Michael Mahoney

Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Warrington, Cheshire, UK

But are you Aware that IBS Can be Treated?

With so many health conditions competing for attention, you may think that awareness of IBS is new.

But with an estimated 20% of the population presenting with this condition, you or someone you know most likely has Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, and you may also have a keen awareness of just how frustrating it is to find a treatment that works.  

After all the medications, diets, supplements have failed, consider what researchers have found to be a very effective treatment option that has no side effects and requires only minutes a day.  

Isn’t ½ hour a day a small price to pay for getting your life back?

We think so.

And so do the thousands of IBS sufferers who have successfully completed the IBS Audio Program 100®, the only gut-specific clinical hypnotherapy program specifically developed for IBS by clinical hypnotherapist, Michael Mahoney, that has been readily available to the public since 1998.

You can listen to former IBS sufferers tell their stories on our new video  – Breakthrough IBS Treatment – on http://www.healthyaudio.com/. You can also learn how clinical hypnotherapy works to address the Brain-Gut Connection, Anxiety Cycles, and more!

Most IBS Audio Program users tell us that they wished that they would have tried the program sooner – or even tried it FIRST!

The IBS Audio Program 100® costs LESS than one session of in-person therapy and lasts long after completion. It costs less than a lifetime of medications, supplements, special diets and doctor visits. And support is included at no extra cost.

Putting it into perspective – it is just a scant ½ hour a day as structured in the program, where you do nothing but listen and relax and take time for you – time for you to begin your journey to healing!

Now, don’t you feel better already just knowing this?

Three little letters have such a huge impact on an estimated 20% of the population. IBS are three letters that are commonly heard but less often understood.

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common digestive disorder which negatively affects the lives of millions of people every day. It is a condition that affects people physically and emotionally and there is no medical cure.

That being said there is plenty of hope for relief of IBS symptoms both physically and emotionally. The IBS Audio Program 100 for adults has more than 12 years history in helping people in over 40 countries to reduce and manage the symptoms, some people simply ‘walking away from the symptoms’ completely. 

This IBS home use program uses specific interlinked hypnotherapy processes along with the proven ‘ongoing progressive session induction method’ (OPSIM) to maximise user experience and outcomes.

For the younger IBS sufferer the IBS Audio Program 60 for children is available.

In the UK hypnotherapy is a suggested treatment option for IBS patients after 12 months of non effective pharmacological treatment.  

Please take a look at my informational IBS video  www.healthyaudio.com

Once upon a time, in a land much different than it is now I worked for a company which now no longer exists, as it became a casualty of the early 1980’s recession.  In those days the technology we now take for granted did not exist, we had to make do with comptometers (unknown I suspect to those under 40 years old) to do our calculations, computers were big bulky things filling a medium size room, ledgers and accounts were kept and filed on paper, the very thought!

Yet I remember one aspect of that time in my life vividly. Stress was prevalent, whether it was because the company was floundering, or that is how it was generally, I do not know, but at times you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Directors at the time seemed to totally lack any personality management skills, some of them lacked personality altogether.

I remember seeing the scowls and hearing the raised voices as the figures did not make good reading. As a youngish sort of lad in those days I found it interesting why people reacted as they did. My regular reader, may recall my tale mentioned in Hypnotes some years ago,  of how one stressful event at that same company lead me to view life, in a totally different way.

The young Mahoney noticed that stress was contagious, it was amazing to see how the stress would build and tempers would fray, arguments were common place, especially as month end arrived and the accountants had to explain to the financial director why the figures achieved were not those projected.

In those days, or at least in the environment I worked in (though in fairness sheltered from a lot of the issues by protective, mindful  colleagues) it was not uncommon for foul mouthed language to be slung about, levelled at those who had no impact on the poor figures produced or the standing to answer back.  Bullying at times was near scandalous, but in those days, it was the norm, not something frowned upon now, or even aspects now which are illegal in employment and common law.

I remember seeing grown adults cry due to stress, I saw, and worked in offices where people smoked 40+ cigarettes a day, large office where many people smoked as it more was socially acceptable then.  I saw individuals still drunk from the night before after trying to drown their sorrows, dealing with stress in a destructive ways.  I knew then, that I didn’t want to be in this environment.  And eventually I was made redundant, and grateful for it, although it was scary at the time.

Those days have helped to shape my life, I understand the effects of stressful environments, bullying, stress and poor coping strategies.  Little did I know then that I would go on to do occupational health, become a clinical hypnotherapist or develop self-help audio programs which help people around the world. 

As our economy is destined for a much anticipated, and for some much feared government cutbacks and job losses, I am seeing many more people now who are facing or have become redundant, through no fault of their own.  Hand on heart I know of no-one who has been made redundant and not gone on to better things.  If you need more help for redundancy see my site for my audio program Laid Off, Move On, or if I can help in any other area, please contact me.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Woes – Have you ever had to lie about your IBS in order to save yourself embarrassment?

If you suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, you may have been in situations where you lied about your condition in order to save yourself embarrassment. 

One of my past IBS sufferers recalls the time she had an appointment at the hairdressers.  She only went once a year, because her IBS was so severe, she could not bear the thought of being “tied” to the chair and perhaps having to rush out with sudden tummy urges and pain.

But the annual appointment day arrived, and right on cue, so did the IBS attack, keeping her in the bathroom for hours and making her late to the appointment.  Once there, she apologised at the front desk for being delayed and made an excuse that her babysitter was late, but then decided to tell the truth – just in case she had another attack.

 She then explained that she was late because of irritable bowel syndrome. The response to this was kindness and understanding, but the frustration of having IBS almost every time she needs to leave the house was taking its toll.

If you have been diagnosed with IBS and nothing has helped so far, this kind of scenario may be quite familiar to you. 

