Official speaker at the AHA Hypnotherapy world conference

On Sunday was my presentation at the world conference. At it was awesome…
I presented to a wonderful audience of highly experienced and internationally renown Hypnotherapists, Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Counsellors.

The title of my presentation?

From grief to growth - Grieving resourcefully as a true and learnable skill for real resilience

I did put a fair amount of work into my presentation simply because I want as many other therapists as possible to be able to have the tools they need to really help the bereaved through that difficult time.
Unfortunately still today many people seems to think they need to get through it alone or they go to Counselling and talk about it. Which may work for some people in the beginning… But at the end of the day it is all about finding away to feel that you can participate in life again without feeling like you’re moving on or leaving your loved one behind.

My mission is to change how we grief, how therapists help the bereaved, how we as society support the grieving and what each individual can do to help.

On Sunday I accomplished a great step forward in this mission.

I am so grateful for having been given this opportunity by the AHA and I am grateful to everyone who attended my presentation!

Silke Herwald Grief Hypnotherapy

"What if - thinking " or "The nature of anxiety"

Do you ever find yourself thinking “what if…?”

It can either be future orientated “what if X happens…” or “what if I don’t pass the test / get the promotion / deliver that speech calmly, etc…”. It can also take the form of “I must pass that test / deliver that speech perfectly” (Because what would happen if you didn’t…?). 

And this kind of thinking can also be past - orientated “what if things had been different…” or “He / She / I should’ve…” (I’ll get into that in a bit more detail another time)

If you were to be totally honest with yourself, you’d probably admit to yourself that you do “what ifs” in one form or another. It’s normal. It’s part of what the brain wants to do. 

Future orientated “What ifs…” 

The idea behind all “What if” thinking is that it is trying to help. The key word here is “trying”.  It wants to think about all possible scenarios and tick off all the possible “what ifs…”.  “What if that happens….???” “Oh, okay, got it, then I can do that.” 

But what happens when you tick off one “what if”…? Do you have peace and quiet in your head as soon as you tick that one “what if” off your list?  

Nooooo, it’s not because as soon as you tick off one “what if…” your creative brain instantly comes up with the next one. And when you’re having a really good day you get three or five new ones for every single one you tick off. 

Very quickly your brain realises that there is an infinite amount of possible “what ifs”. You can’t possibly tick them all off your list. Because there is no end to that list. There will always be another “what if” around the corner. Your creative brain is designed to be a problem solving mechanism. So that’s what it does… 

But tell me, Firstname, what would you rather be thinking about…? What could you be doing with all that valuable time and energy? 

The secret to dealing wth anxiety

The reality is: you are reading this today because no matter what happened in your life, you have come out the other end. So obviously you have all the resources you need to deal with whatever may come your way. 

Your mind has been led to think you could prevent certain things from happening by worrying about them. But of course that is not true at all!  

Plus you are always evolving, learning and growing. Should that imagined thing happen, by then you will have different resources to the ones you have now anyway. 

And the truth is that (like it or not) you will work it out. So you might as well not spend your days worrying about it. And instead relax into that deep inner knowing that you have all the resources you need. Even if that is the resource to find the resources you need at that moment in time. 

You can’t control life. You can only ever control your response to life!


One degree of change

Years and years ago I had it my head that I wanted to sail a passage…
Not that I could sail, but I was determined not to let that get in my way… Anyhow, long story short I ended up being ‘the crew’ on a 39 foot yacht and sailed from Tonga to Fiji.
I’ll always remember those endless night watches, staring at the amazing starlit sky and the dark ocean, fighting off sleep… Being more exhausted than I ever was… Watching for ships or drifting containers and making sure we stayed on course.
I aways remembered the “just one degree - rule”: “When you set out from a harbour and you change course by just one degree it is barely noticeable at first. But in the long run it makes a HUGE difference of where you end up…” One night I woke up the skipper because I noticed some strange lights… Needless to say it was the shoreline and clearly not were we wanted to be. Even though according to the compass I kept us spot on, Iad not factored in the ocean currents. Sigh.

The one degree rule is true for any change and also for bad habits. If you change by just one degree, it’ll make a huge difference to where you end up. Change habits by one degree. For example: I help a lot of people lose weight or quit smoking. People don’t need to be Non Smokers by the time they leave my office. They can reduce, regard that as a success, then reduce again give oneself credit and reduce again and before they know it, they’ve done it… Same with weight loss. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be sustainable! No perfect diets… Just fix one meal… Or get rid of dead carbs or…. Just one degree at a time. And next week another degree, and the week after another degree…

Learning something new is the same thing. It is so easy to get overwhelmed because there is so much to learn. And then people want to learn it all at the same time. But what ends up happening is that they stall. So they end up not doing anything. Not moving forward at all. A lot of my Supervisees do that, they stall. Because there is so much to learn: all the different language patterns, the questions, picking up on all the different subconscious patterns, just to mention a very few… And I get it, they love it and they just want to be good at it. So my recommendation always is: Pick one category. And then out of that pick one subcategory and out of that: pick one thing and focus on that for a week. Next week pick a new one… Before you know it, you’ll be outstanding at 52 different things that are all part of the whole… Follow this and you will get pretty good, pretty quickly.

