IBS and the FODMAP diet by Debbie Waller


IBS and the FODMAP diet


If you work with IBS clients you may have come across the FODMAP diet but as April is IBS Awareness Month I thought this would be the perfect time to explore what this means and how you might help clients who are following it.


What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides, And Polyols, which might not be very helpful unless you are a dietician. Essentially the items listed are all short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols which the small intestine finds it difficult to absorb. The result if this is that bacterial action in the digestive system tends to make them ferment, causing increased liquid and gas production in the gut. A recent theory from Melbourne, Australia says that reducing intake of foods which are high in FODMAPs can help IBS sufferers to relieve symptoms of bloating, gut pain, intestinal gas and motility problems like diarrhoea and constipation.


What foods are included or excluded by this diet?

This is the million dollar question, of course, but not an easy one to answer, especially in the space allowed here. In very broad terms, a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, sweeteners, dairy foods and lactose-containing foods are high in FODMAPS. Other foods in the same groups are low in FODMAPS.

There are lists and recipes on line (of course), also books and even apps to help you identify low FODMAP foods. But some more reliable than others, but many high FODMAP ingredients are hidden in processed or pre-packaged foods so cutting them all out can be quite a challenge. Added to which your client may have specific food triggers for their IBS which are unrelated to FODMAPs, but still need to be taken into account.

In addition the usual method (based on what my clients tell me) is to hugely restrict the person’s diet and then over several weeks gradually re-introduce low FODMAP foods one by one so their effect can be monitored. This can lead to dietary imbalances, at least in the short term, which might have to be addressed with supplements.

I do appreciate that we all know our own bodies. However, due to the complexities of correctly implementing a healthy low FODMAP diet, the best advice you can give to any client wanting to explore it is to ask their GP for a referral to a dietician, who will help them find their way through the maze of conflicting and sometimes confusing advice.


Is it worth trying?

So far it seems around 70-75% of IBS patients are likely to have an improvement in the severity or frequency of IBS gut-related symptoms by following this diet. Research is still ongoing as larger studies need to be carried out to confirm this initial finding.

It doesn’t help with non gut-related symptoms like headaches which are sometimes associated with IBS, but yes it’s worth exploring for many of those with the condition.


How can hypnotherapists help with this?

Firstly, by raising awareness of the FODMAP diet. Some clients who seek your help with controlling their IBS symptoms may not have come across it, as it’s fairly new in the UK. Ethically we can’t prescribe treatment, of course, but we can encourage our clients to chat about the FODMAP diet to the GP and see if it might be of help to them.

Secondly, I’ve already mentioned that the diet is quite restrictive, especially at first, and some clients find it difficult to stick to. We can use hypnotherapy to help them change their eating and shopping habits, or to boost their confidence, self esteem or motivation – whatever they need to follow it easily and comfortably. These are all areas where you will have plenty of techniques and ideas available (check out the Hypnotherapy Handbook for a start!) which you can adapt to your client’s needs.


Author Debbie Waller is a professional hypnotherapist, specialising in stress, anxiety and related issues. She also offers EMDR which is used for trauma, PTSD, phobias and OCD and owns a multi accredited hypnotherapy school, Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training. Debbie publishes hypnotherapy-for-ibs.co.uk for those interested in using hypnotherapy to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and wrote the chapter on IBS and hypnotherapy in The Hypnotherapy Handbook.




















What have lawnmowers got to do with marketing your therapy business?

With our Therapists Marketing Solutions hats on, Debs and I recently ran a webinar on Press Releases. One of the great advantages of this medium is that it’s free, so if you’re time rich and money poor, this is one of the routes you can consider to get those all important clients knocking at your door.

As a result of some of the follow-up emails, it quickly became apparent that some of the therapists had been quite nervous of grasping the bull by the horns prior to our webinar. Yet once it had all been spelt out they realised it was just a matter of making time, relaxing those all-important shoulders, and getting on with it!

