Happy Vs Flourishing episode 25, and the last episode is with Brooke Hender a cognitive hypnotherapist in West London who helps people get through issues with security, intimacy, happiness and other areas.
Next week we start series 3 of the podcast and the name of the show changes to Habits & Health.
Back to Brooke; He has some fascinating views on many different topics and we dive into a few of those today including Metaphor, Stoicism, Reading, Character Strengths, Provocative Therapy to name a few.
Habits & Health links:
Tony Winyard 0:00
Happy versus flourish in Episode 25. Welcome to the podcast where we aim to give you ideas of ways you can improve your life in some way. But this week's episode, which is the last week of happy versus flourishing, because there's a new podcast or a new series starting next week called Habits and Health, but this week's show Episode 25 is with Brooke Hender. Brooke is a cognitive hypnotherapist. He helps people with security, intimacy, happiness, many other areas. He's got a fascinating way of looking into the way that we use metaphors in how we speak. And we're going to hear a lot more about that. It's a really interesting conversation where it certainly was for me, and I hope that is the case for you as well. Please do share the episode with anyone who you feel could get some real benefit from this and why not subscribe. If you do subscribe, you will obviously be subscribing to the new podcast, which starts next Tuesday, which is Habits and Health. And it's all around helping people create healthy habits. So another series of guests talking about different areas of health, and both sort of mental or physical, all different aspects of health, and how we can create small habits to help us improve what ever area of health it is. So for example, in a couple of weeks time we've got a guy talking on sleep well, he's not just a guy, he's a scientist who talks a lot about sleep. Next week's episode, the first episode is, talking about memory, and how we can use memory to improve our health in various ways. So that's the new show that starts next week. But right now, it is time for this week's show with Brooke Hender. Happy versus flourishing. And my guest today, Brooke Hender. How are you?
Brooke Hender 1:58
I'm very well. Thank you, Tony.
Tony Winyard 2:00
Where do we find you?
Brooke Hender 2:02
I'm in not so sunny Walton on Thames in sorry, at the moment.
Tony Winyard 2:07
Not often that sunny at this time of year, is it?
Brooke Hender 2:12
it's always welcome. I think yesterday morning was bright and clear, after the snow and ice so
Tony Winyard 2:20
and what is it that you do? How do you help people?
Brooke Hender 2:25
So this is always tricky, because, you know, I've described myself as a therapist or coach, and both those things, and neither of that, you know, I wouldn't say neither of those things. But I sort of tend to start with my elevator pitch, which is I help women and men to get more security, intimacy and happiness in their life. And I do that by being direct, challenging, but effective. So yeah, and we can explain and talk about perhaps a bit more about how I sort of got to that. So therapist, I suppose as easiest description.
Tony Winyard 3:05
And so how long have you been doing it?
Brooke Hender 3:08
This is my fourth year full time?
Tony Winyard 3:12
What was the path that led to you getting into doing that?
Brooke Hender 3:19
Well, my natural inclination, or where I was a number of years ago, was that I generally would think of myself as the last person on this planet to be a therapist. I definitely hadn't dealt with a lot of my own stuff. And it just genuinely wasn't on my radar. It wasn't thinking about that line of work. I was just dealing with my own stuff. And I was an actor at the time, I, you know, had an amount of personal stuff going on. And I was I was working, I just started working with somebody who was a friend of a friend. And I definitely wasn't ready to do the work. But this lovely woman sort of persisted for a number of sessions. And it was, it was interesting. It wasn't transformative, because I wasn't ready to do the work. But what was interesting for me, and what I think started this was she said, I think you'd make a really good therapist, which was a surprise and and to be honest, something I dismissed at the time. And then I had an opportunity to train as a cognitive hypnotherapist with quest under a guy called Trevor Sylvester. And again, I did it because I had an opportunity to do it and because I'm interested to learn and to discover things and I thought, well look, this will be interesting if nothing else. And so I did the One year course. And again, as I got towards the end of the course, I wasn't thinking about doing it as a therapist. During that time, I had got more therapy and that therapy had been very impactful, it had made a significant difference in their in some fundamental areas, which was about self esteem. I'm happy to talk about that if it comes up, but about how I felt about myself is obviously how we feel about ourselves underpins everything in my opinion. Yeah. And it was really, you know, what was I going to do next, and the ending of that course. And then I was sort of continued on to do the sort of next level, from what they call the master practitioner level. And during that time, from my sort of day job where I was working full time, I had decided to leave. And I had an opportunity to leave with an amount of redundancy to leave with enough startup capital to get me sort of through the first six months, and I thought, well, if I don't do it, now, I might never do it. So I basically went from full time working into full time therapist without any gap. Not necessarily the smartest approach in hindsight. Well, you know, I think there's a lot to be said, where people sort of go, well look, you know, continue to work, build up your practice, get it to the point where, you know, you've got enough consistent regular income, so that you can just shift away from one into the other, which is a very sensible idea. But that's not what I did. I had no safety net, so I had to get on with it.
Tony Winyard 6:52
You know, you just said, Mike, I just saw a quotation yesterday, it really reminds me of what you were saying it was, until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back? Yeah.
Brooke Hender 7:04
Yeah. No, I think there's a lot of truth in that. And, and I think partly, there are a number of reasons. You know why when I sort of look back, as to how I was as an actor, and how I got in my own way, I think there was a lot of a safety net there. And I took the safety net. And you know, there were the issues I had with my self esteem, how I felt about myself definitely impacted on my ability to be the actor, I probably could have been.
Tony Winyard 7:34
And so once you say you started doing it, and you you're working as a therapist, what was the hardest part? I wonder if I mean, we're doing before we started recording, we were talking about getting clients often involves a lot of sort of marketing and all that sort of, was that the hardest aspect of it? Or was it something else?