The reticular activating system RAS or why do you all of a sudden notice certain things...?

You know this weird thing… You may have never noticed a certain car… If someone talks about that specific car, you don’t even have a clue what it looks like… Then your friend buys that car and all of a sudden you notice it everywhere….

The reason is simple: it is now important for your brain to notice… Because hey, I might see my friend…

The reticular activating system (RAS) is the part of your brain that is in charge of prioritising, noticing and delivering information… The RAS is in charge of deciding what to notice, what to pay attention to and what to ignore. There are millions of bits of data available to you every second but you only notice a tiny selection of those. What you notice and what goes unnoticed is up to your RAS. 

Simply out your RAS notices what is of value to you. Which is nothing more than what is in alignment with your unconscious values and beliefs. 

You can massively influence what your RAS notices. A few years ago I was in the US and I needed to mail something, hence I needed to find a postbox. My brain was looking for something red… Needless to say it didn’t work. I mean, I noticed a heck of a lot of people wearing red t-shirt, jumpers or shoes. I noticed red cars and posters. But no mailbox to be seen. Until I was reminded that those things are actually blue in the US….

Duh! As soon as I told my brain to start looking for blue… bing I found what I needed.  

You’re probably thinking, common Silke, how often do I need that…? Well, I agree you probably don’t… 

RAS for better relationships

But let’s say you want to improve a relationship with yourself, your boss, coworker, dog, child, friend or significant other. It is a common tendency to not notice all the amazing stuff about them, the stuff they rock at… In which case you want to give yourself a mission: Every morning ask you RAS to notice everything that person does well today, every time they make you smile or laugh, every nice thing they do. And every night write down at least 7 positive things you noticed… 

Then observe your relationship transform! 

This is also why gratitude journals work… You are giving importance to noticing things to be grateful for. And the more you notice that, the happier you get. Fact. 

Let’s say you want to improve your golf tee-off swing. (I know nothing about golf, so this will be fun…) Ask your RAS to notice everything you do well. It might be how you place your feet or how you hold your hips or how you naturally grip that club… 

Let’s say you have a problem with your follow through. Ask your RAS to notice all the people who do that part of the swing particularly well… And how they do that part of the swing. 

We are so good at paying way too much attention to our problems. Ask your RAS to pay attention to what is working for a change.

Got it?
Have fun influencing your RAS!

Today I am grateful for our fireplace… I so enjoy putting the fireplace on in the late afternoon. It is a true mindfulness exercise. I am just in the moment, watching the flames… So I’ll go and do just that now. 

Positive reinforcement and how the brain works

It is humongously empowering to understand how the brain and the mind work. So we can make it work better for us. (And it doesn’t matter whether we are training our own brain or the ones of other two or four legged mammals…)

Today neuroplasticity and the fact that the brain changes itself is a well accepted fact. We know that the brain is shaped and changed through our experiences. And it forms new neurological pathways throughout life. Which we can make work for us or against us. 

For example: neuroplasticity allows the neurons in the brain to form new pathways after a brain injury. The brain compensates through training. So that other areas of the brain take over the job that used to be done by the injured area. 

(A great and also simple read is Norman Doidge “The brain that changes itself”)

As grown ups we have hundreds of millions of neurological pathways in our nervous system. ("Which sock to put on first", "how you react when someone says XYZ", "how you feel when someone gives you “that look”, "whether we feel soul-crushingly criticised by something or regard it as great feedback", "what you do anxious about"…) These are all neurological pathways in our brain which are associated with a particular action, behaviour, thought, or experience.

Get this: Every time we engage in the same behaviour it activates that same pathway. Hence the pathway is strengthened. “Neurons that fire together wire together” - Norman Doidge

The stronger a pathway is, the more likely our brain is going to use that pathway again, and again. Hence it is an absolutely terrible idea to relive or re-traumatise yourself by recounting a bad experience in every single detail. Especially if you get upset or angry about it all over again. Once you can talk about it with no emotional connection to it, you’re good. Otherwise you are just reinforcing the problematic state and training the brain to do soapboxing. (Which is why some elderly people are so good at being grumpy or on their soapbox, they just had a lifetime of strengthening that neurological pathway… If you don’t want to be like that in old age, then stop the behaviour now…)

It is also an equally terrible idea to write down all your worries every day. You’d just be making that pathway stronger and stronger. Noooooooo, please don’t! Unless of course you want to train your brain to get better at doing anxiety. Then by all means: knock yourself out…

As I said: The stronger the pathway is, the more likely the brain is going to use that pathway again, and again.

