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Trends: Now Paul McKenna’s dating dramas are behind him, he’s written a book to sort your love life

New insight: Hypnotist and self-help expert Paul McKenna and, below, Bibi Lynch

PAUL McKENNA, internationally famous hypnotist and one of ‘the world’s most important self-help gurus’, has a book out — 7 Things That Make Or Break A Relationship — and I’m in the café of a photographic studio in south-west London to chat to him about it. He’s charming, handsome and a good sport when I ask the biggest question of all: why are relationships so hard?

‘Because of a number of factors,’ he says. ‘First, how you grow up and the conditioning you get, and the training video you watch — of how mum and dad relate to each other — will shape the blueprint of how you approach your own relationships.

‘Sometimes, if mum and dad didn’t get, on people will say, “I’m determined to make sure I do.” But very often, if you get imprinted with something negative, you bring that to the party.

‘A relationship isn’t a thing. People say, “I want to have a relationship” as if it’s a destination and you arrive and suddenly you’re in one. Actually, you’re constantly relating, it’s a dynamic process. And people change. And life happens.’

For all that, McKenna stresses that his book isn’t advice-based. Instead, it’s about processes. Each chapter has a ‘transformative focus’ and asks one question — for example, how are you communicating? Your answer will give you insights into your relationship, and then there are exercises, techniques and a downloadable hypnotic trance to help you make positive changes.

Happier outlook: Bibi Lynch and, below, Paul with his wife Kate Davey PICTURE: EYEVINE

He adds: ‘My publisher said, “Could you write a book about relationships?” And I said, “If I can stay in one!” This was a difficult book to write. Arguably, I’ve been writing it for decades.

‘I’d been getting it wrong for years. I could make a relationship last a week if I really went at it… but now I seem to have got it rather right. I’m not just married, I’m happily married.’

McKenna married Kate Davey in 2016 but it wasn’t a new relationship. She had been in his life as his personal assistant for more than 15 years.

In this book, he promises to ‘transform your current or next relationship into your best relationship!’ and to ‘teach us how to stop making the same mistakes and to give us the tools to make our relationship stronger, richer and better’. How?

‘We now know loads more about how people communicate, why they’re likely to fall out and why they’re likely to make up,’ he says.

Drawn from decades of research (some McKenna’s, some by scientists), the system in this book gives you the practical strategies to overcome relationship problems and the frame of mind to do it.

I ask him, do you have to be happy to meet someone? McKenna refers to a study referenced in the book in which scientists found that people who were happy tended to be married or in a relationship. They then discovered that it wasn’t that people got married and then became happier — they were already happy and found the right person for them. ‘It comes from here, first,’ nods McKenna, tapping his chest.

My last proper relationship ended the day after Diana died in 1997 and I’d like to be in another one. Twenty-three years is a long time — so what’s wrong with me? McKenna laughs.

‘Nothing’s wrong with you,’ he says. ‘Maybe what you’re doing works for you.’

It’s not, I tell him. I think I sabotage the relationships.

‘Dysfunctional behaviour usually has a positive intent,’ he says. ‘A phobia is a protection mechanism that’s overdoing its job or self-sabotaging relationships, as in: “Hang on, I had my heart broken before so I’m going to kill this now to stop the pain. But now I really miss them.”

‘Two aspects of you are in conflict. Give me your hands for a couple of seconds. Close your eyes.’

Oh my God, I’m going to be McKenna’d! He takes my hands and holds them palms up. He starts to tap my palms as we talk. To instil and install the message? I don’t know. I’m no Paul McKenna.

‘Close your eyes and get in touch with the part of you that wants to be in a relationship,’ he says.

He taps my left palm.

‘What is its function? Wants you to be…?’

Me: ‘Fulfilled.’

He keeps tapping.

‘Know what that feeling is like.’

He’s tapping into my psyche my relationship desire to be fulfilled.

He taps my right palm now.

‘This is the part that’s selecting people who are inappropriate or, subconsciously, setting it up so you don’t meet the right people. Get in touch with the part of you that’s sabotaging or not setting it up that you win. Its function is to do what?’

Me: My brain automatically comes up with ‘protect’.

He puts my hands together and says: ‘You can have both of these. They can both do their functions.’

And he then places my hands on my pounding chest. I can be fulfilled and protected. I don’t think I’ve been hypnotised but afterwards I do feel very light-headed.

‘This is deceptively simple,’ says McKenna of the tapping process. ‘I’ve seen people have a massive life change from this. Let me know how it works out.’

If this works out, you’re coming to the wedding, mate.

Resolve that argument

I tell McKenna that his chapter on disagreement resonates with me as I don’t know how to disagree with people.

‘I used to think you just went on and on until one of you gave up,’ he says. ‘It’s exhausting and you fall out and it’s horrible.

‘But my wife taught me this — when we disagree, she’ll say, “Let’s agree to disagree.”

‘Or if it’s late she’ll say, “Let’s not talk about this now… tomorrow morning, when we can think more clearly.”’

7 Things That Make Or Break A Relationship (Bantam Press) is out now. McKenna’s Change Your Life show tours the UK from March 6.