The fear of anticipating having IBS symptoms for many sufferers then actually brings on the IBS symptoms – this is then “memorized” by the brain in the gut, and the next time a similar situation comes about – having to leave the house, for example, the gut reacts with the “appropriate” learned body response attached to the situation – an IBS attack.

This is what happened to our sufferer when she knew she had a hair appointment: going out = getting symptoms – and once this happens over and over again, it becomes so ingrained as a brain-gut connection, it is difficult to actively get out of it.  

IBS symptoms can also appear without any apparent reason. You may be reading or relaxing, and suddenly, you get an IBS attack – and even though there is a strong brain-gut connection, sometimes the appearance of your symptoms cannot be explained! 

What can help? Gradually, physicians in practice are becoming aware that there have been over 25 years of clinical research studies showing that gut-specific clinical hypnotherapy can effectively address the brain-gut connection in IBS. The UK NICE guidelines for IBS treatment include clinical hypnotherapy as a treatment option.

Since 1991, my original gut-specific clinical hypnotherapy protocol has helped IBS sufferers by actually allowing the body to create new neural pathways in the brain that will reduce or eliminate symptoms. 

The IBS protocol used in my clinical setting is also incorporated in the IBS Audio Program 100®. If you can’t come to see me in person, the IBS Audio Program 100®  provides helpful recorded sessions on CDs or MP3 that can be listened to in the privacy of your own home for about a half-hour per day over a period of 100 days.

If you start this month – March, – you could be feeling better by this summer!  And like our friend who successfully used the IBS Audio Program 100®, you will have no more need to lie because you will no longer be embarrassed by IBS symptoms!

Much has been written about the New Year and overcoming challenges and looking to new opportunities and change for 2011. 

But for many people who suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, which affects as many as one in five or 20% of the population, the challenge for overcoming IBS is sadly, ongoing from year to year.

IBS Audio Program 100

Home use audio program for adults ~ helping IBS sufferers since 1998

One of the biggest aggravations can be the way IBS is perceived even by the medical community who provides the diagnosis. So many times, the condition is dismissed as “only” IBS. How demeaning this is to the one who suffers with it. I have had one IBS patient tell me that her gastroenterologist could treat the severe pain of his colon cancer patients with better success than he could treat his IBS patients. So how can this condition be defined so dismissively?

Yes, it is true, that a diagnosis of IBS is not a fatal one. And for that, patients are relieved and grateful. But once that reassurance has been comprehended, the new reality of living with a disorder that affects every single aspect of their life can be so daunting, that some IBS patients may entertain some dark thoughts about going on living in constant pain and with debilitating symptoms.

 To be told that the diagnosis is “only” IBS by a medical professional simply shows lack of understanding of the impact IBS has on the individual’s life.

 I first started working with patients diagnosed with IBS in 1991, so I feel well placed to tell you IBS is serious, it affects the lives of millions of people, it costs industry millions in lost working days and productivity, it is a drain on health service providers, and it impacts family and friends. It is serious because it takes away options of choices made in everyday life, it limits outlook on life and can cause anxiety and in some depression or even some dark thoughts of continuing existence as mentioned.

I developed the IBS Audio Program 100 which has helped thousands of IBS sufferers since its launch in 1998, and it continues to do so to this day, if it is given a chance.  The IBS Audio Program 100 is a structured process of interlinked sessions developed specifically for IBS.  Of course it is not a cure or panacea, there is no one single treatment option  existing which is, but many people have found it to help when other treatment options have failed.

As with any treatment method, the program needs time and effort to be spent on it. It needs to be completed and the listening structure followed as outlined.  The IBS Audio Program 100 is developed in such a way that even when it is completed it continues to aid the listener. 

Over the years I have spoken to people who said they tried it as a last resort, when nothing else had helped.  Their symptoms improved 10 or 20%, but they didn’t feel it was enough of an improvement, so they gave up. Some simply did not want  to spend time on themselves. What they fail to understand is a 10 or 20% improvement, when nothing else has helped them in the past is a good improvement! They simply do not see it. Asked if they completed the program the answer is often no, so they sabotaged themselves. And then they think the program failed them, so they move onto the next thing, prepared to fail again.

Even though there is no cure for IBS, there are many people who have used the IBS Audio Program successfully and are now getting on with their lives. And the vast majority of those who have seen success with the program, did not obtain relief from previous treatments. Those who saw success put in the necessary time and effort, they are the ones who decided at some time in their lives that they would meet the challenge, do something different to help themselves and stick with it. 

It is for those people that the IBS Audio Program 100 was developed for.   Our website, www.healthyaudio.com does not have hard sell approach, we provide information and leave it for the reader to decide whether to buy or not. In fact my staff tell people if they are in any doubt, not to buy any of our programs, it is better to wait until they are sure, when they have tried everything else first, and then when they are ready to work with any of our programs that is the time to buy.

So as we move into 2011, we all would like to be optimistic. Some things we have no control over, but we do have some control over how we can address our health issues, and if you have IBS, you do have an excellent chance to overcome your IBS. All it takes is listening and relaxing for about one-half hour per day, and completing the 100 day listening schedule. If you need help and support along the way, or you feel you aren’t improving as you would like to, that support is available to you. Giving up before looking into all of the options provided by the IBS Audio Program and our staff, is short-changing yourself  – diminishing your opportunity for success.

In the UK and perhaps for other countries, it is expected to be a pretty tough year on the economic and social fronts, with rising unemployment, increasing pressures on those in work, pressure on  incomes and ultimately family and relationships.  For those with IBS, this will only serve to aggravate the condition, increase anxiety, reduce confidence and self-esteem in many individuals.

