Archive for the ‘Hypnotherapy & Counseling’ Category

Training with and Learning from the Best!

April 19, 2012

Couples & Family Therapy

Training with and Learning from the Best!

Dr.  Jeffrey Zeig is acknowledged as one of the leaders in the field of psychotherapy (counseling).

He has published more than 20 books, and has taught psychotherapy in 40 countries. He is the founder of, which is world renown for providing education for professionals. He has taught many Master Classes in New York City in the past years, which is an indication of its popularity. He also has taught Master Classes in Europe and Asia. They are only open to advanced clinicians and/or licensed health professionals who are trained in hypnosis.

These experiential Master classes are limited to 12 attendees (I happened to be one of them) – a condition which also applied to the course in Singapore some years ago when Dr Zeig came to Singapore.

The recent Seminar (April 2012) with Jeffrey K.Zeig, Ph.D was about ‘The utilization of Ericksonian Methods in Couples and Family Therapy’.

It became clear to me that Ericksonian methods offer ways to empower both individuals and (family) systems. In fact techniques from hypnosis, like reframing, posthypnotic suggestions without trance, and the use of imagery and metaphors, can be applied in systemic therapy – without the usage of ‘formal’ hypnosis. This approach is a perfect fit to John Gottman’s couples’ approach, who is renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction and Dr. Helen’s Fischer’s findings on the biological aspects of love (love as a drive not an emotion).


Jeffrey K. Zeig, Ph.D & Dr W.von Auer

Power up your Mind! – Cognitive Efficacy (HPB’s Mind Journey Programme)

April 15, 2012


Full House at Bishan NLB (14 April 2012) – Participants writing their Feedbacks

Power up your mind! Think Clearly!

Can’t find your apartment keys? Can’t remember your ATM -Pin? Can’t decide what to do in a challenging situation? When it comes to “thinking matters” boosting your memory and sharpen your thinking skills can be helpful to prevent memory loss or dementia.

Think clearly  and effectively in our daily living – this is what we call COGNITIVE EFFICACY.

It means being able to understand, analyse, plan, remember, and respond successfully to different situations. This includes adopting a step-by-step approach to challenges and in weighing the pros and cons of various courses of actions before making decisions. With good cognitive efficacy, we are able to make rational decisions and deal with life’s challenges effectively. We will also be able to achieve our goals.

This workshop makes people aware that there are many ways of looking at things as there are people. To function effectively you  need to be able to understand the way in which you interprets the world (and your life). Thus you have to become aware about what you think, what you see, how you interpret everyday events, people etc. In other words you need to understand your cognition or thoughts!

In this workshop Dr von Auer teaches you ‘how your thoughts tick’, ‘how to make the right decisions’, ‘how to improve your memory and boost your thinking capability and how to metally stimulate yourself’.

Here are some comments from participants:

“Dr Wolff is well versed in this area. He has presented this talk in a simple, easily understandable manner.He added humour to make the talk interesting”

“Thinking, Feeling, Behavior are the 3 key elements for mental wellbeing, Good workshop”


Mind Journey is a mental well-being programme for adults. Organised by the Health Promotion Board, the programme aims to provide individuals with know how and skills to optimise their well-being. Through a series of 4 workshops, participants will learn about mental well-being through role playing, videos, and humorous interactive activities. (For more info, visit:

Lose to Win – Mental Wellbeing Workshop

April 13, 2012

Getting started with ‘Goal setting’


Participants from Bukit Panjang CC

Dr von Auer, Singapore’s well-known motival speaker and Mind Counselor welcomed the participants to their ‘Weight Losing Journey’ also called ‘Lose to Win (LTW) Programme’. This HPB programme consists of 4 training sessions i.e. (1) Getting started: Goal Setting, (2) Self Esteem matters, (3) Emotion Matter, (4) Creative problem Solving and nutritional components as well as physical exercise element.

The 4 sessions are components of mental well-being and participants became in a very humorous way aware that only with good mental wellbeing one can achieve weight loss. Mastering or improving  these 4 components will help participants to achieve their goals for example weight loss or improving their blood pressure.

The participants were very motivated to achieve their weight loss targets and promised to remind themselves of their motivations, their reasons why they “do it now”. Many of the participants discovered the importance of setting effective goals. Initially many said, they want to lose weight but they didn’t specify how much weight, in what time and how they are going to do it.. They learned that the acronym ‘SMART’ is the answer for them to set effective goals.  SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable,Attainable, Realistic and Timely

As a homework they were requested  a) to spend some time setting themselves some programme goals, e.g.: what do you want to achieve at the end of the programme (lose 3 inches waistline, have an improved heart rate,  brisk walk 5 k without getting exhausted etc.)? What behavior do I want to change? They further were asked b) to monitor their physical, emotional and behavioral progress.



