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The KEY Questions: Can I heal myself?

8 January 17

I woke up with a pain in my lower back. I thought I’d soon shake it off but after my shower it was still hanging around. I knew I hadn’t slept awkwardly, so I tried to remember what it was I must have done the previous day to put a strain on myself. Nothing came to mind. I hadn’t been doing any heavy lifting, hadn’t been to the gym, and couldn’t remember feeling any twinges. This pain seemed to have arrived out of the blue. So I did what I always do in this situation. I talked to myself.

More specifically, I had a conversation with the brain in my back.

Not so long ago a young man came to see me with a problem. Actually a boy of fourteen, a tennis player, ranked third best in the country for his age group. His mother had urged him to see me because for the last eighteen months he had suffered persistent shoulder pain that was preventing him from serving the ball at speed, a vital part of his game. He had seen any number of doctors and physiotherapists but with no positive results at all, and the upshot was that he had barely been on court in months.

The situation was hopeless, as he saw it. My first job was to get past that firm conviction in his mind. Belief is like a tabletop, only solid and stable because it’s supported by its ‘legs’ of external evidence, much of which evidence turns out to be imaginary. Knock just one of these ‘legs’ away and you can permanently change the belief. So I acted ‘dumb’, asking a series of questions intended to create doubt about the story he was telling himself. Did he suffer pain all the time? Did he feel pain in his sleep? When was the first time he felt this pain?

The injury had manifested during practice for an upcoming tournament, at the point where he’d set himself the grueling task of hitting 500 serves every morning. I asked him if he always put this kind of pressure on himself, and of course the answer was yes. His father was determined that he would win Wimbledon by the age of twenty, and though he felt exactly the same way, there was clearly an element in his story where he didn’t want to let his dad down.

This boy had excelled in tennis from his school days through to club level, sailing through win after win, picking up trophies left and right, but now the heat was really on. Now he was playing in top-level tournaments where the standard was getting higher and higher all the time. Result – stress and fear, with a degree of anger thrown in for good measure. And when did he start playing tournaments? Eighteen months ago, around the time he got his injury.

The unconscious mind is like a five year-old child, missing nothing, taking everything personally. That’s why we have to take great care when we ‘speak’ to it. I used some simple NLP techniques to help the boy dissociate from his pain, telling him there is no failure, only feedback. I reminded him that no matter how talented his opponent, he was only ever competing against himself. Most importantly, he should see his dad’s ambition for him for what it really was: his dad’s ambition. By the time we finished our session, the pain in his shoulder had largely gone and it did not return. He went back to the tennis court and got on with playing the game he loved.

George Pransky told me a story about the legendary tennis player Pete Sampras, winner of fourteen Grand Slam singles titles. Somebody once asked him how he always seemed to manage to keep his cool, when other players let their emotions get to them. Did he never hear those critical voices in his head, whenever he missed a vital shot? “Sure I do”, was his reply, “I just ignore them.”

So I have a brain in my back. On this occasion I asked it what was going on, in effect speaking to my unconscious. Almost instantly I got a mental picture of my father. I asked Anna about it and she said that was no surprise, it was five years to the day since my father had died. I contradicted her, saying that my father had died on the 13th of the month. It was only the 12th. She produced a calendar and I saw that I had got it wrong. I had lost a day. It was indeed the 13th. The pain immediately disappeared.

What conversations are you having with your unconscious?



