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Help for Riders



Show mentoring, confidence and performance coaching packages:

I can tailor-make programmes to suit your specific needs.

A package might include coaching sessions prior to competitions or key events, travelling with you, helping with nerves in the warm-up and reading dressage tests.

Please contact me to talk through your requirements:

Phone: 0789 992 8919
Email: jmoxham@hotmail.com

What is Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how can it help Horse Riders?

Following a report in Horse and Hound on research into hypnosis at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, which established “that confidence can be increased by up to 51% with just one session,” let's take a look into this potentially life-changing form of therapy...

I wouldn’t mind betting, that when I mention the word ‘hypnosis’, you conjure up images of charismatic stage performers controlling unwitting audience members in zombie-like states, and forcing them to obey bizarre and often humiliating commands. Either that, or you envisage a swaying pendulum being waved in front of your eyes with a voice telling you, “You are feeling very sleeeeeeepy”! Or maybe you’ll recall the Little Britain sketch where the character Kenny Craig repeatedly tells his victims to “Look into my eyes, not around the eyes, look into my eyes…”!

You might be surprised, relieved or even slightly disappointed to learn that cognitive hypnotherapy is a world away from that, it doesn’t use any of the above techniques and is about as far removed from those scenarios as it’s possible to get! It is, in fact, a form of talking therapy which can be used to address a diverse range of problem states and promote change in various ways, using a variety of techniques. At its heart lies the belief that the solution can be found within the problem. Using cognitive hypnotherapy we can actively empower clients to find their own remedies within themselves.

It can be used effectively to help riders and maximize sports performance, but it can also help with anxiety, lack of confidence, phobias, healing, exam nerves, fear of public speaking, diet control, smoking and relationship issues. It is a flexible and tailor-made therapy, far removed from ‘one size fits all’ scripted approaches used in other forms of hypnotherapy.

Cognitive hypnotherapy provides a toolkit for overworked minds to fix their own stresses and strains. It is based on a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy, NLP and hypnosis, using theories based on modern neuroscience.

Cognitive, in its broadest sense, means ‘knowing’  and cognitive skills are the underlying brain skills that make it possible for us to think, remember and learn. Such skills allow us to sift and process the enormous surge of information we experience every day of our lives. Cognitive therapy is based on the theory that people’s emotions and behaviours are influenced by their perception of events, not the events themselves.

Everyone experiences natural hypnotic trances every day without even realising it. We could compare it to being so absorbed in a book or film that you lose track of time, or being in a meeting where your mind has wandered. It is this natural state of mind that is used in cognitive hypnotherapy. You never lose control and are certainly never put under the control of anyone else

As a rider, I know exactly how it feels to be gripped by nerves, overcome with fear or paralysed by the pressure I have put on myself to succeed. I also know that our horses are acutely aware of these nerves and respond accordingly, not always helping us to give our best performance. Aside from improving our riding by reducing tension and stress, I believe that by building our own confidence, overcoming our nerves and taking away negative influences we can strengthen and improve our relationship with our horses, helping us to enjoy them more, both in competitive and non-competitive environments.

As a hypnotherapist, I aim to help people to ‘get out of their own way’: to focus on what’s important and fulfill their potential in whatever area they wish to explore. Many of our actions and reactions are defined by what has happened to us in the past and some of those previous experiences are no longer helpful, appropriate or productive. In cognitive hypnotherapy we explore the way people see the world, find out what is influencing them or holding them back, address it, reframe it, let it go and help to bring about positive change. The emphasis is on supplying each client with unique tools for the mind so that they can use different techniques for different mental states. We work on the theory that everyone has the capacity to adopt new mental approaches, and anyone can be hypnotised. The only prerequisite is to be open to the process. 

Unlike some forms of therapy, cognitive hypnotherapy can be effective in a relatively short time by putting the foundations of change into place; and many people feel more relaxed after just one session. It helps to change, almost ‘re-programme’ mindsets, moving people towards their goals. Hypnotherapy can teach you how to control your body's responses and reactions, and anchor you in calm when you become worried.


What happens in a typical cognitive hypnotherapy session?

A cognitive hypnotherapist will ask carefully structured questions which can generate profound answers, and these will help the therapist to interpret and develop a unique set of words and techniques which will be used to help the client to reach their solution state. This unique set of words, tailor-made for every client by the therapist, is known as Wordweaving. The key to the success of cognitive hypnotherapy lies in finding out what the client truly wants to achieve or change, then helping them to channel their own knowledge and maximise their inner resources to help them to make it happen.


True Stories

A successful dressage rider came to me several years ago as she had always struggled with nerves on competition days. She explained, “I have always been fine when working my horse at home, but when it came to competition days, the slightest thing that didn't go according to plan would lead to me getting very tense and worked up. And this would inevitably lead to me and my horse having a disagreement of some sort. It was becoming very frustrating knowing how well we could perform together at home, but never seemed to work out once we reached a venue. Now, after a few sessions of cognitive hypnotherapy, I feel more in control of what is happening on the day and better prepared to deal with whatever problems come my way.”

Another client, says “I had lost my confidence jumping and it seemed to be getting worse. I was leaning forward and looking down because I was so nervous on the approach to a jump which, of course, leaves you less secure and more vulnerable if anything unexpected happens. I also couldn’t breathe when I saw the jump. So I decided to give cognitive hypnotherapy a try. After just two sessions I started to feel better and my enjoyment of jumping gradually started to return. I can’t exactly remember at which point I started to lose my fear and begin feel more confident but I now find myself looking up, feeling more positive and sitting taller as I ride towards jumps or hedges, no matter how big they are, and thinking ‘bring it on’!

I have, at times, surprised myself!


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