I sincerely hope that people understand that without the determination to change, and to stick with those choices, things will stay the same, without motivation, situations will remain the same or deteriorate, and that we need to be pro-active when it comes to our health and simply blaming others for our own lack of resolve is a diminishing option of choice. 

To those who have read this far, I thank you for your time, and wish you and all those you love a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2011

Changing Times

The lazy days of summer are now mere memories, autumn is upon us, and I am reminded how time passes, and times change. Time continues to march on, as this year passes it is noticeable how many people have said to me “isn’t the year going quickly” people young and old are saying it, so I am pleased it is not just me which thinks so.

As time passes, times change also. When I was a lad ( a sure sign that I am getting older!) the summer months went on seemingly for a life time, days were hot and long, we were able to play in the fields and only went home when we were hungry, of soaking wet, having fell off the rope swing over the brook.  How life has changed in so many ways, not least the use of technology.

I now regularly hold video telephone calls over the internet, have friends and clients all over the globe. We now hardly blink at the wonderful opportunities present to us, which just a few short years ago would have been unheard of. The great software programmes and Apps for mobile devices, making life easier for us or more intrusive depending upon your outlook.  Technology moves on apace and, seems intent on doing so, assuming the absence of massive solar flare which could well take us all back to horse and cart days in the blink of an eye!

However, no matter how wonderfully technology develops, I am privileged to work with the best, most advanced computer systems in the world – which is our brain.  The most amazing, powerful processing system in the world.  When I work with people I help them to release negatives, and learn or re-learn positive thought patterns.

These in turn create positive physical responses.  By re-programming our thoughts feelings and emotions, we can function more fully, more appropriately, developing new ways of thinking and feeling, and therefore improving quality of life for my clients.  From nail-biting through to trauma after abuse and many things in between have been worked with over my many years in practice. 

 The power we hold in our heads is awesome. Many of us admire the technology that is around us, but so often fail to notice what we own in our own skull.  Negative thoughts, experiences and expectations can be made to fade away, confidence and self-esteem can be developed, aches and pains reduced or eliminated, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can so often be managed effectively, anxiety reduced and replaced by wellbeing, weight managed, phobias erased and so much more.

After you have read this article, take a few moments to consider the amazing person you are, reflect on your abilities and strengths, and realise everything you can do now, was once unfamiliar. Also it is likely that you had to make many mistakes and multiple attempts to master those things you now take for granted.  And if your mind goes to things you wish you could do, or those things you wish you hadn’t done, or a desire to be free of a worry, habit or fear. Then just remember, you most probably have everything you need to achieve your goal, but perhaps are not using it in the right way, and if you need to learn something new, then you can do that too, if you want to!

The IBS Journey

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It goes without saying that we are all different, but there are often common threads which link us together in certain circumstances.  Take a few minutes to read through the ‘IBS Journey’ below and you will find the ‘common thread’.

Before You Knew What IBS was 

You knew there was a problem, usually pain in addition to the other symptoms and you were hoping it would pass. Perhaps you tried to ignore it and it didn’t go away, but if it did, it came back again, and usually a little worse than it was previously. People didn’t understand or you didn’t tell them about the problem you were experiencing or the worrying thoughts that just kept going through your mind. And there were the background thoughts too, those that you tried to push back deep in your mind. 

You might have done some basic research and hoped that you didn’t have everything that you read about!  You may have become impatient with people who didn’t know what you were going through. The embarrassment was not only relentless, but distressing. And it just kept being a problem and in time, perhaps after a lot of time, you just knew you were going to have to do something about it.

You might have even noticed that your moods were changing too. Not only were you having to deal with the physical pain, discomfort or whatever else you were coping with, you were finding your thoughts were changing, and your confidence might be a little less than it was, and also your self esteem perhaps was waning. Even your sleep pattern might have be affected and numerous other things you may have noticed, but weren’t sure if you were imagining it, or if you were just over-tired. After all you have been coping for quite a while now.  You had to go and get it checked, finally, reluctantly you listened to that little inner voice which you have been ignoring hoping it and the symptoms would go away.

On the Day You Visited the Doctor

Tense, worried and perhaps thinking that you just had to get it sorted, there was no other option really, you couldn’t bear to think about living like that for the rest of your life. Get a pill or medicine and that will be it, you tell yourself. Or worse still, your thoughts and your research  may have led you to sense that your pain and symptoms  could be colon cancer, abnormal growths, and all manner of gastrointestinal diseases – thoughts of impending surgery, medical intervention and hospitalizations may have escalated your worry even further.

So an appointment is made with your doctor, most likely a gastroenterologist, who will have heard about symptoms like yours routinely from the many thousands of patients that suffer just as you have, and so you are  brave and strong and just want to finally get a diagnosis and end the pain and symptoms.

Maybe the symptoms vanished that day of the appointment, should you really go now, is it starting to get better by itself, perhaps just a bit more time is needed, but then you remind yourself that a great deal of time has passed since this started, perhaps  you can’t even remember when it started. Or if you do remember exactly when it started, are you recalling it right?

Or maybe, instead of the symptoms leaving,  you could barely get to your appointment, as just the thought of having to be somewhere started your pain and kept you running back to the bathroom “just one more time” before finally getting out the door. And how long has that been going on, you wonder… when was the last time you could leave the house without worrying about bathrooms or being late?

So after giving the doctor the embarrassing litany of symptoms, your physician suggests that your condition could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, a common digestive problem which affects one in 5 of the population. And if your research hadn’t taken you to this possibility,  you might not have been quite sure of all you were being told, but you are booked in for some tests to make certain there was nothing to worry about, just to be on the safe side.  Oh well, more worry, until you get the results.

On the Day You Were Diagnosed with IBS

All the tests come back clear and it was as  suspected  – the diagnosis is IBS.

