Calm Birthing

Pregnancy and birth are miraculous, unique and possibly one of the most transformative experiences a family will ever go through. But until you have experienced the transition from a self-sufficient to dependent-lead existence what it truly involves mentally, physically and emotionally can be hard to comprehend.

Change in any capacity is challenging, and becoming a parent takes a seismic identity shift. If you are presently pregnant you are radically physically changing, you also may have started thinking about your birth, and if you’ve shared the news with others you have likely heard their experiences too. Their antidotes, your thoughts and experiences, and any associated emotions, continually shape your ideas about birth – so your mental transition into a parent has also begun.

Hearing birth stories is par for the course once you become pregnant. Yet it is less common for people to open up about how bringing a new life into your family can lead to an in-depth expose into your real morals, beliefs, and core values. Personal freedom gives way to responsibility, self-love gives way to other love. Parenthood is one of the greatest identity issues you can ever choose for yourself, so it may feel strange to talk deeply about how you feel. But taking the time to think about how your attitudes and beliefs fit into the next chapter in your life is important, because neuroscientists have proven that your body follows your mind.

Would you believe me if I told you that negative and fearful thoughts are largely responsible for most of the physical discomfort and pain experienced during labour? Sounds like a bold claim given the robust  medical procedures laid out to mitigate labour pain and intervene in the face of complications. Nevertheless – fear + stress = tension, and when a birthing mother is tense she impedes the natural rhythm of her contractions, the uterine muscles work against each other, and there is increased pain and higher risk of complications. And remember you have already started shaping your ideas about birth and parenthood, and whether you classify this junction as a perceived threat tinged with fear. On the contrary when a birthing mother is comfortably relaxed the inner and outer muscle layers of the uterus naturally work in harmony, so teaching your mind to naturally and instinctively relax especially when encountering new and intense sensations, will set you up for a more comfortable experience.

I believe all woman should be armed with the kind of knowledge that gives them confidence in their innate parenting ability. At the beginning of your journey this means being open to follow your body and your babies unique labour pace. With its philosophy firmly aligned with the widely recognised HypnoBirthing™ – The Marie Mongan Method this hypnotherapy-based calm birthing material has been uniquely condensed to explain birth in a way that is refreshingly realistic and simple to understand. It aims to help you discover how you feel about your transition to parenthood. Then you will continue your journey at home by regularly listening to various relaxation audio recordings. Like any good intervention it is up to you to make the most of the information and tools supplied, but when you invest in calm conditioning and adopt a positive open mind-set you can trust your path will be perfect for you.

Learn more about Calm Birthing, or get in touch if you would like to approach your birth positively with an open mind.


I’ve been on a mindset changing journey over the past year and helping enlighten me alongside studying Hypnotherapy is the novel ‘Becoming Supernatural’ by Dr Joe Dispenza. While my eyes have been irrevocably opened towards the minds endless potential, I was disheartened a little because I know a lot of people in my life who simply wouldn’t read this book. But now Netflix has released a doco called ‘HEAL’ and I’m so excited because it’s an absolute must watch! Dispenza features alongside a host of experts on the science of the mind. When they talk quantum physics it is heady stuff, but I implore you to take the time to really listen to their message and if you want to know more then I highly recommend reading Becoming Supernatural. Here’s a few points that really caught my attention.

Stress related illness is huge, and can be caused by physical, chemical or emotional stress. Avoid illness and disease through avoiding toxic brain chemicals from fear based emotion. Treat those toxins and pathogens through diet and natural medicine alongside western medicine. Natural approaches are holistic and treat disease as inorganic. When chronic illness is discovered it takes more than chemical rebalancing to bring ourselves back into homeostasis.

Absolutely everything (right down to the smallest particles that make an atom) is made of waves of energy – literally vibrations or illusions. Quantum physics tells us that mind, consciousness and thought shape our bodies and our relationships to the world within which we live. Epigenetics teaches that the nervous system is the information highway – change the signals in your body, by altering the environment and your perception of the environment, and you can master your own genetic activity.

A strong mind-body connection has been proven through chemistry, just consider the placebo effect. When we accept, believe and surrender to a course of action our body has the innate capacity to change our chemistry to follow that course. So consider all your options, do something differently, make new choices, move beyond certain emotions and overcome limited thinking to create more possibilities in your life.

