working from her St Heliers home later this month. She also offers sessions in life coaching and does corporate training in stress management.

Unlike traditional therapy most of her clients only come to a couple of sessions. It's often a last resort for them because of the misconceptions there are about the profession, she says.

But it isn't actually so different. The majority of the 1 hour sessions are spent talking through issues.

The difference is she uses hypnotherapy, which is a form of guided relaxation with visualisations, to access the subconscious mind.

"Consciously a lot of the time we have no idea what's going on but I think the answers are within each person.

"We know we shouldn't smoke, do drugs or abuse alcohol but the subconscious is doing it because it believes it's protecting you for some reason.

"It's about re-educating the subconscious mind into finding another way of keeping you safe."

People commonly come for help with weight loss, sexual and relationship issues, anxiety, depression and addictions. But the problem clients seek help for is often only the presenting issue, she says.

"They'll want to quit smoking but the reason why they're smoking is they're going through a messy divorce and they're really stressed out at work.

"Obviously you want to address the smoking but you also want to address the underlying stress that's causing that."

The best thing about the profession is being able to help people change negative behaviour.

"Hearing from people years later about what a difference it's made, that's why I do it. Sometimes it's stressful but everyday I feel so lucky to be able to do this job."

East And Bays Courier