Tino interviewed Dionne Curtis From What If Therapy


Tino: Welcome Business First TV. My name is Tino. If you're listening on Business Radio, welcome to you. And if you're reading, welcome to you too. I have a pleasure of having with me today, Dionne, from a company called What If, and Dionne's going to tell us all about it and what she does. Dionne, welcome to the show.

Dionne Curtis: Hi, how are you?
Tino: I'm fine, thank you. How are you?
Dionne Curtis: I'm good, thank you.
Tino: Good.
Dionne Curtis: What If therapy ... I'm actually a hypnotherapist, but I also trained in NLP. I have a mixture of the both in order ... And what I actually do is help to fix people when they're in a stuck state of mind and I do my stuff and get them out of that stuck state of mind. I use, as I said, NLP and hypnosis. Also, some TFT, which is a tapping therapy, which I'm not sure if you've heard about. It was-
Tino: It all sounds a bit scary to me, so, well ...
Dionne Curtis: Oh, well, this is the problem sometimes with people. When you talk to somebody about hypnosis, immediately Paul McKenna springs to mind or-
Tino: I'm a rabbit.
Dionne Curtis: Yes, yes. And you see those guys-
Tino: You're going to make me bark.
Dionne Curtis: Yes. See the guys on stage clucking like a chicken or barking like a dog. That is actually not what I do with people, fortunately. But the people that are doing that, they naturally want to do that. So they would be the people on stage or they would be the people at the front of the crowd who ... Perhaps they take their clothes off and run around naked or do whatever. You cannot make somebody do something under hypnosis that they would not do ordinarily in proper life, in their real life.
Tino: Okay.
Dionne Curtis: And also, when people go to those shows, they are sort of vetted and you see them at the front, "Who wants to be hypnotised?" And they're like, "Yes, me, me, me!" Which is lovely and it's lots and lots of fun, but when you do what I do, lots of people go, "Oh my god, are you going to take my pin number?"
Tino: Okay.
Dionne Curtis: No, I can't take your pin number.
Tino: Okay. All right.
Dionne Curtis: But what it actually is in reality, you do 10% of what you do is done consciously.
Tino: Okay.
Dionne Curtis: So 90% is done with your subconscious or in your unconscious mind. It made sense to me, a lot of people get stuck in different behaviours. Some people have a phobia and they develop it really, really quickly. But they keep repeating that behaviour because they're stuck in it. Now, with hypnosis and NLP, you get them unstuck from that situation. So you can change their minds or change their behaviour around certain things. All psychological, and it's quick and it's easy and there's no side effects.
Tino: Okay.
Dionne Curtis: And so, even with hypnosis, what I also love about it is you do some deep relaxation. It's like putting things back into balance for people. So in life, look at it like a big old... Do you remember those beer barrels? In life, you slosh around in the middle, everything's fine. Everything's wonderful. Sometimes, your beer level gets right up to the top. And when it does, things sort of start to slip out.
An hour or 20 minutes, half an hour of deep relaxation brings everything back down again.
Tino: Wow.
Dionne Curtis: Because if you think, you actually know the solutions to all of your problems. You just don't ...
Tino: Really?
Dionne Curtis: Yes, you do, really. I mean, there's some things in life that you can't fix, obviously, that are out of your control. But the stuff that is in your control, you kinda do know what to do about it. You just don't really think so hard because you're stuck in the moment, stuck in the problem.
Tino: Okay.
For people who don't know, what is NLP? What does that mean?
Dionne Curtis: NLP is neuro linguistic programming. Couldn't even say it then. And what that is, it's a therapy that's been developed by Richard Bandler in the States. To put it very basically, your brain is programmed to make patterns. But what your brain doesn't differentiate between is what's good for your behavior-wise and what's bad for you. It will just make a pattern.
So, for instance, if you were going over a bridge, you had a really bad phone call. A phone call that told you something dreadful had happened, some people will associate that bad feeling with going over a bridge.
Tino: Oh, okay.
Dionne Curtis: So possibly, the next time they go over a bridge, they get a bad feeling and they don't actually know why. And every time that they do that, it just reinforces the behaviour pattern. So you get stuck.
So what NLP does is take you back to where it first happened or how it happened, or whatever formed the behaviour. Sometimes people know, sometimes they don't. Again, this is where hypnosis comes in because you can put people into a light trance to take them back to the place where it actually started.
And then what you basically do is give them a new pattern.
Tino: Okay. Wow.
Dionne Curtis: But that is exactly what happens.
Tino: But it sounds very hocus-pocus.