The best news is: We can literally rewire our brains with repeated and direct attention! As I usually explain in my first session: it is like walking through a field of tall grass. When you walk the same path regularly the grass is already trampled down, it’s easier to find the path. Yes, in the beginning you might need a machete. Also when you stop using the path the grass will grow back…

How does this relate to training your own brain…?

When you focus on doing something a different way, e.g. learning to be calm or regarding everything that is being said as possibly valuable feedback, eating healthy, etc. you are creating new neural pathways. The more repetition you get doing the new thing the stronger that pathway becomes. Over time, the old pathway will become weaker and weaker and the new behaviour becomes natural to you.

It is also important to understand that when the reward pathway is activated, the brain becomes flooded with dopamine. Which is a neurotransmitter and as such it carries messages from one neuron to the next, along a pathway. 

Dopamine makes us feel good, which is instant positive reinforcement. Hence it strengthens that pathway. It makes us want to do that activity again to get that ‘feel good’ dopamine rush again. (It also works against us if we’re not careful…)

Positive reinforcement works because it simply feels good.

Speed and reliability of the positive reinforcement are key ingredients. In order to create a new pathway the brain needs to make a connection between X behaviour and Y reward quickly. The positive reinforcement needs to be fast (under 3 seconds) and it needs to be reliable (every single time). 

When you do that you are essentially utilising how the brain works to create changes within yourself. You are training the brain to find it more pleasurable to do the new thing than the old behaviour. Consequently it wants to do the new behaviour more often.

Over time the pathway to the new positive behaviour becomes stronger and easier for the brain to do, and the pathway for the negative behaviour weakens.

How cool is that…? 

How do you change someone? Or how do you make someone else happy?

Or “How do you help someone who is unhappy…?”or “How do you convince someone that they need to be grateful for X…”

Well, here is the thing. You don’t. You can’t and you won’t. Not even with hypnotherapy.

Like the mum saying: “Oh, you’re a hypnotherapist… I want you to stop my 16 year old daughter from smoking.” To which my answer always is: “does she really want to…?” Of course not. Great so let’s not waste any time on the subject…

Back to happiness.

Happiness is something that you do on the inside. It is something that everyone does on their inside. 

With regards to friendships and partners I highly recommend working out how to make yourself happy first. Once you got that bit sorted, then fo and find someone who also has worked out how to make themselves happy. Bingo… 

Failing that option: Start with yourself. Always.

Because if they don’t want to set it out… You got nowhere to go.

The person might even be getting something out of having the problem. They might feel cared for, loved or like they matter when you fuss over them… Or it might seem that it’s easier to stay the same than to change.

In case you haven’t guessed it already: You can’t change other people! 

It is impossible. Unless they want to!

You can lead a human to knowledge but you can’t make them think… 

Unless that person realises that they have a problem and they are willing to do what it takes to change, there really is not much you can do. Most likely the more you push, the more they close off. 

Which is why it is totally useless when people come to see me solely because they have been sent by someone. Or they come in so they get the nagging person off their back.
Unconsciously it’s like: “See, I tried and it didn’t work, will you leave me alone now…?” (It’s not what they’re thinking consciously!)

Even the best hypnotist on the planet will never get anyone to do anything that they don’t intrinsically want… Sorry, no magic here.

Once the person gets to the stage where the real pain of staying the same far outweighs the perceived pain of making a change… Then we got somewhere to go… Before that. No.

Yes, you can help them get there when you know the questions to ask. When you know what to do and more importantly what not to do. (I can help you with that…)

In conclusion: All you can do is get on with your life and your happiness… Make yourself happy! Sort out all the stuff that takes away from your happiness. Sort it out enough so you don’t feel that it’s your responsibility. Sort it out enough so you can be happy and calm within yourself even around unhappy people.
That should be enough to keep you busy for a while… ;-)

So what makes you happy…? How much happiness will you create for yourself this week? 

Sunflowers are such happy flowers…

Sunflowers are such happy flowers…

More limitations of the conscious mind 7+-2

Here is another quirky difference between your conscious and your unconscious mind. At any given moment in time your conscious mind can only be aware of between 5 and 9 pieces of information. It’s also called the 7 plus / minus 2 rule. Anything more than that overwhelms your conscious mind. However, you always have a vast amount of information streaming in through your five senses.

