and Hypnosis

sex, lies and hypnosis
lisa and phil (4/4)
22.00–23.00

This fascinating series features warring couples who are in the midst of relationship crises. The couples undergo therapy with top UK hypnotherapist Ursula James, who uses her skills to unlock her subjects’ deepest secrets and reveal the raw truth about their feelings for one another. In tonight’s final programme, Lisa and Phil from Brampton come to Ursula as a last resort when their marriage reaches breaking point.

Intensive-care nurse Lisa and business manager Phil met five years ago via an internet dating site. They have since had two children, but their life together has not been as they had hoped. When their elder son was born four years ago, Lisa suffered a bout of postnatal depression and has been on prescribed medication ever since. Finding it tough to cope with his wife’s condition, Phil often stays late at the office, complaining that the tension at home has become unbearable. “It’s very difficult to love her when she’s the way she is,” says Phil. With their children now feeling the effects of the hostility at home, Lisa and Phil have come to Ursula James for help: “Hypnotherapy is the last resort for us,” says Lisa. However, the treatment will reveal the darkest moments from the couple’s pasts, and the experience will change their relationship forever.

As he prepares for his first session, an apprehensive Phil says that he wants to regain the passion in his relationship, explaining that the current absence of intimacy in his marriage serves as a real stumbling block. While his brain activity is monitored on an EEG machine, Ursula takes him into a hypnotic trance. Here, Phil relives a painful episode from his childhood when he and his family moved from London to Ireland, much against his wishes. Never understanding the reason for the upheaval, Phil has felt anger and frustration ever since and has never properly dealt with the emotions surrounding the event. “Is it time to let that anger go?” asks Ursula.

Phil is quick to understand the implications of his treatment. Since having to change schools as a young child, he was bullied throughout the rest of his education and coped by hiding his emotions. This strategy has continued into his adult life, and he now finds himself shutting Lisa out. In order to move forward in his marriage, he must first deal with the issues from his past, so he sets about phoning his father to unearth the real reasons for the family’s move, all those years ago.

While Phil seems to be making good progress, Lisa feels under great pressure to make the therap a success. Before her session with Ursula, she explains that she wants to work through her stress levels and bad moods, using the powerful image of being dragged into the mud to describe her current condition. What emerges while she is under hypnosis, however, is a jumble of confused images, suggesting fear, insecurity and anger. It is not until she wakes up again that she can address the shocking memory that seems to be the trigger for many of her current problems.

Some days after the treatment, Phil and Lisa’s relationship takes a turn for the worse. “Phil appears to be moving ahead at a consistent rate,” explains Ursula, but Lisa’s lack of progress has led to her feeling resentment and guilt. Then, Lisa hits rock bottom: suspecting that her anti-depressants may be responsible for her poor development, she goes against the advice of both Ursula and her GP, and reduces her dose. “I see someone who is selfsabotaging,” says a worried Ursula. The next stage of the treatment is for Lisa and Phil to come together to watch each other’s therapy sessions on video, in the hope that they can each understand the other’s problems.

However, the couple barely react to seeing one another in painful situations, leading Ursula to reflect that they are not working at all as a couple. “The plan at this point is to get them connecting,” she says. But with six of the 12 weeks of treatment already gone, is it a case of too little, too late for Lisa and Phil?

sex, lies and hypnosis
linda and gary (3/4)
22.00–23.00

Bringing relationship hypnotherapy to the screen, this fascinating series features warring couples who are in the midst of relationship crises. The couples undergo therapy with top UK hypnotherapist Ursula James, who uses her skills to unlock her subjects’ deepest secrets and reveal the raw truth about their feelings for one another. The process forces them to confront the issues they have been repressing, with sometimes explosive results. Tonight’s programme focuses on Linda and Gary, a couple from Stevenage whose once passionate relationship is falling apart.

