Louise Coyle is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist who trained with us and now runs her successful practice, Changing Times Hypnotherapy.
Here Louise talks to us about her specialised menopause workshops, cognitive techniques to overcome ‘dating anxiety’ and how she found setting up her own practice.
What do you enjoy most about being a hypnotherapist?
I enjoy the puzzle, the fact that I need to work out what is going on in each client’s brain and figure out how I can help them to fix it. It’s quite a responsibility knowing the trust clients have in me and it is very rewarding to watch people change and begin to enjoy life more. I also love seeing how people think and behave – I love that part more than I thought I would!
As part of your practice, you offer workshops to help clients with menopausal symptoms. Why did you choose to tailor your hypnotherapy skills to target this issue particularly?
For some women, going through the menopause can be a horrible time: symptoms include stress, irrational anxiety, poor sleep, loss of self-confidence as well as hot flushes and night sweats. Often menopausal women ask themselves ‘Why am I feeling like this?’ – they just don’t know. Yet hypnotherapy is helpful in dealing with all of these symptoms.
Menopause itself has only recently become a subject that women are comfortable talking about so it can be a struggle engaging with these women. So I promote my workshops by going to menopause conferences and talking about them as well as discussing it as often as possible across social media. At the moment, hypnotherapy as a treatment option is still quite under-recognised – so I try to talk about it as much as possible with as many people as possible.
Which other issues do you treat clients for?
Menopausal women make up around 10% of my clients. The rest is a mixture of both men and women in their 20s and late 40-50s. Anxiety and worry are major problems, and a common theme is ‘Where am I going with my life?’. Common issues include a lack of self-esteem and an inability to switch off from worrying thoughts. Physical problems such as stress-related stomach problems and difficulties with sleeping are also very prevalent.
I have noticed that my younger clients are often particularly stressed about dating and finding a partner. I think that technology, namely dating apps, have made people hung up on the idea of perfection. They believe that the ‘right’ person can be found by looking ‘hard enough’. So they go on dates expecting to have instant chemistry, and if that doesn’t happen, they write that person off and move onto the next option. Treatment for this kind of belief is really quite cognitive: I help them dismantle those beliefs by looking at the evidence. I ask them why they think they must have an instant connection, or why they think they can know a person and judge whether they are ‘right’ in such a short initial meeting. Looking at the evidence in this way helps them to develop more realistic beliefs.
Tell us a little bit about your experience setting up a practice.
I completed the Diploma about two and a half years ago. I set up my practice in April 2019, and in June that year, I earned my first income – running some relaxation workshops.
Since then it has been steady progress – but not without some peaks and troughs. I had never worked as a therapist before so I was starting from scratch in terms of getting my name out there.
The marketing process requires effort, and has mixed results! You need to try out different options and keep which ones work best, and stop using those that don’t (it helps to keep a note of where your clients come from, what you spend on the different options and how many clients it earns). I didn’t create a website straight away, I started with a Facebook page and talking to friends of mine. Word of mouth and local networking are really valuable – it’s important to talk to as many people as possible about what you do.
When I didn’t have many clients in the early days, I was able to focus on putting together content for a series of workshops that I then trialled with friends. I still offer these workshops on a regular basis as they give me an opportunity for marketing and approaching a wider group of people. If I can demonstrate what relaxation feels like, for example, and how it can help, then it becomes easier for someone to decide to come and see me for one-to-one therapy.
I joined one of the hypnotherapy directories and another directory that covers a range of different therapists. I also put up posters about my workshops locally. As time has gone on I’ve learnt which promotional strategies work best for me.
My advice would be to talk to as many people, don’t spend too much money on promotion as it’s unnecessary, make sure you stick with it, and – most importantly – promote yourself in ways you find fun!
What is your professional background?
I have always worked in the healthcare arena. On completing a degree in genetics, I trained as a journalist and worked both in medical journalism and healthcare public relations. I was writing about new medicines and diseases for doctors and the general public so communicating with people about health is something I am very familiar with.
What led you to re-train?
It wasn’t ever really a conscious decision to become a hypnotherapist. I had spent a few years away from work when my children were small and when I ventured back to medical PR I realised that it no longer matched what I wanted from my working life – everybody was so young (at least compared to me!) and the work could be very stressful.
I had attended a self-hypnosis workshop, which I really enjoyed and my husband had found hypnotherapy very useful. When I found the UK College and downloaded the prospectus. I really liked it, so I booked onto Stage 1. My interested snowballed from there – my confidence in the decision to become a hypnotherapist grew as I went through the Diploma. I wanted to carry on and do Stages 2 and 3 as I wanted to stay with the same group of people in the course.
What did you like most about the course?
What originally resonated with me was the fact that it is evidence-based as, personally, I am more comfortable explaining that what I do has the research back-up to show that it actually works. It gives me the confidence to practice, as I know that this approach genuinely helps people.
The other aspect that I really appreciated was that it gave me all the tools I need to become a therapist. It didn’t just teach me to do hypnosis, it showed me how to structure client sessions, how to communicate with clients and how to plan a course of therapy.
Louise’s website is https://changingtimeshypnotherapy.com/