Norwich hypnotherapist can help you change your life

There are many self-help books on the market which claim to be able to change your life. But Norwich hypnotherapist Joy Gower has just published one with a difference. EMMA LEE meets her.

It's the same every January. As Big Ben chimes, the champagne corks pop and a new year dawns, people make their resolutions.

And if they want to get fit, lose weight, get a new career, give up smoking or get happy, there will doubtless be a self-help tome which promises to have all the answers lying behind its cover.

Books with titles like 'I can make you rich' and 'I can make you thin' are one of Norwich hypnotherapist Joy Gower's pet hates.

Working in hynotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) for around 10 years, she has helped countless people change their lives for the better, such as using hypnotherapy to overcome phobias such as flying or to help them give up smoking or using neuro-lingustic programming techniques to turn negative thought patterns into positive ones.

She has seen time and time again how powerful the mind can be.

Researching her subject, she has read many self-help books which claim they are going to change your life.

Most Read

And that's what has inspired her to write her own book – with a twist.

Just published, and called It's An Open Secret (And You Know It), Joy didn't want the book to claim to be a panacea, but to empower readers and give them the building blocks to change their lives for themselves.

'Over the last few years I've got really fed up with books [with names like] 'I can make you rich' or 'I can make you thin',' says Joy, who has a practice on the edge of Norwich city centre.

'The truth is that nobody can make you anything – they can show you, but you have to be willing to do that yourself. Although this book has some techniques to help you, it's more about saying 'you've got the resources, you have to be your own guru'.

'I've bought so many books over the years. Look at slimming books – if one of them had the answer then there would be no more slimming books,' she points out.

Joy's book covers issues she sees frequently, including smoking, slimming and compulsive behaviour. She says that often there is a root cause in common to compulsive behaviour – anxiety.

'They're compulsive behaviours. A person wouldn't be doing that if they weren't anxious,' she explains. 'They are using drinking or whatever to ease their anxiety.'

Joy finds the topic of compulsive behaviour and addiction so fascinating that she's making it the focus of her second book, which she's already started writing.

Hypnotherapy can be amazingly powerful.

A world away from stage hypnosis, it works by putting someone in to a deeply relaxed state and tapping in to the subconscious mind. It can be effective for all sorts of issues which can hold people back in life including stress, weight loss, addictions, irritable bowel syndrome, exam nerves, fear of flying, and fear of childbirth.

We all experience some form of hypnosis from time to time – for example if you get totally engrossed in a book or TV programme you can go into a kind of trance-like state.

Clinical hypnosis is similar – you are put into a deeply relaxed state, somewhere between being awake and asleep, and the mind is receptive to positive suggestions to help change your behaviour.

Joy knows that hypnotherapy works – because it worked for her.

'Just before the year 2000 my husband Robert and I had a business together and came out of that business.

'I didn't have a job, and I couldn't believe how my confidence went down within months and I started getting stress-related illnesses,' she says.

'I was approaching 50, I didn't know what I was going to do. Quite by chance I went to see a hypnotherapist,' she says.

The change was fast and dramatic.

'I found my confidence so quickly,' she says. 'That was the most remarkable thing for me.'

And it inspired her to start out on a whole new career path.

She gained her cognitive hypnotherapy diploma and master NLP practitioner certificate and has built up her own practice, where as well as working with clients she also trains other therapists. When Joy started out, there were still a lot of misconceptions about what hypnotherapy was, but she says that nowadays people are a lot less fearful of what it entails.

'I don't think I've ever felt so passionate about anything I've done before,' says Joy, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday.

'The changes I've seen in people have been remarkable.'

Her husband Robert, 67, who she met when they had to sing a duet together in a charity show (they cutely describe it as 'love at first song'), was so intrigued by hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming that he moved out of the IT business and studied it too.

Busier than ever, the word 'retirement' clearly isn't in their vocabulary.

'I think we've both come to realise there's no retirement. You could be doing this in your 80s if you wanted to,' Joy says.

It's An Open Secret (And You Know It) by Joy Gower is available priced �9.95 from or by phoning 01603 712704.