Move towards balance simply through harnessing the power of belief. You can choose to perpetually live in ‘fight or flight’ (damage mode) or ‘rest and digest’ (repair mode). Routinely stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system via Hypnotherapy, meditation or deep relaxation to relieve stress.

Practice awareness, get in touch with your core consciousness, your soul. Release the chemical juices of life, feel peace. Let go of detrimental self images and emotions that have formed throughout your programming. Put your faith in possibility – align your emotional state with positive thought through actively practicing gratitude. Utilise visualisation as there’s no question that what we imagine can effect our physiology. Shift from fear to love.

Addressing Unwanted Behaviour

Having just completed the Smoking Cessation Hypnotherapy Practitioner Certification by Dan Jones, Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy Instructor, addressing smoking, bad habits, addictions or unwanted behaviour is front of mind.

I don’t think I’ve ever personally been without a good vice or two. From as young as I can remember sugar has taken centre stage as my indulgence of choice, then coming of age brought a good couple of decades of (often excessive) alcohol consumption, not to mention the plethora of other habitual behaviour that I’m either unaware of or not ready to divulge in such an open forum. But often these seemingly harmless habits that have evolved over time can begin to get out of hand and really start to impact our lives in negative ways as we move through our life cycle. Below I discuss some of the elements to consider when approaching real and lasting change.

Unhealthy behaviour we engage in is usually the ‘treatment’ for another problem, and some possible emotional needs being met (directly or indirectly) by that behaviour may include boredom, stress, tiredness, excitement, socialising, status, attention, privacy or control. Or maybe the behaviour met an innate emotional need when you started but it has now morphed into an almost unconscious habit because of the associations you’ve spent years creating. To make real and lasting change we identify the emotional needs being met, learned undesirable habits and unhealthy behavioural patterns, and then new more constructive or healthy behaviour identified and reinforced.

Many people may benefit from change to your unwanted behaviour, but it’s important to make sure that you are identifying, focusing on and noticing the personal benefits and improvements to living a healthier more balanced life. To truly change your identity it’s important to be able to establish what individual success looks like, thus focusing on your future identity, and overtime harness an indifference to the offending behaviour so that it no longer defines you.

We release ‘feel good’ reward chemicals when we engage in pleasurable or new experiences, but just as engaging in regular behaviour takes advantage of our natural ability to form habits, it also takes advantage of our ability to habituate things. That is we need to increase the frequency or quantity to keep the chemicals releasing as the novelty wears off. So when behaviour hijacks our natural inbuilt drive to complete patterns (habits), has become instinctive, and also requires increased involvement for effectiveness ‘the con’ really kicks in. The con can be looked at as a form of trance whereby a craving or habit triggers the mind to focus on short term perceived positives (immediate emotional need fulfilment) and pushes negatives aside, skewing reality as you convince yourself the behaviour isn’t bad for you. To break free you need to address the instinctive/automatic associations cravings trigger and provide healthy alternatives, then practice and actively think about them until they become the new norm.

It is important to explore the likelihood that there may be a situation that leads to a single instance of engaging in unwelcome behaviour – after all we are all human. But rather than relapsing into a full blown habit again it’s important to constructively approach these situations. Acknowledge them, accept them, learn from them and move on stronger in your resolve as if it was just a one off ‘blip’. Furthermore if you can plan in advance for high risk situations by identifying possible scenarios that could hinder success, discuss what could be done differently, and mentally rehearse them then the likelihood of them taking you surprise will be diminished, and more often the new rehearsed solution will take over the old default response.

So if you find yourself out of balance, making excuses for your behaviour or on a path that is impacting your life in a negative way then Hypnotherapy can help target habits, behaviours, emotions or thoughts that are no longer serving you today and reprogram your subconscious to support who you want to be. And if you are still asking yourself why Hypnotherapy? Evidence based best practice for successfully changing behaviour includes:

  • a step by step plan that first details the cause for the behaviour and then puts in place manageable and measurable steps to address the behaviour and its causes;
  • making a public declaration of intent to change so that support and help can be enlisted;
  • primarily focusing on the positives – what will be gained and what motivates;
  • putting healthy rewards for time and situation milestones in place;
  • progress tracking; and
  • visualising benefits and challenges.

Hypnotherapy with Desireé involves all the above steps and more. I use a therapeutic approach to change combined with hypnosis to focus attention on what is immediately relevant, narrow awareness through relaxation, and create a mind-body connection. That path to a healthy, balanced and mindful life could be just around the corner, get in touch to find out more.