If you were consciously aware of all that data you’d be in constant overwhelm. To stop that from happening you automatically block out certain bits of data. You do it unconsciously which is why you are not aware of it.

While you have been reading this... You may have completely forgotten to notice what your hand feels like…. Or you may have completely forgotten to notice what your feet feel like….

Now that I mentioned it, part of your conscious awareness switched. And you are now consciously aware of it again.

That information has always been available to you. It just wasn’t deemed to be important at this moment and hence you filtered iy out.

To make this super clear. Your unconscious mind is aware of everything that is happening around you. At any given moment in time.

Maybe you hadn’t noticed certain sounds around you…

And now once again your attention has switched to those and you are now aware of them…

Why is this important for you? Firstly, so called reality.... It’s always useful to know that we are very limited in our ability to perceive and interpret so called reality. Be aware that lots of information always gets filtered out. Hence what gets through into our conscious awareness is a tiny slither. What gets through depends on the values, beliefs and other unconscious rules of the individual.

When seven different people watch the same accident you get seven different explanations about what happened. Conversation along the lines of: “I was there, that is not at all what happened” are utterly pointless. Because as humans, the best we can do is try and create a big picture out of our 5 to 9 pieces of the puzzle.

Assume you have team meeting and someone doesn’t seem to be paying attention. It could well be that their conscious mind is overloaded with thoughts. On the inside they are too busy doing: “What if they ask me something and I don’t know the answer?” “If they ask this… I’ll say that… but what if they ask me that…? Oh, my heart is pounding…”. That person can not pay attention to you anymore. Because their conscious mind is already busy tracking 5 to 9 bits of data. You know those meetings where everyone has to stand up and introduce themselves and what they do? Newest research shows that up to 75% of the population have a fear of public speaking! This means: three quarters of the people are paying ZERO attention to what is being said by the others!

They are too busy trying to mange their internal state in the only way they know how to, at this moment in time. Obviously everyone can learn to be calm and at ease in those situations.

When I hear the neighbours dog barking its poor neglected little head off, I have a choice. For one I have already reframed it, because I am sorry for him.

And the rest is: 5-9 bits of data. As soon as I start to focus, really focus on 5 - 9 other bits of data I can no longer pay any attention to him. So I focus on my writing and what I am wanting to say. ..

Conscious & Unconscious processes

When you are aware of what you're doing... That's your conscious processes at work. Like logic and rational thinking

Your unconscious processes are the things that mostly happen outside your conscious awareness, you know the stuff that happens automatically whether you think about it or not. Like when you let go of a hot frying pan. Or your head just moved out of the way of a ball flying past. You didn't decide that, it just happened. Well it didn't just happen, your unconscious processes, who's job is to keep you safe, made you move. You just weren't consciously aware of it...

Your unconscious is always at work in the best way it has learned up till now... Which is not necessarily the very best way, it’s just the best way it has learned. So it might simply be time to upgrade your software…
Your unconscious loves learning, especially in a fun and memorable way. Which is why hypnosis works so well!

Water-jugs, stress, overwhelm..

Overwhelm, anxiety, stress are all in the same ballpark and one of the main issues I help clients with on a daily basis.

When stressed the body is tipping out way too much adrenaline and cortisol. That was really useful when we were running away from a saber-toothed tiger. Back then we really wanted our brains to direct all our energy into running and through running we used up all the stress hormones.

These days we just end up with a lot of useless hormones running around in our body creating havoc… Plus many people engage in overeating, smoking, drinking and other not so resourceful habits in an attempt to cope with stress. Needless to say that prolonged stress can have serious implications for our health.

So learning to deal with it can only be useful. 

People often say: “But you can’t change my situation!” That’s right. I can’t! However there is a lot I can help you with… So read on.

So what is stress?

It’s like when you have a jug of water and a number of glasses you need to fill. This water jug represents all your coping mechanisms, understanding, skills and resources… 

Normally you are filling the glasses just fine. Let’s say the glasses represent job, finances, health, fitness, kids, partner, family etc… 

And then more and more glasses keep popping up. These glasses could be things like low self esteem, lack of confidence, a promotion with new responsibilities or a sick loved one, loss of a job or a loved one, an unforeseen big bill, an injury or illness, grief etc… 

And all of a sudden you just have nothing left in the jug. No matter how much you shake the jug, it’s simply just empty. 

