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Exclusive Interview: Carla Marcos López’s Journey Of Passion And Purpose

Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview

 

Carla Marcos López is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who practices Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, helping her clients use their minds to their advantage so that they can find their unique balance and bring more of what they want into their lives.

 

Alongside her passion for hypnotherapy, Carla is also a Lawyer and a Qualified Nurse. Being a qualified nurse, her delivery as a hypnotherapist combines her knowledge of how the mind works, together with a caring and holistic approach that takes into account the interconnection of body and mind. This, taken together with her lawyer’s solution-focused approach, drives Carla’s enthusiasm to work with clients and help them achieve their goals so that they can start living their best lives as soon as possible.

 

Carla is a firm believer that improving a person’s emotional state also helps improve the lives of those around them. She absolutely loves to see her clients not only finding their unique balance but also becoming an example of positive change for others; their families, friends, co-workers, and ultimately an inspiration for the wider community.

 

Carla speaks several languages and offers hypnotherapy services globally online.


Carla Marcos López
Carla Marcos López

Can you start by telling us about your business?


Yes, of course. I am the owner of Carla Marcos Hypnotherapy. In one sentence, my business is how I earn a living from offering hypnotherapy services driven by purpose and fuelled by passion! :) I carry out my business working as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. I practise Solution Focused hypnotherapy, which is a modern psychotherapeutic approach based on the latest research in neuroscience and the most effective psychotherapeutic techniques.


It is the use of hypnosis that makes it so very effective and quick. I believe it is the best tool available to help people make significant positive changes in their lives in a relatively short period of time. It is also a pleasant experience because whilst in trance state our minds relax, and can focus on thoughts and suggestions that can be extremely beneficial. I help clients suffering from a wide range of conditions such as anxiety disorders, low mood, depression, insomnia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic pain, fears and phobias. I also help many clients who are very functional in their lives but want to work on themselves because they are not happy with just surviving. They want more from life. They want to live well and thrive. They might want to learn how to better manage their stress levels or their weight, build their confidence, be ready for peak performance (at work, performing arts, or sports), unleash their creativity, find their purpose, reconnect with themselves, quit bad habits, reduce procrastination in order to achieve their goals, or make significant changes or decisions in their lives.


I would say that my business offers services in two main areas. The first is in treating specific conditions and the second is more focused on personal development. More often than not they are interlinked. For example, sometimes we can see that the stress response that is obscuring a client’s talent from shining through in the workplace is rooted in a certain fear. In such cases, by neutralizing this phobic response we are helping improve their work performance as a result. I get great satisfaction from seeing my clients improve their state of mind, overcome their difficulties, and start to enjoy life in ways they never thought possible. In essence, I run a heart business about which I feel very passionate that also provides me with a living, and helps me find my unique work-life balance, which works beautifully for myself and my clients.


Could you share a bit about your journey so far? What made you want to become a clinical hypnotherapist?


For me, it was more like professionalizing my hobby. I had been toying with the idea of having my own business for a while and had a wish list of it being purposeful, sustainable, creative, enjoyable, something that could make a difference, give me independence and flexible working hours, and give me the ability to use my skills. So, after a career as a Lawyer working for the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to retrain as a Clinical Hypnotherapist. I come from a family of mental health professionals and I have always been interested in the study of the human mind and behavior. I am also a Qualified Nurse, and so I have a medical background.


As I say, the mental health professions are disciplines very familiar to me. In my family, we have a neurologist, a psychiatrist and two psychologists. My father worked as a clinical psychologist and had a vast library on the subject. I really enjoyed learning about the workings of the mind from an early age. So you could say that it wasn’t a radical change for me. I suppose that I had reached sufficient maturity which helped to ignite the dormant potential within me. I really enjoy the job. The transformations that I witness in people every day never cease to amaze me, I feel very privileged to be part of such a beautiful process.


What makes you different from other hypnotherapists? What would you say makes the work you do different and so effective?


