What Is Integrative Change Work?
One of the techniques I use in my coaching is integrative change work. If you see “integrative change work” and think “🤷♀️🤔....?”, that was totally my reaction before becoming certified. It’s not a term you hear every day…although it should be! Just like how we’re going to look back in 10 years and be very embarrassed by how much we ignored gut health, this is going to become VERY popular in the future.
Have you ever watched a movie that is so well done that by the end you feel like it has changed you and you wonder, “why is everyone not talking about this?!”. That’s how I feel about integrative change work. Once you experience it, you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t talking about it - it’s that powerful for creating change.
What is integrative change work and why should you care about it?
Integrative change work feels like magic, but it uses a variety of evidence-based techniques (from modalities like NLP, CBT, EFT, and hypnosis) to change patterns and habits at the unconscious level. It’s seriously the coolest. 🤩 The best part is that it’s fun and conversational.
Little side note: If you see the word “hypnosis” and it makes you a little uneasy, it’s important to note that integrative hypnosis isn’t like the stage hypnosis that probably comes to mind. You are always in the driver’s seat and in control. And, if for whatever reason you don’t want to try hypnosis, that’s totally fine - it’s just one of many tools we can use and each session is all about finding what works best for you!
Integrative change work is about empowering YOU with an understanding of how your brain works and equipping you with tools to understand how to calm your nervous system, identify unconscious patterns and habits that aren’t working for you, and to reprogram your brain so that you can create the change you want on an emotional, physical, and mental level. Let’s go over an example!
Here’s an example of what integrative change work can look like…
Say that you’re always anxious and you’re starting to notice how much that’s impacting other areas of your life - you keep stress eating food that doesn’t make you feel good, you’re not getting enough sleep, and you’re starting to snap at your partner over things that aren’t a big deal. You decide you don’t want to stay stuck in this pattern, so you schedule a coaching session because the thought of having support and guidance to feel better gives you a big sense of relief.
During our first session, you tell me all the things that are feeling overwhelming right now and you mention that you’re a “worrier”. ⭐️ That’s an opportunity for us to change that unconscious pattern of worrying! ⭐️
Saying you’re a “worrier” is a big generalization and it becomes part of your identity, which makes it really hard to change. Especially because you don’t consciously decide to worry - if that was the case, you’d just stop doing it, right? It’s something that happens automatically which makes you feel stressed and out of control.
In reality, being a “worrier” isn’t your identity. There are just specific scenarios when your brain has decided it’s helpful to worry, so it has created that habit. Your brain LOVES patterns, because thinking consciously takes a lot of energy. Imagine if every time you drove a car, it was like driving for the first time because you had to consciously think about where everything is like the gas and brake pedal, blinker, review mirror, etc. That would be exhausting! Thankfully, now you’re able to do most of those things unconsciously so that you can cruise down the road, let your mind wander or talk to someone, dance, or even eat because you don’t have to consciously think about how to drive.
Habits are like little highways in your brain. In the case of worrying, your brain has just created lots of highways that all lead to the destination “WORRY”. In order to create change, we start to identify specific scenarios (highways) that lead to worry so that we can create a new neural path/highway towards how you want to feel instead - like it’s not a big deal or even confident.
So during the session, we talk about one specific thing you’re worrying about. You mention that you have a work presentation coming up that’s totally stressing you out. We have a conversation about it while playing around and using different tools and techniques to see how your brain and nervous system work and what helps you to shift out of that feeling of overwhelm.
Magically that feeling of overwhelm that you were feeling starts to dissolve and by the end of the session, it’s hard for you to even connect with that stressed feeling at all because you feel so different. You’re actually pretty excited about it. That’s because we’ve offered your brain a new way to feel about it! Instead of work presentation → overwhelm, we created a new neural path of work presentation → excitement.
Towards the end of the session, we may do a guided hypnosis to help you mentally rehearse feeling excited the morning of the presentation and then feeling confident and just as you want to feel while giving the presentation. This is a technique elite athletes use, because it lights up the neural network in your brain as if you were actually doing it to practice and help to prepare you.
By the end of the session, you have several anti-anxiety tools to use so that if your brain starts to worry about something it’s not a big deal. You can put up a roadblock on that highway, calm your nervous system, and continue to create new neural paths towards calm instead of overwhelm. I also show you how to do self-guided hypnosis so that you can continue to do mental rehearsal every day at home.
The more you use these tools and techniques, the more you reroute the highways that were leading to being a “worrier”. Instead of being a worrier, you feel empowered because your brain has stopped always playing out the worst case scenarios and even when you do start to worry, you no longer get caught in that cycle of overwhelm because you know how to change it. You just notice that it’s happening, you use a pattern interrupt to decrease your stress and shift out of that state so that you can do something more helpful instead.
Pretty cool, right? This is why during my training, I kept saying to Matt, “I feel like a wizard”. It was just so mind-blowing how effective this is in creating change. Thanks to neural plasticity, your brain is VERY capable of rewiring and creating new automatic patterns that work for you instead of against you. Once you learn how, you’ll be amazed at how quickly things start to change!
Want to experience the magic first hand? You totally can!
⭐️ Schedule a complimentary 1 hour coaching session with me to experience how it works first hand even if you’re a little curious, because wouldn’t it be great if that thing that’s really stressing you out right now didn’t feel like such a big deal anymore? Note: this even works for phobias. Here's the link to set up a time. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested, but don't see a time that works for you.
⭐️ If you haven’t already, get my favorite secret weapon for creating positive change! I share 6 ways to use it to help to start rewiring your brain to change habits, start the day feeling calmer, get better sleep, and more. Sign up here to have it instantly emailed to you.
Wishing you an amazing day! And if you're worrying about something, keep this in mind: if you're worrying, it means it hasn't actually happened. Your brain is just making up hypothetical brain movies that are making you feel worried. Did you know that's a form of self-hypnosis? We go in and out of hypnotic states all the time (like when watching tv or worrying), but often it's working against us. This is an opportunity to change that. 😊