You really only have three options: 

  1. Check if you may be able to get rid of some of the glasses ( => Values) 

  2. Determine which glasses are actually your job to fill, often some glasses can be handed over ( => Boundaries)

  3. Get a bigger jug (Hence more resources, skills and coping mechanisms => Resilience) 

Values, boundaries and resilience are all unconscious behaviours which can be learned. Experience shows that learning happens easily when done subconsciously. 

More on self-worth

Thanks to everyone who sent in some questions, feedback or shared their own struggles with self worth. Let me answer it in the best way I know how.

Some feedback / questions from you:
1) But doesn’t our self-worth go up when we get a promotion at work? Earn more money? Win a race? Our kids do well at school? We are liked? 

2) I really don’t feel that I have any worth when I stuff up at work, my kids go off the rails, lose my job or health, don’t qualify in a race I was expected to win, (the list goes on)… 

3) But we have been taught form early age that your better when you win the race / coming 2nd is the first loser, have to be in the top x% of the class, get the “with honours”, the ‘better’ title on the business card… (again, the list goes on) 

Okay, here is my first question: if your best friend lost her job would she be worthless to you? What if she had no money? What if his kids went of the rails? What if your best friend never graduated from anything other than Kindy? Worthless, right? 

No! of course not! Your friend still has worth… 

Second question: Ready?
How come those same rules don’t apply to you…? 

Ponder that…

Yes, I agree, those things above, it’s what we grew up with, it’s what we learned, which is why we believe it… Repeat: “we believe it”… 

More often than not people attach their sense of self worth to how well they are doing in life… 

In that model of thinking: When we are doing well our self-worth goes up and when we are not doing well our self-worth goes down.
Wow, what a constant rollercoaster… 

Okay, first of all: “doing well”… According to whom…? Compared to what? 

I’m sure we all have a different definition of what “doing well’ means: Earning X dollars, being liked, having a certain title on the business card, having a book published, being a good mum (good luck measuring that or waiting for your kids to thank you), behaving to a certain standard, being healthy or fit, the kids doing well… And on and on the list goes…

You do not have any control over many of the contributing factors, which make it possible for to reach your goal or not. 

You can’t control who the kids meet, what other people think, whether the supplier delivers on time, whether the boss has already decided on someone else, nor a global financial crisis, the weather and most certainly not what other people think… 

Of course, there is a lot you can do, to stack the cards in your favour. You help the kids learn great values, you do great work, you apply yourself, you put good systems in place, install the firewall, use common sense, you eat healthy and work out, you take time out for yourself and still… 

No matter how much you try to control life there will always be things you have no influence over whatsoever. Sorry to be so blunt.

The only thing you can control is how you respond to whatever life throws at you. (Which is a learned skill and we can get better at it.)

So would you agree that it’s not a great idea to attach your self worth to something that is largely outside of their own control…? 

Would you want your kids to live like that? Can you imagine how much pressure that would put on them? 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about being under achievers… Not at all! Quite the contrary.

Of course you want to do well! Of course you want your kids to do well! Heck yeah! 

But do it for no other reason than because you want to! You want to see just how fast you can run… How far you can push the envelope… How well you can treat people… How you get to the point where your kids thank you for being a great parent once they’re in the thirties… See if you can get that promotion because it’ll make you grow and learn and contribute… If you can win that gold medal… 

Yessss! And yes!! Go for all of that!!! And more!
And do it because you want to! 

Can you imagine what a relief it is to go for it just because you want to? Knowing your self worth is a given no matter what. How much more fun it’ll be going for it only because you want to?

Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing, your self-worth depends on reaching that goal. It doesn’t!

Never hang your self-worth on that hook. It’s a trap. 

Of course I want you to read my emails and think about them, talk to friends about the ideas I put out in this world. And I am stoked when you forward one of my emails to someone you care about! Or hit reply and share your thoughts on the matter with me. Of course I am!

But do I attach my self worth to that? 

I make sure I don’t (and when I catch myself doing it, I have a stern talking to myself.) 

Then I use any and all feedback I get, to learn and improve. Which is why your feedback is so valuable to me! It’s the fastest way to improve. 

So, if you have any comments or questions, just let me know! 

Today I am grateful for every single person reading this. And for everyone who has given me feedback. Any feedback. 

And I am eternally grateful for my old girl sleeping under my table, making sure she’ll wake up should I move… So contented, so in the moment… I bet she doesn’t apply her self-worth to anything. She just knows she’s got it!
And now I’m off to take her for a swim…

Yours in happiness and wellbeing



The often elusive Self-worth

Are you ready for this?

Your worth is a given! 

You can’t earn your worth and you can’t lose your worth.

That’s all! Your worth is a given. 

Thank you for reading. 

Write it on a card and carry it with you everywhere. Write it on your mirror.

Your worth is a given, you can’t earn any. And you can’t lose any!