The Well Hub Interview

The well hub reached out to me for an interview to find out what suggestive hypnotherapy is and how it can help you to personally achieve a sense of balance and wellness in all areas of your life. While I am grateful to be able to shed a little light on how hypnotherapy fits into the wellness picture, I am even more pleased to be able to point people in their direction. The well hub provides affordable and accessible support to enhance and optimise wellness. Their evidence based online programmes provide access to mental health support, stress management, sleep and nutrition.

I’ve posted an excerpt from the interview below and you can read it in full at – while your there make sure to check out their amazing work.

Psychology is all about understanding human beings – what makes us think, feel and behave in certain ways. How do you think hypnotherapy fits in with this?
“I would say that suggestive hypnotherapy shares Psychology’s aim to understand our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and a skilled Hypnotherapist would use several of Psychology’s therapeutic approaches to help facilitate discussion centered on positive change, for example I use a combination of motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. In fact Hypnotherapy’s ability to guide and focus attention has been shown to enhance traditional forms of therapy and make them more affective. Really at their core I believe both modalities fit together and work in unison to help a range of clients focus on mentally, physically and emotionally improving in a multitude of ways.”

The well hub is all about promoting and enhancing wellness and wellbeing. How do you think hypnotherapy fits in with wellness?
“Just as wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life, hypnotherapy is about supporting the process of becoming aware of and making tangible changes towards a healthy and fulfilling life. As a Hypnotherapist I recognise that every individual’s journey is different and their idea of wellness and wellbeing varied, so everyone who contacts me is going to require a different level of support and a personalised pathway to wellness.”

What are your personal views about wellness?
“For me wellness equals balance. Taking a balanced approach to spending time on personal, family and business endeavors. Making a concerted effort to take stock of how we feel mentally, emotionally and physically on a daily basis and equally balancing those needs. For me wellness is living by a happiness factor, and truly knowing myself and meeting my own happiness needs is crucial, because everyone has a different idea of happiness that they’re responsible for and striving to attain.”

Demystifying Hypnosis

Hypnosis, and by proxy Hypnotherapy, has an air of mystique surrounding it, largely due to most people having only experienced stage hypnosis. But a seemingly all-powerful and controlling Hypnotist clicking their fingers while saying ‘sleep’ is not what you should expect from a standard suggestive Hypnotherapy session.

Hypnosis is not sleep, and it certainly is NOT a means to control another person – in fact if a client is unwilling it is essentially impossible to hypnotise them at all. Hypnotherapy put simply is deep relaxation paired with therapeutic suggestions and visualisations to support change. So if it is that simple then where does the mystic lie? I think it lies in the hypnotherapist’s ability to help you focus on the positive – what you want out of life – and then facilitate the passing of that information direct into the behavior driving subconscious without being overly scrutinized and judged. Below I explain in more depth how the mind and body works in relation to hypnosis and what makes hypnotherapy such a powerful avenue for change and wellness.

MAJOR STATES OF AWARENESS (content care of ©Hypnosis New Zealand, image ©Hypnotherapy with Desiree)

You will be very familiar with two states of awareness – awake and asleep (refer to image, content care of ©Hypnosis New Zealand). When fully awake we are very aware of our surroundings and our brains are actively experiencing everything we encounter. On the other end of the awareness spectrum we are asleep, and almost entirely unaware as our brains are resting (although it’s good to note that we are never completely unaware, which is why we can awake when deeply asleep). Hypnosis (or trance, or deep relaxation, or meditation) occurs when we are not quite asleep and not quite awake, it is a ‘middle ground’ of awareness that we naturally and regularly experience when day dreaming, falling asleep or waking up. Hypnotherapy takes advantage of our middle ground of awareness, as our conscious mind is relaxed enough to provide suggestions and visualisations direct to our subconscious mind.

CONSCIOUS V SUBCONSCIOUS MINDS (content care of ©Hypnosis New Zealand, image ©Hypnotherapy with Desiree)

Hypnotherapy combines hypnosis and therapy, and to fully grasp how it can benefit us we need to understand the relationship between our conscious and subconscious minds. The conscious and subconscious work on different levels and influence us in different ways (refer to image, content care of ©Hypnosis New Zealand). As external stimuli is received into the conscious it applies a process of judgement and reasoning and then the information is passed to our subconscious which houses our memories or learned behavior. The conscious uses logic and analysis to drive behavior as we experience life through our five senses, and the subconscious relays information back and forth to our conscious based on previous experiences and generally evokes feelings to affect behavior. Hypnotherapy involves treating problems on both the conscious and subconscious levels, problems that are often unable to be solved in the conscious state alone. Mutually agreed suggestions and visualisations are discussed while fully aware, and then presented to the subconscious in a state of deep relaxation, to support client driven desired changes to thoughts, words and actions.

