I can’t because

I can’t because…

Sometimes our labels keep us safe and take the pressure off

I can’t go to networking meetings…because I am not good at selling myself

I can’t lose weight…because I don’t have great willpower

I can’t go to work…because I don’t have the energy

I can’t take on that additional responsibility…because I don’t believe I’m good enough

I can’t leave the house today…because I don’t believe anyone cares

I can’t because…

Sometimes our labels limit us from doing what we really want to do

I can’t win that new business…because I am not good at selling myself

I can’t wear that to my daughter’s wedding…because I don’t have great willpower

I can’t play with my kids in the park…because I don’t have the energy

I can’t progress in my career…because I don’t believe I’m good enough

I can’t accept that invitation to go for drinks with my friends…because I don’t believe anyone cares

For every person that is limited by their issues, there is someone else that isn’t limited by the same set of issues

This is not about what is right our wrong, this is simply about awareness. Is your condition/label keeping you safe, or is it stopping you living your life? Try the following questions by answering with the very first thing that pops into your head:

  1. What do I gain from having this label/condition?
  2. What do I lose from having this label/condition?
  3. What do I gain from losing this label/condition?
  4. What do I lose from losing this label/condition?

It’s not a conscious thing. It’s just your subconscious trying to protect you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I can help.

Email dawn@thinkitchangeit.com to begin the journey to overcome your limiting beliefs and become whoever you want to be.

Case Study: Debra

  1. How did you hear about Dawn?  Her Think it Change it Facebook page
  2. Did you get in touch straight away or did you need some time to think about it? If so, how long? I joined The Cave on Facebook, and I really liked what I saw . It felt comfortable and safe, so I dove right in.
  3. Had you been to see any other sort of therapist before seeing Dawn? I have seen various therapists over many years, but didn’t really get much usable or practical advice. Previous therapists didn’t feel specific, or goal oriented, whereas working with Dawn feels more promising. It’s much more clear and specific, and from our first chat, I felt positive and hopeful.
  4. Was your session in person or over Skype/Facetime? On Skype, but I wish it could be face to face. However, in all honesty, I think Skype is less distracting for me.
  5. What were your biggest worries about going to see Dawn? Were any of them founded? No worries at all. Having seen Dawn’s style and interpersonal skills on Facebook, I had full confidence, and knew I was making a great choice.
  6. Will you share what made you go and see Dawn? I have struggled with so many issues over my 60+ years, and saw in Dawn a person I could trust, who would be able to help me jump right in, get to the bottom of it all, and work on my ‘stuff’.
  7. How did you feel after your first session? Relieve that someone could not only see my ‘stuff’ but help me see it, and find answers/solutions to what is hurting me and how I have been holding myself back. I have, all these years, blamed others, as well as myself, not really giving much thought to my subconscious, self-protection mode, and I am now learning ways to overcome so much.
  8. How many sessions did you have? 4 I think, so far anyway.
  9. What surprised you most? Finding someone who ‘gets’ me has been a blessing. Thank you Dawn for being available.
  10. What was hardest? Facing myself has been really tough. But probably even harder, is summoning up the willingness to let go of all of the garbage I’m carrying around. I think I have been holding on to to it all for these many years because it feels ‘safe’ even thought it’s hurting me, and I hate it. It’s been comfortable, albeit in a self-destructive way, really. At the same time, I want to place the blame on others, and then I blame myself, alternatively, and that has gotten me nowhere. I like the change that is happening now. I feel hopeful.
  11. If you were able to travel in time and visit the you before you saw Dawn, what would you tell her that would help? It’a not your (conscious) fault. Your subconscious has been trying to protect you, but it’s done so in your child brain way. Let’s move forward and work on it. No time like the present!

Why you shouldn’t forgive them


This post was originally shared on Wake Up World


The dictionary definition of the word ‘forgive’ is: [verb] stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

Stop feeling. Interesting.

A feeling is an energy and energy can’t be stopped, it can merely be transformed.

For many years I believed I needed to forgive my abuser to move on. I felt bad because I couldn’t forgive him. I felt worse because I didn’t want to forgive him. I felt bad because everything I read said I should forgive him to free myself up.

Was I dooming myself to a life of pain because I had no idea how to forgive?

If you try and contain an energy it causes damage. It builds up to something bigger and bigger, pushing at the edges of its container. If it remains inside of you it becomes toxic and damaging. Keeping the pain inside is not a good idea. And yet, stopping the pain is really tricky.

What if you didn’t need to forgive?

Forgiving is an act. You have to actively forgive. This gives the person you want to forgive power over you for as long as you hold onto the hurt they triggered.