Dionne Curtis: If your child has an accident, which has been known to happen, people, like the mother sees the accident. They go running towards a fence which they never in their life would be able to jump. Not possible for them, they couldn't do it. In that amount of extreme stress, they will jump it because their brain is telling them they need to get to their child. So their brain can do extraordinary things.
People create pain. When some people get stressed, and they'll say, "Oh, I have a pain in the neck" or "I've got really, really bad back pain." Your brain is creating that pain. It's saying to you, you need to slow down, you need to stop.
Tino: Okay. All right.
Dionne Curtis: Now, if you accept that that's possible, then that would sound like hocus-pocus. Why on Earth would I get a pain just because I'm stressed?
Tino: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely, you're right.
Dionne Curtis: But people do. And more and more in today's society, because people are doing more than they actually can cope with and they're not getting rid of their stress, they build up all of these different things.
So, to me, it just makes sense. If you agree with the fact that your brain does have patterns, and you can change them ... Like phobias. People get phobias like that. So, what is a phobia?
Tino: You tell me.
Dionne Curtis: It's an irrational fear about something that's not actually going to hurt you, or not actually going to do you any harm. Again, you could say, well flying, it could possibly do you harm. But if you look at the statistics, statistically, that's easy for me to say ... You are in less danger getting on an aeroplane than you are walking along the road, getting in a car, for accidents-wise. So it's irrational for somebody to have a fear to get on an aeroplane.
Spiders. In the UK, we might have a few that can give you a bit of a nasty bite but they can't actually kill you.
Tino: Oh, I quite like spiders.
Dionne Curtis: Exactly. But lots of people have irrational fears about spiders.
Tino: Well, I understand that.
Dionne Curtis: To me, if you've got an irrational fear about something and you're looking at NLP and you're thinking it's hocus-pocus, that's an irrational answer to an irrational fear. So you should be ... In my mind, that means that we can fix it.
Tino: Absolutely.
Dionne Curtis: And I have ... When you see people that come in and they're, especially, they come in to me and they have this treatment. And I like to do my treatment with fun. I'm not, if it was a life-threatening disease or something like that, A) I'm not qualified and B) that's not ... I wouldn't be joking about something like that.
Tino: Sure.
Dionne Curtis: But when people come in to me, I do stuff with fun. Because why shouldn't you be able to be fixed by having fun with somebody? Laughter is one off the best things psychologically to be able to over things. If you can begin to laugh at something in your mind, you've already changed the way you think about it.
So using laughter, for me in my practise, is sort of almost key to some of the things that I can unlock and get people fixed from.
Tino: Sounds like you have a wealth of experience there.
Dionne Curtis: We do. Also, now at the moment, I've got, I'm actually working at the Mellon Cancer Centre at East Surrey Hospital Redhill. That's not, I wouldn't be using too much fun, obviously, in some situations like that but I find, for me, it's really, really rewarding because the guys come in and they may have, they've got different issues. Maybe before or after they've had treatment. And they don't necessarily know what to do or how to get stuck out of the memories of the situation that they've been put in.
And for me to sit with those guys for an hour or two hours ... They come in. It's all done on a voluntary basis and the work that they do at the Mellon Centre is actually fantastic. I'm just part of a crew. I'm the only hypnotherapist that they have. But we have all sorts of different ... It's just holistic therapies there. And they all come in.
And to see those guys walk back out, knowing that you've taken a trouble away from them or you've taken away that they think about something away from them. And you can actually see, physically see the changes in their face. And although I'm giving them something, what they give me back just makes it ... You can only walk around with a smile on your face all day. Obviously, you get bad days but normally, it just makes you feel wonderful having helped somebody out of a situation that there's no need for people to be stuck in these situations. But they just don't know how to get out of them.
So they come to me. I just kind of guide them. They actually do all the work, although they don't know it. I just show them what the process is that they have to follow.
Tino: What's your ideal client look like?
Dionne Curtis: My ideal client looks like somebody who is basically a lovely person, and I believe in the good in most people anyway. A really nice person who's got to the end of their tether and they come to me ready for change. They want to change. They've really had enough of the way that they're living their life.
They know, perhaps, it's irrational or it's just wearing them down. And you can almost see people come in, when they say, with the weight of the world on their shoulders, some people do actually carry it like that and you can see them in their demeanour and their body language.
So my ideal customer will come in to me like that. We do an hour or an hour and a half, depending on what it is, how complex it is. And they walk back out and they've grown in stature, and they would have a smile on their face. And they would also be armed with the tools that they need in order to carry on doing what they're doing.
Tino: How do people find out more?
Dionne Curtis: They can visit my website, which is www.whatiftherapy.co.uk. Or they can email me, which is dionne ... And I'll spell that 'cause it is a difficult one, D-I-O-double This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Tino: Now, I know you're also involved in the Women Works.