Brooke Hender 7:52
I think from a business perspective, well, I can only I can't, I can, obviously only speak for myself. So I will. But yes, there is the business aspect, that but there is the other side, which is what sort of a therapist am I. So you know, the training I got was very thorough, very comprehensive, prepared me well, to follow that particular path of therapy. very open, very flexible, as a model. And so that's what I used. So for the first, you know, first year I, I sort of found my way and got used to working and getting better at that, then you know, the business of gaining experience. Then there is the second aspect, which is obviously finding clients getting work. So that was obviously build a website. Unfortunately, of course, building a website is going to make people suddenly flock to your door. But the marketing, so it was writing blogs, it was networking back, you know, back in that time, you could actually meet people in a room. So it was physical networking, and I would literally do the hard graft of building relationships, and selling to get work. And I did get work. I got work pretty quickly. And you know, I had enough of buffer to start to build it up, though. Yeah, those are the two that they were the hardest things. Because I think certainly when you're new as a therapist, you're obviously finding out what sort of a therapist you are. But the the people you like to work with, what appeals to you what doesn't appeal to you, and you're still discovering all that. And of course, that's ongoing. And it's very easy to focus on how good you are as a therapist at the expense of being a good business person. And I think that's quite common and definitely something I did.
Tony Winyard 9:45
When so once you started to become a therapist, or I guess it actually could be before you did it as a full time. The first ever client that you worked with. Can you remember your your feelings or were you Yeah, did you have self imposter syndrome? More.
Brooke Hender 10:01
Absolutely, you know, you learn a whole bunch of stuff. And so you know, on paper, you've got all the techniques. But how you apply and the skill and the fluency, that's something that comes with practice and and time. My first client who actually, I'm still, I work with occasionally and they've had massive changes over the years. And I still keep in touch with him the great supporter of mine, but actually does that my first client was somebody who actually trained in the same way that I had. So not only that, but the person they worked with before, was highly experienced. So I was sitting there going, Ah, great. So if I'm going to get find out, this is a found out this is going to be the person. But actually, it went completely fine. They found it very useful. The feedback was they didn't, you know, later on when I asked, I said, I didn't come across tall as being nervous or not coming across as knowing all I'm doing. So, yeah, but it but it always is, because there's a big difference between theory and practice clients, to somebody who is paying you money to help them. And that's, that's basically, what I'm being paid to do. It's not about me, gaining experience is about doing what I can do to help that person to move them from thinking about themselves in one way, or the problem to a more helpful series of thoughts.
Tony Winyard 11:36
So from from where you were, then to where you are now. So we're at that time, I would presume that you had certain thoughts about how you would help people and so on. And how much has that changed to now?
Brooke Hender 11:49
Completely, I would say 180 degrees. And it's not because I've rejected, I don't think there is one one right way to work. I don't think there is one approach that works for everybody all the time. So you know, cognitive hypnotherapy, as I learned from Trevor Sylvester and quest, you know, Trevor's a highly experienced guy, I've got huge amount of time respect for him. And the model he's developed is, is a really open and useful and practical model. And, and so that's what I used. And then I sort of became aware of Andy Austen's work, and he Austen specialises in metaphor work, metaphors of movement, and I did some training in that. And that opened up a new way of working and interacting with clients. It's not outcome driven, in terms of what exercise or what thing can I do that, that deals with that specifically, it's a more exploratory, but again, it's not like, well, if we do this, then you'll get this. It's like, okay, you're providing we're giving the movement within their metaphor of how they're experiencing life. And through that they are discovering for themselves what's helpful, that's probably not a very clear explanation. But certainly one of the links worth checking out and your students work with metaphors is, I think, truly amazing. And I have been on subsequent training, but just allow allowed me to hear people's conversations in a new way. It allowed me to work because we all use metaphor, you know, how are you feeling I'm feeling stuck, you know, something very common, or I want to move forward with my life. But I keep I keep feeling like I'm hitting my head against a brick wall. I mean, that is, that is the lick. That is literally how they feel about where they are, you know, and most of most problems are involving a lack of movement, they're not able to move forward. And you know, and then there's all that play on language, you know, moving ahead with your life moving forward, doing what's right for you the right thing, if you're not doing what's right for you, what's left for you, you know, taking a step back, what's right behind you what's left, and there's, it's a huge subject. And that's a very, very, almost not clear, but it's very simple to explain it as being a set of clever, you know, a clever use of language, but it's a very rich and deep. And I've only really done some very, very basic stuff with it. But that was really revolutionary really started a process of change. But also Andy was, you know, the importance of your state of how you are, and about how you can use that to also affect change. So, yeah, and then, through Andy's work, I discovered Nick Kemp's work and Nick camp runs something called provocative change works, which is based on the work of Frank Farrelly, who wrote a very famous book called provocative therapy. And it's a very, very different approach and is more conversational. And it's like, and I'm not going to do this justice. So very simplistically, you are arguing for the problem. And then then given the client an opportunity to argue against themselves, or why they should or should not maintain the problem, Frank very least after saying, you know, let's run it up the flagpole and see if they salute. People only ever react to something that they care about or hazard, they have an emotional resonance with, if you make a comment to somebody, and it has no resonance with them, they won't care about it, they'll just laugh, but people only react to things that on some level they care about or feels true for them. And so, you know, I continue to train in that. And I've introduced that more and more into my work. And so is now very, very conversational, and has a lot of humour. And it's can be it's very fertile ground for change. Again, not necessarily outcome based. people decide for themselves what's helpful and what's not helpful. And, you know, for the last couple of years, I've been recording all my sessions, I send the client a copy of the session in full, and I get them to listen back to that so that they can discover for themselves, what's helpful and what's not helpful. It's not my job to tell them how they should lead their life, I have enough trouble with my own life, to be honest, Tony.
Tony Winyard 16:43
So I'm wondering, yes. And what you said then, and what he's learning about the provocative therapy and the metaphors and so on. So in, in what ways are you now able to take the clients you're working with now? How is it that you're helping them differently from how you were a few years ago?