This reminded me of a metaphor I once heard:

A chap came out of his house one sunny day to see his neighbour sitting on his lawn mending his lawnmower. The lawnmower was in bits and the neighbour was patiently putting it all back together again.

The first man said to his neighbour “I wish I could do that”.

The neighbour replied “You can if you give yourself enough time and are patient”!

All too frequently our subconscious minds procrastinate and stop us doing something that, once completed, will benefit us. If you take the pressure off yourself and present your mind with a positive picture, for example a press release published in a local newspaper that you sent out, then the subconscious is more likely to play ball.

When it comes to marketing, all too frequently therapists allow their businesses to fail simply because there are aspects they don’t like doing – such as marketing. With today’s modern technology and the power of the internet, we tend to concentrate on a few areas that possibly we’re more comfortable with. However, the knack is to cast your marketing net far and wide and cover as many avenues as possible, whether that’s paid for or the wonders of free marketing such as press releases!

Nicola Griffiths and Debs Pearce are both hypnotherapists who, in addition to their own practices, run Therapists Marketing Solutions (TMS). They help therapists to set up in business or help improve an existing business by giving informative tips and techniques on how to market to potential clients. Contact Debs and Nic on 01285 821019 or via info@therapistsmarketingsolutions.co.uk.

Celebrating Supervision

I am always amazed when I hear of hypnotherapists who are not in supervision. I am much less amazed when I then hear (usually not too long afterwards) that they have stopped practising.

Let’s set this in context. Nearly all caring professions, nursing, medicine, teaching, to name but three, encourage or even expect practitioners to have regular supervision. And not just when they are new, or if they have a difficult caseload, but always. It is part of the professional deal and recognised as an important part of stopping stress and burnout and providing a safe environment where professionals can hone and improve the service they offer to clients, students or patients.

Why should we be different? I don’t think we should be. In fact I think we need supervision even more because so many of us work alone.  I practise what I am preaching and would like to describe how my supervision works. I hope this will help any of you out there who are not in supervision to see that it is not a process of checking up on you, or constraining your creativity. It is the opposite really, a time when you can really fly with new ideas and learn about different ways of doing things.

So what do I do? I have a weekly session with my two colleagues via Skype: the only way to do it as we are in Scotland, Sheffield and Tunbridge Wells.  We were all trained in solution-focused supervision so we are interested in outcomes, better outcomes, new outcomes, outcomes that surprise and delight us.  We start the session by focussing on an issue one of us wishes to bring to supervision. Then we start by asking what would have to happen in the session to make it worthwhile. This naturally helps the person bringing the issue to focus on success – what would they need to do to get to where they would like to be. This method works brilliantly with client issues.

So, you can say, here’s the problem, how would things look if it were solved, what steps are needed to get there? What obstacles might stop that, what do I need to achieve that – do I have the resources, can I get them, who can help? Very quickly the problem becomes both soluble and wide-ranging. Nine times out of ten you are not just helping your client you are helping yourself. You are helping yourself be a better therapist and a more fulfilled and happy person.

And we are always growing. At the end of each session we will ask what could we have done to have made the supervision session better. We reflect on our individual practice – what patterns are emerging? What development needs do we have and how can we fulfil them?  We are all therapists with years of experience; we have seen thousands of clients. Yet we still do this, every week, week in, week out.  Why? Because it makes us more fulfilled, happier and more confident therapists.

If you have never had this sort of supervision you will be amazed at what a change in your mindset it will make. A bad day, that difficult client becomes an opportunity. I often find myself, if I have a challenge with a client, thinking ‘that’s interesting, I can’t wait to tell Kim and Melanie about this.’ And success with a client is no longer private, you can shout about it with your supervisor. Supervision is a chance to celebrate. So get yourself a good supervisor and start celebrating.

Ann Jaloba is co-founder of SupervisionPlus (www.supervisionplus.org) and co-editor of The Hypnotherapy Handbook. She also edits The Hypnotherapy Journal and wrote FirstDays: how to build a therapy business and stay sane to help therapists through their first year in practice. Recently named one the UK’s top 10 therapists on the Huffington Post she practises in Sheffield, specialising in stress and anxiety reduction and weight-management and confidence.

