Thursday, 20 September 2012


Over the years as a therapist, coach and trainer one of the most frequent statements I hear from my students and clients is that they do not visualise.  They can’t/don’t see pictures in their mind.  And yet just as we use all our senses to experience the world, we also use them to think.  When remembering where we parked the car, put our keys etc; there will be a visual element to this.  That element may be so fast, automated that we cease to notice but it is still there at some level.

Visualisation refers to the process of forming mental images.  Many NLP techniques involve visualising, purposefully controlling the visual representational system.  Visualising may entail memories, fantasy, or a combination of them both.  Many people believe visualisation is a primary component of imagination and its an ability that many geniuses are believed to have; Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Nikola Tesla, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, all ascribed their creative genius to their ability to visualise.
Many elite athletes use visualisation as part of their training for competitions; using these techniques not only to cultivate a competitive edge but also for mental awareness and a heightened sense of well being and confidence.  And its not only athletes that are utilising visualisation techniques; some of the worlds most influential and success people are practicing visualisation to realise their dreams and goals.

There are many examples of how visualising has assisted in increasing the development of physical skills.  In one study, a basketball team was split into two groups in order to practice "free throws."  One group physically practiced the shots whereas the other group mentally practice taking the shots.  When the two groups played to see whose performance had improved, those who visualised made more successful shots than the group who had actually practiced.

Your ability to use these techniques depend on how well you can visualise your future.

People tell me they don’t see anything when they close their eyes.  If asked to imagine a red square they say they know what a red square is but can’t actually see it unless there is one in front of them; yet on same level if there isn’t a red square in front of them they know what it looks like.  They have the ability to recognise things without being aware of actually creating an image in their mind.

When I first stated to learn NLP I remember discussing visualisation with my husband; he was adamant that he didn’t visualise.  He is an engineer and had designed and arranged the plans for our house.  I mentioned that I needed an extra electrical socket in my office; he looked at the wall and knew exactly where the electrical conduits were.  When I asked how he did this, he said he just knew where he had put them, after further investigation he realised that as he looked at the wall, he had placed the plans in his mind over the wall so that he knew where things were.  All this happened in a split second and so quickly that we needed to slow everything down before he was aware.

Apparently we spend about 50% of our time day dreaming, even when we are pre-occupied with work and other tasks our mind is also aware of everything going on around us; sights, sounds, smells etc.  This input triggers various responses from our sub-conscious mind which results in various memories, thoughts that run through our mind as images.  We are all creating images in our mind throughout the day and night when we sleep.

There are those who say they definitely do not have any images in their mind they may even say they don’t dream; yet sleep researches assure us that we have numerous separate dreams each night. 

By practicing  visualisation exercises you can learn how to become aware of the images created in you mind; and also make those images in your mind much clearer and easier to see.


Make yourself comfortable, relax and close your eyes.  Remember an event that you really enjoyed; as you remember comment on your memories out loud.  As if you were telling a really good friend and wanted to paint a picture for them of what happened.

Practising in this way can help you become more aware of your mental images as well as improving your observational skills.

There is now evidence from Dr Win Wengers studies to show that by practicing visualisation exercises each day you can increase your memory, creativity, reading speed as well as your IQ.  Check out for more information on Dr Wengers work. for Tina's latest CD Visualisation to help you improve your ability to visualise.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Brief History of Midwifery

Just recently whilst working with one of my clients they expressed an interest in the history of midwifery; and just last night I was watching a program on the witch hunts in Europe which reminded me of some information I came across whilst researching my childbirth classes.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I must have been a very difficult patient, I couldn’t understand why I was being treated as if I was ill. In those days when you had a baby you were expected to stay in hospital for 7 days, baby slept in a nursery with the other babies and everything was very regimented. Babies fed every four hours whether they wanted it or not, put down for a sleep whether they needed it or not; and all my friends expected the birth to be extremely painful. What drugs they would use for the birth seemed to be very high on their list of topics along with what pram they wanted. I couldn’t understand why this was so. My mother had told me it wasn’t as bad as they led you to believe in fact her words were “a tooth ache is much worse than having a baby”; and this from the women whose babies were between 9 and 10lbs in weight.