Brooke Hender 17:05
I think it was very much an approach. And again, I'm not saying it's a wrong approach by any means. And this is just about how I work. So it's not a comment about how other people work. I think it's important to discover what sort of therapist, you know, I am, and, you know, each individual therapists because we all bring ourselves to our work doesn't matter we call approach. But, you know, it's like, so one of the one of the, how long have you had the problem, when the problem is worse, when it's a better you're looking at for all the parameters, and then choosing appropriate techniques to to deal with those things. And they're, you know, the classic sort of a combination of NLP, like timeline and parts work and Gestalt, and, and these are all excellent techniques, there's not that I would never use them, and that I don't use them in some way to bring about a change. But essentially, what are we trying to do? We're trying to get the person to think differently. And although a particular technique may be like a timeline, going back, revisiting a situation, getting them to think differently, or resolve it in some way, what's the outcome of this, the outcome we're looking for is getting them to think differently about that, about their story about what they believe about themselves, so that they can, they can choose a more helpful belief. That's essentially what we're doing. But you know, how do we maintain the problem, there's a structure in place, each problem has we maintain it every day, we don't wake up and go, Okay, I immediately think back to my seven year old self, for who was in that situation that has led to this, we just wake up with the problem, I'm the sort of person that can do this. I'm the sort of person that can't do this. I'm the sort of person that won't say, No, I'm not the sort of person that will get my needs met or work to get my needs met. So there's a structure in place. And the way I work now is very much about trying, you know, of destroying that structure so that there is no problem anymore. If you don't think about yourself in the same way, you don't have the problem. And rather than going at it through a series of from the approach that I've described before, it can be a very different way of approaching it. So it might be advocating for the property, you know, what's wrong with that? You know, I've got this problem, and they describe the problem. Well, what's wrong with that? Maybe it's good that you've got this thing. Maybe it maybe you're doing, maybe you're, you know, benefiting society by having this problem. And perhaps if you did more, more for it, more of it, you benefit society even more. Now, you know, they're going to have to have a reaction to that. Yeah. And that's going to be a visceral reaction. It's not going to be an intellectual reaction. It's going to be a visceral one. And people as I said, People only react to stuff that that's important to them. And so you're constantly looking for what they're reacting to, to get them to a state of confusion to a state of having to reevaluate. So they're constantly arguing against themselves, to determine for themselves. what's helpful and what's not helpful. Again, I seriously suspect I'm not doing Nick's work, and fracks work any justice here. But for the sake of simplicity, I will keep it at that,
Tony Winyard 20:33
I think, yeah, but I think what's great about an incident, anyone, when you know, we all learn things, and we're never going to do it exactly the same way we were taught, we're always going to put our own spin on it, combined with all those other things that we've learned, and then it just create something totally unique. So use your own take on what you've learned from those two guys. And yes, it sounds fascinating. So I'm wondering, I'm wondering, as you were saying that there's a phrase and it's not a word I particularly like, but I guess it's a good way of describing it? Do you have an avatar particular type of client that you look for?
Brooke Hender 21:10
Yeah, this is always interesting, when you sort of, you know, obviously, the classic thing about marketing is, you know, your avatar, your ideal client, you know, are you writing for them? Are you? So I would say, 90%? Well, I know that 90% of my clients are women. And they tend to be two main categories. So I do a lot of work with women who are married or partnered with or without children, but they tend to be in their 40s. And on paper, they've got a great life, they're married, they got a good job, or their husbands got a great job, they got kids, they get a good score. They're not, you know, on paper, it all looks great. But something doesn't feel right. It's not that they're necessarily alcoholics, it's not necessarily that they don't have any money, they that there's no, you know, they can't say, Oh, look, I've got a problem with my drink. Or it's not that they're just like, how did I get here? What, who am I what's going on, I'm just not satisfied, but they don't know what to do about it, they don't have any clarity. And so I work with a lot of women like that, who, you know, and there are things they may drink too much, it's not necessarily a massive problem, but well, they, they may have things going on, or habits that are unhelpful. And so it's about identifying what's really going on, and then giving them the space to discover what's helpful and what's not helpful. And, on some level, it's, you know, in my experience, pretty much it's going to be about how they feel about themselves, their relationship to themselves. Particularly, because there's a lot of labels, you know, that we all either adopt, or get given, you know, so it could be, rather than just being that person, they are suddenly the wife, the daughter in law, the mother, you know, or, you know, the school friend, all these labels and, and, you know, life becomes about logistics as much as anything else. And, and so, it's almost like they've lost touch with their needs, what they want, who they are now. And I help them to discover what they want, what's useful for them, what's no longer serving them, so that they can make healthful choices. So that's one main category, and the other tends to be people who make unhelpful relationship choices. And so they can be typically in their 30s. They are maybe looking for a family, looking for a partner looking for a family, but they've they've not had the right panel, they've come out of a long term relationship. And now they feel a bit panicky, but they're worried about their choice in men or partner, and they're getting in their own way. They're so worried about time and the possibilities of, you know, the anxious about what they might not get. And again, it's helping them to find clarity and to realise that they're more likely to get what they're looking for by letting go of that desperation for what they're trying to get. But there are other categories but yeah, and but generally, all the people I work with are, it's about self esteem. There is about because it underpins so much of us stuff. Yeah. You know, how we allow ourselves to be treated what we're prepared to put up with, whether we write that blog, whether we say that thing, whether we Say No, that's not acceptable. You know, all of it comes from how we feel about ourselves. And it's not that self esteem is a binary black and white thing. It's not that we have wonderful self esteem or no self esteem, it changes depending on the circumstances in the situation. You know, it varies, but, you know, acceptance of self of going, Yeah, I'm not perfect. No, but actually, and you know, my behaviour isn't necessarily ideal, but that doesn't make me fundamentally a bad person who I am, is good enough. And I have work to do on these things. And by accepting that, that can be the start of, you know, huge transformation transformation.
