This year The Speakmans will embark on a UK tour called the How To Be Happy Tour. If you have not heard of them they are regularly featured on ITV’s This Morning programme and are known for dealing and treating people’s phobias and anxieties with their own Schema Conditioning Psychotherapy.
Not only that, they also teach people how to motivate themselves, teaching you the tools so that you can help yourself with whatever you may be struggling with.
I was lucky enough to obtain a last minute place in the September 2015 How To Be Happy event in Nottingham and I am so glad that I attended. It totally changed how I think.
Thank you to my wife for emailing them!
Despite no more one day events, The Speakmans announced that they would be going on tour with their How To Be Happy event, but rather than it being a whole day, they would be running evening events throughout the country and collating their skills into a 2-3 hour event.
I encourage anyone who is suffering from a phobia, anxiety or anything else, not to miss this opportunity to help you to deal with your issues and recover. I’d like to share with you some of my notes from my experience with The Speakmans at their event. It was definitely a day to remember and one I will never forget.
Details of the 2016 How to be Happy events can be found at the bottom of the post.
The Speakmans How To Be Happy Event – 12th September 2015
On Sunday 23rd August 2015 I recall making the following notes in my notepad.
Despite my positivity to do something about my phobia’s, I still felt absolutely terrible and it was becoming too much to deal with. Anyone who has a phobia, anxiety, or has panic attacks will know exactly what I am talking about. It is not a nice place to be and it can take over your life.
I’m going to go into more detail in a future post about the phobia’s I used to have and how I overcame them both. These were Dentophobia & Aerophobia, but for now, this is a little taster from my notes of what you can expect at one of The Speakmans How To Be Happy events. If you have any questions about my notes, just add a comment at the bottom of the post.
Here goes . . .
SATURDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 AT 09:10, NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM • 14° HAZE
Just arrived at the village hotel in Nottingham for The Speakmans event. Very anxious pretty much all the way and also now I’m here!
The Speakmans Event – Part 1 – 09:30
Introduction to Nik & Eva Speakman and your day. Foundation & preparation for positive change. Schema’s – how they dictate your behaviour & how they can be conditioned to be positive.
How to be Happy
- I saw a wish when I saw the dandelion
- Is there any literature so can I work and learn with them?
- Right arm twist exercise: Thought gets you further
- Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so
- Perception – change focus. Shift in thought.
- When we were asked to introduce ourselves I panicked. When he said he’s joking I relaxed.
- What is the key to life?
- 1. You are what you eat
- 2. We become what we think about
- What if there is another answer? Niks bowel story. Nik has had issues with anxiety, health and OCD’s
- Created a ‘schema’ / an issue / a thought8 years old / impressionable age /
- Eva’s dad was an alcoholic and in a violent relationship. She had a fear of heights and an eating disorder.
- Oxford University are the only place that ‘test’ therapies.
- In life we have – PAIN & PLEASURE – We are always trying to move from pain to pleasure.
- Symptoms (Anxiety & OCD) are NOT the issues.
- The fear has come from the incident. Future incidents cannot be judged on that one experience.
- OCD & Anxiety have developed from not dealing with my issues and where they came from. All behaviours are triggered.
- My trigger points:
- 1. Spiders – bad dream – blamed the spider
- 2. Dentist – bad experience – blamed the future dentist
- 3. Flying – bad experience – blamed the plane
- What if’s? – They are what they are, a what if!
If anyone was feeling anxious about being at their event then Nik & Eva soon put that to bed with their introduction. I soon realised that these two amazing people were super down to earth and very approachable. It was very interesting to hear about what they had gone through. This made you think that despite where you are in life if you change how you think, anything is possible. The Speakmans are an example of this.
The Speakmans will talk a lot about schema’s, and here we learnt exactly what they are, how they are created and how they affect us. Everything we do in life is either learnt, copied or reacted behaviour and we become what we think about.
This was really thought-provoking and made total sense to me. It helped me identify what my trigger points were, how and why they happened and how they affected me. Starting to understand this foundation they call schemas is very important.
This was a great introduction and I soon picked up that ‘HOW YOU THINK IS HOW YOU FEEL‘
The Speakmans Event – Part 2 – 11.30
- Nature versus Nuture. How fears, phobias & OCD’s are created & how they can be managed or treated (with live demonstration with a volunteer from the audience). 10 core schemas to create the foundation of happiness.