I am different from other hypnotherapists in the same way that other hypnotherapists are different from me because we are different people :). I bring to my work my unique personality, life experience and extensive knowledge. Not just about the workings of the mind but, given my other professions, also about how our bodies function in interconnection with our minds and how we should go about in the corporate and business world. All of this envelops my very own personal signature. Other hypnotherapists bring their own uniqueness to their work. It is the client’s choice to pick the best fit for them.


I practice Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. One of the main reasons this therapeutic approach is so effective is that it combines psychotherapy and hypnosis. As well as using hypnosis and neuroscience research I use anything else that works from the various theories of psychology, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), systemic psychology, interpersonal, psychodynamic, humanistic-existential, evolutionary psychology, human givens approach, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), as well as many tools from Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). Circumstances allowing, I also use humor.


The client is a key element of the process since the therapeutic alliance is a collaborative effort. I believe that education plays a very important role. It helps people to understand themselves and why they feel as they do. This automatically reduces some of the anxiety experienced from feeling out of control.


I help my clients to tap into their inner resources, giving them tools for the future so that they can emotionally self-regulate. By helping them to access areas of their brain that are often unused they can also discover their potential.


Hypnotherapy is a very pleasant experience of self-discovery, where science meets art. I use a lot of stories, metaphors and case studies, which our subconscious mind loves, and we often remember these better than the scientific data they illustrate. Hypnosis is the perfect culmination of the whole session structure, allowing us to make all the necessary associations and providing the ideal context to rethink old patterns of thought and behaviour, and to focus on how we would like things to be going forward.


The whole structure of a hypnotherapy session is carefully planned. I trained with the gold standard of hypnotherapy schools in the country, which provided excellent training. When I was a student I had the fantastic opportunity to see what happens in the brain through electroencephalogram imaging (EEG) whilst a session was being conducted. That’s why I know what will happen in my client’s brain at each stage of a session. I do a lot of work behind the scenes, thinking about where my client wants to go and how to get them there fast but solid. So I do prepare, but I improvise a lot too, because you never know what’s going to happen, and perhaps something that your client says or needs changes the whole direction of that day’s session.


I use what is called ‘non-voyeuristic techniques’, since ‘voyeuristic techniques’ can often retraumatize a client and keep them stuck, as they involve negative introspection about themselves or their past, which will increase their anxiety. So I work with what my client gives me. Some people are very open, whilst others are more private, but I can still help them, since this approach works especially well with those who are less used to sharing their emotions, as we do not focus on the problem but rather on the solution. Solutions always come to mind more easily, especially when we are nicely relaxed, and not consciously focusing on the problem.


We are talking brief therapy here and I always offer the service that I would like to receive. So, although I always give an estimate of the number of sessions that might be required after an Initial Consultation, the number of sessions is always the decision of the client, as we scale their progress every week and they can regularly assess how they are feeling. I believe that clients know what they need.


You could say that I am not doing myself any favors, as I do all that I possibly can to get my clients back on track, independent and empowered as soon as possible, leaving them with built-in tools for the future that they will be able to access again and again when they need to. But this is what I believe in and how I want to work. I get a lot of referrals from happy clients for doing a good job, so we could say that it has worked pretty well for me! There’s nothing I like more than to see my clients achieving their goals and living a happier and healthier life.


Carla Marcos López
Carla Marcos López

What's the hardest part of your job, and what makes you happiest about doing it?


Something that I have learned to manage, which used to be frustrating for me in the past, was seeing with crystal clear clarity the beautiful people that my clients are and their massive potential for positive change beyond their stress responses when at the initial point of their treatment they cannot possibly imagine how things are going to change for the better in just a few weeks. They are still in a state of fight or flight. Being in survival mode they cannot possibly contemplate the possibility of improvement just yet.


As much as I would love to tell them that positive change is just around the corner, I know that initially, they might not believe it. I have to be patient, follow the process and do my job. As soon as their limbic system starts to relax they will begin to experience improvement for themselves. The hardest part is probably working with a client feeling so low that they are engaging in suicidal ideation until you can stabilize them. It is also difficult when your client is a minor who is dependent on irresponsible adults, and who has no control over their environment. You can still help and do your best to give them useful coping strategies in the meantime, but they are still not yet independent and fully capable of making their own decisions.


