Services I Offer

I am a registered therapist (NCHP - National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy), offering Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy, living and working in Shropshire. I offer the following services from three centres - Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth and Oswestry.


Counselling is part of my training and helps to uncover old or unhelpful thoughts and experiences. Psychotherapy is understanding how the feelings and emotions interact and creating more useful ways of thinking. Both of these therapies can be deepened when used alongside hypnotherapy. We find inner confidence in relaxation, but I offer each separately if preferred.


Hypnotherapy is not quite what you see on stage, at no time are you unconscious - just very deeply comfortable. Changes don t come easily just by telling ourselves we want to change. We need to picture them, feel them, be ready for them and that is where learning to be relaxed can help most. The pictures you carry are what you create biochemistry with - hypnotherapy works by allowing you to welcome positive images and overcome the unconscious negative one.


Counselling is a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about their problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. A counsellor is trained to listen with empathy (by putting themselves in your shoes). They can help you deal with any negative thoughts and feelings you have

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). It's most helpful in anxiety-creating situations.

Stress & Anxiety

Stress - the lasting solution

When people start dealing with stress, they usually go into ways of handling the symptoms and relieving the level of external pressures - offloading certain work, taking time off etc. After 25 years of dealing with patients with anything from a nervous nature, to full scale panic attacks and unmanageable phobias - I believe that these outward symptoms are just the overload which bring people to the realisation that they do need to do something positive about their life style. However it is not just the lifestyle that needs changing. Often it's the thinking behind the stress levels.

Change of lifestyle is in itself a really important step - but how many people who downshift or take early retirement seem to end up in a very short space of time suffering from the stress of their social life - or their voluntary workload - or their need to keep the garden perfect, the golf handicap right ? Yet others can deal with workloads far greater and show no signs of a problem.

This is when it becomes clear that stress symptoms are just that - symptoms of something underlying. Because it is underlying it is in the unconscious part of the mind, so the most direct way to work with it is by using methods that allow dialogue with that part of the mind. The most direct is hypnotherapy.

The unconscious mind does not work with our logic, it deals with events and stores them in buckets. Each bucket will hold all the events that generated a particular emotion. Any wonder then that when stress hits the fear bucket - all the fear in there surfaces, instead of just the level that is appropriate to the event. This is why people having these symptoms worry that they are going mad - their head and their body, seem to have parted company. They have.

Understanding this is the first stage in changing it without fear. Then looking at each of the stored fears and changing perceptions of them. Learning to reinterpret them and let them go. Then learning how to relax under stressful situations. These are the three stages of tackling deep levels of stress that allow lasting change, and not just patching up and holding on.

If stress is your problem consider looking at it from another point of view. Change your mind about stress and you could change your relationship with it. Any professional hypnotherapist will be happy to talk to you about how they work without obligation.


The thing about phobias is they are scary.

This is because however logically you know that the fear is irrational - it doesn't seem possible to turn it off. All phobias eventually have such a hold that the victim becomes afraid of the fear itself and goes to enormous lengths to avoid situations where that fear will appear.

I was a biochemist. I understand that emotion, stress and fear create biochemical substances which transmit instructions to your body. Your logic has very little say in that as it all happens unconsciously. A phobia genuinely is a fear of the level of adrenalin becoming so uncomfortable it will be fatal - or cause us to behave in a way which might prove fatal, even though logically that is unlikely.

Understanding this and learning how to step into that circle through conscious overlay of better images and thoughts, quite simply allows the phobic choose ways of lowering their background adrenalin level. Adrenalin blanks out the logic cells, that's one of its jobs, if you can lower that level then logical thought regains some power, and a sense of having powerful choice is a very unusual thing for most phobics. Learning deep relaxation is a very helpful addition to lowering the adrenalin levels even more and can result in feelings of such wellbeing and comfort that every other thought recedes for a brief while. That's a very welcome break when a phobia has had a hold for any length of time.


Addictions are a response to a deeply felt need to change the way life feels.

Taking a substance or using a behaviour brings about a focus on this immediate effect, and this can ease the discomfort.

Sadly many addictions involve altering biochemistry with substances which the addict then seeks to rely on. The dependence brings with it guilt, which then becomes the driver for more of the addictive substance or behaviour.