Tony Winyard 25:38
So, and actually, surely it would, it's much healthier, healthier, to realise that, I mean, no one's perfect and expecting perfection is ridiculous.
Brooke Hender 25:49
But yeah, it's a hiding to nothing. But it's so easy. You know, imposter syndrome is about comparison. You know, if you're comparing yourself to others, and finding yourself wanting perfectionism, it's about always doing better. And no matter what you do is not good enough, and comparing yourself to either your own expectations of yourself quite often, more the expectations of our parents, that's where quite often starts, you know, so it's, again, a very similar thing. It's, it's rare. Well, you know, I'm not saying it's never but, you know, it's not necessarily always directly comparing yourself to other people. But that can be an element to it. You know, it's like, oh, well, I'm this, but there's so much better. And so, you know, if you're comparing yourself constantly to others, you know, it's very easy to find yourself wanting, I mean, I can look at my business and go, Yeah, but look at them, they look how much better they are, how much more successful look at how popular their blog is, or look at that amazing podcast, and why don't know, I shouldn't bother, because I'm not achieving that. Because you're never going to achieve it if you if you don't do it. And the other thing is, is that what you want, and so it's about values as well as identity.
Tony Winyard 27:09
So many, so many directions, I could go on. Which one to focus on. There's a one of the things that came into my mind when you were talking then about comparison, and so on. There was a member the guy's name, I can't remember his surname is Adler, he was a psychotherapist. quite a long time ago. Yes. And he talks a lot about comparison. And his you know, it's one particular passage, I remember reading, it was so good around comparison, I don't know if it brings any barriers or if you know,
Brooke Hender 27:41
much, it doesn't mean I know all that. I mean, there is, you know, don't get me wrong, nothing I do is original. I mean, I'd like to make that perfectly clear, I stand on the phrase Trevor taught, taught me, but you know, he's definitely true. You know, we all stand on the shoulders of giants. So, you know, the way I work, the combination I choose to do, what I do is all based on the investment and the genius of others. And I just bring my flavour in the way that I do to my work. So yeah, I mean, there's so many, you know, and there's still so much to learn. I'm only, as I said, this is my fourth year, I'm still learning, there's an endless amount of stuff to learn to evaluate, to appreciate to try and get to grips with to truly understand. And even if you focus, even if I focused on one particular area, it would almost take a lifetime. So yes, I mean, definitely, that thing about comparison is absolutely true. You know, if you're on a desert island, would you have issues with self esteem? Yeah, yeah. If you've got nobody to compare, compare yourself to. And then presuming that, you know, you didn't already bring all your baggage with you to the island. You know, would you have that issue. But, you know, these are sticks we pick up every day to beat ourselves over the head with. And I'm always encouraging people to put down the stick, because it's just not helpful. Of course, you can make that choice. You know, I could pick up I could pick up any number of sticks every day, about any aspect of my life or my work, because it's an endless and endless thing to be able to do. There is no limit to it. Because we can always find ourselves wanting, you know, even if I picked up a guitar today and played it for the rest of my life. I'm unlikely to be David Gilmore of Pink Floyd. You know, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy playing the guitar.
Tony Winyard 29:37
Exactly. Yeah. Something else I just went I was thinking of when again when you before you speak it, and he was talking about some of the women that you're helping and the different labels that they're being put on them. And I'm not sure why this went through my head but I thought of character strengths and you know, these Yeah, so quickly assessments like Myers Briggs. It All the rest of them, I wonder what your take is on those sorts of things.
Brooke Hender 30:04
I think they have a use, I mean, I definitely think it's useful. It's always useful to get some clarity on any information we can learn about ourselves can be used in a helpful way. If you choose to use it in a helpful way, if you choose to use it as yet another stick to beat yourself up with then you know, it's not gonna be helpful, but you know, seeing your top five strengths to your, as they call them, the least the bottom five strengths, your least strong strength. You know, it might go Oh, actually, that is true, maybe I hadn't appreciated that as much as I had, maybe Actually, I can use that strength a bit more, maybe I haven't given enough or, okay, or help you to identify those areas, were focusing more time and effort on them would bring dividends because they're the things you tend to use last, because they're your least powerful strengths, doesn't mean you don't have them. Just be you don't rely on them, and maybe putting more focus on them will provide more balance to your life. So I think there's always married in understanding things. There's, you know, there's, but there's, it can be a lot of information and intellectual understanding is not the same as visceral or emotional understanding. So I think it's good to use these things. But you know, knowing stuff is helpful. So I know I don't, I don't definitely don't have an issue with them. It's how you use them, like all tools.
Tony Winyard 31:42
If I remember Alex, I remember the first time we met each other or was at a for networking event occurs. And what I remember about this, and your memory will be different, but my memory of that is, at the time, I was going to a few different sort of for networking events and various other networking events. And, and very often, when everyone stands up at some point and does like a kind of elevator type pitch. It's called something different in every all of those different networking groups. But you're, for whatever reason, I can't remember exactly what it was, you said. But I literally my head sort of sprung up, and I looked at you because I was so used to most of them were not poor, but they were not very well crafted. They were, they didn't really sort of make you to really look at a person for a while. But yours did. And I thought, Wow, that sounds really interesting. And then I think I, we had a chat, I don't know if it was during a meeting and after the meeting, trying to think where I was going.
