JL

Your Transformation Coach

My name is Jason Leow.

 

I am a positive psychology coach who can help you find life satisfaction and wellbeing through mentoring, activities and products. I will work with you to put together your bespoke transformation plan, according to your goals and aspirations. An alliance of trusted and reliable service and product partners will support our journey.

 

I am a certified SPARK Resilience coach with a Grad Dip in Applied Positive Psychology, and a Masters in Communications. I specialize in the solution-focused brief method of coaching, and in hypnotherapy. I am a trained psychotherapist affiliated with the International Council of Psychotherapists based in Britain.

 

I have spent 20 years in media and communications, first as a foreign correspondent and then a Chief Communications Officer and a communications director for various companies. My corporate lives have enabled me to understand and coach successful (if also a bit stressed out and slightly lost) executives and senior managers.

 

Contact me at jason@doingwellcentre.com to discuss having a bespoke transformation plan put together for you.

 

Find out more

 

 

At The Doing Well Centre

Posted by Jason on November 14, 2013

Lottery lust

Lottery lust

It’s been a day of flashbacks. When I saw this letter in the mail, I chuckled. This took me back to my childhood days when Reader’s Digest would send out the same prize teasers to potential subscribers. I used to slip into fantasy when I saw the prize amounts. Like a good Asian, I didn’t think I would buy anything with the prize money — if I won, which I never did. Instead I thought of saving the money in my bank. That was my idea of getting rich. Two decades later, the Reader’s Digest is still using the same trick to thrill its audiences! Today I did feel a tinge of excitement — and a mini-trance. So this might be how permissive induction feels like.

Posted by Jason on September 30, 2013

Happy starts with this clip

You know what Martin Seligman says about living the pleasurable, engaged or meaningful life? All three confer happiness but the latter two also provide wellbeing, which as many of us know is a higher-order, more sustainable form of happy.

Sometimes, though, when engagement or meaning seem so challenging to pin down, we just need to feel happy. Which is what I hope this mash-up can give you. It’s a delightful stitching-together of disparate moments from Sesame Street to form a coherent tune. I don’t think the lyrics are meant to be understood (or that there are words, in fact). It’s meant to be enjoyed visually, auditorily and kinesthetically, but not cognitively, which is good as we don’t always want cognition to intervene in our pleasurable moments. So go ahead the press Play. And allow yourself to soak in the music, merriment, and nostalgia. Enjoy.

Posted by Jason on September 28, 2013

Age regression for therapy (produced as work for the School of Positive Psychology)

Age regression is a hypnotherapeutic method for clients to retrieve memories of past events that explain certain behaviors, emotions and beliefs that they have today. Disorders, addictions, phobias, fears, anxieties and dysfunction in interpersonal relationships can be addressed, and frequently resolved, with age regression therapy, according to the Wellness Institute of the Americas (n.d., para. 2). The regression is a form of hypnoanalysis: using the process we can recover, identify and analyze the root causes for certain conscious conditions in order to remove them, thereby beginning the recovery process for clients. Cal Banyan (2013) calls age regression an “insight technique.”

This blog entry provides an overview of age regression as a potentially beneficial hypnotherapy technique for clients. It explains age regression, the reasons clients may choose to undergo the process, the various induction techniques therapists employ to achieve age regression, and the possible risks. This entry serves as a basic guide to age regression and does not aim to advocate age regression as a go-to solution for all psychic dysfunctions. Indeed, not all clients are suited to the process and therapists who are not entirely comfortable with the emotionally intense style of age regression are not encouraged to administer it (Hunter, 2013).

Often age regression reveals that the client has developed negative behaviors as a means to distract herself from dealing with painful aspects of her past. For instance, age regression can highlight damaging past experiences that drugs or alcohol were used to subvert pain. When age regression therapy brings these painful events or buried memories to the surface, the need to distract or medicate can be eliminated and the patient can begin to heal (“Wellness”, n.d., para. 2).

The age regression therapy process can be dramatic: it requires the client to revivify, or relive in their minds’ eye (Banyan, 2013), past incidents, and the revivification is achieved by activating intense emotions. According to Cal Banyan, a true age regression is a vivid hallucination of a past event, so real to the client that the event is re-experienced with all of the emotional impact and clarity of the actual event. He says it most closely resembles the experience of having a dream that is so real that one may be left feeling like it had actually happened.