And yet feelings are not outside of you. They are an internal thing.

There is no need to analyse the feelings, find meaning, reclassify, or see the other person as evil or bad. You don’t need to forgive yourself for the role you played. You don’t need to stop feeling guilt, shame, responsibility.

The other person doesn’t dictate how you feel. Only you can do that.

Letting Go

What if that anger, fear, guilt, hurt etc. could be redirected instead of stopped?

The principle of most martial arts involves redirecting energy. They don’t directly block an attack, but rather redirect the flow of an attack, using the other person’s strength against them.

As a practising Cognitive Therapist, my suggestion is to do the same with emotional hurt. Instead of attempting to stop or contain it, you redirect the flow of the energy.

The easiest way to connect with your subconscious, which is where the emotions sit, and let go of the pain is through visualisation. You could try this approach:

  1. Firstly name the emotion. Pain, hurt, anger, Bob – whatever works for you.
  2. If that emotion had a colour, what would it be?
  3. If that colour was in a shape or an object, what would it be?
  4. Would it be moving or still? Is it 3D or 2D? Anything else you notice about it? Where is it?
  5. Now you have defined it as a thing, imagine transforming it. It could shrink or explode. It could flow out of your body. It could spin away. Zoom in or zoom out on it. It could get quieter if it has sound. You could even merge it into a nicer colour/feeling. It doesn’t matter how you see it working. Just change it, with the intent of allowing it to fully disappear at some point.

If, as you go through your day, triggers may cause the pain to be recreated so repeat the visualisation whenever you need to. Your goal should be to bring yourself back into the present moment as soon as possible. You can’t time travel so you can’t change what has already happened. You can’t predict the future, so you don’t know what will happen next. All you can do is be present

Moving forward, when faced with challenges in your life, ask yourself “What skills do I already have, from everything I have been through, that will allow me to overcome this obstacle?” or if you find that you don’t already have the skills you need “What skills will I gain from overcoming this obstacle that will help me with future obstacles?”

And if the triggers keep making the pain return, give me a shout and I’ll help.

3 signs you are a fussy eater

I used to think I’d eat pretty much anything. I was deprived of food as a child so I tried to make up for it as an adult. Then I started travelling, and I realised that not liking seafood or mushrooms actually made me quite selective over what I could eat.

Thing is, I could push a prawn or mushroom to one side, and carry no eating the rest of the meal. It was no big deal. So I’m not really a fussy eater, it’s just that the things I don’t like happen to be in lots of dishes!

There is a ‘thing’ these days called Selective Eating Disorder – it’s what we might have called Fussy Eating in the past. So you are a probably a fussy eater if

1.You spent hours sat at the kitchen table as a child

Did you parents make you sit at the table until you finished everything on your plate? Were you always left at the table when everyone else had finished and left? The first sign that your subconscious has a problem with eating is your behaviour as a kid. Often clients I see say they have been told they were always fussy as a kid. Often the parents would really worry and, as well as talking to doctors, would try anything to get a child to eat a balanced meal. Of course, it didn’t work. And it made everybody miserable. You probably wasted hours of your childhood sat at a table staring at the food in front of you.

2. You avoid going out for meals and to events where there is food

The problem with not eating a range of foods is that it can be really hard to find a restaurant that meets your limited requirements. And most people don’t want to let on to their friends that they are fussy over what they eat. Events can be a particular nightmare because it’s not so easy to avoid them. I have had clients that would not even go for a coffee with friends because they didn’t want to explain why they wouldn’t eat anything.

3. You eat the same food all the time because it’s safe

You have a very limited range of foods that you eat. You never try anything new because you are worried about what will happen if you don’t like it.

‘Fussy Eating’ is a very real problem. It is a problem in your subconscious. In my experience it comes from either a fear of being sick, or a fear of gagging choking. When you think about different foods, or try different foods it triggers an alert point in your subconscious

Warning! Risk of gagging or being sick if you continue

To protect you from this perceived threat, your subconscious takes over and tries to prevent you putting yourself at risk. Ironically, to do this, it usually makes you gag or feel sick – the very thing it’s protecting you from!

This is not a conscious thing. But it’s also not true. If we look back through your memories to when this alert was established, we will usually find a childhood event that your subconscious totally misinterpreted. When we correct that misinterpretation, that alert is no longer activated around food and you begin to eat a wider range.

In my experience with my clients, this takes effect almost immediately, with clients often leaving a therapy session and eating different food for the first time in their lives.

Because of this, working with fussy eaters/people with SED is probably one of my favourite things to do as the change is more immediately life changing than my work with anyone else.