Creative problem Solving (4th Part of the ‘Lose to Win Programme’)

March 29, 2012

Albert Einstein is quoted as having said:

“If I had an hour to save the world
I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem
and one minute finding solutions”Image

Regrettably many people are running around spending sixty minutes finding solutions to irrelevant problems (that don’t matter).” They often are stuck in one problem and do not know how to step out of it (Which is another problem). Yes, every day we all are confronted with problems and thus our success rate of solving the issue is  depending on our mindset with which we approach the problem. Of course, we need a positive mindset and confidence to master the problem. Many people approach the problem with a negative mindset [e.g.: “My boss will say no to my request”, “I will not be able to solve this issue with my parents” ] – consequently they will not be able to creatively solve any problems.

Therefore, if we want things to be different we need to do things differently, think of things in different ways! We also call this attitude: “Think out of the box”, which requires to shift our outlook from what is always or usually done to what could be done!

In this fun filled workshop participants learnt the importance of understanding and defining the ‘real” problem to get “unstuck”. They easily have comprehended the importance of generating options when trying to solve the problem  (e.g: Do I do my excercise in the early morning, at lunch time or after working hours to maintain my healthy weight?). After that they were evaluating all their options in order to decide on a “best” solution (which is not always a perfect solution). Finally participants decided to implement a solution and promised to  revisit their decision from time to time  how it went.

“Another enjoyable and fruitful ‘Mental Wellbeing’ session with Dr Auer. Thanks for sharing the ‘Creative Problem solving’ with us”.


Another Feedback (10.04.2012):

“Hallo Dr Wolff. This is A…. here who attended LTW mental health class on tuesday at HPB. Thank you for your enlightenment on issues regarding self-esteem and identifying the root of problems. I really brought back with me a new fountain of knowledge after your class. Just to let you know you have made a difference in my life. Thank you =)”

Horrid Twin – Siblings! Depression & Anxiety!

September 11, 2011

Many People don’t know that they are depressed!

Something that touches me deeply at my counseling practice ( is the number of people who don’t know they are depressed. People are usually prompted to call for help not because of subjective feelings of depression or anxiety (or both), but because something is going wrong in their lives; their children won’t listen anymore, there is a marital problem, they are having trouble at work. But it often doesn’t take much digging to find that the caller has been depressed for long time. Thus the family problem, the job problem is a manifestation, not a cause of the depression. This is a person who feels almost no joy in life, who has no hope, no ambition, who feels stuck, who feels life stinks, powerless and continuously sad (or angry) – and who thinks this is the normal way to feel. But it’s not!         

 Is Depression a Self centeredness disease?

Many of my “depressed” clients experience intense feelings of hopelessness, a lack of self-esteem and an inability to concentrate or make any decisions. Usually, they have  lost their feelings for pleasure.

They often appear totally self-obsessed because their minds, and often their conversation keep returning to the same hurtful events and anxieties.

Quite often, relatives and others who care about the “depressed” person call it  ‘the self-centeredness disease’, because that is how it often appears to partners, family and friends. This perceived ‘self-absorption’ of the depressed person tends to make people draw back just when the sufferer desperately needs the help and care of others. This is partly the reason why depression can destroy family relationships and friendships. Thus it is important for family members, relatives, friends and supporters to not misunderstand the perceived self-absorption of the depressed and worried person as a ‘self-centeredness’ disease.

Undoing Anxiety  and Depression

Why do I  talk about undoing depression (this is also the title of a valuable and helpful book from Richard O’Connor) and anxiety?

Many people think that Depression takes away their entire energy and makes them lethargic, while Anxiety (as the other extreme) negatively pumps them up and makes them extremely afraid. People who suffer from Depression are often incapable of getting out of bed, whereas people who are suffering from Anxiety cannot sleep and wish it would be morning already in order to escape from the nightmare’s bed.

The Truth is that Depression and Anxiety often are horrid twin siblings!

Where one sibling is creating trouble, the other one is there too, to make life even more difficult!

For People who are Depressed, Anxiety is a multiplier of suffering and vise versa. In other words: Many of the symptoms of Depression and Anxiety overlap and it seems like one is endlessly caught in a trap of misery.

Unfortunately, the combination of Depression and Anxiety can be particularly severe, and many people don’t get the correct diagnosis and thus not the appropriate treatment.

The later can be avoided with the right selection of experienced health professionals, who must work together in the interest of the client  and a mixed bag of complementary, holistic treatment alternatives (e.g. Cognitive behavior therapy & Hypnosis, Medication, life style changes) for tackling both conditions.

The Girl Friend from Hell

September 6, 2011

Hypnotherapy (Counseling + Hypnosis) is quite effective in treating OCD

Andrew (not his real name) American lawyer, 42 years old good looking, became extremely obsessed with Fiona (not her real name), a 24 years old  stewardess (with a South East Asian Airline).  They broke up their stormy relationship many times – but he never was able to forget her and always started the relationship again by using every compulsive method possible: Stalking her with love laden, sweet, nasty, harsh, threatening SMSs, morally pressured her with phone calls every hour (how can you leave me after all the things I did for you?), followed her whenever possible and even visited her parents on a daily basis to make her feel bad and guilty. Consciously he knew that he had to end this unhealthy relationship and to stop these unwanted thoughts about her (Obsession). His behavior started to jeopardize his work moral and efficiency. His bosses gave him the friendly advice to simply forget her otherwise… Subconsciously he couldn’t get out of his mental and emotional trap – namely being still in love with her – despite all her flaws.