Today I am grateful for constantly being reminded of this, often times through the work I do with my clients. It’s the single most simple lesson to understand and one of the more complicated lessons to feel, live and breathe. Do it anyway!

I am grateful for being me, warts and all…

Stage hypnosis vs professional hypnotherapy

Often people contact me after they have seen some stage hypnosis or hypnosis performed on TV.
Some years ago lots of had seen the TV show 'You're back in the room'... So let’s clear up the great misconceptions of stage hypnosis vs professional hypnotherapy.

Here is the short version:

The question is not about what you saw on TV... The far more interesting question is what you didn’t see on TV...!

The application process people went through to become one of the lucky contestants, the auditions, the selection of the final candidates, the vast amount of applicants who didn’t get to perform on TV, the hypnotic inductions, the setting of post-hypnotic suggestions, the seven hours of recording it took to create approximately 45 minutes of net viewing time (translates to the six and half hours you didn’t see) and much more... 

Here is the longer version:

In order to become a contestant people needed to apply and audition. As with all auditions and applications there is a screening process in place to find the most suitable candidates.   Once a person has applied, they have given consent, once they are chosen they will have signed a model release form and an agreement has been reached. An agreement is not mind control... 

I don’t know how channel 9 selected their candidates but here is what I would do: 

Before I even get the applicants in the room I’d check for their motivation and I’d only invite the ones who really really really want to be on TV... 

Then I’d have the applicants in the room and I’d run them through a few tests, how well are they using their imagination, who is already very good at going into hypnosis since only a small percentage are naturally very good at it. Everybody else can learn how to go into hypnosis... In the same way that some people are naturally very athletic, others are naturally academic and yet others are naturally good at something else... That’s normal. 

I’d then select the best candidates and have them go in and out of hypnosis a few times, give them suggestions and see how they do. If they are having a great time and they are loving it, they’re a one step closer to getting on camera. Then I’d also give them the suggestion that every time I say ‘sleep’ they go into a deep hypnotic trance and make it look like they are falling off their chair in a spectacular but safe way... Because after all we’d be doing it for TV so it needs to look spectacular. Who’d want to watch people just sitting there going into a trance...? Boring! 

After a few people were selected out of all the applicants we’re good to go into the recording studio. Daryl Somers said it took 7 hours to record the show... I don’t know about you but maybe there is a reason why this show wasn’t live?

So, here is the drift: 

“You’re Back In The Room” has one purpose and that is TV entertainment. As such it may or may not have anything to do with reality. It certainly doesn’t have much in common with professional client focussed and solution based work.

Even if you are not one of the absolute naturals you can learn how to go into hypnosis, also you don’t need to go that deeply to make changes and you too can learn how to engage your unconscious processes in a way that works for you. 

Also keep in mind in every session you will learn how to use your brain for yourself, you will learn Mind Training tools and go into naturally occurring hypnotic states whether that is with NLP or hypnotic processes...

If you are after a quick fix or some form of TV magic, this is not for you. If you are interested in learning how to make your brain and mind work for yourself and are committed to making lasting changes then please call 5471 2201 to book your first appointment. 

If you or someone you love is grieving you need to read this NOW!

Short version: grief case studies wanted!
Super discount for those accepted into the project!

Long version: Over the last ten years I have assisted 100s of clients successfully overcome grief, find closure and move forward in a way that works for them. Later this year I will be presenting at an international world conference on the subject of overcoming grief.

Grieving is to a large extent a subconscious process. Logically you know so much but your subconscious processes very much run the show. 

If you know someone who needs some help to overcome grief please send them link to this page right now!

- It doesn’t matter whether you lost a loved one, a friend, your beloved dog, a donkey or a pet…

- It could be that you know you will be losing someone soon and want to be more resourceful now… 

- It doesn’t matter when it was - it could have been 2 weeks or 40 years ago…

Please apply to be part of this completely anonymous study. 

This is a massive opportunity and here is the deal: 

Successful applicants will receive an up to two hour long individual & personalised grief resolution session for only $150 (incl. GST) with me, Silke Herwald. That’s a massive saving of more than 50%… Should you need a follow up that will also be at a 50% discount.

All I ask in return is that you agree to your session being recorded (Only for my own research, the recording will never be shared with anyone. It’s all anonymous.)
About a week later, we will record a short video testimonial of us having a conversation about what has changed for you.

All sessions will be taking place in Peregian, Birtinya and online. 

How to apply? 

I’m glad you asked! 
1) Send me an email NOW with the subject line ‘Silke Grief’ to
2) I will send you a questionnaire, which you will need to fill in and return to me, please before Tuesday 12 Feb 6am.
3) Out of all the applications a variety of candidates will be chosen to participate.