What I do is transformational work, and what makes me happiest is seeing how quickly my clients start feeling better and achieving their goals week by week. I love to see when they start looking different on the outside, which indicates that changes are taking place on the inside. Their faces start looking more relaxed, their self-expression flows freely as they become more aligned with who they truly are, and they glow!


It makes me happy when...


  • ...a client who had writer’s block tells me that they have been able to think creatively and write for 6 hours uninterrupted.

  • a client who could not leave the house because they could not tolerate street noises is able to go out and says that they can now notice and enjoy the beauty of birdsong.

  • a client who had been terrified at the thought of their upcoming musical performance sent me a photo of them standing proudly alone and confidently performing in front of their audience.

  • a client tells me that they are no longer emotionally triggered by the comments of a certain person who intends to cause them distress and are able to respond to the situation calmly.

  • a client achieves a sporting feat that they could only dream about before.

  • a client goes from not being able to get out of bed and being deep in depression to buying themselves a car and finding a new job after just a few sessions.

  • a client who has been through a difficult break-up tells me they are ready to go out on a date again.

  • a client who wasn’t able to control their alcohol intake tells me that they went to an event and there was a free bar and they had the sufficient intellectual control to have only two drinks.

  • a client begins to lose the weight that was starting to cause them health issues.

  • a client can finally find peace and a solid night’s sleep after a traumatic experience.

  • a client tells me that they no longer need to engage in time-consuming ritualizations and can now leave the house on time and without fear.

  • a client who loved traveling but had stopped owing to travel sickness tells me that they have traveled to another continent and taken various means of transport whilst they were there, and had a fantastic time...


...and I could go on and on! and this happens every day!


The ultimate reward is when a client finishes their hypnotherapy course and are ready to face life by themselves, feeling well-equipped with the necessary tools, and prepared to deal with whatever life throws at them.


I also love it when a client tells me that people around them have noticed their positive changes, as this means that they will also be a positive influence on those they come in contact with, and so the ripple effect of positive change goes on! Blame it on the mirror neurons!


Can you share a story where you really helped someone change?


I would love to! I have so many that it is hard to choose. I am going to tell you about a hypnotherapy client who is also a fellow lawyer and who was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His main goal was to be able to manage his OCD responses, which were getting in the way of his work performance, obstructing his career path and preventing his abundant talent from shining through. He has very kindly consented for me to talk about our work together here, and he openly discusses it during an interview that you can find on my YouTube Channel – Carla Marcos Hypnotherapy.


Manel Atserias Luque is a very kind and intelligent young man, and passionate about Law. Through various well-known organizations, he is also an advocate for mental health and its destigmatization, the support of young people making their way into society, and the promotion of good practices in the legal sector and business in general. I will introduce him to you in the way in which he would introduce himself. Manel would say: I am a man of Law, 33 years old, from Barcelona (Spain) who has learned to live with a mental health condition, and who is in love with law, financial education and information, and communications technology.


Manel had clear personal and professional goals but found that his OCD responses were interfering with the achievement of these goals. Throughout the process, thanks to our strong therapeutic alliance and Manel’s fierce determination:


  • Manel was able to understand how his brain worked when producing the OCD responses and devised his own personal way and inner dialogue to deal with life situations when he felt that an event or thought pattern might trigger an unwanted response or specific ritualization.

  • He was able to be very productive and work on a major legal study without mental interruptions for the first time, and he was able to meet all deadlines.

  • He was able to relax his need for absolute perfection in his work, reducing his procrastination and increasing his productivity as a result.

  • He said he was very motivated by having broken through a barrier that he thought he never could, and that it felt as if he had been reborn. This motivated him to progress in his career because he could now see that he could keep achieving new goals in just the same way that he had achieved the original goals he had set at the beginning of his hypnotherapy course.

  • In his own words, the greatest achievement for him in the work we did, was to have found inner peace for the first time in his life. It was an immense pleasure working with Manel and seeing him achieve so much in 12 sessions, and I am very grateful to him for sharing his experience in the consulting room and helping me make my work more widely known.


