How Do I Find a Good Mindfulness Therapist?

On my blog five years ago today (11th August 2014) and (11th April 2016) over 3 years ago I wrote about the Mindfulness Fast-track and Bandwagon how mindfulness was becoming super popular with more people becoming mindful therapists for financial gain as you can do group-work. How you can pay as little as £49 for an Online Mindfulness Diploma Course which enables you to call yourself a mindful therapist and run courses, classes and see therapy clients on a one-to-one basis fills me with dread.

Five years have gone by and mindfulness is ever more popular with mindfulness courses and therapists everywhere and many therapists adding mindfulness to their toolbox as it is commercially beneficial and attracts new clients.

So what is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been practiced by Buddhists for over two thousand years as part of Buddhism teaching. Being mindful means being consciously aware, deliberately concentrating and focusing on the here and now, the present moment completely. You use your body and its senses (what you can see, feel, hear, smell and taste) your thoughts and feelings to focus on the present moment. Distracting your mind from thinking about the past or your possible futures.

Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn for people with chronic pain, stress and anxiety. He designed the group programme using mindfulness meditation and yoga but removing all of the Buddhism from it.

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression MBCT was developed from Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction by Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale. It uses mindfulness meditations and yoga and is a group or one-to-one programme where Buddism has been removed. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression has been approved by NICE National Institute for Health and Care Excellence since 2004.

Other therapies fall under the Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapies umbrella including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT and Traumatic Incident Reduction TIR.

So what are my concerns?

Mindfulness is self-regulated which means you can read a book, watch a YouTube video or do a 5 hour course and call yourself a Mindfulness therapist. This means there are unqualified, poorly trained and unscrupulous therapists out there.

Mindfulness can trigger episodes of anxiety, depression and other mental-health issues if done poorly, incorrectly or in a unsupported way. I see courses and retreats advertised for hundreds, thousands of pounds that anyone can go on. Mindfulness comes from Buddhism so many people try Buddhist mindfulness for anxiety and depression which is not a therapy specifically developed for it.

How do you choose a good Mindful Therapist?

1) Ask where and how long they studied for? What qualifications and how many years of experience do they have? Do you want to see a therapist with 5 hours or days of training and 6 months of experience?

2) Are they qualified in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction or Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Depression? Many therapists only train and qualify in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction so can’t help you with your depression efficiently. Or if you have stress and anxiety a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapist can’t help you as much as a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Therapist. Nor will your local Buddhist centre or badly qualified Mindfulness therapist help you as much as a properly trained fulltime Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

Adrian Sonnex, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist

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Ways to prevent online child abuse and grooming

New figures from a NSPCC reports 1 in every 25 children under 17, that’s the equivalent of 1 child in every classroom has sent, received or been asked to send sexual content to an adult online. Facebook, Snapchat and other Facebook apps are the most common platforms this takes place on.
Children who have been groomed can suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, low confidence and self-esteem even self-harming and suicidal thoughts.
I have worked with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and children who have been groomed or been sexually abused. We must do more to stop this happening, for over 12 years I have made a monthly donation to the NSPCC, the work they do is amazing and worth supporting.
What else can we do to protect our children?
1) Have regular conversations with our children about the dangers online.
2) Ask what have you done online today, what websites have they been on. In the same way we may ask our children what have you done at school today
3) Build a trusting relationship with them and if something happens they know it is safe to speak to you.
4) Make sure their social media accounts have the highest privacy settings and their Geo location are off.
5) Explore sites and apps together, show them where the reporting and blocking tools are.
The NSPCC is calling on the Government to introduce an Online Harms Bill, to set up a regulator that has the power enforce changes to protect children and young adults, contributing to children’s safety.
Adrian Sonnex, Full time Hypnotherapist since September 2007 and Mindful Therapist since January 2009.
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Domestic Abuse Bill


New laws to protect victims of domestic abuse were presented to Parliament 16th July 2019. With the publication of the bill come a range of proposals including a legal duty on councils to provide secure homes for Domestic Violence victims. Also to widen the definition of Domestic Abuse to include not just physical violence but also emotional, economic and sexual abuse.