Where are your business cards and what do they say?

Why are you a therapist? Part of the answer will probably be because you want to help people. You will hopefully also enjoy it and then you need to make a living.

But how successful are you at running a thriving practice?

Many enthusiastic and well trained therapists set up in business only to close their therapy doors all too soon, frequently in the first year of trading.   When we question why this is, we come to the conclusion that in a lot of cases the therapist has not done what is needed to market and promote themselves. Either they’re too bashful to sing their own praises – it’s almost as though they’re too nice to succeed or they don’t understand/like marketing, so they avoid it.

Part of the problem, it seems, is that they’re not fully exploiting opportunities that are already open to them.  We’re always saying to our hypnotherapy clients that “it’s the small steps that count”. The same applies to marketing. Some therapists get daunted by the sheer scale of what they can potentially do. Yet let’s look at something very straightforward:

The power of business cards

Now, when we manned our stand at Camexpo at Earls Court in 2012, it had an estimated 5,000 attendees. We set up a free prize draw with the chance to win £150 in Health Spa vouchers, in exchange for dropping a business card into a glass bowl.  Anticipating some therapists might not have their business cards on them, we prepared paper slips for people to fill in.  What surprised us is that over 40% of the therapists who came to our stand didn’t have their business cards with them. So they were potentially missing out on a massive networking opportunity. What a lot of therapists miss is the fact that the competition i.e. other therapists, can be a great source of introductory business if you play your cards right.

So where are your business cards right now? In a neat pile at home or at your therapy room? Or do you have a supply in your pocket or handbag ready to give out to anyone you meet who expresses an interest in your therapy?  Business cards are inexpensive, effective and can convey a huge amount about you in a nutshell, yet people don’t see them as the potentially valuable marketing tool that they can be, especially in this digital age.

We give out two or three business cards in every relaxation CD case we hand out to their clients. Why two or three? Because those existing clients have friends, family, colleagues etc who may need your services. When writing to a GP, we always include a business card – the letter will end up in the patient’s file so you need something that the GP can refer to. We do recognise that depending on the GP they may also end up in the bin, but this is where the cards are relatively cheap and therefore that doesn’t matter. The more you persistently make contact, the more chance that business card will be kept.

Imagine walking down the High Street where you live and you bump into an old colleague, maybe a business person who you recognise from working down the same street or possibly a family member who has a friend with them. The question is asked “What do you do”. You should always “Enthuse”!! Show your passion for your work. But then life continues and that person carries on down the road and goes shopping or goes back to work. Where are you in their mindset? Probably not at the forefront. However, if you’ve handed over your business card and they find that on returning home, it reminds them of what you do. It may get filed in the bin….but it might not!

This is where general marketing comes in and you need to be seen in more than one place. It’s all well and good being on the internet, a must in today’s world, but if you’re handing out business cards, appearing in local good quality magazines etc, you get a drip feed effect – and that’s the power of marketing, if you do it properly.

Why do companies such as Coca-Cola, BMW and big supermarkets not just advertise on TV or the internet? It’s because that’s not the only place people look and they know the power of spreading that marketing mix.

Finally, what’s on the back of your business card? Some people use it as an appointment card which is fine, but consider this. If someone comes to see you for a fear of flying then in their mindset you’re great at helping to sort out this type of phobia. It might not strike them that you’re also a gem at helping to sort insomnia or helping with the symptoms of IBS etc. The back of your business card is an ideal place to advertise your wares. Even a simple heading saying ‘Hypnotherapy can help with…’ and you can list anxiety; phobias; insomnia; confidence etc. Remember, your clients have a lot of contacts and your business card is a great way of spreading the word.

A business card may only be a small outlay financially compared to other areas of your marketing budget or business as a whole, it may only be small as you hold it in your hand, but it is powerful.