- Dick Fosbury – The Fosbury Flop. He changed the way of the high jump.
- Is my diagnosis real? A diagnosis is based on someones opinion which is based on what you have told them.
- CBT is a good therapy as long as the therapist is good.
- Flooding Technique – Spiders – To treat you they would lock you in a dark room and then turn on the lights which would then be full of spiders. Eventually you would calm down and cure your fear. The only thing is, it could also lead to claustrophobia and PTSD.
- Spider Phobia Test
- 1. We are not born with the phobia of spiders
- 2. Copied behaviour (Parents) or taken copied behaviour and fear from others
- 3. Accept that the way people react as normal behaviour. Mum = fear Copied behaviour = fear & more
- 4. Mosquito – Biggest killer in the world. Put the positives forward for spiders – What is the evidence. Nik then asks which one she would rather have
- 5. She then tries to justify why she thinks she should be anxious – I think this is what is happening to me now 13/09/15 When you have believed something is fearful all your life, you question, justify and are confused why there is no anxiety there.
- Change a schema or belief. Change beliefs based on evidence
- FACT – You can be better. The treatment is to manage your emotions.
- There is no definition for diagnosing a mental disorder. However there is a massive book with types of mental conditions which are all labels.
- LABELS – DIAGNOSIS = PILLS = MONEY
- There are no tests to prove a mental disorder, not even a test to find a chemical imbalance.
- My Doctor actually started to question if I had bipolar. His answer was just as The Speakmans described. He can’t be sure whats going on inside so he decides based on a label, then gives me medication.
- NATURE vs NUTURE
- Nature – Psychiatrists use this
- Nuture – The Speakmans use this
- All behaviours are learned whether they are copied, learned or reacted behaviours to a danger situation.
- Humans only have 2 natural fears A fear of falling and loud noises
- JOHN BROADUS WATSON: 1930
- When the baby is subject to a rat it is fine. When that rat is introduced several times when there is also a loud bang it becomes fearful of the rat. Not only that but the baby develops a fear of all furry animals.
- SCHEMA’S – Reference for behaviour
- To change your behaviour – Find the trigger that created it
- Conscious Mind & Unconscious Mind – Schemas are stored in the unconscious mind
- When something happens it asks: ”WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME?” Just like when Nik threw the blue pen the brain found the ‘catching schema’
- SUB SCHEMAS – The catching schema will also have sub schema’s. This means that the subconscious mind uses sub schemas to enable you to catch the blue pen.
- Many anxieties contain sub schemas. These schemas can develop over time and add to the original schema.
- TRIGGER = SCHEMA – So the trigger is stored in the unconscious mind
- CONSCIOUS says: I don’t want it but the UNCONSCIOUS says: but this is what you told me to do and that I should deal with it this way in the beginning.
- The CONSCIOUS mind can only deal with 7 things at once.
PHOBIA OF FISH
- The lady in the video got pushed into the sea which resulted in her goggles filling up, her going right under water and the thought that she was going to die.
- At this point here FIGHT or FLIGHT mechanism kicks in the preparation her for danger and the mind looks for what that danger is. As she opens her eyes she see’s fish and the mind stores this as a red flag to prepare her of this danger in the future.
- Every time she then see’s a fish the brain asks WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? The immediate response comes from the subconscious mind and triggers the FIGHT or FLIGHT mechanism.
- This then triggers the adrenal glands to prepare her to fight or get away. As this adrenaline is not used up it is the DUMPED causing ANXIETY, SWEATING, SICKNESS & GOING TO THE TOILET.
- When the adrenaline builds up and is continually not used it creates MORE ANXIETY which continues and builds into a PANIC ATTACK.
- MEDICATION deals with a symptom (Anxiety) but NOT the NEGATIVE SCHEMA.
- The Fear Triangle
- Over time the fear builds as more triggers are added to the issue. So for her fish phobia she now attaches other associations. Over 10 years she develops fear of fish in a restaurant, fear of fish and chips, fear of fish in a supermarket.
- When she was pushed into the sea she felt like she was going to die. The brain protects itself by placing a protection memory at the time of the incident incase it happens again. In her case, as soon as she opened her eyes she saw fish, so the brain logged the ‘fish’ as to what she should be protected from.
- FEAR – Its an emotion based on something the MAY happen. It all starts with a thought
- 1. A thought creates a schema
- 2. The schema becomes a reference
- 3. The reference drives future behaviourIs my schema a . . . . . FACT or BELEIF?
