Interview with Niki Cassar, a Professional Hypnotherapist in Surrey, UK
I'm very happy to be able to write about another interview with another successful hypnotherapist, Niki Cassar. Niki is a very professional woman who is clearly determined to succeed in anything that she does. And, right now she and some of her other UK based colleagues are working with us and other hypnotherapists in and around the London area to bring our Week of Power Advanced Hypnotherapy Certification Course (with 5-PATH® and 7th Path Self-Hypnosis®) to their area. I know that it will be wonderful being there and seeing Niki and our other graduates while we are there.
Niki has been running a successful hypnosis practice in Surrey and Harley Street in London, England for some time, where she integrates hypnosis and other techniques together to provide her clients with a truly wonderful and powerful personal development experience.
If you live in the Surrey and Harley Street area of London, I want to strongly encourage you to give her a call when you are considering using hypnosis to make positive changes in your life.
Now, I am very happy to interview Niki Cassar to we can learn more about hypnosis, hypnotherapy and her successful hypnotherapy practice from her directly.
Cal Banyan: Welcome Niki. Let's start off by having you tell us about how you came to become a professional hypnotherapist.
Niki Cassar: I was previously in the advertising industry, as a producer of TV commercials. In 1980, I opened a film production company with a film director who later became my second husband. The company grew and flourished, and we had fourteen fantastic years, traveling the world and making commercials for major advertisers. In 1994, my husband was diagnosed with cancer of the throat, and sadly he died just over a year later, despite having undergone three major operations, two courses of radiotherapy and one course of chemotherapy. To quote Queen Elizabeth, that was very definitely my 'annus horribilis'.
Before and after my husband died, I saw a Hypnotherapist to help me come to terms with the loss, and was amazed at how well I coped, and how relatively quickly I was able to bounce back. I remained in advertising for another four years, but my heart wasn't really in it any more, and I became increasingly aware of a need to 'give back' in some way. I was drawn to hypnotherapy because of my personal experience, and after doing a lot of reading and research, I instinctively knew it was the right path for me.
Cal: I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Truly that must have been a very deeply difficult time. But I can see that you are not the kind of person to stay down for long. You managed to grow from that situation and now you are sharing what you learned by helping others. That is just fantastic.
Tell us more about your office, perhaps how you started out and some of the changes that you have undergone.
Niki: In my first year, I worked from a designated room in my house in Richmond, Surrey. Five years ago, I moved to Cobham, Surrey, where I found the most enchanting cottage (built around 1740) in a very quiet, private road. The moment I saw it, I knew it was going to be my new home, and I was very excited to find there was a completely separate outbuilding which I immediately converted into a beautiful, peaceful consulting room (that's what we call them here in the UK!) with ensuite bathroom. It has the great advantage of being situated a little away from the house, so I can lock the door at the end of the day and go home!
Last year, I also started a practice in Harley Street, close to Oxford Street in the West End of London. Harley Street has long been known as a centre of excellence for the medical profession, so it has a certain caché as an address and seems to readily attract clients. I was fortunate in finding a beautiful room in an elegant building owned by a psychiatric consultant, who is happy to refer some of his more difficult patients on to me!
Cal: That really sounds wonderful. I'd like to see your office when I come to the UK and take pictures and share it with everyone. Tell us a little more about your training as it relates to what you do to help your clients be so successful.
Niki: After talking to a number of colleges and studying their syllabuses, I decided to do my training with The Institute of Clinical Hypnosis at Kings College London, as I felt they offered one of the most comprehensive and thorough courses available here in the UK. I worked really hard and was overjoyed when I graduated with a 'First', and then I almost immediately returned to do their Advanced Diploma course. Subsequent training has included EFT with Gary Craig in Chicago, Past Life Regression with Dr. Brian Weiss in New York, HypnoBirthing® with Mari Mongan, Pediatric Hypnosis with Maurice Kershaw, EMDR, Be Set Free Past, Terrorism Emergencies, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
In 2004, someone recommended a book to me called "Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy" by Cal Banyan and Gerald Kein. I read it with mounting excitement, although as yet unaware that it was going to change my life. With the book by my side, I started implementing some of the scripts and strategies with my clients, and was amazed with the results. I wanted more of this! Very soon after, I sent for the 5-PATH® training course on video, and spent every spare waking moment watching them over and over again. What was astonishing was watching my clients make major changes in their lives in just a matter of a few weeks. I officially became a 5-PATHer in 2005 after passing the exam, and in August of this year, I did your wonderful Week of Power in Marlborough USA, and graduated for the second time around, with the additional bonus of becoming a Teacher of 7th Path Self-Hypnosis®.
I just have to slip in here that on my return to the UK with my three 'Brit' friends who also did the course, we were all fired-up by the thought of bringing 5-PATH® and 7th Path Self-Hypnosis® over here so that others can benefit from this awesome training. Happily you didn't need too much persuading, and we have recently launched the official announcement of your very first Week of Power in London, starting on 23rd April 2007. We've already had a huge amount of interest, and I suspect it will be the first of many visits here for you and Maureen!
