Hypnotherapist Michael Pulman’s poor experience of mental health provision sent him looking for an alternative. He now believes that the power of hypnosis to help people face up to past traumas and overcome them is much more effective that anti-depressants and is calling on doctors to change their attitudes.
This is Michael’s story
“Three redundancies in as many years had left me reeling and scared. I need to step back and think and find a job, any job, where there was a reasonable prospect of still being there in a few years’ time.
I like kids, I like learning and I like helping kids to discover new things so I hit on teaching. It wasn’t an easy choice for me as I needed to get some more qualifications before I could even start the course.
I went ahead though, and went back to university at the grand old age of 33. And it was great, I was even voted student of the year!
Then it all hit. One day I just couldn’t get out of bed. I need to explain that, I don’t mean I was feeling a bit tired, or even that I had flu or something so felt I had to lay down. It was a different level to that. If someone had put a gun to my head, or offered me a million pounds I still could not have got up. I felt completely stopped.
I had never felt like this before and hope I never will again. It was a freeze frame in life and I didn’t know what to do next or how to start moving again.
I couldn’t talk to anyone, although I had friends and a close family. I have always said that my mum is my best friend but I felt I could even speak to her.
In the end, I did manage to speak to my mum and I told her ‘I’m lost.’
Things moved then and I found myself at the doctor’s. I spent 45 minutes with the doctor but a lot of that was endless form filling, there were acres of forms. This was at a time I was hardly functioning and I could have well done without this.
The treatment I got was what I came to find out was the usual, anti-depressants, in my case citalopram. I was also introduced to a self-help group which for me was just a way of spreading the misery. There we all sat, none of us with any expertise in dealing with mental health, all ending up outdoing each other in the misery stakes. They say misery loves company and believe me, that group proved the truth of that old saying.
The medication seemed to have no effect at all. And a little voice started in my head saying ‘how does this tablet know anything about me. It can’t know how to put me, Michael right again.’ If I asked the tablet ‘what is wrong,’ I wasn’t going to get an answer. And I knew I needed some answers.
I began to do some research and came across a local hypnotherapist called Peter Field. Six sessions with Peter did more for me than all the pills in the world. He was talking to me, not some condition or brain imbalance.
Over these six sessions I was taken on a voyage of discovery into those experiences which had formed my unique personality, how I validated and remembered them made me the man I was now. And those memories could be worked with, perhaps how I interpreted things back then were not the only way, perhaps my adult mind could process things differently. Over our sessions this is exactly what I did, under Peter’s expert guidance.
I learned so much, but one thing above all, to be kinder to myself. All those memories, those voices from the past fell into a different place. They couldn’t hurt me anymore. I found myself changing very quickly.
Peter has recently died, and I can say that meeting him is one of the most important things which has ever happened to me. People use the phrase life changing a lot, but this really was life changing. Not only did it make me much happier and more balanced it also changed other people’s lives as well. It set me on the path to helping other people and that has become my career.
I trained as a hypnotherapist myself and that is what I do today. It took me ten months to learn the skills. It was financially a tough time for me, but emotionally a most wonderful time. Learning with people who had the same aims helped me build lifelong friendships and I know I was on the right path.
I am now a full-time practising hypnotherapist. I do get great results, and I believe it is because of how I got here. My clients often tell me that I make an immediate connection with them. I just say I have been there, and the proof of the pudding . . .
But I am not writing this to go on about me, well not too much anyway. What I want to do is change how doctors approach things.
I have found out since I started working as a hypnotherapist that my experience of being given pills as a first option is common. I have seen clients who have been on antidepressants for decades and are still having problems. In makes you wonder what is going on here, if the anti-depressants haven’t worked in the last ten years why are doctors assuming they are going to work in the next ten years?
I know my sort of therapy works and I am trying so hard, along with many of my colleagues to get more members of the medical profession to take it up. The medical profession needs a complete turn around. Drugs should be the last resort not the first port of call. I can show that with the right help people can make a permanent change to get better. I am walking living proof and so are many of my clients.
Let’s get the change going now.