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  • Having attended David's course and then had some one to one sessions with him my approach to my life has changed dramatically and improved. David has a very gentle and empathic way about him, yet managed to challenge my habitual way of being and thinking. As a result of our time together I now practice his "way of being" and I truly find that I am getting far better results in all of the relationships that I encounter. My inner chatter is under control, most of the time, and I am learning to pause and push away harmful thinking . It's surprising how habitual thinking can do so much damage and how, once you really focus on what comes into your mind you start to realise that you can be bigger than your random thoughts. So David thank you for putting me on a better pathway. Looking forward to sharing another journey with the Auspicium family!
    Rowena Wild

  • The course I attended with David Key was marvellous, every moment being filled with joy and laughter. David has a unique talent to teach, unlocking the full potential of every person he encounters. His course opened up an infinite number of ways for me to get the life I want, right now, today, and in the future. It made me realise that thought is fluid and that I can mould it the way I want to suit my day. I would highly recommend this course to anyone in search of a new professional career or for those who simply want a happier life. Thank You!
    Lucia Pohrebnyak

  • It took me about 5 years of 'dithering' before committing, and in that time I attended several introductory days from various training providers. David's accessible style and the unforced flow of the day is what persuaded me to choose his company. David provides a training model that helps you become your best self - as a student, as a practitioner, as a person. By 'best', I mean more open, less fearful, more confident, less judgemental - whether you attend the course to make a change personally or professionally, to build on existing success, or with no idea where it might go, simply because you are interested (that was me!) you will be impressed at what you are able to achieve with David's expert guidance showing you how to use your curiosity as a pathway to growth. In the first week following the course, I dealt with several potentially difficult situations both at work and home, coming from a changed perspective - resulting in no conflict, calmer colleagues, less stressed family. And this without actively using any techniques; the biggest change has been inside my own headspace. I can't wait to do the next course. Now that I know, unequivocally, the benefits to be had, I wish I had come down off the fence years ago! Added bonus, a bunch of fabulous new friends. And a final thought about cost; some of you reading this will be struggling to justify spending a chunk of hard earned money "just" for yourself. Well, I will be using these tools every day for the rest of my life - pennies a day investment! I am SO worth it. And so are you!
    Sue Bee

  • I first met David at an evening business club a couple of years ago. During his presentation something “clicked” with me and I felt compelled to further my understanding of NLP. I attended the Auspicium free trial day. My earlier feelings were confirmed. This guy knows what he’s talking about and has a passion for helping people. I duly signed up for the NLP and Hypnotherapy practitioner course. What a week. All in the class left in such high spirits with a very different outlook on life. Following on I have attended the NLP and Hypnotherapy Master Practitioner course. Again excellent. There was something about the Hypnotherapy element of the course that I loved so on to the Hypnotherapy Trainers Training (another absolutely brilliant week). All the courses that I have attended have been very well organised, have a great team of trainers and support volunteers. The documentation is well put together and the exercises are all structured to push yourself to show you have a grasp of the given subject. I now have a fantastic group of new friends who I have a deep link with. We still meet up when we can to catch up on what we are all doing. As of March this year I have been participating in the Auspicium Freedom Project. This is a yearlong “conversation” about the 3 Principles – Mind, Thought and Consciousness. It took me a while to “get” it but now just by “doing nothing” I find myself doing more with better results and no stress. There are no models or techniques to learn. We all have the Principles inside us. We just need to be woken up to how to use them. It’s a great journey that will take the rest of my life. David is a superb trainer and fully deserves all the praise he receives.
    Phillip Warris

  • Before going on David’s Practitioner course, I thought I knew what I wanted, where I was headed and how I was going to get it. All I wanted an additional skill to add to my portfolio. I thought my life was in reasonably good order, nothing that needed fixing. I can sum up my experience of working with David in two words: life-changing. Instead of just learning a new skill, David encouraged us to apply his teaching, our learning, to ourselves. In a very safe environment, I gradually dropped the barriers I had painstakingly built up over a long time. This change happened very quickly and I continued growing as a person, studying 2 more courses with David and joining him on the Freedom project. Why David? He is disarmingly honest, genuine and engaging. He has a very broad knowledge of human behaviour and passes his knowledge on with grace. As a result of working with David, I have changed, and my life has changed. In myself I am very happy and contented person. My marriage is better and stronger. My business plans have taken a different route - one that is exciting and feels very right for me.