Continuing our series of interviews with Atkinson-Ball hypnotherapists
In Spring 2000 Suzanne took a sabbatical and spent three months travelling across the States; a refreshing, pressure-free break which helped her figure out what she really wanted to do, career-wise. New millennium, new start.
She’d been working in international HR for an American oil company for about 11 years and enjoying it, however her heart wasn’t always in it.
The HR manager was a fan of NLP and encouraged employees to attend NLP courses for personal development. While Suzanne found it interesting, there was an element of hypnosis in the NLP Practitioner course, and that really got her excited.
Having already trained in massage and Reiki, Suzanne managed to shrink her job down to three days a week in London, so she could work as a therapist on the other days.
With amazing timing, her company offered her voluntary redundancy. During this time she completed the NLP Master Practitioner course with ITS and was taught by some of the pioneers of NLP ie Robert Dilts, Tad James and Susie Smith.
Says Suzanne, “I never thought for one minute I’d be doing this, but once I was in it, I thought, I’ve found it, this is it!”
As it turned out, the oil company invited Suzanne back on a short contract which kept being extended, but it wasn’t long before she began to wonder again what she was doing there. “It was almost like I hadn’t made the transition,” she says. “My trip to the States included a one-week hypnosis course in Seattle. It was good but nowhere near what I later learned with Atkinson-Ball. I could get people into hypnosis, but then what did I do with them? What do you do when a trauma comes up?”
“The three months really cemented my resolve – I thought, I’m not going back. You learn a lot about yourself on a journey like that.”
A couple of years later Suzanne was doing fine with NLP, massage and Reiki, but she wanted to take the hypnosis further. She’d come back from the States with a load of scripts, but nothing else. That’s when she did some research and found Atkinson-Ball. Suzanne qualified as an advanced hypnotherapist in March 2003.
“While on the course, I knew, ‘this is the next thing that is slotting into place’. Like learning to drive, you’re a bit nervous at first … but now I knew I had the tools to take the hypnotherapy forward. Even now, sometimes before I begin with a client, I might wonder how it’s going to turn out, but I know I have the tools to deal with whatever comes up.”
What do you like about being a hypnotherapist?
“I love helping people to realise that they can change and to see the change in them. You can’t change what has happened, but you can change your perception of the past, and so you change the effect the past has on you today, making a brighter tomorrow.
“There’s so much sadness and anger that people carry around, and it’s just wonderful to give people the tools and the power to change that for themselves. You can change the cards that you think you’ve been dealt with. Then the whole of a person’s life changes, present, past and future.”
What do you not like about being a hypnotherapist?
Silence. Then, “I’ve heard it said, ‘Find what you enjoy doing and you’ll never work another day in your life’. That’s me, I love it.”
Past Life Regressions
Suzanne offers past life regression therapy as well as advanced hypnotherapy. How did she get started on that?
“Past Life Regression is covered within the syllabus and I found it really interesting. For further study I read books by Brian Weiss, Andy Tomlinson and Michael Newton and qualified with The Past Life Therapists Association.
“My mind is open as to whether it’s really a past life that people access. It sometimes helps clients make sense of something in this life, and to me that’s enough. I encourage my clients, after the regression, to look at this life, in the light of what they’ve just experienced – is there a connection, are there similarities etc?”
What are the majority of your clients coming for?
“A lot of people are struggling with alcohol. Maybe drinkers who want to cut down or stop altogether. Unfortunately alcohol is part of our culture. First it’s a drink at night to relax, then it’s a couple, then it’s a bottle or two! People come with depression, anxiety, fears, phobias, panic attacks, hypno-healing and perhaps some of the more obvious reasons i.e. weight loss and stopping smoking.”
What advice would you give to someone thinking about hypnotherapy as a career?
“Do this course. You will gain so much knowledge from Greg whilst having fun. Not only will this course set you on the road to a new career but you will also gain so much personally.
“I thoroughly enjoy hypnotherapy, no more Monday morning blues! I really do enjoy seeing people change and grow.”
Suzanne is based in Kent. You can find more information on her website Changing Lives Today.