As a Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Hypnotherapist I have been working with Domestic Abuse survivors since September 2007 and do think this is a very positive step. Many of the clients I have worked with have had very low confidence, self-esteem and felt helpless to escape.

I use a combination of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Traumatic Incident Reduction to resolve Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the trauma of past abuse as well as Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness to build confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.

If you are in an abusive relationship you can get out with the help of local and national organisations and charities. If you simply want someone to talk to, you are not alone.  You can call The Samaritans for free from any UK phone on 116 123

Starting over is hard and scary, but with the right help and support you can do it. The new laws when passed provide more protection and cover all survivors of Domestic Abuse and Violence.

By Adrian Sonnex, Hypnotherapist since September 2007, Mindfulness Therapist since January 2009

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Hypnotherapy to Stop Smoking


This morning I have helped a client to Stop Smoking with hypnotherapy. This is something that I have been helping my clients to do since September 2007 when I became a full-time Professional Hypnotherapist. My client today had no hypnotherapy experience but when I had asked her how badly she wanted to stop smoking on a scale of 1 to 10 she said a 10 so I knew she was committed.

I explained hypnotherapy to her. That by putting her into a light hypnotic state I would be able to access and work with her unconscious, sub-conscious mind to change, delete her smoking habit-behavior. That she would remain awake and alert of her surroundings and my suggestions to “become a non-smoker now and forever, that she will never smoke again” etc. That client always remains in control of and aware of the sessions I give.

I myself stopped smoking with hypnotherapy over 30 years ago in a single session, this was my introduction to hypnotherapy and the reason I eventually became a hypnotherapist.

Some of the other hypnotherapist I meet are shocked that I still do Smoking Cessation Hypnotherapy because they say it is boring, same old, same old but I really enjoy helping people to become non-smokers. It improves their health and well-being maybe even giving them years of extra life.

So if you would like some more information about Stopping Smoking with Hypnotherapy please do not hesitate to contact me. Adrian Sonnex, Hypnotherapist since September 2007

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Childhood in Crisis

It’s getting harder to have a happy childhood according to a new report by Action For Children. Bullying, exam pressure and social media are some of the things having a negative impact on childhood in the UK. They call for a National Childhood Strategy to protect young people. The Government is developing a Youth Charter to give young people a voice on issues that matter to them.

As a therapist I work with children and young adults on issues of confidence, self-esteem, body dis-morphia, bullying and peer pressure to smoke, use drugs, alcohol, have sex, be more pretty, smart and popular. With social media these pressures are 24/7.

As a Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapist I work with children and young adults to overcome anxiety be it social or general, depression, other negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Hypnotherapy is excellent at developing confidence and self-esteem, improving self-worth and body image issues. It is also very good at managing and reducing anxiety, depression, self-harm, cutting, drugs and negative behaviors to escape the pressure they feel under.

Mindfulness therapies teaches them techniques to manage and prevent episodes of depression, anxiety and traumatic events such as bullying and peer pressure.

By Adrian Sonnex a Hypnotherapist since 2007 a Mindfulness Therapist since 2009.

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Traumatic Incident Reduction

Happy new year beautiful people ! ( I know I’m a couple of months late but this is my first blog post of 2017!)

I am officially back to blogging after having started a new job and going on holiday at the end of last year.

What I wanted to talk to you all about today is a completely different type of therapy – Traumatic Incident Reduction therapy (TIR). In my experience and opinion, it is the most potent form of therapy for those clients who have witnessed or suffered a traumatic event or had a traumatic experience at some point in their life.

If you are reading this and asking yourself “what classifies as traumatic?” The answer is anything. Different events and life occurrences affect people in different ways. It could be a tough upbringing in childhood, rape, being a survivor of domestic abuse, your dog passing away, being bitten by a spider, witnessing a terrorist attack, having been molested as a child, bullied, or suffering from any kind of illness – anything that YOU feel has affected how you perceive the world today is valid.