Dionne Curtis: Yes, I am.
Tino: What do you do there?
Dionne Curtis: Now, that's a different story.
Tino: Okay.
Dionne Curtis: You should be careful what you do at dinner with friends.
So, in my past life, I was a director of an exhibition company, an international exhibition company. I was the operations and projects director. 25 years in. Which is a wonderful industry but I wanted to do something else. My children are grown and left home, and I felt I needed something more for me than just to keep doing with the client.
So, I decided to retrain and do the hypnotherapy. And I was having dinner at Allia's house, the founder of Women Work, and we were talking about Women Work and the idea that had started really, really small and it's sort of grown snowballed. And it got a little bit more than she could actually handle.
And I, in the moment, said, "Well, that's what I do. Or that's what I did. I can help you. How wonderful. Let me be involved." Without knowing too much about it. And then I found out more about it and I thought, wow, this is incredible. All these women, all these people giving all of this time for free or voluntarily. I need to be involved in this. This is fantastic.
So what I actually do with Women Work is all the backroom stuff, all the organising. Once we've got all the speakers, then they're all passed over to me, I make sure they've got all of the equipment that they need in order to perform. I write the schedules for everybody to make sure everybody's there on time. They all check in with me. Actually, I should just have a big stick and say, "I am the organiser."
And that's basically what I do, using the skills that I'd had from all those year working exhibitions. But it's actually a better, a richer experience for me because you can get to see all these wonderful people that come in. I mean, last year was our first event and it was fantastic.
Tino: Very busy. I was there.
Dionne Curtis: And but it was even ... It was the atmosphere of the busyness. You see some people and they come in with something. And the people that were inspirational, the talks that they were giving were so inspiring.
Tino: Yeah, they were.
Dionne Curtis: And people even since have come up and said, "Wow, that was fantastic. I was doing things this way and now I realise, I don't actually have to do that. I can change my life. I can change who I am or how I'm doing this stuff."
And I know it brought together a whole community within Tunbridge Wells, which again, was wonderful. So that's why I'm still involved in it. And I wish we will be doing the same thing this year. Only this year ...
Tino: How exciting.
Dionne Curtis: This year, I'm going to do another talk, though. This year, I'm actually going to do it.
Tino: 2018?
Dionne Curtis: 2018. April the 20th in Solomon's Estate, which is a beautiful place. I don't know if you've ... Have you ever been there?
Tino: I have not but I intend to go then.
Dionne Curtis: It's a lovely place, lovely setting. And we have four different areas. All of the details are all on the website. I can't ... If I sat here and talked to you about it exactly, we'd be here forever and that would be that.
All the details are on the website. And we're going trying to bring together as many people, inspirational people for women. It's not exclusively for women. Men are welcome to come in. But you have to have sort of like a main theme and our main theme is women at the moment. And it's just going to be such a wonderful day.
Again, as I said, we have four different areas. We have lunch breaks, coffee breaks. We have coffee breaks and lunch breaks where people will be able to network. We've got a small exhibition area. It's 20 stands. And again, it's going to be, most of the speakers will have a stand so if you actually miss their talk or if you want to know more information, go to the exhibition. They're there, gonna be there all day so you've got plenty of time to have a chat with them.
Tino: Sounds exciting.
Dionne Curtis: Yes. Very, very excited. Can't wait to do it.
Tino: If it's anything like the last one, it's going to be a storm.
Dionne Curtis: Yeah, yeah.
Tino: Bit of a long day, though, isn't it? 'Cause you have the speakers throughout the day, there's the stuff throughout the day but there's an evening thing as well, isn't there?
Dionne Curtis: We're not doing an evening thing this year at the moment. We can change that. It depends on the requests that we get. At the moment, everyone's thinking that the day is going to be enough. 'Cause we've extended the periods of people speaking.
Tino: It's longer, yeah.
Dionne Curtis: And it starts like 9:30 in the morning. We're going 'til 5:30, might possibly 6:00 in the evening.
Tino: Wonderful.
Dionne Curtis: So to keep someone concentrated all that time is quite a long event.
Tino: Just briefly, how do people find out more?
Dionne Curtis: There is at the website, www.womenworkevents.com. And all the information's on there. The program's not there until after Christmas 'cause we don't want to bombard everybody with too much information straight away. You can register your interest as a speaker, register your interest as an attendee. And then, once the new year's up and running, all the tickets will be available and the full programme, be available for anyone to see and book onto their workshops.
Tino: Amazing. Dionne, thanks for coming on the show.
Dionne Curtis: You're welcome, thanks for having me.
Tino: . Thank you for watching.

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