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The National Council of Psychotherapists

Est. 1971





Deborah V Evans  LNCP, Adv CP AMT, D.Psy, D.Hyp,


A couple of friends came round for a get together and whilst talking we got onto the subject of bad habits and I said how hypnosis can help break habits.  So Steven (not his real name) said would it help him with biting his nails, as he had done it since he was a child and was desperate to stop, but nothing had ever worked.  I asked if he had tried hypnosis and he responded he had never been hypnotised.


I took Steven through an introduction of what hypnosis is, followed by a long induction, deepeners and then used a nail biting script from Valerie Austin’s book Self Hypnosis¹.  Half way through the script I noticed that a tear had started to roll down Steven’s face, by the time I was three-quarters of the way through the script the tears were steadily flowing – an abreaction had occurred.  I completed the script knowing there was more to Steven’s nail biting than he had realised; so I brought him out of hypnosis with extremely positive and calming words.


As soon as Steven opened his eyes I said that I wanted to tap around his face, upper body and hands and that I wanted him to just listen to what I would be saying which he nodded his agreement whilst the tears continued to flow; all this took place in a matter of seconds.  I started with the Sore Spot on Steven’s chest saying “Even though I am crying about nail biting I deeply and completely accept myself”, I then started to tap points on his face, upper body and hands.  After just one round he suddenly said he felt much calmer and the tears stopped.


I asked Steven what had happened.  He replied that whilst under hypnosis he could see his father hitting his hands whenever he reached out to him, he saw his father hitting his hands every time he asked for anything, he saw his father hitting his hands if he was naughty and he saw his father hitting his hands whenever his father got drunk.  Steven then admitted that he had felt complete and utter rage and had wanted to hit out even at me, but that the moment I started to tap he felt the rage diminish – he asked how could it disappear so quickly.  I asked how he felt and he responded that he still felt very emotional and angry at his father’s treatment of him, but not the rage.


I then told Steven (before going through what had happened and whilst the emotions were still in place) that I would want to do some more tapping.  We went through each emotion, with Steven rating each one 0 to 10 (SUDS level) and with Steven tapping on himself and me along with him Steven was amazed at the speed and then the clarity he felt within himself as each one came down.  After all the emotions had been brought down to levels that Steven was happy with, he was able to relate the story of his relationship with his father which at that point had meant Steven had no contact with his father for several years. 


I explained that I had used Meridian Therapy, which entailed tapping on acupuncture points within the body and that “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system”².  Steven said that he felt totally different inside and that this could only be positive for him, his wife and especially his own children.


Steven sent a message to me a few weeks later:  He had stopped biting his nails completely and they had finally grown and he felt he was now a better father; his wife said that he was much calmer and more tolerant; his children wanted to spend more time with him BUT amazingly he had made contact with his father and although a brief telephone conversation it was a major step forward for both of them.


So who would have thought that one thing would lead to another in such a highly emotional way and that from wanting to stop the habit of nail biting, so much would come out and change one man and his family’s life!


¹Self Hypnosis by Valerie Austin 1992  Thorsons p140-141

²From Gary Craig’s website –



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