Q: Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a therapist where I specialize in treating stress, anxiety, and phobia’s in women. My modalities are Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and I am a Meditation Teacher.
Q: When you were seven, you had the opportunity to work alongside some Buddhist monks. How did that opportunity come to be and what did you learn from it?
A lovely young but very wise actress named Christine Harris moved into our house as her TV show was being filmed nearby and she became like an older sister to my sister and I. She took us everywhere with her and one day she asked Mum if she could take us to the Buddhist Centre to learn meditation and Mum agreed. So, with that every few days over the course of two years we would head off to the Buddhist Centre for mentoring with the same monk. He taught us everything from meditation to the power of ritual, the philosophies of Buddhism and so much more. It was a wonderful experience and something that has had a huge impact on my life. I still use the techniques taught to me back then, today.
Q: Prior to your current work, you spend over 20 years working in a rewarding career in advertising and media. Why did you decide to change paths and run a wellness studio?
I always had a strong desire to work with people in a therapeutic way, however, my path led me to the Media industry and for the most part, I really enjoyed the creativity of working in magazines and newspapers. However, in my last few years, cracks started to appear and it got to the point where the corporate grind, navigating office politics, battling traffic into the city each day, doing the before and after school drop off and trying to find a balance between being the best Mum, wife, and employee, without any family support, took a huge toll physically, mentally and emotionally. At that time, my mother was dying from lung cancer and I was also looking after her every night and on the weekends and I was pushed to my limit. I had nothing left to give. I discovered I had adrenal fatigue and I felt like I was going to get very, very sick. At the same time, someone very close to me was being very badly bullied and harassed and it impacted their life drastically. We sought support everywhere but Clinical Hypnotherapy was the only modality that had a profoundly positive and long-lasting impact. It was so life-changing that I found the best course I could and studied it in-depth. Once I gained my qualifications and experience, I opened The Feel Good Studio in order to support other women and teenagers. I still undergo monthly supervision and regular training to ensure that my clients get the best therapeutic service possible.
Q: A big focus of your current work is stress management. Why do you think stress management is so important, and how can someone begin practicing stress management?
I often hear stressed out people saying, “I used to be a nice person or I should be happy, I have so much in life but I am not happy.” I think we have all seen the countless studies that prove how constant stress undermines our health, contributes to a weakened immune system and can cause serious long term issues but what I see consistently in my clinic is a range of debilitating phobia’s, lowered self-esteem and anxiety that are triggered in part by stress. So, it is essential that we create enough time and space every day to nurture an inner balance for our mental and emotional well-being. We can start incorporating stress management techniques such as deep breathing.
An effective stress reduction breathing technique is to: breathe in to the count of 4 and breathe out to the count of 6. When you breathe out, purse your lips and blow, like you are blowing on a spoonful of hot soup. Repeat 5 times on the hour, every hour you are awake. Something else I recommend is to consider a morning ritual where you get out of bed 10 minutes earlier than you do now, ask yourself what are 3 things you are grateful for and then commence a meditation. There are so many, it’s about finding the one that’s right for you.
Q: When working with your clients, you incorporate meditation, NLP, and clinical hypnotherapy. Can you explain a bit about each modality, and how you combine them?
Clinical Hypnotherapy brings you to a deeply relaxed state of altered awareness by using safe, gentle and non-invasive techniques such as guided conversation, metaphors and storytelling. Used together with NLP, which offers an alternative way of looking at a problem, we can look beneath the physical and emotional symptoms to find the underlying cause and begin to facilitate healing.
After each hypnotherapy session, I will create a personalized toolbox with my client that incorporates what works best for them. This will entail exploring a range of self-hypnosis, meditation and NLP tools. I aim to create tools for life with each client so they always have something to call upon in any given situation in life.
Q: How do your clients benefit from these modalities?
My clients benefit significantly. They initially see me for anxiety, fear or phobia and once the original cause of the presenting problem is found, I guide them to find a way to clear it effectively whilst connecting through to the deepest state of waking relaxation they have ever experienced. I have clients contacting me a year or more after their last session, saying their lives have changed drastically, new careers have started, babies have arrived, holistic practices have been taken up and they are generally much happier and balanced than they could have imagined.
Q: When understanding hypnotherapy and stress, you use the analogy of a tree. Can you explain what you mean by that comparison?
Imagine a beautiful tree, deeply rooted in the ground with branches and limbs stretched out far. Now imagine that one of the limbs is twisted, decaying and unhealthy. We can cut off that unhealthy limb, but it can grow back even more distorted. So, we need to look to the roots of the tree and cut out the infected, damaged roots and then replace what we have cut out with nutrient-rich soil so the tree can regain its strength and beauty fully. The tree represents us, and the decaying limb represents phobia’s, fears, stress, and anxiety. The roots of the tree represent our subconscious mind. Clinical Hypnotherapy aims to bypass the conscious mind, seek out the damaging issues that are deeply embedded within the subconscious mind and remove them. However, when we remove something, we need to replace it with our positive intentions and our goals.
Q: It seems like meditation has become fairly “trendy”, why do you think that is?
Trends tend to come and go, but meditation has been around for thousands of years and continues to grow in popularity because it works. It is proven to bring peace of mind, mental and emotional balance and a depth of understanding of our inner nature. We are in an age now where we are more open to natural and more holistic approaches to leading a balanced life.
Q: What do you believe are the common reasons that may have for not wanting to meditate? Also, what reason would you give for starting?
I hear from a lot of people who have tried to meditate but can’t. Firstly, it’s important to understand that a meditation practice is a practice. Something that we need to practice and turn up to every day. Some days this will be challenging and others, you’ll hit the sweet spot more easily. Secondly, I recommend trying a range of different styles of meditations because you will eventually land on the one that resonates most strongly with you. If you find that your mind is constantly on the go, a mantra meditation may be ideal for you. If you like to be physically active, a walking mindfulness meditation may be better suited to you. Once you get started and get into a routine and create discipline around your commitment to meditating, the benefits will be easily recognizable. You’ll just feel calmer and more focused in life.
Q: What’s your favorite wellness habit or hack?
Self-Hypnosis. In an instant, self-hypnosis can alter motivation, mindset and even physical pain. It is such a special and powerful tool.
Q: What does “Living Well” mean to you?
Family, friends, fun, experiences, travel, a balanced inner and outer life and being authentic in every area of my life. This includes being as compassionate as I can be and then some, addressing what is not working in my life and trying to find a solution and giving from the heart. Listening to my intuition. And the most important thing that tops my list is love, giving and receiving love unconditionally.
Want to learn more about Justine? You can find her at: https://www.thefeelgoodstudio.com.au/