Brooke Hender 32:49
Well, you know, the only thing I would say, I mean, you know, come back in when you're a member, you know, from my perspective, because I you know, I tend to like you, I've attended a lot of meetings, and you tend to hear the same. I think a lot of people struggle with the elevator pitch element of it, you know, they can be very nervous to stand up in person, especially if it's the first time they've done it, they've got 30 seconds or a minute talk about themselves and what they offer, you know, and that's, that's sticking your head above the parapet, isn't it? And so there can be a lot of safety in it. Oh, you know, we're a company who helps blah, blah, blah, and we print this and, and we're very good at this. And, you know, if you're interested in something about printing, then please let me know. I only mentioned printing because I had a conversation about printing this morning. And, you know, so it's like, this is what we do. This is what we can offer. And it's safe. And we're so used to it, we tend to switch off a bit. And so I think it's interesting to to, to shift that around a bit to perhaps go against expectations currently I you know, I tend to say, you know, as I mentioned my elevator pitch early, you know, I help women and men to get more security, intimacy and happiness in their life. That's the positive outcome. That's what people get. Now security, intimacy and happiness are going to be very, each person is going to have their own idea of what those things mean. And that's great, because they should. And then I might say so, and most of my clients describe me as annoying, infuriating, and just generally difficult to work with. So if you're interested in being annoyed and infuriated, why not have a conversation with me. Now, that gets a very different reaction. And it's also goes against the flow.
Tony Winyard 34:36
Brooke Hender 34:38
You know, most people laugh. And because I don't, you know, I do, as I try and do everything with a twinkle in my eye as Nick Kent would say, and and that's the thing it's like always brings, you always want to bring humour into it. But you think about something in a slightly different way. Yeah. Because I know that when people have a question session with me. It's, you know, I do get I do people. And it's true I do. Some people find work with me infuriating because it's designed to, because I'm challenging them. And some people find me annoying, because I'm not letting them off the hook. You know, that's what what they're paying me, they're paying me to help them to get out of their current thinking. And sometimes that's, you know, challenging. If it were easy, we'd all do it all the time. But sometimes change, you know, change is, by its very nature, different from what you've got now. You may have had your thinking for 30 4050 years, and you're shifting it. And I don't, I generally don't believe it takes a long time. But yeah, there's an amount of work in it.
Tony Winyard 35:49
Well, I do remember where I was going on what you said, that was interesting. While I was getting that was an eye, from the early conversations we had, the impression that I kind of got in my mind about you was that you read quite a lot, quite a wide range of different things, which, no doubt, sort of, hasn't an effect on on how you go about talking with people and the way that you act and the way you help people and so on. So I just thought is, what you'd What kinds of things do you tend to read? What kind of things Is it you, you like reading?
Brooke Hender 36:29
So I'm a big fan of the autobiography, that memoir. I like reading people's lives. That common thread of having to experience a life on what goes or goes on. I obviously read directly and around my subject. So there's a lot of, I suppose they call it a fall into the self help category. And there's obviously a lot of them. I also read a lot of military mindset stuff. I think that's an interesting area, which is definitely not for everybody. And obviously a number of business books as well. But that's for business. And pleasure. I read novels.
Tony Winyard 37:19
And you mentioned just then about change being not necessarily remember how you worded it, but something along the lines of it's not necessarily hard. I suppose it depends. But what is what what did you mean by that? Well,
Brooke Hender 37:36
I think it depends on the nature of the issue. I mean, how long? How long does change take now change can happen very quickly, but that individuals very quickly could be five years. Or it could be one session. I mean, I have had a conversation. So I run a fortnightly Meetup group. And somebody contacted me afterwards and said, Can we have a chat? Of course, they were in their car, and we had a chat for three quarters of an hour hour. I love having conversations with people, I don't sell therapists, not what I do. I just said, let's have a conversation and see if we can get some benefit for having a chat. So we did so. And she found it incredibly helpful. And I said, Look, if you'd I'd be really interested to find out what happens, how can I contact you in a month? So I contact her last week and said, you know, how have things been? And she went things, you know, have been awful. And yet I've really dealt with them in such a different way. I generally don't think I've coped and you know, she said, You know that one conversation was better than a month, the third guy that I'd had, and has made such a difference. You know, thank you. Now, obviously, that's quite unusual. It's not that every single conversation I have had that impact. But you never know what it is you're going to discover or you're going to hear or find. That's going to make the difference that that makes the difference. And so, you know, I always work whenever I start work with people, I don't do individual sessions. Generally, I work, I have my packages five sessions over two months. But generally for most people, that's enough to get them started. That's enough to bring about enough change that they continue the journey on themselves by themselves. Or they may want additional support. But they can go off and start to make changes. And I'll keep in touch with them and see how they're going. So it's an individual experience. And it really depends on the nature of the problem. Some problems take a long time, and others can be done dealt with quite quickly. And it's not necessarily about holding their hand right to the very last bit. I generally I see my job as getting them started. So that they can discover for themselves. And I'm there to help them and support them as they go along as they need. So, you know, it can vary, but you can do, you know, I've definitely noticed you can do a lot of work in five sessions.
Tony Winyard 40:17
You mentioned just in about a meetup group. So what what is that? How is that group that you run and what what is the objective of that.
Brooke Hender 40:25
So, you know, private therapy, cost money. And whilst there is a various pricing models for various people, you know, it can be as an investment, you know, can be challenging for some people. And so I wanted to offer something that will allow people to start to think differently, but without any, that they can just turn up and drop in. So I run a, I use the meetup platform. And every two weeks, and in fact, it's as we're recording this, it's this evening, every two weeks, for an hour or so, try and keep it to an hour, people can turn up, they can listen, participate, share, whatever they want to do, or they can just sit there in silence with their camera off, which never happens. And I will, in a humorous and a light hearted way. Get them to think differently about what's going on, about how they feel about themselves. And I will use hyperbole, black and white statements, I tend to open up the meeting saying, you know, if you're looking for the secret of self esteem, you know, of changing self esteem, there isn't one, there are two types of people, people who take action and people who don't, you know, and it's not that I necessarily believe those things, 100%, I'm just trying to provoke a particular response, I'm trying to get them to think differently, to question their own thinking about self esteem about how they feel about themselves. And so generally, I get about 25 people 25 to 30 people each, each fortnight, got over 500 members in the meetup group, and people can either come along every meeting, or they can just come once and never come again, or just drop in whenever they whenever they feel it would be beneficial for them.
