PHPA Case History - Be prepared for the unexpected

Ian phoned to say he was experiencing problems sleeping and asked if hypnotherapy would help.

Usually when someone is suffering from insomnia there are reasons behind them being unable to sleep and once these are brought into the open it becomes easier to help.

At the outset, we were prepared with approaches for helping Ian to sleep better but were surprised when he turned up for his initial consultation and informed us that his problem was actually gambling, not insomnia.

Ian explained that his wife had been in the room when he phoned to make the appointment and that she had no idea how bad his gambling problem was, or how big his debts were.

Ian had successfully hidden his gambling addiction for many years but threats from the bailiffs were now causing him sleepless nights and he was terrified that his family were going to lose everything, including their house but his worst fear was that his wife would find out.

It became obvious that treating Ian for insomnia would be of little use unless he could also take control of his gambling.

Admitting that he had an issue with gambling was Ian’s first step to recovery.

As with most other problems that hypnotherapist’s help with, owning up to the fact that one is struggling is essential; only then can their mind open to the possibility that there is help available.

Clearly Ian’s debt problems weren’t going to be sorted out overnight but working on his motivation to quit gambling turned out to be the key to him being able to do something about it.

Fortunately for Ian his financial situation turned out to be nowhere near as bad as he’d initially thought it was but he was nevertheless encouraged to confide in his wife and to seek help.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau has some useful guidance on dealing with debt (see: and there are government help schemes available online which we were able to refer Ian to for later reference.

Once he felt he had a handle on his problem, Ian felt in a better position to explain to his wife what was happening and their marriage was strong enough to deal with the hurdle.

Initially however, Ian has sought help for insomnia as he didn’t want to tell his wife about the gambling until he felt more in control so we (sneakily) provided him with a self-hypnosis recording for gambling with a CD cover that said Overcoming Insomnia – in case it was spotted by his wife.

It was several months later when Ian’s wife phoned to thank us for helping Ian and this was without any suggestions or treatment whatsoever for his insomnia.

It goes to show how important it is to be open-minded when a client tells you they have a problem – you never know who is listening to them if they contact you by phone.



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