Gary and Linda’s four-year partnership is at an alltime low. Among their numerous problems, they list sex as the most damaging: while Linda has tried many things to keep her partner interested, none have worked, and an overworked Gary sometimes falls asleep during intercourse. Gary is also a compulsive teller of white lies, such that Linda and the children feel they cannot trust him. “Gary’s got all the traits that I hate,” says Linda. But Linda has quirks of her own, and spends much of her time obsessively cleaning the house. As a last resort, Linda and Gary have come to Ursula for help.

Ursula will put her subjects through an intensive 12-week treatment course to access hidden emotions and memories that might be damaging their relationship, but they are in for a tough ride. “It does come as something of a shock that they are the ones who have to put the work in,” says Ursula, explaining that her hypnotherapy is no easy fix.

Once she has assessed their case, Ursula embarks upon the hypnosis sessions. First to be treated is Gary who hopes to regain the love and passion in his relationship, and for the arguing to stop. Gary realises that he must change, but explains that work commitments leave him too tired to meet Linda’s needs. When he is hypnotised, however, he reveals a different issue: Gary experiences intense feelings of betrayal rooted in a past relationship which ended when his partner cheated on him. After the session, an emotional Gary feels hurt and admits that he is “scared to trust anyone” after being betrayed. “Do you think it’s time to let it go?” asks Ursula.

Next to undergo treatment is Linda, but she seems more reluctant to open up while hypnotised. When she wakes up, she is very upset and is overwhelmed by a jumble of images of anger, fear and confusion. Ursula tries again and this time makes her subject confront a shocking memory: it emerges that many years ago, Linda had an abortion and has never properly dealt with the emotional consequences. “I know it doesn’t feel like it now,” says Ursula to a tearful Linda, “but you’ve taken a really big step.” It seems that before Linda can move on in her present relationship, she must grieve for the child she lost all those years ago.

The following day, Ursula brings the pair together to show them video footage of their hypnosis sessions from the previous day. Gary clearly finds it quite difficult to see Linda upset, but benefits from witnessing her confront her past. “You’re going to have the person you first met back,” he promises.

Some days later, the treatment seems to have had a positive effect, with Linda and Gary relating to one another in a totally different way. Spending more time with each other and talking properly for the first time, the pair seem to be willing to work through their difficulties. Additionally, Linda no longer cleans obsessively: her strict regime was an expression of her need for control, but she is now confident she has achieved control in other, more significant areas of her life. Halfway through the course, Ursula is pleased with the couple’s progress: “There is potential there for a very, very good relationship,” she predicts. However, with another six weeks of treatment left, the couple’s journey is far from over.

sex, lies and hypnosis
darren and antoinette (2/4)
22.00–23.00

Bringing relationship hypnotherapy to the screen, this new series features warring couples who are in the midst of relationship crises. The couples undergo therapy with top UK hypnotherapist Ursula James, who uses her skills to unlock the couples’ deepest secrets and reveal the raw truth about their feelings for one another. The process forces them to confront the issues they have been repressing, with sometimes explosive results. Tonight’s programme focuses on Darren and Antoinette, a couple trying to save their marriage before it has even taken place.

Drama teacher Antoinette and project manager Darren are due to marry in just four months, but they constantly bicker. A past incident the two dare not discuss has severely damaged their relationship, and they now find themselves at breaking point. They turn to Ursula for help, hoping that in the next 12 weeks, she can help them turn their relationship around. Their journey, however, is going to be something of a rollercoaster ride.

Antoinette tends to blame herself for most of the couple’s relationship problems, saying that they always argue because she keeps pushing Darren and trying to control him. She does not take criticism well and has very low self-esteem, convincing herself that her partner is only marrying her because he is afraid of being alone.

Darren also seems to blame their relationship difficulties on Antoinette. “She can be quite controlling,” he explains, but adds: “I don’t think she knows she’s doing it.” A simple trip to the shops to buy wedding rings lasts five hours, but ends in failure, with the pair deciding to look for the rings separately. “These two do not look like a couple,” says Ursula on watching video footage of the couple’s interaction. “She doesn’t trust Darren to do anything”. For this couple, communication is the greatest stumbling block and Ursula is determined to get to the bottom of the problem.

