A HELENSBURGH hypnotherapist and expert in neuro-linguistic programming has written a new book which he hopes will be an antidote to the armfuls of “self-help” books currently on the market.

John Hughes describes Help! You’re Self (not a typo, in case you’re wondering - but you’ll need to read the book to find out why!) as “the only non self help book you’ll ever need”, and says his aimwas partly to poke a little fun at an industry not often known for being light-hearted.

John, who grew up in Garelochhead and has run a “personal coaching” business in Helensburgh for the last two years, says his book aims to dispel the argument put forward by many authors of self-help books that there is a simple answer – not uncoincidentally, their answer – to the problems people find themselves facing.

He said: “There are a lot of self-help books out there, and in many of them, the person who has written the book is selling a methodology. They’re trying to suggest a type of all-encompassing answer.

“I poke a wee bit of fun at the self-help industry, because the whole point of my book is that there’s no simple answer.

“Often we apply meaning to all of life’s experiences – that’s part of the madness of the human condition. But often we seek meaning when there is none.

“As far as I’m concerned, sometimes there’s no explanation. I’m simply offering an alternative perspective on many aspects of life – and death.”

John’s book combines techniques, alternative perspectives, metaphorical short stories and personal experiences as it aims to give readers a new perspective on the challenges they might face in their own lives.

“It might cause readers to stop and think,” he continued. “I’ve already had lots of positive feedback from readers who have said the book has stopped them in their tracks and given them a new way of thinking about some pretty abstract concepts.

“I’m offering a way of putting you in control, instead of being at the mercy of the random thoughts you sometimes have.”

The short stories in the book – though officially metaphorical – are, in John’s words, “80-85 per cent absolutely factual”. And while the book does contain some language John describes as “hypnotic”, its primary function is the opposite, hoping to persuade readers instead to pause for a moment and think afresh about how they go about their lives, rather than giving them instructions on how to think.

“I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to say it’s ground-breaking,” he continued, “but I’ve not really come across any other self-help books that make people stop and think.

“Although it’s designed to reach the reader on a sub-conscious level, whether or not they realise that’s happening, it’s not so much a book on hypnosis as a book for thinkers.

“Because I can physically only be in one place at one time, the book might give peoplea chance to get a flavour of me and what I’m about.”