The doctor assures you that a diagnosis of IBS is nothing to worry about , and you were informed that you are not going to die due to it,  just take some exercise, these tablets and watch what you eat and all should be fine.

“Take the meds and call me if there are any more problems” are the words ringing in the ears of the eagerly departing sufferer. Hopes are high, a little more time and all will be well.

When You Have Suffered with IBS for 6 Months 

Back to the doctor again, perhaps several visits are now behind you, new meds, sympathy, knowing nods and acknowledgment that it isn’t easy living with IBS.

And what about your moods, your growing frustration, fear and dread. What can the doctor do to help with the time from work you are losing due to the IBS  and what can he/she do to help you to live more confidently and socially?

The world may well seem to be getting smaller. The change of diet hasn’t done much for you, and the change of medications make you feel fuzzy or not all quite here. The exercise hasn’t done anything and worse of all perhaps those you love are finding it hard to understand what it is you are going through. The kids / friends can’t understand why you’re not as much fun, why days out are cancelled, and your partner is making other demands when all you want to do is just get through another day without all the pain and suffering.

The doctor is sympathetic, and tries to be upbeat. You ask what is causing your pain and discomfort, but there is no definitive answer for you because even though medical science may be able to differentiate certain physical elements between IBS patients and non-IBS patients, but there is no known “cause.”  But, still, your symptoms could be caused by something else, they couldn’t be this severe to “just” be IBS, so you subject yourself to some more tests, more medical prodding and poking and waiting and worrying, and confirmation, (again) that it is ONLY IBS.

That word “only”, it might be “only” to those who don’t have it, but to you its starting to be a real problem. You found it easier to tolerate in the early days because you thought there was a light at the end of the tunnel, it was something that would pass. But it hasn’t.

Well you have to remember there is nothing really wrong with you, says the doctor.

Remember!!! This hasn’t been said before, you would have remembered this. Nothing really wrong?  So why is it so painful, what is making my life a misery, and affecting my work, and my family and social life. The pain and the symptoms and the lower mood are real enough. You are informed that this is just the nature of IBS – severe pain and horrible symptoms with no real cause, and no real cure. Not such a great outlook for the future, and this prospect serves to add to your already full plate. 
So where do I go from here?  You are comforted with the comment – ‘Well the good news is there is nothing life-threatening  going on, so that’s something to be grateful for’. Sorry it doesn’t feel that way.  Let me know if it gets worse.

When You have Suffered with IBS for 12 Months

Several more visits to the doctor have passed. Now you may be greeted with a resigned look of understanding, but you realise that the medical arsenal for IBS is drying up. You have visited the doctor more  in the last 12 months than the previous 12 years! 

The moods and faltering confidence are now just accepted. The physical symptoms are being endured, at times perhaps you’re coping but other things are getting away from you. Social life may now be less than it was, at home people are coming to terms with the fact you have an ongoing problem, they are finding it more difficult to understand, but they are trying.

Or worse still, they may see your problem as not real, since there is no known cause, and they may want you to ‘snap out of it.’  Your concentration is not as good as it was, the IBS seems to be draining you physically and mentally. You do your best to try and remain positive, but it is not easy.

When You Have Suffered with IBS for 5 Years

It has been a long five years. You have decided you are on your own. Over the last five years you have been doing your own research, spent a fortune on all sorts of over the counter medicines, taken the advice of your friends on other products and none were right for you, infact some were simply a rip-off, false promises, cruel false hope.

The IBS is an unwelcome part of your life, your quality of life is now much less than it was, and yet you have managed some new routines. Hopefully not lost your job, or changed hours to make it easier for you. The mornings are definitely the worst, and yet you have heard for others it’s the evening times that are difficult. You are well aware of your change in your wardrobe, the  elasticised waistbands help cope with the stomach distension.

You have spent a great amount of time and energy trying to find the solution to this problem. You hear of alternative treatment methods and you may have unsuccessfully tried a few or otherwise have decided they are not for you, and your search continues.

Perhaps there have been more medical tests, another colonoscopy,  but nothing is different. The hope is still dashed, it is still ONLY IBS!! There are days better than others but the overall quality of your life is significantly lower than it was. You still feel tired, resigned to the fact that IBS is with you forever. But then there are other days when you feel a little stronger and more determined to carry on with the fight. It is not easy, but no one has told you anything different. You acknowledge the fight has to go on.

When You Have Suffered with IBS for 10 Years

A great deal of money has been spent, people around you, acknowledge you have your ‘off days’, and you are not happy very often. Little do they know the pain and the problems continue. There may have been other tests done again just to be sure. More ‘helpful’ advice from friends, doctors and acquaintances and you try them all out of desperation.

How can this be, in this day and age, how come there is still no medical answer to this? The doctors are just as frustrated as you are. They want to help but their arsenal is well depleted, you are on your own. Maybe you are just resigned to putting up with it, perhaps there is still some fight in you.

There are days when you can cope better than others, but your quality of life is perhaps a shadow of how it was, before the days of IBS. But you keep going, see new adverts for ‘amazing cures to cure IBS in days’, new alternative treatments and you are tempted to try them all, but you have been disappointed so many times before. Perhaps this is how it is meant to be, but you know deep down inside there has to be an answer somewhere.

When You Have Suffered with IBS for 15 Years

All those years, all that expense, all that hope, all those disappointments! How time flies, perhaps you now think you are too old to change, perhaps this is your lot and you just have to get on with it. IBS, has now taken residence in your life as that cruel shadow that has affected you so deeply, for so long.

And how you have had to adjust your life, the days out you have missed, the socialising circle is much smaller than it was, going out remains problematic, needing great planning by you and understanding by others. Nothing you can say now that has not been said before, so you keep quiet, and put up with it. But your thoughts are with you, the hope that there may be just one thing you find that can help, perhaps tomorrow is that day?

