We caught up with Kata Armitage, who’ll be leading sessions at the WeSleep workshop in West London on September 4th, to ask her about WeSleep and the power of Hypnotic repatterning for better sleep.
Could you tell us about Hypnotic Repatterning
Using hypnotic techniques is about experiencing a state of relaxation that allows new positive feelings to be experienced not only in the mind but throughout the whole body. It is accessing a part of us that we often ignore, especially as many of us live in our heads a lot (our conscious mind) and it is hard to detach from constant racing thoughts.
So what happens when you are actually put under hypnosis, or in a trance?
Being in a hypnotic or trance like state allows the racing mind (the conscious mind) to be completely still and quiet, thus the therapist can then create new positive thoughts and ideas using suggestion and the voice and speak to the subconscious mind. So although the person is deeply relaxed they are in fact astutely listening and concentrated on the words of the therapist. It’s like turning off our unwanted thoughts and feelings that are potentially damaging and replacing them with feel good, positive, nurturing words to make us feel better and more purposeful. So you end up getting more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
That sounds wonderful – completely different from the sort of hypnosis that we see on TV
(Laughs) Absolutely, in fact I think the TV hypnosis might well have given hypnosis a bit of a bad rep and perhaps put off quite a lot of people from wanting to experience or try hypnosis. People generally prefer to feel in control and want to have complete trust in others. The idea of being embarrassed on stage is definitely not something on people’s bucket lists. I think this is changing though and people are becoming more open to experiencing different states, which is becoming particularly notable with the ever increasing popularity of meditation.
And how does Hypnotic Repatterning help those who suffer from sleep problems?
The majority of sleep issues are linked to anxiety or worries about future events, such as meetings, deadlines and upcoming events. When we worked with our focus groups of adults from a variety of working backgrounds, be it jet setters or parents, the worry about future events seemed to be the biggest cause of sleep worries. Hypnotic repatterning I suppose does what it says on the tin. It changes unwanted thoughts and feelings linked to sleep and changes them into positive thoughts and feelings. It allows the client to let go and move forward to a place where sleeping is easier through suggestion and visualisation.
Have you personally ever suffered from sleep problems?
During my early twenties I was such a good sleeper, however after becoming a Drama and English teacher in London the usual pressures contributed to many sleepless nights. With teaching quite often there is an impossible to do list and during certain periods such as during examinations you can suffer with a sense of being quite overwhelmed. Having recently decided to take a break from teaching I have to say my sleep has improved. I think about my colleagues a lot, they really are the overlooked, perhaps unsung heroes of modern society. Looking after the mental wellbeing of both students and teachers is really the next thing on my agenda and something I feel really passionate about. And it does all start with having a good nights’ sleep. It is crucial for decision making, for our memory, for us to be able to function effectively and feel happy.
What is it that inspired you to use your skills to help those that deal with stress or bad sleep?
My tagline is ‘relaxation for the real world’. I really like things to be as simple as they can for my clients, to try new things in a really comfortable environment. As a Londoner from the get go…I have the empathy and acknowledgement that we do live in this amazing fast-paced city, but we need to be able to access alternatives and be open to start feeling much better. It is the small changes that are important. We are beginning to look after our bodies much better, we take our bodies to the gym or to the yoga studio, but we need to do the same with our minds.
What results have you seen so far in your career – do you have any “success stories” so to speak?
My successes I think come from my clients being at the top of their game in their jobs, but needing some extra attention to refocus their minds onto what is important, such as looking after themselves. I love hearing that they’ve slept better than they have in months or skipped to the tube the next morning, rather than dragging their heels. I like it when my clients find solutions to their worries and anxieties and feel that the techniques they have learnt with me have long lasting effects. Mindset is everything.
Are you trained in any other types of therapy that can specifically aid sleep problems?
I have been doing Reiki for nearly 10 years, I learnt it in Barcelona from a Catalan Carpenter and haven’t looked back! I literally love that it is the most accessible and easy form of relaxation treatment that anyone can enjoy and anyone can learn to do. Working with energy (the chakras) it balances body and mind. It is so peaceful and comforting and definitely helps aid a good night’s sleep.
Do you think the accessibility of Reiki is what makes some dubious?
I still get a fair few naysayers (of course!) who love to make comments about it being a waste of time or hippy nonsense. In fact, my friend who recently quit working as an investment banker tried to promote me at work and everyone was really interested, until the word reiki was mentioned.
I particularly enjoy working with people who are curious about what might make them feel better and use their instinct rather than other people’s opinions. People who are curious about what solutions there might be to their problems. Although I have to say converting the cynics is an absolute joy.
Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in WeSleep – how did you come up with the idea?
Well it all started back in December 2015, I had the absolute privilege to be part of Escape The City and be part of their tribe. I cannot speak highly enough of what their ambitions and mission is, but that is for another time. Here I met Julie Wright, a wonderful Insomniac of 10 years. We were working in a group together and she came up with the idea. I jumped at the chance to be involved, to assist her and be a consultant on the therapeutic side of things. On the course we learnt about what our strengths were and Julie and I have very complementary skills that have fused together to enable us to start an amazing project. She has such passion for this project, it is her baby and she has put such passion and drive into it on every level. We both really believe in it.
What will the WeSleep workshop entail?
So in a nutshell it is sleep therapy workshops or retreats designed by an Insomniac (and me, an empathetic sort of person) for insomniacs. It is for people who want to go on a journey of discovery, where one size does not fit all. To make a commitment to start exploring their sleep journey by being exposed to a variety of alternative therapies and the correct nutrition.
And finally, as a busy entrepreneur, hypnotherapist, reiki, indian head massage and mindfulness practitioner – could you tell us what your idea of The Perfect Start to the day is?
Positivity is my mantra for everything, appreciating the small things straight away like the lingering softness of the pillows as I peel my head off them, a massive star fish style stretch before getting up…followed by a hilarious post – a note in the kitchen from my flatmate wishing me a happy day, then whizzing all sorts of exciting ingredients in the nutri bullet. New favourite song in the ear phones and I’m away.