Hi, I’m Alastair Hill, a State of Mind Trainer and Hypnotherapist. I specialise in helping clients lower the stress in their lives and overcome fears, phobias, anxiety and PTSD-symptoms.
I was and still am my first successful client. Like many people in my profession, I got into it because I was struggling and turned my life around.
I don't really know exactly when or how my issues really began. Maybe it was because of the divorce of my parents and the lack of male role models in my life, maybe it was due to personality traits of mine, maybe it was other unpleasant experiences ... who knows the real truth of it?
We will all continue retelling our past until the day we stop telling stories altogether, but none of the stories are the 100% truth. The actual truth is that our feelings (and stress) are never actually coming from the past itself; feelings come from the meanings being made about life in the current moment. And all that can change.
It's a relief to realise that. That you don't need to know all the answers for your life to dramatically improve. Nor do past events need to change in any way. What a spot of luck! There is hope for us all.
Enough of me going on a side track about hope and the past. If you want more story about me ... here's a bit more ...
The plot in my mental health story thickened when I was 12 years old and began smoking cannabis to fit in with a group of friends. Drugs really disagreed with me and when I decided to stop at 17 I had spun my head out so much I was suffering from endless feelings of overwhelm, chronic anxiety, panic and paranoia.
Although I had been foolish enough to smoke myself into mental misery, I was at least smart enough to eventually stop before getting completely psychotic on the stuff (as I said above, I'm someone who drugs really don't agree with). You only have to hit your head so many times against the garden shed before you decide you'd be better off getting your hands dirty and start planting a few vegetables.
However, despite pulling the weeds from the proverbial mental garden (weed - weeds, get it?), it turned out everything was overgrown and I knew nothing about horticulture. So although I wasn't smoking anymore, my situation basically just got progressively worse over the next 5 years. My anxiety and paranoia grew and I became more and more closed off from the world around me.
Have I ever been suicidal? Yes.
Did I ever think there was no hope? Yes.
Did I think I was broken and a special case of f**ked up? Yes.
Did it look like there would no end to the misery? Often.
The turning point came one day sitting alone at home on a Saturday night for another evening feeling too anxious and paranoid to socialise, my mind too hectic to read or watch a film, when out of the blue I had a realisation ...
A new thought ...
It said ...
“Nothing is as bad as doing nothing”.
That thought changed my life. A new seed had been planted (I'll stop the gardening metaphors now).
I had been letting my life be controlled by fear and that thought jolted me into action.
I want to be clear though, I was still felt terrified and paranoid, but a fire had been lit that pushed and pushed me.
Then that bit in a cheesy movie happened where the music starts and there's a montage of the hero training. Where you see months of weight training, jogging and Kung Fu practice to some muscle pumping rock song and it feels totally cool and empowering to watch. Like, "Fuck yeah! Anything is possible!" Except with me it'd be the nerd version; watching this tall thin guy just reading a lot and occasionally sitting still to meditate.
I also went on courses. Lots of courses (psychology stuff). Saw a few therapists too. And improvised acting classes, tried to be a stand up comedian (gave up on it), and more psychology courses (and more books). Not the most exciting Rocky montage to watch from the outside, I'll admit, but quite a ride to be on the inside. One of the more bizarre things I tried was when I started announcing the name of train stations to the carriage of people around me whilst heading into London ("Watford Junction!") - I hadn't gone completely mad, I'd seen a psychologist describe the task on a TV program because it apparently reduced your social fears, so Mr Nothing-Is-As-Bad-As-Doing-Nothing Hill decided to do it about 20 times. Yes, I actually did that.
Probably the most exciting bit to watch from the outside would be when I quit my job and built a toilet in a tribal village in India whilst travelling. Seeing a toilet get built really fast, that might be an interesting 2 seconds of montage. I lived in Vietnam for 5 years too and worked as an English teacher, tried setting up a stand-up comedy scene (then gave up on it) and then set up my first coaching/hypnotherapy practice instead (much more rewarding). That was all fun (life changing, actually!), you could probably make a few good montage clips from that.
All in all though I discovered a passion for helping people with the skills and knowledge I'd learned. It's my calling. I love helping people and I've gotten better at getting good results with people to the point where I'm very happy with the reliability of my work and other coaches/therapists seek me out to learn from.
Change is not rocket science. It's about doing what works.
I find myself today transformed. I'm happily married and living in the UK, I see private clients at home and over video calls and I've gotten very experienced working with military veterans with a charity I work for called Rock2Recovery helping veterans with PTSD and other issues. Happy days!
As a State of Mind Trainer and Hypnotherapist, I get results with my clients by helping them discover how their minds are creating their issue, and updating the repetitive patterns that keep them stuck.
I prefer to use a "Psychological Illusion Model" to help people change. The model has it roots in meditation practices, rational behaviour therapies, NLP and hypnosis, and was originally created by the Norwegian Agent of Change Jorgen Rasmussen (a good friend and mentor).
The typical session involves asking questions, giving practical explanations of how the mind works, thought experiments, and guiding people through experiences that help them to undo the patterns of thinking and feeling that create their issue.
Nothing I do requires a person to believe what I say or to 'think positively'. Everything is very pragmatic and aimed at creating results.
In addition to this approach I have many tools that I can use to tailor the sessions to an individuals needs. I have experience in various approaches to personal change including hypnotherapy, NLP, IEMT, Clean Language, somatic reprocessing, and other tools.
I began learning about hypnosis, NLP and helping people change in 2008 and have attended many tranings since then. Here are some of the trainings that have influenced me the most:
- The Psychological Illusion Model to Changework with Jorgen Rasmussen
- Tripp-MacArthur Changework Skills Training with James Tripp and Andy MacArthur
- Clean Language Training with Judy Rees
- 10-Month Diploma in Cognitive Hypnotherapy with The Quest Institute
- The Trilby Connection (Impromptu Hypnosis Training) with Anthony Jacquin
- Provocative Changeworks with Nick Kemp
- Ideodynamic Therapy with Norman Vaughton
- Clean Language with Norman Vaughton
As well the above I have also been coached and mentored by several world class coaches and hypnotherapists including Jorgen Rasmussen, James Tripp, Judy Rees and Michael Perez.