Tony Winyard 42:22
Would you Is there a recurring theme in the people that you tend to see is sort of private clients as to what it is that they want to change?
Brooke Hender 42:34
If there's a lack of acceptance, there's a lack of they've usually, I've never met a boring person during therapy, everybody, I, you know, people generally lead interesting allies, but they don't believe that. And they don't think that they've necessarily achieved or they think that because they are a particular height, or weight, or shape, or colour, or, you know, a lot of things that we see, and some things that we absolutely cannot change. I mean, whether I like it or not, at the moment, you know, as we're recording this, I'm a 53 year old white male, there's not much I can do about that the age will naturally change. But, you know, that's out of my control. So I don't worry about it, you know, and so it's about acceptance of those things that we cannot change. And, you know, and then thinking about those things that are in our control, that the truth is, most things are out of our control, we have very little direct control over a lot of things that happen in the world. But we do have control over how we choose to react to things. You know, a lot of people talk about getting triggered, you know, and I used to feel that I used to feel like I got triggered a lot, you know, about particular approaches or situations. And I felt that that situation was making me have that reaction. And it took a long time for me to realise that it's actually how I feel about that thing, that is actually causing that reaction, and there's something going on, and that until I deal with that, you know, it's gonna feel like I'm on the receiving end of it, that I have no control over it. That, you know, somebody could trigger me whenever they want. And it's getting people start to realise that that actually isn't true. And it doesn't have to be true for them either.
Tony Winyard 44:29
And you said a couple of minutes ago about people who don't think they've had a particular interest in life, and so on and so on. And it seems to me a lot of that is because it seems to be the norm for most people who just watched a lot of television television until you're attending to say people who are deemed ultra successful and Aaron yourself against someone like that is just foolhardy.
Brooke Hender 44:55
Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree. You know, we all have a hood. I love watching television. You know, we all you know, there's so many opportunities to watch programmes now we've got, you know, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney plus britbox, as well as you know, obviously, the old fashioned things like blu rays and DVDs, as well as terrestrial television, and sky. And so there's a huge amount of stuff that's out there. And of course, again, it's about choosing, you can choose things and go that's inspirational. Or again, you can use it as a stick to beat yourself up with saying, Why am I not as good as that? Why? Why am I not able to do that? What he said, that just proves how shit my life is that just shows what a loser I am. So again, but that, that stems from how you feel about yourself is obviously how you're going to react to those things, and what choices you make about what context you're going to put it in. So yeah, and I agree that, you know, if you have a problem with self esteem, you know, you're you're going to find a way to find the proof that proves what you believe. Yeah, you know, what the think of think the proofs, think of things that prove approves. You know, we all know from basic stuff, we delete, distort, and generalise all the information that comes in to fit our model of the world. You know, and so, you know, we'll hear a statement from the government doesn't matter which government doesn't matter what the statement is, and there'll be a group of people that hear it in one way, and another group, people hear another way, and they may hear it in a completely different way and say, Look, that just shows how this position is true. And another group as well, that just shows how this position is true. Because you know, we're ignoring the bits that don't quite fit our model of the world. And we're exacerbating or exaggerating the bits that do that, that make it more like what we believe. And we do that with everything with all the information that comes into our lives. None of us, myself included, are exempt from that. Yeah. But you know, if you're telling yourself a story that's more helpful. I'm the sort of, you know, people will say to me, oh, I could never do what you do on the meetup groups, you know, just talk for an hour without a script without knowing what you're going to talk about. But I can do that, because I tell myself, I can do it. Yeah. So I'm the sort of person that can do that. Because I believe I can do it, I then find all the evidence that proves I can and ignore the evidence that shows shows anything to the contrary.
Tony Winyard 47:25
Yeah. Well, and it leads me on to something I asked you about any books that you particularly like, and you chose a couple of them? And one of them? I thought it might be good to talk about this now rather than at the end. So you, one of the books you chose was the obstacle is the way? Yes. And what what was it the impact that had on you wanted to do that?
Brooke Hender 47:44
It was the the the way of thinking about things. It was a fun day, it was one of the it was recommended to me as but when I was training, and it's, you know, I think it's a book that's steeped in stoicism. Again, quite misunderstood, perhaps in bits, certainly much more available these days about what stoicism is. But it's about how you choose to see things. Rather than, you know, our you know, life's going smoothly. And then this thing happens now life is shit. Actually, that is a part of life. And it's how we deal with those obstacles that determine the quality of our life, the quality of our experience, and starting to look at things in a different way. What can this situation teach me? What can it give me? What are the positives from it? What other and it's not a there's, it's not about pretending that everything's an amazing opportunity. You know, people die, people get ill in a global pandemics, you know, lock downs, there's lots of things that happen that are far from ideal. And so it's not pretending that these things are great. And aren't they wonderful, but actually, you know, there may be some positive as well as some negative it, can I look at this in a way, how can I make this as useful to me as opposed to to being an event that completely floored me? How can I recover from this as quickly as possible? How can I, you know, is there anything to learn from it? You know, and I think for me, it was a shift in thinking. And so rather than seeing things as like, Oh, God, here's something else I have to deal with. Actually, it's a part of, it's a part of life, it's a part of my life. And I don't have to make it any more than it is. I don't have to minimise it, but I can just acknowledge it for what it is, and see what I get from it. So as we mentioned earlier, last year was a great opportunity to go, Hey, there are some bits of my business that really needs some attention. And actually, I need to go back and do some reinvest in a proper system like a CRM and I need to look at how I engage my clients how I engage with potential people. Clients? And you know, so that was an opportunity that came out of that, that had I have we not been in that situation, I could have perhaps just gone on, because I was getting natural, natural organic growth. And so we, you know, it could have been. So, you know, there was something positive that came out of it. It's not saying, Oh, great, let's have a global pandemic and see what I learn. Because there are lots of lots of aspects about it that, you know, we are shooting negative,
Tony Winyard 50:31
yeah, of course, and get back to the obstacle is away. Yes. I'm wondering, so when, when you read that originally, have you ever come back to it again? Yeah,
Brooke Hender 50:42
definitely. I've to to read it again. I try and read it once a year. Because, you know, I grow. And so every time I read it, I discover something new. Or I reevaluate my thinking again, but that process is always going on. But I find it's a really, it's a quite clean book in the way that it's a very, it's very, there it is, this, it's how, what you choose to think about these things that makes the difference. And so that's, that's been an again, it's not going to be the right book for everybody. There, as I said, there, you know, as there are a group of books I recommend, but the trick is, is in reading a number of books and finding which one resonates and is most useful for you. Yeah,
Tony Winyard 51:33
yeah, it's fine. There's something I often say to people is, you can, you can go and see 20 different speakers on stage at an event or when we're able to go and do those kind of things. And many of them will have a very similar, ultimately, their message is quite similar, but just said in very different ways, and one of them will for whatever reason, well, and I wonder if it's probably a combination. Sometimes I wonder if it's just that this guy has just said it in a way that really resonates with Yeah. Or is it also a bit of that you've now heard that message said in different ways, so many times that finally it's connected in your brain? And it's maybe a combination of both?