Meditative, altered awareness, daydream-like – think of hypnosis as a deeply relaxing ‘being’ state. We fluctuate between this and our consciously aware ‘doing’ state which we are in most of the day. Both states have benefits. When operating under no pressure we rhythmically experience the conscious doing state for 90 minutes and then move into the being state for 20 minutes (you can read more about the psychological benefits of ‘being’ in Understanding Hypnosis by Dr Brian Roet.) However mental loads these days can be overwhelming to say the least and modern life is wrought with stress and pressure, so we often aren’t able to experience the beneficial and healing being state that nature intended. Hypnotherapy utilises the natural being state of hypnosis. It is in this frame of mind that our feelings, creativity, imagination, automatic actions, memories and responses via the autonomic nervous system are accessed. When targeted suggestions and visualisations are presented in this being state real and lasting change can occur.

Brain waves of hypnotised subjects using an electroencephalograph (EEG) generally show alpha waves, which denote a mentally alert but physically relaxed state. This contrasts strongly with extremely slow delta brain waves when we are asleep. Which can be reassuring to those who are concerned about being ‘unconscious’ during hypnosis. As hypnotherapists induce the naturally occurring sensation of deep relaxation we encounter daily, similar to daydreaming, during most hypnotherapy sessions you will remember everything that the therapist speaks to you.

Physical functions measured before, during and after hypnosis show that while in a state of hypnosis breathing and heart rate slows, the bronchi of the lungs dilate, blood-pressure drops and the production of stomach acid is reduced. No stress hormones are released and white blood cells cling more firmly to blood cells (which is thought to increase immune efficiency) – all positive side effects! These findings highlight how hypnosis can help alleviate physical problems such as asthma, tension headaches, stomach disorders, high blood pressure and many other stress related problems (you can read more about the real physiological changes that occur during hypnotherapy in Principals of Hypnotherapy by Vera Peiffer). Therefore benefits of hypnotherapy are two-fold – supporting both your mental and physical health.

I hope you now understand that hypnosis and hypnotherapy are not mystical. Rather the underlying focus of a skilled therapist is to help you learn about yourself (on your conscious, subconscious and emotional levels) so that you can resolve conflicts and take control of your life. If you are ready to imagine what you want out of life then get in touch so I can help you work towards achieving it.

Hypnotherapy Help Areas

Hypnotherapy is safe and has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years. There are no risks, positive side effects and its primary goal is to help you understand yourself and make desired changes.

It is no magic wand, in fact hypnotherapy allows absolute free will! You could say all hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis because it is 100% client driven and personalised. Think of me as a guide, to help you explore and focus on what you want out of life, lead you through unique relaxation techniques, and support your transformation.

Sleep is regenerative, a wonderful necessary part of life – but also a source of strain if you have difficulty attaining sleep, get insufficient sleep, or suffer from broken sleep. When you awake feeling unrefreshed you put yourself on the back foot for the rest of the day. Hypnotherapy can help quiet your busy mind so that sleep becomes a pleasurable experience.

Suffering from a negative outlook can seriously affect your self-image and the way you interact with the world, and you may find you are not getting the most out of your relationships. If you find yourself stuck in a negativity spiral hypnotherapy can help transform your outlook on life positively.

If you are struggling with poor self-confidence or low self-esteem then you may be negatively self-assessing, and that is hard to change on your own but quite readily addressed with hypnotherapy. I will help you give yourself permission to be okay with who you are and how you are, more accepting of the good, the bad, and the relatively neutral aspects of yourself.

It is widely known that smoking causes death and disease, and the government wants to achieve a smokefree New Zealand by 2025. If the benefits of being smoke-free outweigh the reasons to smoke then hypnotherapy can support a motivated person to easily quit. Get in touch to find out more about how I can personalise positive suggestions, visualisations and affirmations to assist you in disowning the burden of smoking.

