Blue Tree Syndrome

Don’t think of a blue tree!





What happened?

You thought of a blue tree, didn’t you?

The way that our minds work is that we seem to have to focus on the thing that we don’t want, and the more that we don’t want something, the more we focus on it. And this can have some rather unfortunate consequences, because what we focus on tends to grow in our experience.

So if we are dieting and tend to crave chocolate, saying to ourselves “don’t think of chocolate”, “I don’t want chocolate”, just brings chocolate into our mind more and more, thus increasing the craving.

In the area of relationships, we probably all know of someone who seems to go from one bad relationship to another, repeating the same mistakes each time. So if a someone has had some bad experiences with bullying men, for example, she really wants to avoid them, and her unconscious mind is primed to “keep an eye out for bullying men”. It does keep an eye out, so bullying men are all she notices. Her choices are severely limited as a result because all the decent men don’t even register: she doesn’t notice them. She is forced to pick from a bad bunch and the cycle continues.

Because our minds are having to deal with millions of pieces of information coming to us through all our senses every moment, and there’s no way that we can possibly pay attention to them all. There has to be a system in place to filter out and delete most of that information, allowing us to function as a human being and notice only the things that are important to us and our survival.

So it’s as if we have little computer programs, or apps, running in our minds, deciding for us what we will notice and what will be invisible to us. And although the subconscious mind is working in what it believes are our best interests, sometimes it gets things wrong and we can end up with the opposite of what was intended.

This has been described as the “Therapeutic Paradox” by Trevor Silvester, internationally renowned Cognitive Hypnotherapist, founder of the Quest Institute, and a good friend of mine.

So how do we help someone who is trying to avoid the chocolate, or trying to keep away from bullying men? Well we need to help the unconscious mind to understand that the way that it has been behaving is no longer useful or appropriate. It is doing the best it can, but it was mistaken in the meaning or belief that it attached to a past event, that led it to produce the current behaviour.

So maybe one of the ways in which a loving and doting granny demonstrated her love for a grandchild was by buying her sweets and the child decided this meant that “sweets = love”, and in stressful situations when the now grown-up child feels unloved, sweets are the solution. If we can remove the meaning that became attached to the Grandmother’s past behaviour, then the behaviour that resulted will also be removed.

Sometimes it can almost seem that there are two conflicting ‘parts’ working inside a person so, in the case of the woman with the bad relationships, on the one hand there is a part of her that realises that there are many decent, kind men out there who she could go out with, and another part of her that is afraid of all men and wants to avoid them. If we can encourage these ‘parts’ to acknowledge each other and work together to achieve her goal of a successful relationship with a good man, then she can move forward with her life.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy offers people with such problems the opportunity to move forward in their lives, leaving their problems behind, and it is surprising that even long-standing behaviours and unhelpful beliefs can be shifted in a short space of time.

Contact Taggart

If you have any questions about Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how I can help you now, hop over to my Contact Form, send me a message, and we can arrange a 20-30 minute Zoom chat about what I am going to be helping you with.

Click to arrange that chat now