Brooke Hender 52:15
Yeah, I don't know which one it is, I definitely think an amount and amount of repetition is helpful. But yeah, no, I completely agree. You can get 10 different speakers saying exactly the same thing, one of those speakers that will absolutely just jump out at you and go, Oh, my God. Why haven't I understood that before? Yeah. Because there is a difference between an intellectual understanding and a resonance, and then on a more emotional level where you go, I feel that I get that, that really now resonates with me. And that's why it's worth revisiting stuff. That's why it's worth talking to lots of different people. As I've mentioned before, just there are lots of people who don't work the way I work, and there's probably lots of people don't like to agree with the way I work. And that's okay, too. And I always encourage potential clients to go and go and talk to other therapists of different flavours. Because at the end of the day, you need to be working with somebody that you believe is able to help you. Because if you don't believe it, that no matter how good they are, they're unlikely to be successful. And you never know what approach is going to be the one that resonates with you most strongly. And, you know, you may not, you know, I've had many conversations and people said, Look, I really enjoyed it. I didn't enjoy the conversation. But actually, it really made me think about stuff, but I don't want to work with you. And I go, great. That's, that's okay. It's completely fine. I'm glad you got something out of the conversation. Yeah. I'm glad it was useful on some level, and, you know, and I might not be the right person to work with you. And so it is always about exposing yourself to different ways of thinking, which is why I try as I said, Before, I try and read around the subject. So I don't know if you've heard of Jocko willing, he's very famous. It's quite a well known podcaster. Yeah, who does his. He's an ex US Navy SEAL, and now teaches leadership and he has a book called discipline equals freedom field manual, Mark one mod one. And it's a very, very direct, no bullshit, get on with it. Don't give yourself any excuses. Just Just do it sort of approach. Now, that's not gonna be the right book for everybody. But for the right person is going to be the perfect book. The trick is always finding that book. So I like to, you know, for me, if I saw like vacillating about something, I just, you know, I can literally, it's quite an easy book to read. You can literally open up at any page and start reading I find that a really good tonic, it provides me with clarity and go, Okay, I just need to get on with this, I just need to do it. I don't need to think about why I'm not doing it, just do it. But that may not be helpful for somebody if somebody's you know, in a different stage, that may be the last thing they need to hear.
Tony Winyard 55:21
Yeah. Go down back to metaphors again. Yes, I'm wondering now, because Have you done, you've done so much work on metaphor, you and you use metaphor now and how you work? So are you now in a situation where every conversation you're in, you're constantly seeing metaphors left? right and centre?
Brooke Hender 55:38
Tony Winyard 55:42
I get annoyed.
Brooke Hender 55:44
Really, because I mean, I, you know, I use it a very basic level, you know, and I know a lot of people who do and a lot more training and are able to use it in a much greater, with much greater subtlety and nuance than I am doesn't mean what I, what I do isn't useful, of course. But it does give you an idea. Because people don't listen for metaphor, people will just think, Oh, it's just a saying. But actually, it does reveal a lot in reveals about, you know, when they're talking about business about whether they're growing the business or building the business, there's two different types, one's agricultural ones, you know, industrial, you know, we're launching, you know, I'm launching my business, I launching a chef, or are you launching a rocket are two very different things. And, but, you know, life feels like an uphill struggle. I just feel stuck. You know, as I mentioned, before, you know, these are very common things that people do not even notice. Yeah. And yet, that is how they feel. That's how they feel. If somebody says they're stuck, that's how they feel, they feel like they're unable to move. And so it's there, they've just told you, so when listening to metaphors, even on the most basic, simplistic level will tell you something about their lived experience, you know, I'm feeling down. You know, if you're down, you know, and, you know, I want to I want to, I want to get more in our life feels like an uphill struggle, I'm trying to, you know, I want to sort of move up in the world, where if you're moving up in the world, you're going to be above others, aren't you? So you may find yourself looking down on other people. Or you might be expecting other people to look up to you. That's the literal, yeah, exploration, you know, if you take that as a literal thing, if you are up, then some more than others are going to be down, you're not grounded anymore. And that's about status.
Tony Winyard 57:45
So do you find therefore then, that people tend to be consistent is the right word with the metaphors they use in our day, often around a certain theme? or do some people just have all over the place with the metaphors they use?
