I’m often asked: “What’s the most difficult thing to treat with hypnotherapy?”.

There’s no easy answer to this.  Some things are pretty simple… a phobia of one single animal can be fairly quick.  For example, when I’m working with a snake phobia people tend to know exactly what the problem is “I don’t like snakes!’.  But, things get more tricky when I’m working with someone who can’t explain their problem.  More often than not, it’s depression that brings these people to Unchain Your Mind.

If you suffer from depression, then you won’t be surprised to hear this.  One of the defining features of depression is a general sense of confusion or being lost – as if you’re looking out at the world through very dark glasses.  They filter out the sense of excitement making every possibility seem totally unappealing.  Imagine that for a moment.  I’m sure you can see how hard it becomes to know what to do or say or even feel about the choices you have in front of you.

With a phobia, you have two choices: freak-out or don’t.  With depression, you have an infinite number of choices and they all seem rubbish.  So it feels like you have zero real choices:

Here’s an example: Go to the party and spend all day tomorrow beating yourself up for saying something stupid.  Or stay at home and spend all day beating yourself up for being a loser.  You’re trapped by your own mind.

So, how does this happen? 

If you suffer from depression then you know how crippling it can be… and perhaps you’ve wondered why your mind responds in this way?  Book a 30-minute telephone call and we’ll explain exactly what’s going on

Some people believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Other’s think it’s caused by inflammation.  I’m not one of them…

I believe that depression is caused by coming to the decision that life is fundamentally out of your control.  Moreover, depression is the belief that you can NEVER have the things which matter most to you.  Imagine that too.  If you can never have the things which make life worthwhile, how could you get pleasure from the small things like watching a sunset or being with loved ones?  How could you ever feel pleasure if you think that everything meaningful will be out of your reach forever?

But, hang on a second… what are the things that make life worthwhile?

People with depression often tell me that they have all of the things that are supposed to bring happiness: a loving family, good job, nice house, exotic holidays.  But they are STILL MISERABLE.  The truth is that none of that stuff matters.  Unless you decide that it does.

Take a moment to do this exercise, I guarantee you will be surprised by the result.  Pick an area of your life that’s not working for you (family, relationships, health, work etc.).  Now ask yourself “What’s important to me about X?” (X is the area of your life).  Go for the big stuff like Security or Communication.  Remember, you’re not looking for what that area does for you.  It’s your particular values in that area, the things that matter to you.  For the time being, don’t worry if you find yourself writing a list of values for the way you wish your life was (rather than how it actually is).

Do that now – write the list of at least 5 values before you read on.

OK, have you done it?

Great. Now ask yourself the question again and you’ll find that another wave of these values will come.  “What else is important to me about X?”.  Give yourself a bit of time to get this second list – another 5 minutes or so if you need that long.

When you have the list with the two waves of values put them in order from 1-8 (if you don’t have at least 8 values then go inside and ask the question again: “what else important to me about X”).  This is what you may find: Some of the most important values are the last ones to come out.  For example, maybe you really struggled to think of another value and then you had an “OH… YES OF COURSE!” moment, and out pops a critical value.  In a relationship, it’s often love that comes out like this.

Take a good look at your list.  How many of these values are being satisfied in your life right now?  Does the list seem like a fairy tale that you can never achieve?  That’s exactly what I thought the first time I did this for myself.


You can have these values satisfied.  But let’s be honest, there are times in life when you need to start at the very beginning.  This is one of them.  You need to start by getting your priorities clear.  It can be tough.  You may be looking at your list thinking that it’s all hopeless and you’ll never get this area of your life sorted.  You may be thinking:

“Because of what’s happened to me it makes total sense that this area of my life is broken”.

That may even be true.  However, you can fix it.  It may even be a lot easier than you think.  Of course, I’m sure you know that just figuring out what’s missing in your life is only the start of breaking out of depression (or anxiety, panic, low self-esteem, etc.).

But it is a start.

Because you see, when the confusion starts to lift you know that you are starting to put depression on the back foot.  And figuring out your true (and often deeply unconscious) priorities will lift the confusion.  Think about it – it HAS TO.

You know, the worst thing about depression is that people stop dreaming about the future.  They don’t dare to.  Does that sound familiar to you?  Do you let yourself dream?  Just for a moment now, I’d like you to take a look at your list and allow yourself to dream of a life where you have all those values filled.  I think you DESERVE that life.

And, I know that YOU CAN HAVE THAT LIFE.

This is what it all boils down to – this list is not just your values.  It’s your birthright.  It’s the gift you give to the world, the example you set.  It’s the story you tell about beating depression so that others can know that there is hope.  I want you to tell that story because together we can beat depression.  Without pills.  Without TMS, electroshock therapy and bankrupting residential rehab centres. 

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About the Author

Matt Cullen is a Clinical Hypnotist, Speaker, Author and the Founder of Unchain Your Mind.  His techniques and philosophy of personal development form the backbone of all the change work that happens here.