- My schema is not fact nor a belief so – SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS AND NOT HOW IT FEELS
- Change the label – It’s not a PANIC attack it’s a PROTECTION attack.
This was a detailed section where The Speakmans broke down schemas into a lot more detail. They discussed how they become a reference for future behaviour, whether they are good or bad. As you can see I started to make a lot more notes as I wanted to record exactly how this process works to help me in the future.
The Speakmans also conducted a live demonstration, successfully curing a young ladies fear of spiders (arachnophobia). This was really interesting to watch.
My two big takes from this were ‘WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME’ and ‘SEE IT FOR WHAT IT IS, NOT HOW IT FEELS’. When you have a negative thought, ask these two questions.
The Speakmans Event – Part 3 – 14:00
- Understanding, reducing and managing panic attacks. Confidence, self appreciation. Technique to prevent food cravings (with live demonstration with a volunteer from the audience). Improving your perception of people and food.
- Panic Attacks – A panic attack is just a symptom of a thought.
- Below is copied from their worksheet
- Panic attacks can be very debilitating, and are a common phenomena affecting millions of people all over the world.
- Panic Attacks can seem to emerge out of nowhere, however through our work, we have discovered that panic attacks are merely a symptom. With professional therapy if the cause can be found and eradicated then this will then stop the panic attacks completely. A cause may stem from recent or past events, or a culmination of events sometimes going back as far as childhood. We know that a panic attack is always brought on by a trigger, albeit that you may not remember or know consciously what the trigger is right now.
- This trigger is incorrectly linked to the ‘fight or flight’ or ‘protection’ mechanism, pumping the body with adrenalin in order to give you a surge of energy enabling you to run from the imminent danger, or acquire a brief power surge to fight. Unlike the caveman running from a sabre tooth tiger about to attack, you do not utilise the flood of adrenalin and thus the adrenalin overload causes symptoms of anxiety that commonly lead to a ‘panic attack’.
- Please rest assured, you are not alone. Kym Marsh from Coronation Street spoke openly about our work with her to overcome panic attacks. you can see us working with her on our YouTube Channel.
- See it for what is it
- Your mind is trying to protect you from a perceived danger, so you are really having a ‘PROTECTION ATTACK’. Knowing this should alone should make you feel better. If you are under no threat you can reassure yourself be saying, “I AM UNDER NO THREAT, FEELING THIS WAY IS A MISUNDERSTANDING, BECAUSE I AM SAFE”.
- Stop everything
- Don’t add to your adrenaline rush, find a place to sit down and gather your thoughts. Concentrate on your breathing, and imagine that everything around you has gone in to slow motion including your breathing. (For some counting backwards from 50 slowly with your eyes closed is very beneficial). find composure first, and then calmly leave if necessary.
- Trace the feeling
- With your eyes closed, trace the feeling of anxiety in your body. It is likely to feel like a circle that comes into your stomach or chest and comes out of your throat or head (or vice versa), looking round like a big circle. Trace the feeling and then reverse it, turning it in the opposite direction, visualise the circle and make it a cool blue colour (if it is already blue then make it white).
- Focus on small goals
- Distract your mind, and occupy your thoughts to distract your anxieties. The easiest way to do this is to identify simple goals for example, concentrate first on sitting comfortably, followed by which exit your will shortly leave by, followed by what you would like for dinner or what you’ll watch on TV that evening.
- Protection Attacks can be scary, and dealing with them is no laughing matter, but laughter is at the entirely other end of the ‘fear’, ‘panic’ and ‘anxiety’ scale. When you first begin to feel the onset of an attack, immediately beckon images of a time that you laughed uncontrollably with as much clarity as you can. The positive hormones and endorphins could entirely stop the attack in it’s tracks, and this will also assist in distracting your mind.
- Once panic sets in, some sufferers feel very isolated and often embarrassed by their condition, and therefore prefer to suffer alone. But one alternative you can do to alleviate anxiety is to force yourself to socialise in a tense situation and talk to people. Smile and see out conversation. It may be hard at first, but you’ll find that occupying yourself is much easier than worrying about the onset of panicky thoughts.
