Solution Focused Hypnotherapy
Solution-focused hypnotherapy combines solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT), with hypnosis. The origin of SFBT can be traced all the way back to the grandfather of modern hypnotherapy, Milton Erikson. He was a rather unorthodox practitioner that believed therapy didn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process (hence why solution-focused therapy is considered ‘brief’), and that with the right support and guidance, most people have the power to come up with their own solutions, in a relatively small amount of sessions.
SFBT recognises that everyone who comes for therapy is ultimately looking to feel ‘better’. So in sessions we look more at how solutions can be created, rather than simply analysing the problem (that does not mean that there isn’t space to talk about the problem if that is what is needed first). This is a process of creativity, insight, and self-enquiry.
How does hypnotherapy and SFBT work together?
Hypnotherapy and SFBT work beautifully together. Firstly, because the brain is very good at producing creative solutions when in a hypnotic state; and secondly because we can use the trance state to give the subconscious mind positive solutions that we have devised consciously in the therapy session. Hypnosis also facilitates relaxation and deep REM sleep outside of the therapy room, so over time the brain finds it easier to come up with positive solutions on its own. As the client relaxes and the higher part of the conscious brain is accessible, the part that is creative, rational and logical.
How does it work?
The emphasis of solution-focused hypnotherapy is the present and the future. Although there are therapeutic hypnosis techniques that can be used to resolve issues from the past, the overall therapeutic process it to create a better present and future for the client. This is done through realistic goal setting, positive reframing, and future pacing. The brain doesn’t really know the difference between imagination and reality, and most of our reality is a construct of our own perception. For example, someone who is very sociable and outgoing is going to have a very different perception of going to a party than someone who is shy and introverted, even if they are going to the same party. We can therefore use hypnotherapy to create preferred futures.
These preferred futures can be created by the imagination through talking about them in therapy and through creating images in hypnosis. The more they are repeated, the more they are likely to become reality. Often someone with a fear of something has done exactly this process already by creating a negative forecast of an event. If you have a fear of flying, for example, you might have mentally been on that airplane 50 times, and on it, you may have been panicky, afraid or the plane may have even crashed! By talking about a future flight in therapy, using the calm, rational part of the brain, a more likely scenario is mapped out, and a positive narrative of the future flight is created. Hypnosis is then used to inform the subconscious of this new future. As the subconscious is repetitive in its thought patterns, the new imagined future becomes the reality, and the fear is replaced by a more realistic and rational idea of the future event.
What is hypnosis and how does it work?
Hypnosis is a completely natural state of deep relaxation; often referred to as ‘trance’, where your subconscious mind is in a state of heightened awareness and focused attention. When we relax the mind in this way it is easier to take on new information and new patterns of positive thinking. With each session, the brain becomes more responsive to these new patterns, and the patient also learns to self-hypnotise in order to calm anxiety and implement those positive changes.
There are many different hypnosis techniques, and levels of trance to go into, but it is perfectly safe and you will remain in control at all time, and I will be monitoring and guiding you at all times.
What conditions can it help with?
Hypnotherapy can effectively be used to treat a plethora of conditions and is not limited in its effectiveness. Commonly it is used to help people overcome depression, anxiety, phobias and stress; and all the physical and emotional symptoms associated with those, such as insomnia, panic attacks, IBS, nail-biting, blushing, stammering, stress headaches and compulsive or destructive behaviours.
“Research shows that there is more scientific evidence for Clinical Hypnotherapy than any other Complementary Therapy…By using hypnosis, people can perform prodigious feats of will-power and self-healing!” (The Health Education Authority / NHS NICE)
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is also an excellent way to make positive changes in your life, such as giving up smoking, losing weight, motivation to complete a task, or to gain confidence. It is fantastic for helping prepare for upcoming changes or events, such as an exam, job interview, driving test or even a trip to the dentist!
In cases of physical conditions, hypnotherapy can help with pain relief and management, as well as helping you mentally cope with surgery or long-term treatment. It is a fantastic therapy for people preparing to have a family, both in aiding with fertility issues, through to having the most enjoyable and relaxed pregnancy and labour.
What can I expect from a session?
Your initial consultations do not usually feature hypnosis but instead take a more detailed exploration of your history, and then go into an in-depth explanation of how the brain works and how the therapists can help you. You may be given CDs (or MP3s), support material and homework where appropriate.
During follow up appointments, the first part of the session, you will work together, using Solution-Focused Brief Psychotherapy. Together you will devise solutions to the issues bothering you, coming up with ‘preferred futures’ and practical ways of reaching them. The second part of the session then moves into a guided relaxing session of hypnosis.
NB: There is no initial consultation for smokers, who instead get a one-off 90min session.
Is Hypnosis dangerous? Or will it change me for the worse?
The fears most people have is that somehow they will get ‘stuck’ or that they will bring up painful memories from the past, or that outside the clinic they will somehow get triggered into abnormal behaviours. Most of these myths have been fuelled by TV and film portrayals of hypnotists, but there is no real truth in them. You will remain in control at all times when under hypnosis, and will be able to come out of it whenever you want to. Our therapists rarely use regressive hypnosis, so there is no danger of bringing back bad memories or false memories, and once the patient has left the clinic the only effect left on them will be one of wellbeing!
Hypnosis is actually a very enjoyable and relaxing treatment, and most patients find that sessions leave them feeling calm and energised.
When shouldn't I have hypnotherapy?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is not suitable for people with a recent history of psychosis or schizophrenia or unmedicated bipolar disorder. If a mental health diagnosis is in place, our therapist may want to liase with your mental health team.
Our therapists do not see people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.