What this technique does is release all the repressed thoughts and emotions you have in your subconscious relating to that event so it no longer impairs your vision of the real world and affects how you view the world around you.

But, how does it work?

With Adrian Sonnex, he will ask you to close your eyes and recall the event – thinking about how you were feeling, and what you witnessed with all your 5 senses at that moment in time. Once you have finished running through the event in your head, in as much detail as possible he will then ask you to recount your version of the event to him.

When you are retelling you may feel a surge of intense emotions relating to the incident. Depending what it is you might get angry, cry, be sad, disappointed, confused, feel nauseous – any emotion you may not have completely processed or let out of your system at that moment in time will then bubble to the surface. The best thing to do is to feel it with your entire existence and not try to fight its release from your mind. You may also find that as you are talking you will have moments of realisations or clarity related to the event and you will likely find that you will gain greater insights into what you experienced at the time of the traumatic event and how this has affected your current beliefs or views on life.

You recount the event until the end. Then Adrian will ask you to close your eyes and repeat the process. The purpose of this is to desensitise you to the pain of the event and release any repressed or supressed emotions associated with it. This is done by retelling it, as you experienced it, however many times you need to until you can talk about the incident feeling completely comfortable. The intent is so it just becomes a fact of your life or part of your history, not something that still agitates you to this present day.

I can only hope to convey to you the transformational benefits this type of therapy has for those who have experienced something traumatic in their lives. The changes I have witnessed in people over time, once they have done the work and been kind to themselves after such an intense therapy session, are beautiful. We all have individual struggles, but they do not dictate who we are. On the contrary, it is our reaction to this that demonstrates our true character. So be proactive about your mental health and seeking the inner peace you deserve.

For more information on how Adrian can help visit

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Does Online Therapy Work?

I am often asked by prospective clients and others if online therapy works.

The simple answer is that yes it does, if you are seeing a well qualified and experienced online therapist.

How does online therapy work?

You find a therapist that works online with clients and check their qualifications, experience and if they have any online independent reviews. I am a Mindfulness-based therapist & Hypnotherapist so most important of all I am registered with the Complementary and Natural  Healthcare Council (CNHC) a register set up with input from The Department of Health. The sole aim of the CNHC is to protect members of the public from poorly trained, unqualified or  unscrupulous therapists. I am also a registered Hypnotherapist with The General Hypnotherapy Register GHR and on the Hypnotherapy Directory. For counselling therapists you should check The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) register.

You contact your chosen therapist and arrange a time for a consultation or your first session. There are a few different services out there but I use Skype because it has very good quality sound and video feeds. So with Skype you make a video call and you can see and hear each other, you can also share documents so you are able to establish a therapeutic relationship between the two of you.

So on-line therapy works exactly like face-to-face therapy, there is no real difference other then the way in which the Therapy starts instead of ringing a door bell or waiting in a reception area you just make an on-line video call.

Why use online therapy?

There are many reasons why people want to use an online therapist or Hypnotherapist Supervisor. These include:

They have started off seeing the therapist or hypnotherapy supervisor in person (face-to-face) but have then moved out of Surrey / London. I have experienced this with clients, one of which moved back to Ireland. I also supervise a couple of hypnotherapists that trained and I supervised whilst they were in London but actually live in other parts of the UK, they wish to continue the therapeutic relationship that was already established.

There are few good therapist in their area that they would want to see. I have worked with an English woman who lived in Marrakesh, Morocco who explained there were no English speaking, professional therapists near her. She went on to recommend me to several other English people in Marrakesh who I was able to help and support via Skype. I have just started working with a client who is on the other side of London who wanted an ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) therapist but who was unable to find one near her that she liked.

Some people are not able to leave their home or travel to see a good therapist. I have worked with clients who were suffering from agoraphobia, illness, disabilities or who were in the country or small towns and not able to travel to see a therapist.

Also clients who feel vulnerable and find it difficult talking to another human being in person. They are able to be in the safety and convenience of their own home and feel no physical threat or anxiety.

In short

Online hypnotherapy, therapy, Mindfulness and supervision via Skype can be very effective.