If you feel this describes you, why not drop an email to dawn@thinkitchangeit.com and let me help you.

Your brain is better than Google

Think of a time when you were a child and you did something wrong and got caught for it.

Think of a time where you had food as a treat.

Think of a time where you went to a friends house.

I can guarantee that was faster than any computer.

Your brain is amazing. It stores loads of information. It remembers things you have totally forgotten about (or thought you had).

Your subconscious uses this amazing ability to access memories to keep you safe from harm. All day, every day, it is searching on keywords : happy, sad, scared, intimidated, hungry, fail etc and then trawling through the search results for anything it needs to act on.

There are lots of search matches; lots of matching memories, for every second of every day.

You experience approximately 7,363,228 minutes by the time you are 14 years old. The algorithm used by your brain ensures that it has easy access to the key memories from those 7 million or so possibilities.

I think of it like an upside down triangle. At the bottom is a small, seemingly insignificant moment that your subconscious takes as a lesson. Each moment that comes after, that matches in any way, simply reinforces that first lesson. Then, when you do a search and find a match, it rapidly takes you back to that early moment and acts with a protective response.

The good news is, the structure is pretty precarious. Remove the bottom triangle and all the ones on top of it will, in time, collapse.

This will also mean, when your brain executes a search, it doesn’t find a match and so you just continue getting on with your day without a protective response.

Image result for no search results found

This is essentially how the first session in a course of therapy with me work. We conduct a search, find the match and I guide you to change the significance of the memories.

After that, it’s simply a case of waiting and observing.

If you want to work on your search algorithm, why not drop me a mail dawn@thinkitchange.com


Accepting your groove

It’s all over Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere else I look. People are successful at everything I want to be successful at. They do do talks, are invited to talks, publish books, get recognition for those books and generally appear to be massively successful.

Each time I read something, I feel a small part of me dying inside (melodramatic I know!)

“Why is that not me, I work hard?”

“Nobody says those things about my book”

“I am never going to be successful”

Think of a ski jump. You have tracks/runners that you go down. You can see your path ahead of you but you don’t know where you are going to land.

I am on a ski jump. I have my tracks ahead of me. And instead of gliding down the tracks, I keep trying to leap up and move onto the tracks of a jump that runs alongside me. It doesn’t work – and it hurts. And somehow, I keep gliding forward on the path I’m on, just with a bunch more pain, more slowly and with additional resistance.

I am on a mission – a mission to help as many people as possible realise we are all screwed up. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner we realise this, the easier it will be to seek help for our screw up.

I also firmly believe that our problems as adults come from the caveman rulebook written when we are growing up. The subconscious then un-waveringly follows this rule book once we are adults and responsible for ourselves.

There are two parts to this.

Firstly I want to reach as many people as I can with that message. I am aiming for talks and book distribution on a global level.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, I want to back up what I observe with my clients, with scientific and academic research. I want to connect with the leaders in their field in the areas of Neuroplasticity and Epigenetics.

So I need to learn to accept the groove I am in. I need to keep looking forward and trust that it will take me where I want to go. It may be a little slower that the grooves these other people are following, but that doesn’t matter because this one takes me where I want to go.

Life is like a game of Jenga

Image result for jenga images

When you think back on your day, what stands out? Do you run through the things you did wrong/challenges you had or do you pick out the things that went well?

Consider the following sentence

“I never said she stole my money”

This sentence has a totally different meaning depending on which word you emphasise:

never said she stole my money” (someone else said it)

“I never said she stole my money” (I would never do that to her)

“I never said she stole my money” (I just implied it)

“I never said she stole my money” (Someone else stole it)

“I never said she stole my money” (She just borrowed it)

“I never said she stole my money” (She stole someone else’s)

“I never said she stole my money” (Just everything else I own)

There are at least 2 ways of telling every story. We can simply change the emphasis we put on different events in the day.

Telling the story of your day

Every evening, I share a Positive of the Day in my Facebook group The Cave I share mine to encourage you to think about yours. I do it no matter what the day brings.

Let me give you an example of how things can be re-written by sharing one of my Positive of the Day updates:

well my husband is home. He nearly wasn’t and he has to spend a whole week lying on his side! His check up is due in the day my car is in the garage but a friend is now going to help us out. Oh an I have reached the shortlist for a local women’s group independent business woman award.