For generations we have all been hypnotised into thinking we must have pain in childbirth. Strangely enough by older more “experienced” women who seem to enjoy telling of their harrowing experiences. Yes women can experience pain in childbirth but with education, training and practice you can have a more comfortable birth experience. Whilst I was conducting research for my childbirth classes and later for my book “Painless Childbirth”, I wondered where our beliefs about birth came from. I looked at books written in the middle ages and also found texts written by the Greeks documenting childbirth.

When our ancestors tried to answer such questions as where do we come from – they came up with the obvious answer, life comes from the mother. Strange to think in the beginning, centuries ago, women were revered and worshiped and as time passed our beliefs hanged and women went from Goddesses to became evil. Women had been worshiped because of the wonder of birth. It was believed that all life was sacred and all life came from the mother.

Earliest Man’s beliefs evolved around a female divinity. The earliest religious icons were naked pregnant women. This goddess appeared everywhere in caves, homes, in the earliest shrines. All over the world Man worshiped fertility and women with a near universal wonderment. Man’s role in reproduction was probably not fully understood until we started to keep animals in captivity. How could pre-historic man guess that sex and babies were connected.

Although Adam & Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply – the early Christians were indifferent to this. Virginity and celibacy was publically preferred. St Clement of Alexandria wrote “Every women should be tilled with shame by the thought that she is a women”.

Women had been the healers in the villages, the wise old women had skills with herbs and made potions. When Christianity arrived and women were forbidden to be healers; yet there wasn’t an alternative so they met in secret, generally at night. Their skills had always been regarded as an honourable healing gift and was suddenly denounced as the tools of the devil as all healing in the second century was placed in the hands of priests and monks who claimed their powers came from God.

At this time illness, misfortune and bad luck was said to be due to women; and they women were called witches. Since the Church had decided only God had the power to heal, and women were considered evil temptresses, their success at healing was put down to an alliance with the devil. For century’s women had been healers and unlicensed doctors. They were abortionists, nurses, counsellors, and pharmacists; cultivating healing herbs. They were banned from reading books and attending schools and so they learned from each other passing on their experiences from mother to daughter.
The people they served called them wise women and the politicians in authority called them witches.

For centuries midwives had travelled from village to village healing and delivering babies. And now bounties were paid to informers and it was very dangerous to be a midwife. In order to survive many hid their skills working with the villagers in secret.

Men in the Church and the Government waged a campaign to dispel the image of women and birth being the focus of celebration; and what had been a celebration of life evolved into being painful, lonely and fearful

These so called Witches were our doctors, healers and midwives long before the development of modern medical technology. From the 14th to 17th centuries, the age of witch-hunting, it was dangerous to be known as a healer, a women could be taken and put on trial just for delivering a baby. These women represented a political, religious and sexual threat to the ruling classes. It was so bad that in 1585 there is a record of two villages in Europe being left with only one female inhabitant in each.

Who were Witches and what crime did they commit?

Witches became the scapegoat for all problems relating to childbearing, male impotence, even the birth of illegitimate children, non-conception and death of legitimate children. Although its not surprising that they were accused of these “crimes” as traditionally these were the conditions they were consulted about.

They were accused of every conceivable sex crime against men, guilty because of their sexuality in an age when the church considered this to be one of the greatest sins. The church believed that women bewitched men with sex, as agents of the devil, and they had magical powers which they used to harm the community. Once the witch hunt was on even their past patients – neighbours who they had helped forgot that they were healers. Their biggest crime being possessing medical and midwifery skills.

They were thought to be evil because of their work. Womens reproductive organs were considered to be evil incarnate – a stigma attached to the birth process which since the advent of Christianity was thought to be a messy revolting affair.

And yet in a time where there were no hospitals and doctors were only available for the rich, these women were the only option that many people had.