Brooke Hender 57:57
Well, I think, you know, obviously, you can ask, you can ask somebody every single day, you know, when you say, well, when you think about your problem, what's it like, you're gonna get different metaphor, probably, or variation of it, every time, it's not going to be one fixed metaphor, because who knows what they're experiencing each day. But you know, and you could do multiple, multiple metaphoric explorations within a fixed period of time in it within a session if that's helpful. So, but I think the basic premise, in my experience, I mean, I don't tend to do the work day in day out, just using metaphors with one particular I will use it as part of my overall work to get some clarity about where they are, and to give them some movement within that. So you know, perhaps I'm not the right practitioner to be able to, to answer that with, with authority and knowledge. But in my experience, you know, it is a snapshot of how they are feeling at that moment when they're when they're discussing their issues.
Tony Winyard 58:56
Yeah. Well, I mean, we've, we've nearly an hour already, it just flies. But if people want to find out more about you, and your Meetup group and your social media and so on, what were the best places to go.
Brooke Hender 59:11
So, I mean, on the on the meetup group, you can go on to meetup.com, and just type in my name Brooke handle all sorts yourself out, and you should find me. My website, Brooke hendra.com. And that has a lot of information and resources. And then people can book a conversation. It's completely free to book a conversation. And as I said before, I don't sell therapy. I love connecting to people. I love finding out what's going on and seeing if I'm the right person, to be able to help them or you know, to see what's next for them. I'm interested in developing relationships, not in trying to to flog you a package and I think it works by the way
Tony Winyard 1:00:00
We I mean, we touched upon books just now but I believe you've got another couple of books that you you quite like that you recommend to people.
Brooke Hender 1:00:07
Yes, so the obstacle is the way, the subtle art of not giving a f star ck, though I'm being polite. We all know what that is by Mark Manson, which is a really another interesting book, quite a disruptive book. And again, quite a, some people find it challenging because of the language. But it I certainly get, for some people, it's the perfect book. I often recommend how to raise your self esteem, which is by Nathaniel Branden, it's a small mass market paperback. And it's chock a block full of exercises. And so as a as a starting point, if people want to do some work on their own, and want to find out why or what's going on, or to get credit, clarity, you know, for however much it cost 399 or 499. It's a really good book, you can work on it, work through it, on your own, answer the questions and you will get a lot of information, which may be a useful staff or what's next. So that that's another book. And obviously, I've mentioned discipline equals freedom by Jocko Willink, which again, may be the right book for him for some people.
Tony Winyard 1:01:27
And finally, the book is there, have you got a quotation you like?
Brooke Hender 1:01:32
There's one I particularly love. Hope is not a strategy. And, you know, hope we, you know, hopes are really fundamentally important thing. So it's not that I have it, have it in for hope. But when people are talking about their issues, you know, quite often they want some sort of change to come along and change them, you know, oh, well, I'm hoping that things will be different. But hope is not a strategy. Hope, in its in and of itself is not a strategy. And so, you know, and then that comes on to the other phrase I use quite a lot. I like to ask the question is, so how's that working out for you? So you know, you do all this? How's that working out for you?
Tony Winyard 1:02:21
And dependent on your tone of voice the way that makes me different things?
Brooke Hender 1:02:25
Well, yeah, I mean, some people might do it in a very sarcastic way. As you can imagine, Tony, I wouldn't, I would never do that. I like to ask things quite straight. So, you know, when you're, when you're eating that third packet of Jaffa cakes, how's that working out for you? You know, it's not about a genuinely, there's, I think there's a lot of misunderstanding, because of a lack of awareness, especially about provocative approach. It's not about belittling people. It's not about sarcasm, it's not about making them feel small. That's completely counter to my training, and to what I believe the work should be. So it's not about that. And most people who work with me, you know, have a lot of laughter and fun in the sessions. Because, you know, we're in it together. I'm there to help them. And so yeah, it might be challenging, but I'm not there to be an asshole. And that's the thing. It's if I run out, so I'm not going to get the results that I'm getting paid to get. Yeah. Challenging, absolutely. Sometimes infuriating, but absolutely, I'm okay with that. But I've never been described as he you know, and it's not I've never made mistakes. I've made plenty. But it's always with humour. And it's always with regard I want to help I want these people to benefit. And so when I say how's that working out for you, it is definitely with a smile.
Tony Winyard 1:03:58
book, it's been fascinating. I really, really enjoyed this conversation. And it's, we could go on for many more hours, but I want to be respectful of your time. So thank you for
Brooke Hender 1:04:09
Thank you, Tony. And I would say, you know, I've always, you know, we always have good conversations. And I find it that it's great that the focus is on me. I know that's the point of this, but it actually I know that you have so much to offer in this conversation. So you know, sometimes I think it would be nice in these interviews actually, if it were a bit more, you know, less focus on me and more our opinions about things. That'd be an interesting thing one day,
Tony Winyard 1:04:38
well, maybe we can we can do that in a future episode.
Brooke Hender 1:04:42
I'd welcome that because I know you have a lot to offer. Fantastic, well, Brooke.
Tony Winyard 1:04:48
Great show. I really loved it.
Brooke Hender 1:04:49
Thank you so much for the opportunity Tony.
Tony Winyard 1:04:55
Hope you enjoyed that episode with book handle which is as mentioned at the start of this Over the last episode of happy versus flourishing, because next week we have the new series, series three, which is called Habits and Health. And it is all obviously around the title is about creating healthy habits that will help us in various ways. And we're going to go into the five main areas that we're going to explore are the five main areas of what I help people with, which is sleep, breathing, nutrition, movement and mindset. But we will also be covering some other areas so it will be including some mental health as well as physical health and, and different ways that we can create habits in our lives that help us in in many different ways. So next week, the new show and the first show is with a guy called Mark Channon. Mark is a former World memory champion. Quite a few years ago, he took part in a world memory championships and won. He is based in London. He's originally from Scotland, and we have quite an interesting conversation about learning and how to instil habits in in many different areas of your life. How to remember anything. So that's next week's episode first episode one of Habits and Health. Please do subscribe. Please do leave a review for today's episode or maybe you want to check out Habits and Health before you decide and leaving a review, either way, it would be most welcomed. Hope you have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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