Applicants will be notified individually and confidentially of the outcome of their application on Wednesday the 13th of February 2019.

Today I am grateful for you reading this and forwarding it to someone in need.

Yours in happiness and wellbeing


The line between reality and your vivid imagination is blurred

Get this: Your mind can not differentiate between a vividly imagined and a real experience.
That’s a fact! 

It’s the reason why scary movies are scary. Which is why your mouth can start to water when you think of your favourite food… Or why you can freak yourself out by thinking about something that happened in the past… Or you can equally make yourself anxious by thinking about what could possibly go wrong…
It’s also why you shouldn’t attempt to do a stunt before you can actually imagine yourself doing it.

The old saying “what your mind can conceive, your body can achieve” is true. The opposite unfortunately is equally true! “What your mind can’t conceive, you won’t be able to achieve!” When you have no idea what it looks like, well then you can’t give your neurology instructions what to do.

Visualisation, most people have heard about it. And this is why it’s so useful to daydream positively. When you imagine yourself doing something well, it is as if you are rehearsing it mentally. Athletes have been using this fo decades! Have you ever noticed an athlete before a race mentally going through the course? You sometime see them turning, moving as if they were on the course… 

And because your mind can not differentiate between vividly imagine and a real experience the more you practice, visualise, rehearse what you want the better you get at it. While daydreaming. It won’t happen overnight so give yourself time. Then reward yourself for every improvement from where you were yesterday or just a few moments ago. Your benchmark is not where you want to be, it is where you came from! This is so important… Because rewarding yourself for what works makes your mind and body deliver more of it.
Today I am grateful for powerful visualisations and goals. As I am writing this I imagine you reading it and I can imagine all the good things you can achieve by using the power of your own mind to your advantage!

Enjoy your daydream!


SMART goals for 2019

Once you have set a goal it’s important to make sure that it fits the acronym SMART. I’ll explain it with two examples: A) weight loss B) Being successful in business

There are a few variations but basically they all come down to making sure your goal is:

Specific: get very specific about what you want to accomplish and why it’s important.
A) Get permanently rid of 17.5 kgs. Be able to keep up with the kids when they’re running up that hill behind the house. Be able to do three chin ups…
B) Turn over 20% more than last year… Make $93000 net profit after taxes… Get a job that pays 20% more than the current one…

Measurable: Both above examples are measurable. Not easily measurable would be something like: Feel good… Or make more money… Or help more people…
This makes it clearer and it stops you from moving the goal post on yourself.

Achievable: Is it achievable with the resources and skills you have now or do you need to learn something? Do you need to enlist the help of others to make it achievable? It also focusses on the motivation…
A) Do you need to learn how to prep healthy meals? Make being organised in the food department a priority? Get the significant other to look after the kids while you head off to the gym…?
B) Do you currently have the resources / skills / mindset required ? If not what needs to happen?

Realistic & Relevant: A realistic goal takes into account the practicalities of making it happen. The goal must be challenging enough to get you going but not humunguously challenging as to be demotivating.
And: is it relevant..? Do you actually want all the consequences that come with it…? Is this the right time for it…?
It aims to get to the objective behind that goal and will reaching that goal actually get you that objective.
A) To get rid of 17.5 kgs in three weeks is just not realistic…
B) Is it realistic to increase profit by 50% without hiring more staff?

Time based: When…? What’s the deadline…?
We all know how easy it is to procrastinate. Until you have a deadline. And all of a sudden you get going on it! Otherwise there is always tomorrow or next week.
A) Get rid of 17.5 kgs by the 5th of April 2019, by eating paleo and doing PT on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays… Something along those lines…
B) Increasing profit by 15% by end of the financial year…

Of course you can google more about SMART goals but this is a simple start to it. Simple and done now is better than perfect next year...

What do you want?

Have you ever thought that sometimes your mind plays tricks on you?

You know when you tell yourself to not think of something… Or you’re trying hard not to be nervous? Then you find you can’t stop thinking about it or you get even more nervous…? Even though you really, really, really don’t want to…?

Don’t think about a cute little squirrel, now… Please, no matter what, just don’t think about a squirrel with its button eyes and bushy tail!

Well, you can’t do it, can you? It’s actually called the 'Law of Reversed Effect'. Which means that whenever you use the word “Don’t” you get the exact opposite of what you wanted.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s useful!

Understanding the ‘Law of Reversed Effect’ is your first step to running your own mind more successfully.

So, bear with me. This is why it is not easy to not think of cute squirrels (especially while I keep reminding you, what they look like with their sweet eyes and bushy tails… Bahahaha).