Your Action Points:

  1. Set yourself a target to give out your business cards to at least five people a week.
  2. Don’t just give them one card, they’ll want to keep that. Give them at least two or three so they can keep one and pass the others on.
  3. Make sure your business cards are out on display right in front of your clients, so they hopefully help themselves.
  4. Start putting them in with correspondence/relaxation CDs.
  5. Stop being shy, hand them out!

Nicola Griffiths and Deborah Pearce are hypnotherapists who can jointly boast over 50 years of marketing experience. As well as running hypnotherapy practices, they also head up Therapists Marketing Solutions (TMS) which offers marketing courses for hypnotherapy students and practitioners.


Family experience led me to specialise in IBS, says Debbie Waller

I always had in interest in working with stress related issues but got seriously interested in helping people who had IBS when my daughter was diagnosed with it. IBS can have far more of an impact than you’d think on many areas of someone’s life. Even when they are not experiencing symptoms they can worry about what might bring them on; it’s difficult to plan holidays, parties and meals out for example if you know a change of diet or routine can spark off another attack. When symptoms are present, sufferers may be unable to go to work, school or college or to socialise, and levels of pain can be very high.

In fact, a study has recently been published which suggests that people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome process pain in their digestive system differently from people who don’t have it.

The study used MRI scans to examine which areas of the brain were activated when participants experienced painful rectal distensions and found that those with IBS seemed to be unable to suppress the pain signals. Healthy people were much better at doing so.

Sigrid Elsenbruch PhD. who carried out the study, says that IBS patients also show a higher level of depression than the general population and feels that this contributes to the results. A number of previous studies have shown that people who are depressed or stressed report higher levels of pain than those who are not.

This may link between pain and mood may well be part of the reason that IBS sufferers respond so well to hypnotherapy, with around 70- 80% of them achieving a reduction in IBS symptoms, improved bowel habit, and reduced pain levels. It’s an amazing area to work in because it makes real quality of life improvements for clients, which is so satisfying for me as well as for them. I hope my chapter in the Hypnotherapy Handbook will give you the skills and confidence to work with this issue.

Further information:



Supervision is part of looking after yourself says Ann Jaloba

I have spent a lot of this week talking to new supervisees. As always, I am struck by the amount of knowledge and skills so many of you are bringing to helping clients.

I am also struck by how isolated people can feel, so I would like to make a suggestion. Get supervision, find a supervisor you like and you will feel supported and nurtured.

Many people get allergic when they hear the word supervison, they imagine being monitored, judged and criticised; but good supervision is the opposite of this. As a qualified supervisor for the National Council for Hypnotherapy, I am constantly delighted at how much I learn from my supervisees and how they grow and develop in our sessions.

I always ask supervisees: “what did you learn about yourself?” This can be very enlightening, when you are new it can be difficult to conceptualise your cases as you don’t have your own body of work to inform you and your decision making. Get yourself a good supervisor and you can tap into their experience, it can be very comforting to have a space to develop ideas with someone who has been there before. Use this space to explore your own reactions and choices and enjoy developing your confidence and competence.

You will find if you are in a good supervisory relationship then it is with you all the time, not just when you are in session with your supervisor. You will find yourself developing the mental habits of noting your emotional reactions to clients, of considering the different possibilities for intervention, of knowing how to measure you success with clients.

If you feel like good supervision would help you then find out more about what I can offer at www.supervisionplus.org.

Hello Magazine Feature The All New Authoritarian & Motivational Weight Loss Hypnosis

Steve Miller explains his weightloss system

It has been an exciting and very full week of press interviews discussing my all new Authoritarian & Motivational Weight Loss Hypnosis programme.

As you probably already know, I developed this model over the last year based on my practical experience of working with hundreds of weight loss clients. For years I thought what was really needed to help clients lose weight was a much stronger and direct protocol that would see client excuses barred, motivation taken through the roof, and an accompanying menu plan system that was straightforward. The Hypnotherapy Handbook provides an overview of my approach and I am pleased to have confirmed a date to present the skills and techniques involved in the Authoritarian & Motivational Weight Loss Model.