Treating both parties separately to allow them to talk freely, Ursula first goes in search of unresolved events in Antoinette’s past which might have a connection with her current behaviour. While under hypnosis, Antoinette describes being alone in the dark as a child – leading Ursula to surmise that this particular feeling may be responsible for her lack of self-confidence today.

In Darren’s first session, Ursula unearths deeprooted feelings of frustration, vulnerability and loneliness. These emotions occur frequently in his relationship with Antoinette, and are associated with his strong sense of justice.

After their sessions, Antoinette and Darren feel very raw from their hypnosis and experience a communication breakdown that lasts several days. “Neither is willing to break the stalemate because then it becomes about power,” Ursula explains. In order to find the root of their problems and get the couple talking again, Ursula sets up further sessions in which she intends to go deeper into their pasts. During Antoinette’s hypnosis, Ursula unearths an incident that occurred two years previously and hangs like a dark cloud over the couple’s relationship.

Ursula suspects that the only way the couple can move forward in their relationship is if they look back to the past and openly discuss the traumatic event –for the very first time. Will confronting it bring them closer? And will Antoinette be able to finally believe in the depth of Darren’s feelings for her? “I love her enough to want to sort this out,” says an emotional Darren.

sex, lies and hypnosis
clair and woody (1/4)
22.00–23.00

Bringing relationship hypnotherapy to the screen, this brand new series features warring couples who are in the midst of relationship crises. The couples undergo therapy with top UK hypnotherapist Ursula James, who uses her skills to unlock the couples’ deepest secrets, and reveal the raw truth about their feelings for one another. The process forces them to confront the issues they have been repressing, with sometimes explosive results. In the first programme we meet Clair and Woody, a young couple who are living apart because of their ferocious arguments.

Clair and Woody have been together for four years and have an 18-month-old daughter, Casa. However, their once-happy relationship has been transformed by months of escalating fighting. With their relationship now at breaking point, Clair and her daughter have moved to escape the pressure of life with Woody.

Ursula James aims to tackle the root of the couple’s problems over twelve weeks of intense hypnotherapy and task-setting. She believes that by digging deep into their subconscious minds and unlocking repressed memories, she can help Woody understand his anger and Clair her need for control. “Sometimes,” she explains, “people don’t want to accept responsibility for their own problems. Hypnosis confronts them with the fact that it is their responsibility – so then they have a choice to do something about it.”

During her sessions, Ursula employs EEG technology to monitor the brainwaves of her subjects. Using a graphic display to indicate levels of activity and relaxation within the brain, Ursula can tell when a subject is in a state of trance, and can pinpoint when a person is reliving a particularly traumatic past experience.

First to undergo Ursula’s treatment is Clair, who is taken back to her troubled past before Woody. The session exposes deeply rooted memories and an intense lack of control. Ursula believes that confronting these painful memories will help Clair move on, ultimately overcoming the emotional ‘hangover’ she has been unable to shake off in her conscious life. Clair also believes that remembering a period in which she was powerless will help her understand her current need to control situations with Woody.

Woody proves a more difficult subject. He resists the process at first, explaining that he is worried about what the treatment may uncover: “There are a few things that… I’d rather keep private,” he says. But Ursula manages to earn his trust, and tells him that some memories are “better out than in.” Taking him deep into his subconscious, she begins to unlock the source of Woody’s anger and quick temper. However, it will take many further sessions to get him to come to terms with his past, which, like Clair’s, was dominated by violence and feelings of helplessness.

As the treatment draws to a close, it is clear that Clair and Woody’s relationship has improved. In order to ensure that their past problems are gone forever, Ursula invites them to sit down together as a couple to watch a video of their sessions. “You are no longer the people that you are about to see,” she explains. Having come to know themselves and each other better through their time with Ursula, it is now up to Woody and Clair to apply what they have learned to make their relationship work. “I still don’t completely understand it,” says a happy Clair of her treatment, some weeks later, “but it has helped us so much.”

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