Updated: 11th November 2014 15:00
I was contacted by a journalist who had seen the video below that was part of this blog that contained a clip of This Morning from yesterday. She explained that she was writing an article about the Speakmans and their practices and would be very interested to interview me for it. I spoke to her and told her that I would not be comfortable doing that at all. I think that talking about the way therapy is portrayed in the media and having an opinion about the way that things can be shown is one thing, but she had misunderstood what I was blogging about if she thought that I would say a bad word about people who are clearly helping to raise awareness of the fact you do not have to live with things that cause you pain in your life. I made my position very clear and was informed that perhaps ITV may not want me to have a clip on my blog any more. Shortly afterwards the video clip was blocked so you are unable to watch it for yourself. I was surprised to see this happen. Sadly this means that you are unable to watch the clip that is being discussed any more.
Original Blog Post....
Sometimes you see things that make you feel uncomfortable as a therapist and this occasion is one of those. A lady called Jessica appeared on ITV's This Morning with Phil and Amanda being treated by the Speakmans for her phobia of costumed characters. But did they really help?
If you watch the video below you can see what happened for yourself..
Her fear was stated as being a fear of costumed Christmas characters. Many people may have a fear of costumed characters but how many would have a fear of just Christmas based ones? It's just an example of TV and media bending the situation. It's a big thing in this that she wears a heart rate monitor so that we can see how her heart rate rises when they show a picture. But what happens to that monitor at the end of the show?
Was she told to take off the heart rate monitor?
When you are a normal member of the public and wearing a heart rate monitor on Live TV I wonder if you would suggest you take it off? Most people wouldn't unless perhaps it was suggested that they do that before going on air. As she takes it off Phil Schofield says how her heart rate is lower but it's actually going right up at the time.
By having Nik Speakman dress up in the costume then it clearly shows that she has not let go of her fear at all. By acting as if it has gone it just makes them look foolish in my opinion. The plan was to have a whole load of costume characters but that had to be scrapped. Nik Speakman, who she has been working with all morning, so would clearly feel happy seeing, dresses up very slowly in a costume and then put the face over his face very slowly in full view.
This isn't what she was saying she was scared of at all. She knows exactly who it is so what's the point?
Sadly, I have no faith that her fear has gone at all. My biggest problem is that they even do this. Because they are the favourites of This Morning there is a pressure on them as well as that on the lady they are working on. They should have explained that she wasn't over her fear and doing this shows nothing at all.
I really do hope that she was given the support that she needed after the show to make sure that her phobia is gone so that she need not worry about it any further in her life. I think that ITV should have a duty of care to finish what was started here. My issue isn't with the Speakmans who clearly want to do their best in the time scale but with the time scale itself. She needed to show that all was ok before the end of the show as the credits rolled and you should never rush therapy for the cameras.
The good news..
It's not all bad though. As long as the Speakmans work on her phobia with her in private and make sure that they deal with it all then she will be fine. This isn't so much a problem with the Speakmans and what they are doing as with TV and the media. It's a shame they didn't do it in a way that showed them in a better light. You can overcome and end any fear or phobia. As a clinical hypnotherapist I would never suggest that we do it in an hour. Most of my clients only have 3-4 sessions and their fear is gone forever.
The pressure of Live TV just leads to pretending in order not to seem like a failure and I only work with my clients at their own pace, and in their own time and way.
You can read more about fears and phobias here: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/hypnotherapyforphobias.html
You can download a FREE "How to Stop a Panic Attack" MP3 here: http://www.markpowlett.co.uk/howtostopapanicattack.html
You can speak to me in confidence on 07980 233160 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org