… And this is how he described “lovely” Fiona and their relationship:

1) She lied about the nature of her previous relationship – she said he was just dating him & never had intercourse. Later she admitted that they had intercourse!

2) She lied about the number of times she had intercourse with her first boyfriend – initially she said she had intercourse 5 times – but stopped because “they felt guilty as unmarried because of their religion”. She later admitted it was hundreds of times & she enjoyed it very much.

3) She is the most undependable person I have ever met when it comes to time commitments – for entire course of 3 years relationship – she always was late (sometimes hours).

4) She is the most finicky eater I have ever seen – compulsive checks to make sure anything she eats is Halal.

5) She is prone to fiery temper tantrums where her first reaction is to break-up, pictures are ripped up or turned backwards.

6) In the first half of our relationship, I constantly had problems with her staring at “handsome” strangers and head swiveling around to check out other guys. This behavior made many people uncomfortable and I have never seen anyone act so disrespectful.

7) She had a crush on my model housemate and flirted so overtly in front of other friends which caused major embarrassing incidents.

8) Upon meeting one of my good friends, she informed me (very seriously) that if we break up, she would like to “get to know him”. When I asked her if that implied that she would like to have sex with him – she replied that once we break up – she could do anything she wants and its none of my business anymore – even if it means having sex with one of my friends.

9) Her behavior towards me during breakups was vicious. She said incredible hurtful things, informed all of her friends of all (my) dirty laundry and always left a nuclear winter landscape that I always tried to patch up.

10) Once we were broken up, it was always me trying to rescue the relationship and bring her out of her dark hole.

11) Everything was always my fault and she was virtually incapable of saying sorry. She probably never apologized.

….but I still love her!

Andrew knew that his obsession and compulsion made no sense (as she has left him for good and moved to another country), but he couldn’t ignore or stop them.

That’s why he came seeing me. I have a great deal of experience with obsessive compulsive individuals (OCD) who are tearing themselves apart with their miserable thoughts. Andrew responded well to hypnotherapy sessions (cognitive behavior therapy +clinical hypnosis) which mainly focused on teaching him how to distract his mind from his obsession with Fiona and dwell on more positive and productive thoughts.

Final result:  A Phone call from Andrew: “I have a new girlfriend and I don’t think about Fiona anymore!

Meiling’s Surprising Revelation (Age-Regression)

August 10, 2011

"Miracle Chair"Since childhood – Meiling (not her real name) an attractive 27-year-old Singaporean woman felt sad, angry and guilty, in particular in the presence of her mother. Both frequently argued over small things. She often changed jobs and could not maintain stable relationships with any men. She had been seeing several psychologists and a psychiatrist, who all diagnosed her as “clinical depressed”. Following their advice she swallowed the prescribed antidepressant – but her feelings didn’t change at all over the next half-year.

Then she came to see me and asked for help. During the first session of Hypnotherapy – which is the combination of counseling (Psychotherapy) and clinical Hypnosis – she began to regress. On my request she began to describe her environment. M: I’m swimming. Dr: Are you swimming in a pool – A lake or the sea? M: Neither of them – it is so dark here. The texture of the water feels so strange. I can’t see much;  oh to me floats a baby doll without hairs . And in front of me there is a small opening through  which  I can hear  my father  frantically arguing with my grandmother. Grandma is constantly shaking her head and my mother is screaming painfully loud.

After her reorientation into the here and now, I asked her what she makes of this trance experience. She hesitated for a moment and then answered:”I believe I just have relived my birth. The water, in which I was “swimming” was not pool or sea water – but amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus”.

In fact Meiling had experienced herself in her mother’s womb on the day of labor. And the screaming of the mother was cause by her painful contractions.  I further probed her: What about the baby doll floating next to you? M: Maybe it wasn’t a doll but a twin sibling. Dr: But if that’s so where is the sibling now?

And then it burst out of her: My parents always emphasized that they only can afford 2 children. I have an older brother already! Therefore 3 kids would be too much –Maybe my parents picked me over the other sibling and let him die. This also explains the hefty discussion between my father and my grandmother. Maybe my grandma wanted both children while my father only wanted a girl – me. And if this is so, then I know why I’m permanently depressed, angry and have feelings of guilt – because then I was the reason for the death of my twin sibling.

I calmed her down and suggested that she asks her mother what really happened.

And as I anticipated this was the outcome of the story: Her mother was extremely surprise being confronted with the question of a possible twin sibling. Meiling’s mother never had told anybody that she not only gave birth to Meiling but also to a twin who died some minutes later on that day.

Nowadays Meiling has a very good relationship with her parents.  She is happy to know that she was not chosen over her brother’s fate and thus not the reason for the death of her twin. Today she feels good about herself and has become a successful financial advisor. Last but not least she entered into a well-functioning relationship with a nice man.

M: Client Meiling

Dr:  Dr Auer