The readers of this status said it sounded like I’d had a very positive day. And then I wrote the story as it happened in my head through the day (hint: it was a VERY difficult day for me)

When I sent my daughter off to school my husband was telling me he would need another operation and wouldn’t be coming home. I had to warn my daughter as she was really looking forward to him being home. I also had to call on friends as I didn’t know if I could make my client appointment on Saturday. When I got to the hospital to pick him up, I went early to make sure I could get a space. Someone had decided to wait at the entrance for a space, even though there were loads further up, and blocked the whole way. She eventually got the message and moved. I then got a phone call from school saying the school bus was notifying them of a road closure and would be dropping my daughter off somewhere else. Thing is, the road that was closed was 2 miles in the opposite direction from my house and there is no reason for a change for my daughter. The headmistress didn’t know the area so couldn’t disagree with the bus company. So while I was in hospital sorting the hubby, I had to try and call the bus company. I had to get the number from school then when I did call they were engaged. So I ended up having to fetch my daughter from school so she wasn’t abandoned miles from home. I got the hubby home but he has to lie down for 50 minutes in every hour. I ended up rearranging the living room so he can lie in there for some of it.His check up appointment at the hospital is on Tuesday. Tuesday was my only free day so I’ve booked my car in for critical repairs (broken suspension) on that day. Because he can no longer drive, I need to drop my car off and walk 2 miles back. So this takes more time and I wouldn’t have my car to get him to hospital. So that was a taxi or something else. Luckily a friend offered to help and I took him up on it. Still have client on Saturday and worried about my hubby having to watch after my daughter – so arranged for her to go on a playdate.

If you put the emphasis on the wrong things in your day you will feel more rubbish. Every time I thought about everything that was going wrong I felt like I was going to lose it. It felt like I was playing Jenga and if one more brick was removed I would collapse. I kept standing back and surveying my wobbly tower, noticing all the gaps and panicking because I didn’t think I could remove any more bricks.

The way you see things is not how they are, it’s just how they look through your eyes

Looking back on my day I could notice all the gaps in my tower, or I could notice that the tower is still standing!


At the end of every day, look back on your day and write down at least one positive thing that happened

Don’t look into her eyes!

“You’re going to hypnotise me aren’t you?” he says, whilst clearly avoiding looking into my eyes.

It’s a networking meeting. We are talking about our business and what we do.

It is the normal reaction when I say I am a Cognitive Hypnotherapist.

They don’t hear the Cognitive bit…

They don’t even hear Hypnotherapist…

They hear “hypnotist”

And then they look away awkwardly. They think I can read their mind. They think I can make them do stuff without their permission.

He laughs nervously, glances at the person next to him and says “watch out, she’ll have you clucking like a chicken”

They think I hypnotise people. I don’t.

One of the most popular pages on my website is “Will I cluck like a chicken?” (the answer is no, by the way)

What possible therapeutic value is there in me knocking you out into a deep trance and messing around with your head?

I can’t read your mind. Nobody can. And, I don’t want to read your mind.

My job is to help you with your problems.

To do that, I guide you to make the changes (that’s the Cognitive bit). I don’t tell you what to think. We are very different people. My thoughts will not help you with your problem. The session is like a normal counselling session where you have your eyes open and we talk. I get to the root of the problem while you answer my questions. I don’t expect you to understand why you have these problems, that is my job – to work that out with you.

90% of the time, your subconscious is in charge. When your subconscious is in charge, you don’t have access to your cognitive functions. So if we want to change stuff, we need to work with the subconscious to make the changes (that’s the Hypno bit). Once we have worked out where the “thing” comes from that has been causing you a problem, we work together to change it. This isn’t in the present, but in your memories. So you are effectively in a trance, even though you have your eyes open and are talking to me with full awareness.

Your problems come from your past experiences – from lessons learnt by your subconscious based on a primitive belief that if something hurts you, it will kill you. I guide you to reframe those experiences, to change the meaning in them so they don’t get in the way of your day to day life (that’s the Therapy bit). We change them at the subconscious level, so more and more you can remain present and in control of your reactions to stuff.

I am a therapist (I often just say I’m a therapist when asked and only qualify it further if specifically asked)

I am a neuroscientist. I relish the challenge of helping people to reprogramme their brains to move on from limiting behaviours.

I am a problem solver. I love working with you to give you the freedom to live your life in the way you choose

I am a healer. I help people.

I am not a hypnotist



How a beach can help you win an argument

“He never listens to me”

“There is this one person at work who just drives me mad, I can’t seem to explain anything to them so they understand”

“She never tells me she loves me”

“Arghhh it’s so frustrating. I can’t seem to get through to them at all!”

Have you ever had this? You just can’t seem to communicate with certain people…or maybe you have it with your partner where you feel they don’t listen to you and/or respect your opinion.

