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The KEY Questions: Why not share our stories?

23 April 17

I received a call from a young guy who had suffered with a bad stammer all his life. He badly needed help because this debilitating affliction was affecting his job prospects and causing him a huge amount of stress. He began by trying to tell me how it all started. He had an accident when he was only three years old and …

I interrupted him. Told him I didn’t want to know.

Once again he tried to explain what happened, and once again I cut him off. But it was important, he insisted, that I understood where he was coming from. “This accident I had when I was three…” I wouldn’t let him finish that sentence. In the course of our conversation he tried nine times to tell me about what happened, and nine times I refused to listen. It might seem counter-intuitive that a coach and therapist like myself, whose business is helping people, should shy away from hearing about an event that the client in question clearly feels so passionate about. In my defense I can only tell you that it’s a case of ‘comfort or cure’. Which do you want? Because it seems to me there’s a clear choice.

Every human being with a problem needs a story to back it up. Often when we meet with a counselor or therapist the simple telling of our story in all its gory detail will, in and of itself, give us a sense of relief from the pain of our experience. We console ourselves by sharing. We are comforted. It’s a perfectly natural, human response to trauma. All the therapist really has to do is nod, listen and stay awake. Trouble is, the relief is temporary. Sharing might calm the mind for an hour, perhaps even a day or two, but it is guaranteed that those feelings we associate with that story will return, because the story and the pain are two separate things. We only imagine that one causes the other. In fact it is our thinking that is at fault, and that can be corrected without reference to past events. (Remember, the client’s presenting problem is never the problem. An endless re-telling of events that he or she believes has led to their misery will only prolong the misery).

We are all acquainted with Sigmund Freud and his theories that form the backbone of our modern approach to psychiatry. It is estimated that there are over four hundred different branches of psychiatry from Freudian and Jungian to Gestalt, Est, Primal Scream, you-name-it. In every single case the underlying theory is the same. Every single one of these pseudo-sciences pins hopes of a cure on the patients’ understanding of early experience in their childhood that supposedly altered their destiny for the worse. They need only to ‘crack the code’ to be free of neurosis forever.

If only.

Actually few people know how Freud came to stumble on the (at the time) revolutionary notion that past events were the cause of present traumas. He was a practicing medic in Vienna and one day he was called to assist a colleague who was hypnotizing a patient to help him overcome some problem he was dealing with. Hypnosis, as you know, preceded psychiatry by something like five thousand years, so this was nothing new, but on this occasion Freud witnessed something he could not explain. When the man was deeply under he began quite spontaneously to talk about something that happened to him as a child. When he was brought out of his trance he seemed to be completely cured of the anxiety he had previously felt. Freud deduced from all this that there was a link between the two events. Unlike the great mystics, shamans and wise men that came before him, unlike modern seers like Sydney Banks, Freud had no ‘defining moment’, no deep insight to draw wisdom from. Instead he put two and two together to make five, and we have been paying the price for his mistake ever since.

As for my stammering client, he was still talking, and it finally dawned on me: he was talking without stammering at all. “Oh no,” he said, “I don’t stammer on the phone. Only when I meet people face to face.” I remarked on how clever the stammer was – to know when to appear and when not to appear – then I suggested to him that perhaps it was just his thinking, not his accident, not his personal history, that was causing him such distress.

What story are you telling yourself, and do you really need it?



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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.