When You Have Suffered with IBS for 25+ Years

You have heard it all, you have tried it all, you have spent a fortune, you have little confidence in the doctors, you’ve had other tests over the years but all come back as IBS, you know that your life has been affected significantly with the IBS, and yet you can still acknowledge there are days when things are better, it hasn’t all been bad you tell yourself. There have been easier days and there have been difficult ones too, but you have survived and you can be pleased at that.

All those years, and you have been looking and searching and pondering and trying the occasional new treatment or idea. You are still looking forward to that one day that you might just stumble across something that just might help, but there again you have heard it all before.

But have you?

The fact that you are reading this text, which most likely parallels much of your own journey in many ways, shows that you are still searching, you still have hope that there may be something out there to help.

And there is – because the journey of an IBS sufferer has been told over and over again by thousands of IBS patients all over the world – and because word gradually spreads that someone was helping sufferers. The common thread that helped those sufferers was made known to many…

And that common thread …

is a home use audio program developed specifically for IBS sufferers known as The IBS Audio Program 100 . This program was specifically developed for those who have taken the hard and arduous IBS journey and has helped people from those early in their IBS journey to those who have had IBS for many years.

With many testimonials from users it has a proven history of helping many, even when everything else has been tried and failed. The sessions have been developed  to address a wide variety of the physical and emotional aspects of IBS.  It has been proven very helpful for both men and women age 13 and over.

With over ten years of symptom management and testimonials from grateful IBS Audio Program 100 users over the years, it is the common thread of sufferers who continued to search. You may be able to count yourself among them, knowing that the program was developed by a therapist who really cares about and understands IBS patients and the journey they have taken.


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Does true communication exist? 

After many years in practice I have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t.  We see examples and experience it every day.  The conversation which turns into a row, because of a misunderstanding of a word, phrase or even the tone of voice used.  The email which comes across cold, unfeeling or insensitive. Friendships near breaking point because of a misinterpretation of a written or verbal word or through the misinterpretation of an action or inaction. 

These are often misinterpreted due to failures in our own internal dialogue, the sleep deprived individual missing the nuances, frustration and agitation caused by tiredness. The stressed executive being assertive which comes over as aggression.

These and many more examples can be seen around us every day, and often experienced too.

For true communication to exist, every person would have to have had the same experiences, thoughts, upbringing, social background, beliefs and much more. Simply it does not exist; the best we can hope for is to convey our thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way to the individual to whom we are (trying to) communicate. Without this understanding on both sides long term friendships can dissolve within moments, irreparably damaged, or at best strained for some considerable time.

Our own internal dialogue can be misinterpreted too; we can label an emotion as anger, when it is simply frustration for example. We can also set ourselves up for failure by interpreting past events and outcomes negatively.  Our own internal dialogue is very important to us, and it can make us feel successful or feel like a failure, it can make us feel happy or sad, loved or unloved, valued or unvalued, positive or negative and many other emotions as well.    

What we tell ourselves has a massive impact on our lives, what we choose to believe can propel us to success and victory, or disappointment and defeat. As individuals having the correct label on the right emotion helps us to function well, while failure to do so will limit us in all aspects of our lives.

And yet getting this internal dialogue right is not really that difficult, we have to simply learn new ways to think, feel and behave. The person who does not feel confident or relaxed simply has to learn to think differently. And it starts with learning that we have the power and authority in our lives. We are the controllers in our lives, not some remembered hurtful or limiting words from a dominant individual from our past, or present. When we learn we have the right to effective self communication, then we can start to live the life we truly want to live. 

Communication with others however is different; it is usually more complex especially when emotion is involved. Some would argue there is little logic in emotion, once communication breaks down into emotional responses it makes sense to try and calm things down, identify the cause and to correct it the best we can.  I hope I have communicated well! 

We all own the power or authority in our lives to think and believe what we want to about ourselves, though sometimes we have to recognise that we have that authority to do so first.


The Application of Clinical Hypnotherapy with the Primary IBS Patient

A Comparative Analysis of Clinical Outcomes in the Refractive IBS Patient vs. the Newly Diagnosed

The successful use of clinical hypnotherapy (CHT) for the treatment of patients with irritable bowel syndrome has been established in at least 14 published studies (1) (2) where it has been shown to produce significant reduction in the cardinal IBS symptoms and associated symptoms such as anxiety. The success of this treatment method in the clinical setting is contingent upon the protocol being gut-directed or gut-specific, i.e. directly addressing the digestive tract, balancing the dismotility and restoring its proper function while allowing the patient to take part in their own healing. Sufferers who consider hypnotherapy currently tend to do so as a ‘last resort’ rather than a first approach after diagnosis.

In treating IBS patients since 1991, I recognised a consistent trend in therapy outcomes and decided to investigate this further with an informal observational study. From September 2003 to January 2005, I assigned 40 patients with the same primary IBS diagnostic criteria into two groups.

The first group consisted of 20 IBS patients of long-standing, termed as refractory where no previous medical interventions provided relief.   Age ranges for this group was 27 years to 66 years; average age was 42.2 years; comprised of 10 males average age 38.7 years, 10 females average age 45.6 years.

The second group included 20 newly diagnosed IBS patients with ages ranging from (24 years) to (64 years); average age (40.1 years), there were (10) males average age 40.2 years and (10) females average age 40.1years.

The newly diagnosed patients had no prior IBS treatment intervention upon their arrival to me, however, they may have presented with symptoms for varying degrees of time.

The clinical protocol (3) consisted of an initial intake consultation session, where the IBS patient discusses symptoms and concerns.

A life-style, QOL and symptom questionnaire was also completed at this time, and again upon therapy completion to assess improvement rating.

