As a clinical hypnotherapist, I have clients who come to me with all sorts of problems – lack of self-confidence, anger management, panic attacks, weight-loss, phobias and so on. The list is endless and the variety of issues never ceases to amaze me and sometimes has me researching conditions late into the night (emetophobia – anyone?).

But despite the large variety of issues clients present, I noticed that all of these issues have one thing in common – 99% of them start with beliefs that were formed in childhood. From a fear of public speaking arising from an embarrassing episode at school to a lifetime of binging because there wasn’t much food on the table, the overwhelming majority of my clients challenges arise out of beliefs learned when they were young. Beliefs that served them at the time (“if I shrink quietly into the background, maybe the bully won’t notice me”), but are debilitating in adult life.

And although some of those beliefs and responses arise out of obvious trauma, the majority, don’t. We traced one lady’s extreme self-esteem issues back to the birth of her younger sibling (“I’m not important anymore/I can’t be good enough if my parents need someone else”) even though she adores her little sister. Very recently, I saw a young lad whose night terrors had developed into very disturbing anger outbursts in his sleep – all because when he was little, his naturally protective mother had told him to stay close because “I don’t want a man to come and take you away”.

I have long been struck by how these beliefs can really affect our emotional well-being and inhibit our behaviour;   how all of us suffer because of unconscious programmes running through our minds telling us that “we’re not good enough”, “the world’s a dangerous place” or “we’ll never amount to much”.

And over the years, I kept thinking – what if, rather than spending years suffering and then maybe time and money unpicking and trying to heal those issues, we worked to get them right at the start? What if we focused on putting down foundations for long-term mental health and emotional well-being from the beginning?

Every parent I know tries to do the best for their children, but we’re human and without even realising it, we will often say or do something that a child won’t understand and may take upon him or herself in a negative way and we may not ever realise. Plus, of course we have no idea what they’re hearing in the nursery or playground let alone all the messages the media beams at us 24/7. So how about a little help? How’s about we create something to counterbalance those negative messages and help juggling parents do their best to ensure that the beliefs that their children are absorbing are ones that we want for them? Ones that lead to happier more fulfilled lives?  Wouldn’t that be neat?

And at the same time, given how hard it is to be a parent – wouldn’t it be good to provide them emotional support too?

And so – Papalona was born.