What most people don’t realise, is that we all have different communication preferences. It’s hard to spot, because technically we are speaking the same language – but in fact, we all communicate based on the way we see the world; our own personal reality.

Problems come from our reality being different from someone else’s, leading to us communicating in different ways.

Describe walking down a beach. You can write it down or keep your answer in your head


If your reality is a based on a visual communication style, you will have described what you saw first. Maybe the blue sky, the golden sand, the rock or whatever. A visual communicator will talk about how things look and how they see it working.

In work, if you have a visual boss, when you take them a report, they will ask you to change layout, fonts and colours. For them to make sense of what you have produced, they need to see it laid out in a way that makes sense to them. It has nothing to do with you, even though it can be incredibly frustrating that you put a lot of work into a report just to have them criticise the colours!

Studying. A visual person learns by seeing. They may write loads of notes and never refer to them again. Using different coloured post it notes, drawing stuff or even using different pen colours will really help you remember stuff.

In a relationship, a visual communicator will demonstrate their love through gestures. They will do things that show they love you. If you are not a visual communicator, you may not even notice these gestures as being an expression of love.


If your reality is a based on a audio communication style, you will have described what you heard first. Maybe the sound of the waves, or seagulls.  An audio  communicator will talk about how things sound and how they heard it.

In work, if you have an audio boss, when you take them a report, they will ask you to talk them through it. You may have spent hours, even days, making sure the report contained all the necessary information, but for them to understand it, they need to hear it. This can feel like they don’t respect you. It’s not that at all – it’s just, in their reality, they need to hear things to make sense of them. An audio person often talks a lot, as they need to hear their voice to make sense of things.

Studying. An audio person will struggle to learn from something they look at, so saying stuff out loud will help. Also, listening to a particular song while studying will lock the facts into the song, then when you need to recall the facts, all you have to do is sing the song in your head. So don’t believe your teachers when they say you have to study in silence!

In a relationship, an audio communicator will actually need to hear the words “I love you” to feel loved. You can demonstrate your love, and do loads of stuff for them, but if you never actually say it, then they will feel unloved.


If your reality is a based on an experiential communication style, the you would describe what you felt walking down the beach; the wind in your hair, the sand between your toes, the sun warming your skin.  An experiential communicator will talk about how things feel

In work, if you have an experiential boss, then it can be really tricky to communicate with them. What you talk about your work, it will need to connect with them in terms of their own personal experience, or give them a feeling of confidence. They might ask you how you feel about what you’ve done. They can often be regarded as a bit slower than others, because most of what we communicate is done through talking or showing, and not as much by experience. To communicate with this style, you should be aiming to get their head nodding in agreement while you talk. You want them to relate what you say to how they feel.

Studying. An experiential person has the hardest time when studying. They are often better at practical topics that they can practice. You can use little tricks like having a particular smell around when you are studying. Then, when you smell it again, the facts associated can be recalled (a bit like smelling a bacon sandwich making you remember you are hungry!)

In a relationship, an experiential communicator will be looking for physical demonstrations of affection; a hug, holding hands etc. They are likely to be more sensitive to temperature and getting cosy with you will be a sign of closeness for them. It really won’t matter how much you tell them you love them, they have to feel you mean it!


If your reality is a based on an analytical communication style, then you probably wouldn’t even answer my question. You’d ask things like : What kind of beach is it? What time of day is it? An analytical communicator needs to understand why you say what you do. They need to make sense  of it to understand it.

In work, if you have an analytical boss, when you take them the report that you’ve spent ages working on, they ask you to talk them through why you came up with those conclusions. They may read the report first, but they will need to understand your thinking. This can feel very undermining. It’s not – it’s that they need to understand it and is nothing to do with the way you present it.

Studying. An analytical person will do better a topics where you can think your way through it like sciences. They might find subjects like History more tricky as they are just a bunch of facts. Analytical people can remember stuff better if they understand it.

In a relationship, an analytical communicator can seem distant an unemotional. They are often less demonstrative and lost in a world in their head. It’s not sign of disrespect for you – it’s just their reality! They often do hobbies and activities that stimulate their minds. Quite frankly, they couldn’t care less whether you hug them or tell them you love them, they just accept the relationship for what it it – until you try and get signs from them that they love you – using your communication style. That can get them quite grumpy!

Most people have a primary and at least a secondary communication preference. The key is, to work out the other persons communication style and adapt yours to match.

So go and ask someone that you need to communicate with, to describe walking down a beach, and then match your communication style to theirs. You might be surprised at the difference it makes