It was especially good to see my Hello Magazine Online piece featured recently and in my drive to create awareness of this approach the media will continue to follow me as I pioneer this breakthrough in weight loss hypnotherapy. Weight Loss is such a wonderfully satisfying area to work in as a Hypnotherapist, although if you are not careful it can also be very draining which is why I founded this model. You can see the Hello Magazine Online piece here: http://blog.hellomagazine.com/weightloss/2014/10/the-authoritarian-motivational-weight-loss-hypnosis-breakthrough/

An opportunity for you
If you are keen to use the techniques of this new model of weight loss hypnosis then join me for a day where we will explore them in detail. You can check out the details of this one day event here: http://hypnotherapybusinessschool.co.uk/weight-loss-hypnosis-masterclass-live/

You will learn how to:
1. Condition clients to be excuse free and positively framed to lose weight.
2. Motivate your clients using a range of tools and strategies.
3. Ensure your clients lose weight every week so you attain positive results.

You will also take away sample menu plans using the 80-20 rule to use with clients
An opportunity to learn the art of showmanship to help drive your clients weight loss.
Full details here: http://hypnotherapybusinessschool.co.uk/weight-loss-hypnosis-masterclass-live/

You can read all about why I decided to use this new ground breaking model and a session overview plan in The Hypnotherapy Handbook.

Marketing for being successful in an industry where up to 90% of all therapists’ businesses fail in first year!

Everyone who sets up in self-employment usually has to follow various steps to get established!

  1. Sorting out premises
  2. Getting equipment
  3. Organising filing systems
  4. Letting people know they’ve set up
  5. Advising the Inland Revenue that there’s a new business up and running

The above are just a few of the steps that have to be taken.  However, despite the practical training a hypnotherapist receives, the fallout rate huge, with over 90% of therapists’ businesses failing in their first year. This isn’t restricted to hypnotherapists alone though, it covers all therapists.  One of the reasons we suspect this figure is so high is that therapists get their Diploma and think great “we’re off and running” and don’t realise how much work is required with their marketing to get point 4 above across to the public.

In the Hypnotherapy Handbook, we’ve allocated a whole chapter to marketing. Not only that, but it’s written by two hypnotherapists who between them have in excess of 50 years marketing experience and put this experience into good practice to get their therapy businesses up and running. Not only that, but once up and running, those businesses have been successfully sustained for many years.  There are so many ways to marketing your business, some you have to pay for, many come free but may take time to effectively draw in clients, other marketing initiatives that are free can be quicker but take a lot of your time. The momentum needs to be built though and then sustained.

So if you were to do one thing differently today to either get your business off the ground or possibly take it to the next level, what would that be? Perhaps you’d send a relevant press release out? Maybe write a blog for your website? Or possibly you’d simply see how many business cards you could hand out in one day?  The Hypnotherapy Handbook has many ideas on how to market your business!

Nicola Griffiths and Deborah Pearce are hypnotherapists who can jointly boast over 50 years of marketing experience. As well as running hypnotherapy practices, they also head up Therapists Marketing Solutions (TMS) which offers marketing courses for hypnotherapy students and practitioners.


Doing what you love and saving lives! Cathy Simmons talks about working with smokers.

Anyone who knows me will know that I am passionate about helping people find a life beyond their addiction, especially smoking because it is one of the biggest killers in this country. For that reason, I am hoping that my smoking cessation section in the Hypnotherapy Handbook will give you good insight into how to approach working with smokers and how to get the best and most permanent results with them, so that you will be saving lives too.

Imagine that – doing what you love and saving lives; it can’t get much better than that, can it? I give you some of the essential background that you will need to know in order to work well with smokers along with a practical guide as to how to use this in the most powerful way.

Whilst I realise that each person reading this will have a different training, different techniques and different frameworks, I invite you to take the principles of what I am saying and apply the tools that you already have within the framework …

For more information on working successfully with your smoking cessation clients see Cathy’s Smoking Cessation chapter in the Hypnotherapy Handbook which will be available on Amazon from early October 2014