- Positive Reassurances
- Remind yourself anxiety is normal, and anxiety is not usually life threatening, you know you will be ok as you always come out of (anxiety and protection attacks) them no matter what, remind yourself how you have successfully got over them before. Remind yourself that this is just a mistaken ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ reaction which many people experience in their lives and indeed we all have.
- 1. Am i really in danger?
- 2. See it for what it is, a protection attack
- 3. Stop everything
- 4. Trace the feeling and use your hand and move it in the other direction to reverse the feeling
- 5. Focus on small
- 6. Visit your happy thought
- 7. Positive Reassurance
- OCD – What If?
- 1. See it for what it is, a what if scenario
- 2. Look at your life, have the rituals worked? No
- 3. Look back to when it started, trigger
- 4. Ask yourself, what did I believe in then
- 5. Ask yourself, do i still believe it now
- 6. Would you believe in something that you know not to be true‘Why do I do that?’
- Question the schema. What has come from learned behaviour
- The 10 Core Schemas
- How do you create good schemas
- 1. Accept responsibility for your life. Don’t blame anyone else for being who you are.
- 2. Anything is possible
- 3. There is NO such thing as failure
- 4. It’s never too late
- 5. Plan your life
- 6. Save yourself before you save the world
- 7. There are no bad people in the world
- 8. There is no ONE reality. *Remember the images they showed us and how some people saw different things than others.
- 9. You must give to receive
- 10. You become what YOU think about. The placebo effect. This was the story of The Speakmans aunt who was full of life but then got diagnosed with cancer. She went downhill from there. They got a call to say they should come down as they didn’t think she was going to live long. Then they told her that she had been wrongly diagnosed and she sprung back into life. Her decline was how she had been thinking.
Panic attacks can be seriously debilitating, and here The Speakmans explained what they are and why they happen. Most people who have them think that there is something wrong with themselves, but in actual fact, this is a perfectly normal reaction the human body does to protect us. What can happen though is when our body goes into protection mode it can often record the wrong memory (schema) of the incident. This is how people suddenly develop phobias of unusual things. This is all due to our fight, flight or freeze mechanism. Most people at this point feel like they are dying which is why the brain creates a schema to protect you if it happens again in the future.
Remember this is normal behaviour. I remember having panic attacks in the supermarket and it wasn’t nice. I didn’t know it at the time, but I read somewhere that you should challenge the feeling of what you think is going to happen. For me, it was the fear of passing out. I remember challenging the thought saying ‘GO ON THEN, I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS, IF IM GOING TO FAINT OR PASS OUT THEN DO IT’ Guess what? It never happened.
It didn’t stop me from drinking though, but that’s another story!
The 10 core schemas are very important. They get you to believe in yourself and make you realise that you have control over your fears and phobia’s so you can do something about it.
We then had a coffee break which gave me a chance to speak to a couple of Nik & Eva’s team.
The Speakmans Team
It was great to see Liv & Hunter which are The Speakmans children helping out at the event. For me, this gave it a personal touch and it was great to see the family all being involved. Hunter was fantastic with the microphone and was extremely on the ball!
I managed to initially speak with a lady called Georgie Sharma who was extremely helpful in answering any questions I or anyone else had. After the event, I then spent a little time with Georgie and a lady called Angela Cummins who had originally come over from Hong Kong to deal with her anxieties. Wow, that is some commitment to change! That much so, that she is now part of The Speakmans team and is now a personal development & confidence coach.
The Speakmans Event – Part 3 Cont. – 14:30
- VCDT – Visual Coding Displacement Therapy
- Relationships with food
- Remember to:
- 1. Drink enough water
- 2. Do not eat after 8pm (Metabolism slows)
- 3. Avoid sugar
- 4. Avoid wheat
- 5. Avoid dairy
- How can I eliminate my vice foods. This is called the bungee technique. I think the Bungee Technique is on the DVD.
- This is the find the coding food sheet.
- This technique moves the image, thought or thing away and puts it in a place that is associated with its opposite. So if I want to stop eating chocolate it will replace the good thought with a thought of something you don’t, like sprouts.
- This works with food or people.
- Gratitude How to be happy
- Patch Adams became a doctor who never gave anyone any medication for Psychological issues. He gave clown tours instead to make people laugh.
- Gratitude. Be grateful for what you have. Tell people what you think thats on your mind.
- See yourself through the eyes of love. This is called the Mirror Technique. Judge yourself when looking in the mirror. Write it down and then read it back to yourself. Then look at what Helen would say about me and then read that back. By looking at yourself through someone else’s eyes will make you feel more positive about yourself.