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Ask Adrian – How does hypnotherapy work to stop smoking?

This is a great question to ask. The best way for me to answer it on Adrian Sonnex’s behalf is tell you about what happened in a stop smoking hypnotherapy session I recently attended.

Adrian received a call from a client who wanted to stop smoking. The first question asked is always ‘out of 10 how badly do you want to stop smoking?’ The client replied “a 10”. You still need willpower (your conscious mind) to stop smoking. The aim of the hypnotherapy is to get your conscious and unconscious mind working together to become a non-smoker. Otherwise, whilst your conscious mind is trying to stop smoking your unconscious mind is screaming out for every cigarette you are missing or expecting.

The client that came had been smoking consistently since the age of 17. On top of this he had been addicted to weed (cannabis) for the past 7 years. He knew it had gotten way out of control when he was spending over £800 a month on cigarettes and weed alone! So he sought out Adrian’s help.

Once the client had asked all his questions on how it works and what the outcome would be Adrian asked him to lay back, close his eyes, relax and focus on his breathing. After placing the client in a relaxed hypnotic state, the client’s eyes started rapidly moving under his eyelids. This is an indication of achieving the altered state of consciousness required for hypnotherapy.

Once in the necessary state, Adrian begun to make suggestions to the client’s unconscious mind that he is a “non-smoker and will remain so for the rest of your life”. He also made suggestions to help the client’s willpower by saying things like “If you are offered a cigarette, you simply say no thanks I don’t smoke” and “No matter who you are with, what you are doing or wherever you are you will never smoke”.

At the end when the client opened his eyes, he said he felt extremely tranquil, like he was awake but asleep at the same time, and present in the room but not at the same time. He claimed it was the calmest he had felt in a very long time.

So this is the process to stop smoking with hypnotherapy, what would happen if you gave it a go? Does this sound like a technique that would be useful for you? Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’re still unsure of the process and if and how it truly works. Do you have any other questions about hypnotherapy or Mindfulness that you would like me to ask Adrian about?  I’d love to hear what you think!

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Mindfulness Hacks – No need to change daily routine!

One of the pros I have found most fascinating about mindfulness is how easily it can slip into my day-to-day life. It’s not like blocking out two hours of my day each day for the gym (half an hour travelling each way then an hour actually at the gym!). Instead it’s the act of going about my day-to-day ritual intentionally, rather than on auto-pilot. That’s what has made the process of being mindful so much easier for me than starting something like Yoga, Pilates or meditation of any form.

Before starting this blog work with Adrian Sonnex I had never really found the right tools. I was using an app called Headspace but that still required that I take a least 10 minutes out of my day to just sit still. Whilst I can do that now, at the time I definitely didn’t think I could. I had a million and one things going on… my dissertation, running a not-for-profit consultancy team (so work, admin and managing people!), exams to revise for, jobs to apply to, interviews to attend.. and that’s not to mention my (poor) attempt at a social life, or my three hour daily commute!

But once I started using the mindfulness tricks I’m about to reveal to you guys the whole process became a lot easier. That’s not to say I didn’t feel silly at first. I felt ridiculous.

These were tasks I performed everyday habitually or places I saw everyday. Yet, I was having to focus on them as if it were my first time doing them or seeing them. It doesn’t make any sense right? Of course I know how to tie my shoe laces, why should I have to focus on how I am doing it or how the shoe lace feels on my finger tips or the bottom of my foot on the sole of my shoe? Why should I draw my attention to how the bristles on my toothbrush feel when I brush my top teeth in comparison to my bottom teeth? It’s the same feeling every day, isn’t it?

But, I was patient. So, be patient, consistent and be kind to yourself throughout your practises. There is no right way to do it. Even when you feel you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it right because you ARE doing it. Your mind can wonder a zillion times and that’s okay – just more opportunities of practising the art of bringing your mind back to what you are experiencing, with your five senses, at that moment in time.


Hack No. 1: Mindfulness in your Morning Routine

Pick an activity that constitutes part of your daily morning routine, such as brushing your teeth, shaving, or having a shower.

