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    February 27, 2014

    What Breaking Bad teaches us about therapy

    Breaking Bad is considered by many to be the greatest TV programme of all time and it dramatically demonstrates a key aspect of therapy that comes up with clients every week.  (I’m half way through its 5 seasons and it is perhaps even better than The West Wing).

    I’ve also included 3 powerful questions in this blog.  You can use them to ask yourself & find out what’s driving you to do whatever behaviour you’re doing, that you perhaps don’t want to anymore.  They are very illuminating and you may be surprised when you ask them.

    As therapists, we talk about how ‘behaviour is not the purpose of someone’s intention’.   Essentially it means that don’t judge or perceive people’s actions as necessarily being linked to what they want / need.  In fact, in can be far from the case.  Trying to prove this to clients and having a client accept it can be a challenge.  And when I saw Breaking Bad, it became clear that the writers also understood this premise.

    What follows is not a plot spoiler…

    The plot revolves around a chemistry teacher, Walter White, who gets diagnosed with cancer.  He earns v.little and as you’ll know, medical bills in the USA are huge.  He very simply does the one thing he can do very well.  He starts manufacturing illegal methamphetamine, to pay his medical bills and provide a nest egg for his family. 

    What’s the link to therapy?

    The link to therapy in general or the kind of NLP & hypnotherapy in London we do at Fix My Mind, is I hope really clear.  Walt’s behaviour i.e. making illegal drugs, is clearly not acceptable.  However, the intention of his behaviour is positive, in that what he’s trying to provide for his family when he dies. 

    What does this mean to you?

    I hope the Breaking Bad example is really clear. How many times do you do things that are at complete odds with what you want to get out of life?  Such behaviour can be both conscious or unconsciously driven and motivated.  Think about how many times you’ve said or done something stupid because you’re hurt.  We all do it.  Do these examples ring true for you?

    1. Do you have a phobia?  All phobia’s are scary and they are there to protect you.

    2. Do you want to stop smoking?  With Hypnotherapy it is possible to remove the unconscious reasons why you smoke*.  For a lot of people it’s the associations that they made during their 1st cigarette e.g. smoking’s cool.

    3. Do you have confidence issues?  Alot of the time people don’t speak up in meetings, as they are trying to protect themselves from being judged by others and so, say nothing.

    3 questions that can help you understand what’s motivating your behaviour:

    There are 3 very powerful questions that you can ask yourself if you find yourself doing activities that you either know are not what you want, or you have a deep doubt about if they’re the right thing for you.  Next time that happens, find yourself somewhere comfortable and answer the following 3 questions with the split second answer that comes into you head:

    1. What’s the purpose of the behaviour?  All behaviour like Walt’s has a purpose, what’s yours?

    2. What’s the positive intention of your behaviour?  As our minds can’t process a negative i.e. don’t think of a blue tree, makes you think of a blue tree, always re-frame the answer positively.  So, if you get an answer such as ‘not hurting’, what would be a positive way of saying / being ‘not hurt’ e.g. calm, happy.  It’s for you to be able to define that.

    3. What’s the behaviour your doing also an example of?  For example, people who are defensive in meetings, can often be ‘protecting’ their shyness.

    Keep at it for anything upto 10 mins with the first answer that comes to mind. Eventually, by repeating the questions you will purposely reach an abstract answer that’s something pretty deep and meaningful.  

    This is your intention.

    What can you do about once you know?

    They say that half of dealing with a problem is acknowledging its existence.  With the information you have to hand, you could of course just stop your behaviour. Equally for many people that’s easier said than done.  So, if you’d like to do something about behaviour that may not be helping you get what you want out of life, you could always get in touch.  

    If you’d like to have a complimentary 20-minute consultation to talk about hypnotherapy in London can help you, then you can freephone 0800 122 3073 or email

    Posted by James – link up with me / us at google+

    And if you’ve yet to see it, enjoy Breaking Bad.

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