The intake session was followed by an introductory session, where the patient was apprised of the method of CHT and assurances were given. Following that, five gut-specific sessions were presented to the patient dealing with:
1)  Building a foundation of self-esteem, relaxation and familiarity with the technique,
2) IBS and related symptoms, balancing of the digestive motility, the brain-gut connection,
3) pain, discomfort, bloating issues,
4) assurance that the patient always has control over their own healing and
5) reinforcement of previous sessions and resolution.

Standard treatment would allow for patients being seen five times over a 12 – 14 week period and all participants received a recording of each session which was listened to according to a specific schedule.

Psychological State and QOL of IBS Patient Prior to receiving CHT.

The intake information of the Refractory IBS Patient presented with two findings:

1. Higher Failure Expectation after years of frustration and unsuccessful treatment resolution.
2. Patients presented with more co-morbid emotional, psychological and physical symptomology and poor QOL, in addition to “basic” IBS symptoms. (4) This finding led me to believe that in many cases, if IBS is not initially treated on the psychological level, the condition usually escalates into a multi-faceted condition.

The intake information for the Newly Diagnosed presented with two findings:

1. Less expectation for either failure or success for therapy outcome.
2. General absence of comorbid psychological, emotional and additional physical symptomology.

Outcome of CHT treatment
Improvement levels for both patient groups were within the same symptom reduction range – with an average of 90% symptom reduction overall for 20 IBS and related symptoms listed.

However, refractory IBS patients who had received other forms of treatment first, had a longer recovery and symptom reduction time frame. It was found that for these patients, the time required to move forward to the next session became extended by an average of 1 to 3 weeks (or more in some cases) depending upon severity and longevity of symptoms and the resultant psychological issues. This group’s confidence and self esteem was very low, and their ability to see things in perspective was significantly reduced. When talking about the psychological elements most of these patients wept. After sometimes years of pain and discomfort, and the following of unsuccessful treatment options it was clear this group of sufferers had become emotionally drained. Having presented with, for example, such symptoms as diarrhoea, 3 or more times a day, often uncontrollable and explosive for years, it was therefore not surprising that such patients presented with anxiety or various levels of depression.

Before these sufferers could even begin to work through the IBS, the hypnotherapy sessions first provided a strong emotional base that increased self-esteem, confidence, and allowed the sufferer to begin a journey of self improvement and management, and thereby equip themselves emotionally to move away from the symptoms and the familiarity of IBS thoughts and commence recovery initially at the emotional level.

The newly diagnosed group who received CHT as a first line of treatment showed a much quicker response towards their improvement in IBS symptoms, and did not require extensions in the standard protocol time frame.

It was my observation that early intervention with CHT may reduce or eliminate the multi-faceted component of IBS, thus leading to earlier/less prolonged symptom reduction. My findings appeared to confirm this trend that was observed early on. Since the subconscious mind does not have to deal with non-present comorbid complaints with the majority of newly diagnosed patients, the IBS symptoms are dealt with initially and directly and resolved more quickly. For the refractory patient, internal and emotional energies relegated to coping with the long-standing burden of IBS usually must first be dealt with by the subconscious before IBS issues can be addressed.

Implications and Conclusion
A negative aspect in all this is that in determining if CHT for IBS should be considered as a first line of treatment, it should be noted if the patient may have underlying “true” clinical psychological conditions that may become masked by the IBS related issues, and which will still need to be addressed directly.  As assessment tools, the QOL intake session may provide an insight to this, as a pattern for onset of symptoms and onset of emotional trends may be correlated: simply put – the co-morbid psychological condition may be secondary to the ongoing, long-standing IBS. Another potential negative perspective is the availability of a trained clinical hypnotherapist whom the physician may refer the newly diagnosed patient to at the outset of diagnosis when indicated.  However, for the primary IBS patient, this observation is promising.

This bears out a real look at providing CHT concurrently as a complementary therapy as a first line of treatment upon initial IBS diagnosis, and may prove to be a good defense in treating the whole person as the method has shown to improve the IBS symptom reduction rate, and may curtail or even eliminate possible further decline in QOL and psychological issues. (4)

So what does this tell us?
Further studies using clinical hypnotherapy initially alongside traditional medical interventions (medication) may prove helpful in considering the holistic nature of the condition and its optimal treatment.   Can the experiences of the refractory IBS patient who may endure the emotional burdens of hopelessness, (5) treatment resolution frustration, elevated stress and anxiety levels secondary to IBS, negativity, reduced QOL, and other multiple areas of suffering be alleviated or even eliminated if a psychological approach such as CHT be administered in conjunction with conventional treatment recommendations upon the initial diagnosis of IBS? It is the finding of this practice that this can be achieved when hypnotherapy is delivered professionally, however further investigation should be encouraged.

Reference List
1. Tan G, Hammond DC, Joseph G. Hypnosis and irritable bowel syndrome: a review of efficacy and mechanism of action.  Am J Clin Hypn. 2005 Jan;47(3):161-78.

2. Hauser W. Medizinische Klinik I, Klinikum Saarbrucken gGmbH, Saarbrucken. Hypnosis in Gastroenterology.   Z Gastroenterol 2003 May;41 5:405-12  PMID: 12772053 

3. In 1996 Mahoney was invited to participate in a medical research study funded by the UK National Health Service which was monitored and audited by the local Health Authority Audit Commission.  Medical centre GPs and hospital gastroenterologists screened 20 IBS patients: all were long-term sufferers, had undergone all medical diagnostic tests, and had taken prescription medications without attaining significant relief from their symptoms. Each patient underwent Mahoney’s original protocol of the introductory and five subsequent hypnotherapy sessions.  At the end of the project, feedback sheets from the patients indicated an overall reduction of 80% in symptom severity and frequency of presentation.    In 1997, Mahoney developed new processes for IBS clinical protocol. Patients were monitored using audio tapes both during the program and for the next three subsequent years: 1998 through 2001. The final results of this study are intended for independent publication so that they may be subject to peer review and analysis. Success rates were close to or exceeding 90% for all symptoms and patients.