When you do it, totally focus on what you are doing: the body movements, the taste, the touch, the smell, the sight, the sound etc.

For example, when you’re in the shower, notice the sounds of the water as it sprays out of the nozzle, and as it hits your body as it gurgles down the plughole. Notice the temperature of the water, the feel of it in your hair, on your shoulders, running down your legs. Notice the smell of the soap and shampoo, and the feel of them against your skin. Notice the sight of the water droplets on the walls or shower screen, the water dripping down your body and the steam rising upwards. Notice the movements of your arms as you wash or scrub or shampoo.

When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to the shower.

Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realise this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to the shower.


Hack No. 2: Notice 5 Things

This is a simple exercise to centre yourself and connect with your environment. Practise it throughout the day, especially any time you find yourself getting caught up in your thoughts and feelings.

  1. Pause for a moment
  1. Look around, and notice five things that you can see,
  1. Listen carefully, and notice five thing you can hear,
  1. Notice five things you can feel in contact with your body. (Your watch against your wrist, yours trousers against your legs, the air upon your face, your feet upon the floor, you’re back against the chair, etc.)


Hack No. 3: Mindfulness in Domestic Chores

Pick an activity such as ironing clothes, washing up, vacuuming floors, and do it mindfully.

E.g. when ironing clothes: Notice the colour and shape of the clothing, and the pattern made by the creases, and the new pattern as the creases disappear. Notice the hiss of the steam, the creak of the ironing board, the faint sound of the iron moving over the material. Notice the grip of your hand on the iron, and the movement of your arm and your shoulder.

If boredom or frustration arises, simply acknowledge it, and bring your attention back to the task at hand.

When thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them be, and bring your attention back to what you are doing.

Again and again, your attention will wander. As soon as you realise this has happened, gently acknowledge it, note what distracted you, and bring your attention back to your current activity.


So there you have it guys. These have worked wonders for me and their effects have seeped into so many different areas of my life that the benefits are unquantifiable (those that know me know how much I love Maths and quantifying the unquantifiable, so this claim is a big one!). I truly hope it has just as great benefits for you and would love to hear how you get on with them.

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Catastrophe – Or just living?

Many years ago I was talking to a friend of mine regarding the somewhat traumatic break up of a long term relationship of hers. I remember telling her how sorry I was that she was going through such an awful experience. However what she told me next was something that stuck in my mind for a considerable time. She told me that she didn’t regret having to go through the emotional turmoil, because from her point of view, experiencing this pain was part of what experiencing life to the full was all about. I found this very odd, and especially coming from such a normal, down to earth sort of person. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would ever welcome pain.

So this was something that indeed stayed at the back of my mind for many years, until that is, it was recommended to me that I read Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living. It was then that I was finally able to understand the sense of logic behind what I had hitherto found completely illogical. The idea that it could actually be healthy not just to accept, but indeed to welcome the bad along with the good, welcoming as it were all the colourful  strands that make up life’s rich tapestry.

Understanding that it’s ok to feel bad in a way takes some of the pressure off and allows one to see the path ahead with more clarity. Accepting the good and bad that life has to throw at us is a healthy way of living. Mindfulness does teach accepting good and bad feelings, thoughts, emotions and experiences – the whole catastrophe of living. A brilliant technique that can be used is keeping events calendars: A pleasant events calendar – where your mindfulness practise is to record one pleasant event each day, and an unpleasant events calendar – where you record an unpleasant event each day. I would say that for some at least it can provide a pathway to arriving at some quite logical and healthy conclusions. I’m sure there are many equally effective approaches.

To my knowledge my friend hadn’t arrived at her conclusion by studying mindfulness or via any one particular philosophy or therapeutic framework. However, it is clear that acceptance and understanding allowed her to move on with her life and feel stronger as a result – much more so, I believe, than had she wasted energy fighting the reality or running away from it, as of course so many of us tend to do.

By Joel Cantor DHP, DCH -Professional Hypnotherapist and Mindfulness-based Therapist of Wellbeing Hypnotherapy, Weybridge

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