A supportive mindset underpins excellence in sport. It is widely known that professionals engage in mental training, but all levels of sports performance can benefit. If you want to train harder, focus your attention more thoroughly, or overcome self-doubt or confidence issues, then clinical hypnotherapy can help. Contact me to utilise the power of hypnotherapy to increase performance and handle pressure on competition day.

Most habits are housed on the subconscious level and can result in addictive or compulsive behaviour. From smoking, binge eating, excessive drinking and other drug use, through to simpler things like nail biting. I can help you change habits on the subconscious level to provide long-term results.

Under-eating, over-eating, binge-eating, constant grazing, snacking, food addiction, diet support, bad habits, low/no carb, quitting sugar… Whatever your specific food or weight loss hurdle hypnotherapy can help you change your associations to food and create a new healthy lifestyle.

We all know we need to move, living a healthy life simply comes down to energy input versus energy output. Every part of ourselves benefits from increased activity – we look better, feel better, think better. If you are struggling to find the motivation to fit exercise into your schedule then hypnotherapy can help you find the time and reframe exercise as an enjoyable activity.

Struggling with finding the motivation to achieve what you need in the time you have? Perhaps time management has always been a sore point, or prioritising work over pleasure a struggle? Squeeze more out of every day by first understanding why you may be unmotivated, and then change that pattern of behaviour to better serve you at work, school, home – or all those areas.

A phobia is an irrational, persistent and intense fear of a particular situation, activity, thing or people, and may be interfering with your ability to function normally. While you may be able to avoid your fear inducing phobia and live a relatively stress free life, they may lurk in the background of your consciousness. If you are ready to detach the object from your emotional response and update your brain with a new, more realistic response then hypnotherapy can support you.

If you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, if you get into intoxicated trouble, or if you have memory lapses when you drink, you may find your life is being negatively impacted by your alcohol consumption. If you want to control your drinking then seeking support via hypnotherapy is a positive way to address your issue and take control back.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of the areas that Hypnotherapy can help with, if there’s something else that you would like to address then please contact me to discuss how I may be able to support you to achieve what you want out of life.

Meet your Hypnotherapist, Desireé Prendergast

I’m Desireé, a stay at home mum to a busy toddler and wife to a busy husband, and I run a part-time Hypnotherapy clinic from home. I love helping people improve their lives through guided hypnotherapy.

I first encountered hypnosis as a teen at a stage hypnosis event, I learnt that I easily slipped into a dreamlike trance state, and although I felt lucid, I keenly followed the hypnotic suggestions presented to me. Flash forward twenty odd years and I now realise the full power and potential of harnessing the uninhibited mind that goes along with hypnosis.

At University I studied Psychology, Sport Science, Business Management and Human Resources, which afforded me a rather scientific view of the human condition and how behavior is driven. I learnt that the mind has so much depth and mystery that science is still unveiling truths on a daily basis. During my working life I experimented with the power of my own mind through positive thought. I threw out my alarm clock and plain told myself what time to wake up in the morning, I woke refreshed and was never late for work again. I went further and visualised the direction I wanted my career and personal life to go, and step by step I attained every goal I put out there.

I was formally introduced to hypnosis through Hypnobirthing, a powerful tool allowing the mind to be in control of our bodies. The ‘science’ of Hypnobirthing stacked up against my knowledge of the body and my experience of ‘mind over matter’. I went on to have a natural and calm birth, harnessing the breathing techniques and relaxation methods I learnt. By believing in the desired outcome it came true.

I then started tuning into others experiences of hypnosis and soon learnt that Hypnotherapy was helping people all around me in a multitude of ways. My brother had kicked his smoking habit, my friend had significantly dealt with her anxiety, and others had used regression to find hidden barriers to problems in their marriage which they then overcame. It was empowering to discover a simple method that could impact lives for the better, I was hooked.

It is undisputable that Hypnotherapy improves lives, and I am passionate about spreading the word on how others can harness the power of their own minds to reach their full potential and overcome barriers. Now that I am a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist trained in Suggestive Hypnotherapy I am in a position to help you identify desired life changes and motivations and take you through unique relaxation techniques using tailored suggestions to enact that change.


  • Bachelor of Science, major Psychology, minor Sport and Exercise from the University of Auckland
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Business and Administration with merit in Human Resource Management from Massey University
  • Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy from Hypnosis New Zealand
  • Professional Member of Hypnosis New Zealand

If you’d like to learn more about hypnotherapy and how it could benefit you please get in touch.