Recognising the initial driving emotion is an important part of recovery.

Post Traumatic Stress

Any traumatic memory will be replayed through memory and cause re-adrenalisation.

By working with changing those images their chemical releasing powers lessen and the body can learn to detoxify in a natural state through deep relaxation.

Post Separation / Grief / Loss

All these losses affect both self-esteem and enjoyment of ordinary life - and ultimately can involve repression of the emptions which bring us joy.

Imagery used in hypnotherapy can help unlock the repressive reaction and make separation a more gentle emotional journey toward individuality.

Relationship Issues

We are attracted to patterns - that which we recognise and feel kindred to.

A therapist can help recognise these unconscious feelings and in bringing them into the conscious mind help change our reaction to them - and help us find healthier relationships

Personal Growth

Personal growth has to be a journey into unconsciously-held feelings and beliefs, or growth cannot proceed.

That which is habitually held back will inevitably result in personal emotional stagnation.

Realising and releasing fear of deeply-felt patterning and pain allows us to grow into a fuller maturity.

My Approach

Is psychotherapy a more "acceptable" way of introducing esoteric/spiritual ideas?

When people seek a therapist they are usually looking for a way of easing something in their lives that is causing them pain or unhappiness. Sometimes that can be very easily moved into a different framework simply by changing the way they hold those thoughts and experiences, for example helping with phobias, angry memories, and learning coping strategies in the face of others behaviour.

Then there are those who have had some of the big issues of life bereavement, betrayal, those sort of losses. These are those whose memories hold them from going forward. When those life stultifying things happen to us we look for courage beyond the normal levels available.

Sensing the depth of power we can tap into, that is perhaps sufficiently near to our idea of a spiritual presence, that thoughts naturally turn to holding other realms of help as open to us. That may even be the force that we label as God. The power to rise above ordinary human emotional reactivity into acting from a sense of being more than an initial impulse of self preservation.

When this sort of ability is discovered on a path of recapitulation through ones own life then issues of self worth can dissolve in a sense of gratitude to the forces of survival within ourselves. Often there is left a profound sense of tapping into an "otherness" - this experience for those who are free to use the expression, can be a profound sense of personal spiritual identity. Such an experience is felt, and therefore not susceptible to the normal wavering of other imbibed faiths. It dissolves away issues of self esteem as unnecessary, and so within this context my answer would be "yes the two are one and the same thing"

If you could pass on just one message from your journey, what would it be?

This one is very easy for me but need to describe why I think how I do so that the importance of the message is relevant. As a person deeply steeped in the catholic tradition I was given a profound sense of the sinfulness of my nature. From this starting point it becomes very difficult to trust any inner impulses and therefore all answers to any dilemmas have to be sought from external sources. Then the inner impulses that resist the direction given through such teachings become a further source of self loathing.

There was a time many years ago now, when someone I loved and trusted let me down totally. It was while I was turning myself inside out to try and do what was "right", even if it caused me pain, I realised therefore that fundamentally I was a good person - just in a lot of difficulty with what to do. This was a moment of total revelation, I could credit myself with the worthiness of my intentions.

If that were the case I could start to trust myself to find an answer closer at hand. It was then given to me in a way that was quite weird, but hey that's life, and I realised that the only damage that person could do to me was if I let him stop me being all I needed to be. That's when I realised that the one thing I needed to know was how to carry on loving as if no one had ever hurt me. Therefore the one truth about me was that the love I need to know is there is my own ability to love.

This is my bodily felt truth. The only thing I know about me. I am a need to give love wrapped up in a ball of fear about how much it hurts when others don t want that love. SO - I AM LOVE. I AM UNSKILLFUL, BUT MY JOB IN LIFE IS TO FIND WAYS OF LOVING AS IF THERE WERE NO ONE TRYING TO STOP ME and when I say "I" that means every "I" out there - not just me. Try having low self esteem under that truth - it can't be done, all you are left with is a job to learn how to keep loving even when life gets tricky.

Because I am unskilful - AKA a child, as a great teacher once suggested - then I am growing, and I will make mistakes but if I keep myself in the places where I have a sufficient level of competence to find a way - then I will eventually learn to walk on water - although possibly not in this life as I am also a slow learner.