Because the revivification is believed to be real in the client’s mind, she will respond to her memories as though she were in them. In fact, it should be the therapist’s objective to ensure the memories are recalled vividly, by inducing trance to a somnambulistic state (more on this later). So vivid is the re-experiencing that the client may hit a memory that hurts and then exhibit an abreaction (abnormal reaction), often by crying or screaming. C. Roy Hunter (2013) says that abreactions are one reason even some therapists oppose the use of age regressions. These therapists believe clients do not need to experience such extreme reactions while experiencing unpleasant past experiences (Hunter).

To manage abreactions, the hypnotherapist uses psycho-education and reframing to help the client understand that the events actually happened a long time ago, will not hurt her any more and have been retrieved for the sake of therapy and learning (Lew, personal communication, August 6, 2013).

Many induction techniques are used for age regression therapy. The Corridor Method re-imagines the many entrances down a corridor imagery created in an earlier Safe Place visualization session done with the client. In a subsequent session when age regression is done, the client is asked to enter each door on the left to revivify her past, then to proceed to the respective doors on the right for solutions, before revisiting her personal safe place to end the regression without negative overhang.

Some therapists use the Photo Album technique (Swartz, n.d., para. 2), a process whereby the client turns a photo album backwards and sees her memories in photographs. As she reviews old pictures, she sees herself and others in them grow younger and smaller, and the photographs turning from color to black and white (for dissociation purposes). The visualization is induced by suggestions the therapist provides.

A common induction is the Affect Bridge. Karinna Najera (2009) says the Affect Bridge approach is one of the more popular ones that therapists use. As the name suggests, in this process the therapist makes use of key emotions to experientially bridge the client from the present to the past. The method works by amplifying those emotions that are psychically linked to the client’s trauma or dysfunction and using the amplication to revivify an earlier event in her life that caused the trauma or dysfunction.

For the Affect Bridge method to do its work, Banyan (2013) counsels the therapist to practice eliciting strong emotions from clients and learn to work with them. He says this is not a method for every therapist since a certain comfort level must be achieved for dealing with very intense expressions of sadness, fear or anger. Banyan also says this method requires the client’s trance state to enter into somnambulism, or “sleep walking.” In this state, an age regression patient will be susceptible to hallucinations, allowing him or her to vividly relive past life experiences.

(At this point, I need to point out that there is an offshoot of regression therapy that addresses clients who regress to events beyond the realm of this life. When it occurs, the therapist does not and should not judge whether this is fantasy, delusion, symbolism or actual, even if his original aim was never to bring the client back into a different time dimension. Whatever the client re-experiences is real and useful for therapy. The original trauma in past life regression will be located in another life time, and it is the therapist’s duty to ring it out for treatment, regardless of his own biases.

As past-life regression expert Brian Weiss (2002) says, regressing to significant childhood events, to infancy, or even to past lives may provide considerable relief and benefit in the present time. He says that sometimes just by remembering, symptoms can be removed. Memories can lead to understanding, and understanding frequently leads to healing (Weiss). These insights come from a trained medical practitioner and psychiatrist who uses hypnotherapy as a treatment tool.)

There are other methods that therapists favor: having the client imagine herself on a Merry-Go-Round (Swartz, n.d., para. 14) or floating on a cloud (Swartz, para. 8). The underlying principles are the same: to get the client to see herself becoming younger and smaller, so that she can re-experience past events and return to one specific point that triggered the present day trauma. The past events are known as subsequent sensitizing events, or SSEs. Those SSEs, in turn, were triggered by the “root cause” event, known as the Initial Sensitizing Event. Unless the therapist can guide the regressed client back to the ISE, use it to uncover the causes of the original trauma, utilize the information for the client’s healing, no recovery may be expected (Banyan, 2013).

Apart from the probability of abreactions, Hunter (2013) has pointed out that there is a risk of false memories in using age regression. False memories are planted by hypnotists who project their own preconceived opinions into the client’s trance journey. These “mental constructions” include rape, physical abuse or injuries. Hunter says the best way to avoid implanting false memories is by asking clean questions, ie. asking the “W” questions: what, when, where, who, why, and how (which ends in “w”). Also, a good pre-talk with a client helps reduce the risk; because anytime emotion is involved, our perception of an event can differ from facts.