Cal: Thanks for the "plug" about the upcoming Week of Power Advanced Hypnosis training. Like most Americans we want to come and visit the UK, so I am really looking forward to it. And, one of the best things will be that I'm going to make so many new friends who can show me around while I am there!
I can also see that you have a very strong background in hypnosis as well as hypnotherapy because of all of the study that you did before becoming a 5-PATHer, as we call ourselves. It was wonderful having you and your "brit" friends in class. I could really tell that you could see that you were going beyond any kind of training you had previously experienced and that you were all applicative and eager to get back home and put it all to use.
So, tell me more about your approach to doing hypnosis now.
Niki: That's easy. I would describe myself as passionate about helping people to overcome their problems with the help of hypnosis. My training and experience in advertising has given me a formidable array of communications skills, and with the additional confidence that the 5-PATH® training has given me, I now approach every single client who beats a path to my door with the total belief that I can help them overcome their problems and change their lives, providing they are ready and motivated to do so. Now know that the hypnosis starts with the very first phone call, and continues from the moment a new client walks through my door. If I can convince him or her that they can overcome their problems in a matter of weeks, then it makes my job a lot easier, because I have a compliant and motivated client.
Cal: That is great. It really sounds like you have managed to utilize 5-PATH® to it's fullest extent because of its systematic nature, as well as it's universal nature, in that it is applicable to almost any issue that a client may have. I'm wondering if you can tell us about an interesting case?
Niki: I'd like to tell you about a recent case with an unexpected result; a female client with a fear of being sick and panic attacks. This woman was brought up by a selfish, 'drunken mother' who was 'never there for her'. She felt as if she was the care giver, and was never given the love and care she needed. She would regularly panic during the sessions and emerge herself and refuse to continue, but always came back the following week. We eventually uncovered the cause of her fear. She had been bottling up her anger and pain about her Mum, so her insides were boiling over, and made her feel constantly sick. As a child, whenever she tried to tell her Mother how she was feeling, Mum just looked the other way and wasn't interested, so she pushed it down inside her again. She realized that the only way she could remain in control over the years was to suppress her feelings of bottled-up anger. She was terrified what might happen if she let go of them, so she became fearful of being sick and consequently started having panic attacks. Once we worked with these feelings, she was able to safely release them. At the end of the complete hypnotherapy process, she burst into floods of tears and kept grinning from ear to ear and saying how fantastic she felt!
Cal: That is simply wonderful. I love hearing these success stories! Obviously you provided her with a life-changing experience.
Tell us a little bit about where your clients come from, who they are and that kind of things they want to work on.
Niki: I would describe the area where I live in Surrey as being pretty affluent and there is no shortage of clients requiring hypnotherapy. (Sadly, it is not yet available on the National Health Service.) My clients also come from other neighboring counties such as Berkshire, Sussex, Oxfordshire, Kent, Hampshire and Greater London. I have even had clients travel from the North and West of England. And I seem to be getting a lot more clients from overseas - most recently from Switzerland, Cyprus and even Japan!
Of course I see clients of all ages, but the average age is probably late thirties, and about 60% of my clientele are women. I also work with adolescents, which I really enjoy. They are pushed through the door, glowering, by exasperated parents who assure me I'm going to have a hard job, but once we are alone, they become pussycats, and are really appreciative that someone is willing to listen to - and understand - their problems. Although I work with many different issues, I have been concerned by the increase in people desperate for help because of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Recently, I have been getting upwards of four or five phone calls or emails a day, many of the callers having already seen their GP (MD to you!) and being offered only anti-depressants. I get really mad when I read that The National Health Service is spending £9 Billion Sterling per annum on these drugs, and there are regular stories in the press about how the mental healthcare in the UK is failing NHS patients, with long waiting lists for counseling and little choice other than anti-depressants.
Cal: I can understand your frustration with the medical system. But, I believe things are changing. And, it really is our job as hypnotists and hypnotherapist to go out there and educate. You know that and you do it so well, like doing this interview with me. It all helps to get this kind of information in front of those who can make a real difference.
And, I hear that you have clients coming from the London area as well as from out of the country. Good for you! That is what happens when you get a reputation for doing really great work.
Along the same lines, let me ask you a bit of a tricky question, why do you think your client's select you over other hypnotherapists?
Niki: Now that IS a tricky one, and I can only hazard a guess here! Over the past couple of years, in addition to recommendations, I have noticed that the greater percentage of new clients come via the internet. These people have usually looked at a number of websites, and when emailing or phoning me, they say things like 'I have visited a number of websites pertaining to hypnotherapy in my local area, but did not find one that adequately drew my attention. That was until at long last, I found your website. And so I made the decision to contact you.' (That's an actual quote from a recent email, by the way.)