Manel Atserias Luque & Carla Marcos López
Manel Atserias Luque & Carla Marcos López

You work online. It seems rather extraordinary that you are able to do that with such excellent results. How does this work?


Online hypnotherapy is just as effective, and in some cases can be even more effective, than face-to-face therapy. For example, with clients suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some clients experience panic attacks when they are outside the house. In such cases, online hypnotherapy is a lifesaver until they are able to venture outside. Sometimes just leaving the safety of their bedroom can be a challenge.


Many of my clients travel regularly for work or leisure and for them it is great to be able to log on from wherever they are in the world and not miss their session (time zone allowing!). It also helps them relax by allowing them to be in a comfortable and familiar environment of their choice. Also, if they don’t have any immediate commitments after their session they can choose to go to sleep straight after trance. This is particularly beneficial for clients suffering from insomnia.


Clients also avoid the stress of having to drive or use public transport to get to a clinic, and some would rather be discrete about the issues they are working on and in this way, they don’t have to run the risk of meeting a neighbor in a clinic waiting room. Furthermore, clients suffering from travel sickness, for obvious reasons, are very pleased that they don’t have to travel to see me!


Finally, it allows clients keen on working specifically with me to do so. Thanks to the remote element, language and time zone allowing, this can be a reality. I wouldn’t go as far as talking about other countries in which I work regularly, but also since I live in a semi-rural town in the North of England, I often see people who live in the countryside who want to work with a good hypnotherapist but who are very happy to avoid traveling into town every time they have a hypnotherapy session. I also have clients in London who are very pleased to have a session with me at Northern prices rather than at London prices!


What advice would you give to someone trying hypnotherapy for the first time to make sure they get the most out of it?


Make sure that you choose a professional that you feel you can work with and that their message resonates with you. Research has shown that therapists themselves are more effective than the techniques they use. It is mainly the person that we are that is able to help our clients. Obviously, qualifications are important, as are the techniques we use, but when it comes to close human interaction make sure you feel comfortable and it feels right for you. Once you are ready to work with somebody who feels right for you, you already trust them. So, just relax and trust the process. Your hypnotherapist will take you where you want to go. Enjoy the journey!


What do you think is going to happen in hypnotherapy in the future, and how are you preparing for that?


I’ve been asked this question a few times recently. At the moment, I don’t think that future changes will affect the essentials of the discipline itself much. Perhaps some of the ways in which it is delivered will be helped by the development of AI tools. For example, simultaneous translation as you are giving an online conference with attendees from around the world.


A good therapeutic alliance between therapist and client is key. In any form of therapeutic work human interaction is an essential element in helping a client’s recovery. A therapeutic relationship is based on trust. As I mentioned when answering your previous question, research has shown that it is the therapist themself, rather than the technique that they use that most help their clients to improve.


In the Harlow experiments conducted in the 1960s with infant monkeys and surrogate mothers made with wire, wood, rubber and cloth. The infant monkeys chose to spend significantly more time with the cloth mother than with the wire mother. By definition, a non-human or technically generated pseudo-human cannot provide a genuine human interaction. It can probably get close, like the cloth mother, but it will always miss ‘the human factor’.


When it comes to one’s own mind I would personally like to make sure that I am in the best possible hands. How frustrating it is when you have a problem with say, your mobile phone, and you call a helpdesk and are sent from voice message to chatbot or vice versa! And this is just a device we are talking about, imagine it being your mind in distress!


I am preparing to continue to be the best hypnotherapist that I can possibly be, aided by emerging technology to make the structure that supports my work and business more efficient, but never replacing the personal delivery of hypnotherapy services with a clone!


How do you keep learning and growing in your job? Are there any books, courses, or routines you recommend?


I regularly attend supervision sessions. Even though after 3 years in practice it is no longer a requirement, I find the supervision very valuable. I normally attend group sessions run by my excellent supervisor, who has a wealth of knowledge and experience, and from whom I have learned so much. These sessions are the perfect space for us therapists to help each other by sharing our experiences in the consulting room but always bound by our duty of confidentiality. We also share neuroscientific articles we have read and found interesting, and books or courses we have attended.