4. Spiegel BM, Gralnek IM, Bolus R, Chang L, Dulai GS, Mayer EA, Naliboff B. Clinical determinants of health-related quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.  Arch Intern Med. 2004 Sep 13;164(16):1773-80.

5.Miller V, Hopkins L, Whorwell PJ. Suicidal ideation in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2004 Dec;2(12):1064-8.

6. Pinto C, Lele MV, Joglekar AS, Panwar VS, Dhavale HS. Stressful life-events, anxiety, depression and coping in patients of irritable bowel syndrome.  J Assoc Physicians India. 2000 Jun;48(6):589-93.

7. Whitehead WE, Crowell MD. Psychologic considerations in the irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1991 Jun;20(2):249-67.

8. Lackner JM, Quigley BM. Pain catastrophizing mediates the relationship between worry and pain suffering in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Behav Res Ther. 2005 Jul;43(7):943-57. Epub  2004 Sep 25.

9. Spiller RC. Potential future therapies for irritable bowel syndrome: will disease modifying therapy as opposed to symptomatic control become a reality? Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;34(2):337-54.

10. Palsson OS, Drossman DA. Psychiatric and psychological dysfunction in irritable bowel syndrome and the role of psychological treatments. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2005 Jun;34(2):281-303.


As one of the most scientifically researched complementary medicines to date, hypnotherapy is gaining popularity from the public and the medical profession as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, as varied as we are individuals; none more so than as a treatment for the common digestive disorder known as irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.

For over nine years, I, as a clinical hypnotherapist, have been developing new specific processes to help manage this difficult condition. Three years ago, with the introduction of my website, I reported the results of my experience and research, which resulted in the development of the IBS Audio Program 100. Since then I have quietly been helping IBS sufferers worldwide through my IBS Audio Program 100, which has been described by sufferers as “the best kept secret in gastroenterology”.

Unfortunately, many people view hypnosis as mysterious or similar to stage hypnosis, which it is not. Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness where, contrary to popular belief, consciousness is not lost, nor is the patient ‘taken over’ in any way.
Simply, hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a therapy for whatever is being presented to the therapist. Despite what we see on stage, which is of course ‘show business’, the reality is that hypnosis is an excellent tool in helping treat or manage many conditions of mind and body.

As long ago as 1955, the British Medical Association supported teaching the therapeutic use of hypnosis in medicine, which was followed three years later by the American Medical Association. Currently hypnosis is used in medicine, dentistry and psychology. Also hypnotherapy can be used either independently or with other therapies and medications.

Over the last 15 years, medical science has been looking into the effects of hypnotherapy on the digestive system. The research has shown impressive improvements through hypnotherapy, particularly with IBS and issues like controlling nausea and pain. IBS is a functional disorder, that is, the patient has been diagnosed with IBS through the lack of any organic condition. Tests will have proven negative for other diseases whose symptoms are similar to IBS but have an organic basis.

What makes the IBS audio Program 100 unique is the way it has been developed and the processes and methods it uses. Through years of study and research, I have developed Ongoing Progressive Session Induction Methods (OPSIM) of hypnotherapy, designed specifically for all variations of IBS.


IBS is defined as a functional bowel disorder in which abdominal pain is associated with defecation or a change in bowel habit, and with features of disordered defecation and with distension.[1]
However, there is no such thing as a typical IBS patient. IBS presents with multiple symptomology associated with this complex disorder and is not always mentioned in standard textbooks.

One most commonly presented symptom is diarrhoea, which may be at times very watery and explosive with little if any warning. Others may present with severe constipation, or others with alternating bowel movement. Also not uncommon are stomach pain; bloating; nausea; flatulence; belching; reflux; pain during intercourse and/or discomfort after intercourse, sometimes for several hours or even days; pain, mucus or wet feeling in the back passage; headaches; incontinence of the bladder or bowel; a full bladder feeling; increased urination; bowel-not-empty feeling; lack of sex drive; and disturbed sleep. This is not a full and complete list however.

Prevalence / Incidence

IBS is a heterogeneous condition with varying severity and symptomology, with at least 25% (one in four) of the general population affected at some time in their lives.[2-4] Although the condition is classed as ‘non-serious’, it has serious cost implications to the NHS, through frequent presentations to general practitioners, hospital physicians and other specialist services.[5]
Being diagnosed is often through exclusion of diagnosable physical abnormalities and organic disease.[6] IBS is an extremely common digestive disorder accounting for up to 50% of all cases seen by the gastroenterologists.[7] Most people with IBS do not consult a doctor[8],[9] although of course they should, since other more serious conditions present symptoms similar to IBS.
To understand IBS is more than just understanding the physical symptoms presented. We also need to understand the psychological effects on thoughts and emotions, especially internalizing, which is how we represent our thoughts and feelings within ourselves.
The examples below will enable the reader to understand the rest of the IBS condition; once understood, it can then be managed and its impact on mind, body and behaviour can be reduced.
No Mystery about how Hypnotherapy Works
Hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness where a person’s focus of attention is narrowed and intensified. The patient is guided by the therapist’s voice and is encouraged to develop relaxation, suggestibility and imagery to bring the internal focus of attention towards the problem being presented. Through relaxation, suggestion and imagery the patient is guided to a point of self-realization, where they can control, reduce or eliminate conditions that have given them discomfort, pain and distress in either mind or body. The listener is always aware of their surroundings, all sensations, and able to move and adjust their position whenever they wish.

Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of IBS, such as worry, stress, guilt, anxiety, weepiness, lowering of confidence and self-esteem are rarely discussed or considered. Once these feelings become a part of the thought process, then even more issues begin to compound the problem, such as difficulty in memory and recall, disrupted sleep patterns, and other psychological elements that add to an already difficult problem for the sufferer to live with and the doctor to manage.

The IBS symptoms, like other functions of the body, are closely interlinked with the emotional state of the sufferer. In fact researchers have identified that the intestines have a very complicated nerve supply. This has been termed by researchers as the enteric nervous system. The intestines send messages to the brain pathways called ‘afferent nerves’ and the intestines receive information back through another pathway of nerves called ‘efferent nerves’. All this brought researchers to consider a concept called the ‘brain-gut axis’, which is basically the relationship and interconnection between the central nervous system and brain function and the functioning of the gut or intestines.

The IBS sufferer needs to understand the mind-body connection. The easiest example is that of ‘butterflies in the stomach’ – that nervous feeling produced when we are feeling unsure or excited. This feeling comes through messages sent from the brain being interpreted by the body as a physical response. If we can produce negative feelings, then we can learn new positive ones also. It’s as simple as that! We were not born stressed or anxious; these are learned behaviours. Of course we don’t create them intentionally, however we do create them.

Also we have to understand the power of memories on behaviour. That is the way we internalize our thoughts and memories. That is to say, the ‘internal language’ we use to develop thoughts and store memories. For example, some IBS patients may suffer bowel incontinence: ‘an accident’. The individual experiences embarrassment, anxiety, fear and other emotions. That sufferer may then decide not to go to that place again for fear of it happening again. These memories hold people back, by getting them so emotionally distressed that their IBS symptoms become even more of a problem.

And finally, but just as importantly, consider the human development factor. Let us recognize that as human beings we are constantly changing, through new thoughts, feelings, experiences, sensations, education, trial and error and more. Therefore we can say that, as each moment passes, we as individual human beings change. Each moment we are changing; we are never the same person from one moment to the next.

We hear of life-changing incidents; a person’s entire character will change, perhaps after a near-death experience, or bereavement or being involved in violence, etc. While these are for most rare, we as individuals continue to change moment by moment. Things we can do today are only a result of yesterday’s learning and mistakes, trial and error. We now walk, but once in our lives we could not stand; we learned to crawl, stand, toddle, walk, run, etc., each one building on the learning of yesterday. So we are never the same person, because our experiences and our own history change us, moment by moment. Therefore because we are constantly changing, the fears, beliefs, anxieties and all the rest that go with IBS do not have to be the same all the time. We are changing, and as we change and improve so do the IBS symptoms.
The success of the IBS Audio Program is known around the globe, yet in the UK where it was developed and researched it is less well known, but this is changing.

Success Stories of the Program

1. Mr. SC in Portland, Oregon, says his symptoms are 85% better after suffering with IBS for more than 20 years. He finished the IBS Program in 1999 and says the symptoms are still changing for the better even after all this time.
2. Ms SC, UK. “About a year ago I was suffering very badly with IBS-C and was in constant pain. (I’d suffered on and off for many years but never with continuous pain lasting many weeks.) I phoned up for the IBS tapes and spoke to Mike personally. Although I was very skeptical that they would work, I was getting so desperate that I would have tried anything! It must have taken about three weeks before I started to feel any real benefit from the tapes, although I was enjoying doing them anyway as it gave me some time through the day to switch off and relax. I finished the tapes in late September and, by then, all my IBS symptoms had gone. Before I started the tapes, my IBS used to flare up when I would go round to friends’ for a meal. I had even been known to resort to lying down flat in their bathroom in an effort to get some relief from the pain. Now I can enjoy my evenings out without worrying any more. In the six months since I have finished the tapes, I have had only occasional, mild cramping, but it has always gone after a day or so. I’ve even had a major holiday to Florida without any symptoms. When I’m feeling stressed at work or home, I make time to listen to my favourite session(s) again, and that always helps. What I’m trying to say is please stick with the tapes if you are trying them. It might not be instant but it certainly does work. I’d also like to say thanks to Mike – you’ve turned my life around.”
These results and many like them are due to the OPSIM processes, which use our natural ability of learning coupled with our ability continually to absorb information from experiences, thoughts and feelings. While not a panacea, the process is natural and the majority of users are extremely pleased with their results.

The Program Structure

The IBS Audio Program 100 is a course of hypnotherapy sessions that was developed specifically for all IBS variations, and consists of a clear introduction explaining IBS and hypnotherapy, as well as five different hypnotherapy sessions, each one building on the preceding one using OPSIM methods.

Each step of the way is shown in the booklet, which includes a symptom checklist/progress log, listening schedule and other information relevant to the IBS sufferer.

The course consists of three CDs or three audio cassettes. The Program is structured and is completed over 100 days, with rest days allocated in between. After Program completion, users are encouraged to listen to the final session as desired, to ensure the learned processes are imbedded into the subconscious.
In all, there are 20 ‘rest days’ where no listening of the Program is required. The only requirement is simply to listen!
Find a time that is your own when you will not be disturbed, and follow the Program schedule. All processes used in each session are tested in the clinical environment and are guided by one of the leaders in clinical hypnotherapy research and treatment for IBS. The sessions cost less than one therapy office session and they are also flexible, with no appointments, traffic jams or waiting. All in the comfort of you own home.


1. Thompson et al. 1992
2. Jones 1992
3. Harvey 1983
4. Cook 1987
5. Talley 1995
6. Latimer 1983
7. Harvey 1983
8. Farthing 1995
9. Drossman 1982