Can you identify 1 thing ( event/book/person etc ) that set you on the road you’re on?

Possibly the person to whom I refer in the previous question, as often, those who break you with their own fear also leave you free to find out what is real once illusion is broken.

Nevertheless there have been one or two genuine teachers come into my life and each has given me insights within their own traditions. The thing I try to resist is giving my power and decisions to anyone outside of my own inner sense of right. Guru's can be used to remove the need for personal responsibility. It is a sufi belief that the question is more important than the answer, and when teachers have been most use has been when I have approached them with a real formed question.

Something I am told only becomes part of my truth when my stomach is comfortable thinking about it. This is a kinaesthetic approach to truth but gurus pass away - my stomach will probably see me out.

Looking back, would you change anything about the way you’ve done things?

I am sure I have hurt others in my own clumsy quest and it would have been nice to have come to where I have without having done that. The hardest thing is to know you have passed your own weaknesses on to your children. I feel that seeing your children suffer is the single greatest pain - but one we are usually called upon to face at some time, as part of our own trust in their inner capacity. I hope they are wise enough to overcome my parental insufficiencies.

It would be nice if we were all intelligent enough to choose to learn without pain - I see little evidence that life has reached that point yet

What question would you ask someone who came to you asking for guidance?

"What is your question?" Being sure of what you want to understand is the only way to make sure you learn the things you want to know. No one would get into a car and then decide where they want to go. Life is just a car journey.

If I have a goal when I am working with people it is to reconnect them with their own inner sense of themselves - that kinaesthetic thing I talked about earlier - if you have that then no one can lead you too far from where you should be.

Where I Practice


Shrewsbury Natural Health Clinic,
The Professional Centre,
4 Bank Farm Rd,
Radbrook Green,
Shrewsbury, SY3 6DU


Hugh Ruxton Osteopathy Plus
Unit 1,
Smithfield Centre,
Whitburn St,
WV16 4QT


Frequently-Asked Questions

Who benefits from Hypnotherapy?

Everyone who suffers at any time from tension or stress. Check your shoulders as you read this. If they are tense at all then hypnotherapy can help you. So little awareness is placed on tensions in the body in our society that often the build-up of those tensions becomes acutes before they are recognised. Learning to relax deeply is advantageous to us all.

What conditions benefit most from this type of therapy?

The well known uses are to help with stopping smoking and with eating problems, but any stress-related illness, anxiety states, phobias, repetitive behaviour patterns and gut-related disorders usually respond very well to hypnotherapy. People who continually repeat bad relationship patterns can often find hypnotherapy beneficial.

What happens in a session?

Usually in the first session a therapist will ask you the details of your illness or other problem and then demonstrate hypnosis in the form of light relaxation. This is so that you are aware of what to expect and can decide whether this kind of therapy will help you. Following sessions will often deepen the level of hypnosis to a point where the underlying problems can surface safely, but still within the control of the patient.

Will I lose consciousness?

No. The process you see on TV is neither helpful nor desirable to making changes to the way you feel. True hypnotherapy allows you to remain conscious at all times and aware of anything you say or do, so that you can instigate your own changes in the way you feel.

How many sessions will I need?

This is impossible to answer without detailed knowledge of each problem, but as a general rule if a patient feels no better after three sessions of hypnotherapy then it is probably not the right time or the right theray for that person. The length of therapy after that depends purely on how each person feels about their ability to use the skills they learn in therapy for themselves in non-therapeutic environments. The average is around six sessions.

Why is hypnotherapy usually accompanied by psychotherapy?

Hypnotherapy allows you to access aspects of your mental processes that are not readily identified in normal conscious thinking and talking, but you then need to use that information to make changes. Psychotherapy offers you the opportunity to gently change long-held beliefs about yourself that are restricting you. In essence, one is the means of opening the door, (Hypnosis) and the other is what you want to do when that door is open (Psychotherapy).

Contact me

Please contact me using one of the methods below.

Virginia Smith
c/o The Natural Health Centre
The Professional Centre
Bank Farm Road
Radbrook Green

01743 343697