This applies to different contexts too: The more you tell yourself “Don’t be nervous”, the more you automatically think about being nervous. You can’t help it. It’s the way your mind works…

Aaaand before you know it, you start to remember the last time you were nervous…

And if that wasn’t enough, you then proceed to tell yourself “Oh I don’t want that to happen again!” … And because your mind still can’t process the negation, you imagine exactly the same thing happening again… and you really don’t want that.

Whether you are consciously aware of all these unconscious processes or not, the effect is the same!

The first step to running your own mind even more successfully is understanding it. And now you are one step closer to that goal! The second step is using this for your own good!

So here is your 5-step mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Stand guard at the gates of your own mind

2) Every time you notice thinking "don’t" instantly think about what the opposite of that for you is.

3) Always think about what you DO want! Start every day by writing down how you DO WANT yourself to be in certain situations. The more specific you are, the better!

4) Pay attention to how you are communicating with others. Make a habit of describing what you do want them to do, instead of what you don’t want them to do.

5) Have fun with it all!


Fear of failure is one of the big things I keep working with. Whether that is with a professional preparing for a speech or presentation, an athlete preparing for a race or game, someone training there dog or a mum raising a child. Heck, I even had people who so far didn’t quit smoking for the fear they might fail at it…

Fear of failure can paralyse you, throw you into overwhelm and stop you from doing anything. So let’s take it apart a little:

And then you had to learn to walk on different surfaces… Soft sand, phew!

And then you had to learn to walk on different surfaces… Soft sand, phew!

Failure is natural. It is the way we learn. Did you tell your child the first few times it couldn’t say mum or dad properly to stop trying cause it rather obviously failed? What about when after three weeks of trying it still couldn’t walk by itself?
Obvious failure that kid! Probably something wrong with it! Maybe not good enough…

No of course not!! You encourage. You celebrate every little win. You have a party with every progress. You know your child is learning. And you want your child to keep trying and falling over so that it keeps learning.

What would happen if for the next three days you stood guard at the gates of your own mind? And you reframed every ‘failure thought' into feedback. That’s all it is, just feedback. You always win either way. You win by learning and upgrading your software and you win by getting closer to your goal.

It’s just feedback!

Today I am grateful for all the feedback life has given me so far. It’s not always comfortable, it’s not always the feedback I want, but that’s the whole point! There is no growth in the comfort zone and as a life long learner I will continue to fall over and learn. I am grateful for getting up and doing it again! And this incredibly cute picture of my amazing big sister.

Genius quote

“There is so much that I don’t know , I will not apologise for what I do know!” - Bob Bailey, animal behaviourist and total genius!

So true. Know what you do know and know there is always more to learn so you can never know it all… Being totally okay with knowing that there is always more to learn has personally made a huge difference to the way I present or do public speaking or interact with people. It probably also made me more curious.

I truly am a life long learner.

Today I am grateful for the inspiration, insight and understanding of Bob Bailey. I am grateful that through his understanding and amazing work, I can learn to become a better Mind Trainer every day. After all we are mammals too.


People often say to me that they want to be more confident... But technically I know that it is to entirely true. It is a good thing not to be confident about certain things. I prefer not to be confident about flying a plane. I simply don't have the skill, the knowledge and the training for it. 

FOund this little guy hiding in my basil many years ago...

FOund this little guy hiding in my basil many years ago...

So what people actually mean is that they are not confident in a situation were they would like to be confident. 
Of course everybody has confidence. You might be very confident talking to the kids or doing a sport you love. Or you are very confident talking to a friend about something you know well or very confidently using public transport or driving a car.  

So you actually know how to do this thing called confidence. And this now becomes a resource. Because if you copied exactly the mindsets, behaviours, attitude, beliefs and so on from how you do this thing called "confidence" and applied it to another area of your life... Well, wouldn't that be awesome? 

Of course you can't do that consciously and by thinking about it! You need to do this unconsciously and if you could have worked it out by think about if, I bet you would have done that by now. Hand it over to your unconscious and become naturally confident!  

Yours in happiness, confidence and wellbeing

The Pause of fascination

Between every stimulus and response there is a gap...
What the means is that when something happens we can use that tiny little gap to make a decision. We can be a slave to our instant reaction... Which often doesn't work in our favour. Or we can take control, feel our feet on the floor, our butt in the seat and then pay attention to what's going on on the inside.
Pay attention to that feeling, that thought, that image or movie on the inside that was just triggered by that interaction.
And then go: Wow, that's interesting! Or: That is fascinating...! 
Find a moment of pause, get curious, be amazed by your own reactions and then you'll react in afar more resourceful way. A way that is probably more worthy of who you are today.