I also attend CPDs. They are a great way to continue to learn and develop in your profession and in those topics you are particularly keen on. It is great to keep up to date with the latest trends and a fantastic opportunity to catch up with other colleagues. I’ve always loved reading and also happen to love what I do for a living, so it is very usual to see me reading about hypnosis, psychology and anthropology, but also about business, law & politics, city planning & architecture, languages & communication, cooking & baking, travel, art, cinema and fashion. My advice would be to read what you like and enjoy, because to keep learning and growing in your job, you don’t just learn from textbooks, you learn from other people’s experiences, even from fictional characters. I would encourage you to keep an open and curious mind and widen your knowledge in any areas that interest you. Reading and continuing to learn new things do wonders for the brain, creating new neural pathways and helping us realize that we have so many more options to explore than we might have thought possible.


Physical exercise is a potent ally for our brain. I love swimming, but the reality of work and family life means that I don’t go to the pool as often as I would like. But even if it is a very busy day, I always aim for about an hour on my exercise bike at home before the day starts. Starting the day with 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise is fantastic, and keeps your brain neurochemically balanced. I do get a lot of my messaging done at the same time! because as soon as work begins, my phone is muted until client work is finished. For me, managing online communications is essential to avoid unnecessary distractions and keep focused on the priorities of the day and my clients. I also try to be in a trance state for at least 30 minutes a day for a mini-brain- reset. This is very beneficial to relax the limbic system and access those parts of the brain where our solutions reside. Hope this helps :)


How do you manage your work life and your personal life without getting too stressed?


Relaxation and prioritization are key. Relaxation, because when we are relaxed we are able to make a proper assessment of situations. Life is uncertain and ambiguous for us all but we are perfectly equipped to deal with this, especially when we are relaxed and our stress levels are low. Prioritization, because in the modern world, we lead busy lives and can get easily overwhelmed if we are not careful. Inhabiting overstimulating environments means that we may struggle to attend to all the demands we are exposed to on a daily basis. So choosing what deserves our attention and what doesn’t is an essential skill to develop which is intimately connected to feeling relaxed in the first place. In a calm state, we generally know what we need to do in any given situation.


As I said before, physical exercise is great for the brain, but when that is not possible, engaging in another activity you enjoy will do wonders for you and produce the neurotransmitters that will help keep your brain neurochemically balanced.


And positive interaction is a must. I thank my lucky stars for having been blessed with extraordinary friends. Just a quick phone call with a dear friend or a jokey exchange on WhatsApp can change your mood straight away and brighten your day when life happens! So, looking after the important people in your life and interacting with them is one of the main pillars of a happy and healthy life. I practice what I preach. So positive activity, interaction and thinking, as well as a good night’s sleep, are essential ingredients to maintain a happy and healthy work-life balance. Work-life balance doesn’t have to be 50%-50%, it just needs to work for you. Your life, your unique balance, and your work-life %!


What would you like to say to our readers who might be thinking about trying hypnotherapy or training to be a hypnotherapist themselves?


Find the right hypnotherapist or hypnotherapy school for you, and just do it!


Are there any particular conditions that you like to treat or a particular type of client that you enjoy working with?

 

I am happy to work with any type of client. Due to my corporate background and my other professions, and being a business owner myself, I often see clients who are legal or health professionals (including other therapists), corporate clients and business owners. Very frequently these corporate clients are also business owners who are experiencing the pressures of balancing their day job whilst at the same time trying to find the time to focus on their businesses or consultancy services outside of the day job, and their families.

 

I also see many clients who want to achieve peak performance, whether in the performing arts, workplace or in sport. For example, actors or musicians who have developed stage fright, or writers who want to reconnect with their creativity.

 

I love diversity, and I really enjoy working with clients from all backgrounds, occupations and ages. The thing that I enjoy the most is to work with those who want to do the work and who are willing to make positive changes in their lives. I would say that this is the main thing necessary for a successful outcome and for a fantastic therapeutic alliance. This enables us to build new, healthier and more satisfactory paradigms so that my clients can achieve the fulfilling and joyful lives they desire.



For more info, follow Carla on Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn and visit her website!

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