So the people continued to seek out the wise women. But at this time it was against the law for anyone other then the monarch and church to heal. They believed that Witches interfered with your soul. These wise women had remedies which they knew had been tested over years of general use. Many of their herbal remedies still have a place in modern medicine. The wise women were not religiously passive but actively looking for ways to deal with disease, pregnancy and childbirth you could say she was the scientist of her time and her knowledge was her death sentence.

Whilst Witches hid and practiced in secret; the ruling classes were cultivating their own kind of healers, sending men to University to be trained in medicine. They studied the body, and as long as they continued to keep their attentions on the mechanics of the body the church was happy that they were not interfering with the soul. History has shown us, however, that their studies were more likely to injure the body than heal. There was nothing in their training that we would recognise today as science. They studied Plato and Christian theology. Whilst studying they never saw any patients – medicine was different in those days and doctors and surgeons were from an entirely different school of thought. Surgery was considered degrading. Once trained and practicing these doctors had little to go on but superstition.

Instead of studying the healers of the time, the wise women, the Universities disregarded their medicine as evil and the medical profession was actively engaged in the elimination of female healers. Starting with excluding women from universities long before the Witch-hunt began. Yet it was the wise women who developed an understanding of bones and muscles, herbs and drugs whilst these “modern doctors” took their prognoses from the stars at the same time that the alchemists were trying to turn lead into gold.

In the early 16th Century Soranus writing’s were discovered and his studies were used for the first book on obstetrics. At this time midwifery came back into practice although things still did not improve as around that time Martin Luther wrote “if women become tired and even die, it does not matter. Let them die in childbirth. That’s what they are there for”.

In the 17th and 18th Centuries the male practitioner started to take over the last preserve of female healing – midwifery. “Barber surgeons” claimed technological superiority because of their use of forceps. These were considered to be a surgical instrument and women were legally barred from surgical practice. Midwives tried to charge the male intruders with the dangerous misuse of forceps – but it was too late. They were dismissed as ignorant old wives clinging to the superstitions of the past.
By the late 18th Century male doctors had displaced midwives. This was mainly because obstetrics had become fashionable. Even though the men were not particularly effective with their new scientific tool, and the midwives of the day were safer; women were drawn towards these new doctors. They created a male monopoly, yet we now know that the use of forceps and other techniques of the day were extremely primitive. The early obstetrician lacked the experience of the midwife.

As the male physicians began to take over “childbirth” with their unsterile practices they began to spread the deadly plague of puerperal (childbed) fever. Midwives carried fewer diseases than their male counterparts as they only attended women in labour. Yet midwives fell out of fashion and were forced to limit their practice to the poor. And women lost control of the birth process.

Even after the birth of a healthy child women had to face the possibility of childbed fever that we now know was brought on by the unsanitary conditions. But by now male physicians had taken over the obstetrics business. Initially making childbirth less safe before they made it better.

Very little was done to improve on birthing practices until the 1900’s when the use of anaesthesia became available. Suddenly a drugged birth became the norm. Even though Dr Dick-Read’s theories were known in 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s no one worried about the effect of the drugs in childbirth until the 1960’s, when women began to learn Natural Childbirth methods. And today nearly a century after Dick-Read’s discovery a huge number of doctors, midwifes and nurses reinforce the pain concept through their language and advice. Many women too still believe pain is necessary in childbirth and believe that they only option for a painless birth is to take drugs.

Just recently one of my friends who had used my techniques for a painless birth for her first child; unfortunately needed a C Section for her second due to complications. She was amazed at how many women choose a C section to have their child over experiencing giving birth. Having experienced both, she said she thought they were mad, as for her natural child birth was a walk in the park compared to a C section.

For details on Taylormade childbirth classes contact or if you are an NLP Practitioner or Hypnotherapist and whish to add Tina’s methodology to your toolbox; in London on 17 & 18 November Tina will be teaching practitioners how they can use NLP, DHE and Hypnosis to help their clients achieve a painless birth experience.
Check out for details and to book your place.