References

Banyan, C. (2013). The Key to Successful Hypnotherapeutic Age Regression: Identifying the Initial Sensitizing Event. In Cal Banyan’s Hypnosis.org. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from https://www.hypnosis.org/free-hypnosis/hypnosis-hypnotherapy-articles/ezine-articles.php?aid=1028

Hunter, C.R. (2013). Discovering Causes with Hypnotic Regresison. In Cal Banyan’s Hypnosis. org. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from https://www.hypnosis.org/free-hypnosis/hypnosis-hypnotherapy-articles/ezine-articles.php?aid=833

Najera, K. (2009). Age Regression as a Therapeutic Tool. In Focus on Change: Hypnotherapy . Retrieved September 2, 2013, from http://focusingonchange.com/age-regression-therapeutic-tool

Swartz, R. (n.d.). Hypnotic Age Regression Techniques that Work. Retrieved from http://hypnotistexaminers.com/PDF/ACHE-Article9-11a.pdf

Weiss, B. L. (2002). Mirrors of Time: Using Regression for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Healing. California: Hay House.

Wellness Institute of the Americas. (n.d.). In Age Regression . Retrieved from http://wellness-americas.com/age-regression/

Posted by Jason on September 3, 2013

Busy is being on high-speed autopilot

Being busy can feel glamorous. Entrepreneurs love being busy and seen going places, and breathlessly working (perhaps because it signals success). Stay-at-home parents haven’t any time for rest, what with the spouse, the kids, the pets and everyone else’s needs. Employees in developing economies appear busier than their counterparts in more developed cities. One reason is labor laws in developing places are more lax, allowing employers to demand more hours. The other reason is simply that there just is more work to take care of in economies that are growing faster. Being busy can feel inevitable.

So what are we to do when busy-ness can’t be prevented? One way I have been managing being busy is to not glorify it, both because I find no reason to package being busy as pleasurable — it isn’t — and there is no need to encourage that kind of glorification from others. If I have to work a lot, then I do it quietly. When I get asked how my day has been, I tend to describe it as thoughtfully as I can by these categories: it’s been “productive and meaningful;”; “unproductive but meaningful;” “productive but unmeaningful;” or “unproductive and unmeaningful.” I don’t use “meaningless” because anything so lacking in meaning isn’t worth doing, and we can decide to let it go. Describing my days in these four categories helps me recognize that life shouldn’t go by in a blur. And responding this way makes me a whole lot more reflective and self-aware. (To this end, I also set my Blackberry alarm to ring at 12.55pm every day. The ringing triggers me to reflect on whether my morning has been spent meaningfully. Yes, on some days. No, on many busy days.)

Because busy-ness saps mindfulness, I try never to let an entire day go by without some self-hypnosis. Even several minutes count. If I can’t spare those precious minutes, then I breathe slowly, deliberately, until my head clears and my body drains most of the tension away. That’s exercising mindful meditation. One can do this anywhere: while walking to the cafeteria or the bathroom; or on the bus.

If you’re reading this in the midst of your whirlwind day, ditch busy for three minutes. Instead, breathe.

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Posted by Jason on August 30, 2013

Word-clouding my blog

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This is a word cloud generated for this blog. For some reason it couldn’t fit in one key word: “psychology.” That’s just as well. Psychology underpins the entire blog so there’s no point in stressing the point. I’m glad the other ideas I care about have been prominently communicated: Positive; Hypnotherapy; Rumination; Mindfulness and even Singapore (because the people most accessible to me, and whom I can help most readily, are in the city where I live). “Techniques” is another stand-out. This validates my aim, I hope, of not just describing wellness in the abstract but also giving practical advice for cultivating it.

On the other hand, I’m not sure why “about,” “next,” “apparently” and “August” are prominent. They look like weasel words to me! Any clues? The word cloud also shows I’ve been talking up “happiness.” I’ll need to tamp it down. Wellbeing is what I really wish to promote. Happiness tends to give off hedonistic vibes, and that’s not been my aim.

I plan to use word clouds periodically to check on my writing, to be sure I stay “on message.” If you have other ideas I should write about, let me know! Email me at doingwellsg@gmail.com.