Testimonail – Asking for help.

JF * **

Asking for help giving up a habit I couldn’t break on my own turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.  It seems silly now but asking for help isn’t easy.  I had thought about it for years, but I kept putting off choosing a therapist.  I was sceptical and kept trying my will power one last time, only to find my good intentions fell apart the moment a stressful situation came up. 

I wasn’t even sure if Ben would be able to help with my habit, it seemed like such an odd one.  If I had wanted to give up smoking or biting my fingernails, that would have been “normal” right?  My habit of biting and picking the skin on my hands and feet felt so shameful that I found it difficult even typing my first email to Ben.  

When I met Ben. I found it easy to talk and be open with him.  The trance part of the session was deeply relaxing, but I still didn’t understand how the session we’d just done could possibly help me break my habit. 

Yet two days after that first session I realised that to a substantial level it had in fact already worked.  I began to feel much calmer in everyday life, getting into my boat any time I felt stressed, and after a couple more session I was no longer doing the “finger thing” at all. 

At this point I could easily have concluded my sessions, job done.  But that wasn’t the only positive change.   

Before my first session I has been listening to the same rock album on loop on every day on my way to work, on my lunch break, on my way home.  Suddenly I chose Bossa Nova instead, then calm classical and ambient music.  I hadn’t realised how stressed I had been until I felt that stress simply dissipate.   

Things that had felt overwhelming at work were no longer so.  I was able to approach my job in HR with greater creativity, contributing more ideas, enjoying getting stuck into new things which felt daunting before.   

Ben seemed somehow to know exactly what to say, seemingly inconsequential things, that helped my mind make connections I hadn’t made before. 

I realised the finger biting problem was rooted in shame from the period in my childhood when I first became aware of my emerging sexuality and identity as a lesbian.  I’d already broken the habit but knowing this allowed any last emotion connected with the habit to melt away.   

Bens open approach allowed my mind to start working through other things that were causing me stress.  Like many people, there was baggage from my past that I’d locked away but never dealt with.  I had spent about 20 years feeling both defined by and held back by experiences from a destructive relationship while I was at university.  At the time it had left me struggling with my mental health, seriously impacting my studies.  Although I had been both well and happily married for many years, I’d never truly let go.  I had packed the memories away, but their presence still weighed me down, particularly in terms of how I felt about my career potential.  

In my sessions, we talked about what was working, the positive changes I’d experienced, the great stuff that was happening already.  The positive changes happening in my work and my plans for the future.  I had taken up playing the clarinet again, something I had done as a child, and we talked about the joy I found in taking lessons again, reawakening part of who I am as a person.  We talked about things I would like to do that represent what I really want, what’s intrinsically me, not driven by other people’s expectations. 

While we did this my subconscious began to unbox those poisonous memories, defusing them and finally lifting that weight from me.  I never really talked about the past, not in any detail anyway, I didn’t need to.  I only knew my mind was finally processing old emotions because the small, pleasant memories from a dark time kept popping up for me.   Now I can look back on that time and remember the good parts, seeing things from a different perspective.  It’s just something that happened not a reason why I’m not good enough to go for what I want in life.  

In all kinds of situations, I started asking for what I wanted and being surprised that so often the answer was yes.  I threw myself into new creative endeavours, joining new groups, meeting new people, accepting the friendships and opportunities that started to come my way. I feel more connected with others, with my family.   

Each positive step seems to build one on top of another as I move forward in my journey.  Altogether my life feels richer, calmer, and more satisfying.  My neat, pretty hands are just symbolic of the change I’ve achieved. 

Thank you, Ben. 

(Testimonial 2021)

*Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can help people like you to achieve amazing goals. Whether in the form of being able to get up and go to work in the morning or get that personal best. There are no magic pills though and this means that your participation and engagement is needed.

**Success is not guaranteed and your full commitment, such as listening to the relaxation/support CDs, is essential for the sessions to be worthwhile.

I explain all aspects of therapy at the Initial Consultation.

A bit more information

Ben Gaskell is a Clinical Hypnotherapist working with clients who suffer from anxiety, stress, low mood and phobias. He practices from Stretford and Deansgate, Manchester and serves the areas of:


Altrincham, Stockport, Trafford, Urmston, Didsbury, Sale, Chorlton.


Deansgate, Northern Quarter, Spinning fields.

Further details can be found on the ‘getting here’ or ‘contact’ page. For more information on how Ben at Greater Manchester Hypnotherapy can help you please call 07756 932 702 or email

ONLINE SESSIONS ONLY, whilst we move to a new location!