- Plan your life and keep giving yourself things to do. Create your life shopping list.
- Look at William ‘duke’ Proctor the 100 year old who did a parachute jump. Look at my Dad, his goal is to reach 84! Nora Briar who is 100 years old set goals every year. Be happy by giving yourself things to do and set your goals on New Years Day.
- Reticular Activating Systems
- This is what we did by just brainstorming the piece of paper on where I wanted to be and wanted a wanted from life. This technique activates the RAS and is responsible for seeing things once you have found it. Like when you set yourself on buying a new car, you start to see more of them. So once you look for opportunities you will see more of them.
- Say ‘IT’ how ‘IT’ is (evidence) not how ‘IT’ feels (anxiety)
- I AM SO GRATEFUL
- For the wife who says its beans on toast tonight, because she is home with me and not out with someone else.
- For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the pub.
- For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means she is at home, not on the streets.
- For the taxes I pay because it means I am employed.
- For the mess to clean up after a party, because it means I’ve been surrounding by friends.
- For the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.
- For a lawn that needs moving, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
- For all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.
- For the parking spot I find at the far end of the car park because it means I am capable of walking and I have been blessed with transportation.
- For my huge heating bill because it means I am warm. For the noisy neighbour because it means I can hear.
- For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.
- For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working hard.
- And most of all for the alarm that goes off in the early morning because it means I AM ALIVE.
This was a super interesting section where we looked at how to use Visual Coding Displacement Therapy. This is The Speakmans technique for changing the feelings associated with a schema. This technique basically gets you to associate the message from your brain with a different feeling. For example; If you want to stop eating chocolate, you think of the image, sounds and feelings of the chocolate and replace it with something you don’t like. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to make a lot of notes on this section as I was totally engrossed in what was happening.
I have since looked into this in more detail and applied this technique to myself. It’s fantastic!
The Speakmans Event – Part 4 – 16:00
- The power of gratitude. Designing the life you deserve & how you can make it possible. A Promise. Q&A.
- My Future: Dreams can become real if you write them down, and then take action towards achieving them
- 1. Write down all your dreams – Rate them all
- 2. Within 1 year I will … What are my top 3 goals.
- 3. Within 3 years I will …
- 4. Within 5 years I will …
- 5. Within 10 years I will …
- 6. Within 15 years I will …
- 7. Within 20 years I will …
- 8. Within 25 years I will …
- My 10 steps to achievement – Write them down.
- To conclude the day we looked at our own future and made a promise to ourselves. I felt totally in my comfort zone here as Nik & Eva explained how to dream big and introduced the likes of Thomas Eddison who invented the light bulb. They mentioned a lot of successful individuals who I have read about. This was very empowering
- They then got the audience to take action by writing down their goals. Dreams are nothing without action.
21:30 – HALIFAX, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM • 9° MOSTLY CLEAR
All I will say at this point is I’ve thought about all my anxiety issues and because I have changed my schema’s I am getting no anxiety whatsoever. This is making me smile!! 🙂
Wow, this day was immense. I have just sent an email to The Speakmans.
I will have to update my notes another day as my head is a shed now!!
This day was fantastic. For me, it was the start of thinking differently. The mind is a powerful tool and none of us gets an instructional manual to go with it.
Nik & Eva have made it their goal to change the way we deal with mental health and make it available to everyone. No one should be suffering.
My advice to anyone who is attending the event is to be open about their techniques and believe you can change using them. They have proved their therapy time and time again. Take a pad and a pen with you as you will be writing lots of notes. If you don’t manage to get them all down, you can always come back and have a read of my post.
Most of all, keep on using the tools that they teach you after the event and believe you can change, and remember, we become what we think about.
You can read more on their website at www.speakman.tv
The Speakmans How to be Happy Tour 2016
There are five venues available if you are wanting to see The Speakmans at their How To Be Happy Tour:
Thursday 21st April 2016 – 8:00pm – Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Friday 22nd April 2016 – 8:00pm – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Friday 13th May 2016 – 8:00pm – King George’s Hall, Blackburn
Saturday 14th May 2016 – 8:00pm – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Wednesday 18th May 2016 – 8:00pm – G Live, Guildford
Tickets are moving fast, but you can purchase them from the Ticket Factory, and maybe I will see some of you there.