I took a lot of care when designing my website and brochures, and I update them quite regularly. My main theme is one of open-ness and honesty, and I am often told that I come across as being warm and sympathetic. When prospective clients email me, I always reply as quickly as possible with the information they have requested, and suggest that we have a chat on the phone to discuss their issues in more detail. Mostly they agree to this, and we then have a 15-20 minute phone call, when I firstly listen to them (and I think this is important, as they are usually desperate to talk to someone about their problem), and then I explain to them how I work, and how hypnotherapy can help them. I keep a record of all contacts and the outcome, and my 'conversion rate' is about 90% so I guess I must be doing something right!
Cal: That is not really to surprising is it? It sounds like more and more people are using the Internet, and that they respond especially to a very warm and honest approach. I know that I would prefer that over some kind of "slik" looking site that doesn't look like they care about their clients. That is what gets them to call, and then you answer the call and really connect with them on the telephone. Like I say in class, the session begins with the first contact, and you are doing a really great job of that. We get the same kind of results. If you connect with the callers in a caring and honest way, then they are going to want to work with you.
So, I'm curious, do you teach any hypnosis related classes?
Niki: Not recently Cal, because I have been so busy with private clients. In the past I have run confidence and weight management workshops, but I am hoping to start teaching 7th Path Self-Hypnosis® in the New Year.
Cal: That is great. I look forward to hearing all about the class! So, now with all of your experience working with your clients, what do you wish everyone knew about hypnosis?
Niki: Now that's a subject I could bang on about for hours, given half a chance! But let me tell you the story which my clients seem to love.
"Imagine you have a beautiful millpond in a tranquil place, with deep clear water and weeping willows gently brushing the surface with their delicate leafy fronds. But as time goes by, the water becomes more and more cloudy and murky, and you sense that there is mud and silt building up in the bottom of the pool. You try to ignore it, but the water becomes even more cloudy, and sometimes you anxiously stir the water a little with a stick, but when you see the unpleasant muck which comes up the surface, you hastily throw down the stick and tiptoe away, hoping against hope that it will sink down again, and your millpond will once again become clean and clear.
There eventually comes a time when you can no longer ignore the terrible state of this once-beautiful pool, which has become dark and odorous - even the weeping willows have lifted their feathery fingers for fear of being contaminated by the stinking, murky water. You assemble your tools, roll up your sleeves, and dig down deep into the millpond, digging and stirring and bringing all that unpleasant silt and mud right up to the surface. It takes some effort, and there are moments when you wonder if you will ever manage to remove it all, but you doggedly continue to filter all the evil-smelling filth from the pool, and you are surprised at how quickly it is all removed. The water is now pure, clean and completely clear, reflecting the deep blue sky and the bright sunshine, and the weeping willows gratefully dipping their leaves into the water again, swaying gently in the cool breeze, and you realize with amazement and delight that you can see all the way down to the pure white sand at the bottom of your beautiful millpond."
So it is with hypnosis, which, when applied by a trained and qualified professional hypnotist or hypnotherapist, is the fastest and most effective way to filter out the negative beliefs or misperceptions in the subconscious mind, enabling us to move forward and be successful in doing everything we came into this world to do.
Cal: That is a great way of putting it. And, I appreciate that you are there doing such wonderful work. Having said all of this, what do you see as being the future of hypnosis?
Niki: Definitely rosy! I believe we are going to see a massive sea-change in the public's attitude and acceptance of hypnosis as an important and valid first stop in the next ten years or so, rather than the last resort which it has been in the past. With the breakdown of the traditional family structure, increased stress in the home and workplace, more use of food, alcohol and illegal substances as coping mechanisms, and the inevitable problems this will cause to mental and physical health, then the medical services will be overwhelmed and unable to deal with the demands placed on them. The public, when offered little more than prescription drugs, will vote with their feet and demand healthier and more permanent solutions to their mental (and physiological) problems. The medical profession will then have little choice but to look beyond the confines of their traditional structure.
I believe we can help to speed up this process in several ways. First and foremost, we need to ensure that the profession of hypnosis becomes more regulated, thereby allowing only those who are fully-trained and qualified to a recognized standard to practice. At the same time, we must use every legal means at our disposal to educate the public about the incredible power of the mind, and to convince them that hypnosis is a better, safer and more healthy way to overcome their problems. And last but not least, we must raise the public's perception of hypnotism/hypnotherapy to the level where they will perceive it as being a respected and valid profession.
And here's my final word on the matter. I am very excited at having the chance to be a part of this, and I am committed to working to achieve this end within my lifetime!
Cal: You are absolutely right on every count, hypnotists and hypnotherapists in the UK have done a wonderful job of moving toward those goals. I am personally working with some of the leadership at the NGH to bring about some of the changes that you mentioned as we are looking at some of the things that have gone on in the UK, which we believe that hypnotists all around the world could learn from and perhaps model themselves after.
Finally I want to once again thank you again for taking the time to do this interview with me and help me to get the word out about how hypnotherapists such as you are getting great results by using these advanced techniques. And, to the reader, if you are interested in learning more about hypnosis, hypnotherapy, sessions or training in the UK please feel free to contact our office or Niki and we can get that information right away.
Bye for now Niki, we look forward to seeing you in the UK very soon.