Below is a summary of key information regarding what cognitive hypnotherapy is, the types of clients I typically work with, how I generally structure therapy and how I, as a cognitive hypotherapist, approach the labels we tend to use when describing those things about us we wish to change.
Cognitive Hypnotherapy At A Glance
Cognitive hypnotherapy is a flexible, holistic and bespoke therapeutic approach, which recognises the individual in their totality and not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ methodology, which relies on conditional labels and/or predefined programmes of work. Fundamentally, cognitive hypnotherapy emphasises client-therapist trust and rapport, and utilises each client’s innate creative healing and problem-solving powers to bring about their desired change.
Cognitive hypnotherapy seeks to permanently resolve issues through the reframing of past significant emotional events; however, it must be noted that while addressing root cause is generally considered ideal, it is not always appropriate or even necessary for dramatic, positive and lasting change to be obtained.
Cognitive hypnotherapy utilises various trance states to facilitate transformative change. Importantly, and perhaps surprisingly, cognitive hypnotherapy rejects the idea that trance is a special state, which can only be accessed with the help of a specially trained practitioner. Rather, cognitive hypnotherapy accepts trance to be a natural state and one which we all independently access hundreds of times daily.
Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, cognitive hypnotherapy holds that we are all fundamentally resilient, wonderfully resourceful, profoundly knowledgable and infinitely capable. Consequently, cognitive hypnotherapists draw on their clients’ unconscious strengths and wisdom to facilitate natural change as opposed to prescribing ‘solutions’ or ‘cures’ based on the hypnotherapist’s ideas, opinions and beliefs
Ensuring A Proper Fit
Cognitive hypnotherapy is an insightful tool and one many people find exceptionally helpful. That said, it is not for everyone and… that’s okay. As for whether of not it is right for you depends largely on you and where you are in this moment. For some people a ‘quick fix’ is all they are after. Maybe they want to lose a few pounds before they head off on holiday, temporarily ‘stop’ smoking in preparation for a big event or to appease a boyfriend, girlfirend or spouse. In these instances, positive short term results are potentially achievable, but lasting change less assured.
My clients are individuals who are seeking enduring transformative change and are willing to embrace both intellectual and emotional honesty. In some instances, my clients perceive their lives to be unproductive, their innate talents and authentic sense of self, suppressed. Others have grown tired from a continual sense of exhausting struggle, while others wish to regain their natural inner strength and resolve. In all cases, regardless of circumstance or cause, my clients are ready for real change. And while sometimes they have been encouraged by friends or loved ones to take the first step, all have ultimately made the choice to bring about their changes through personal effort investment.
If this sounds like you, then yes… cognitive hypnotherapy is probably the right approach and our time together will be well spent. If, however, you remain unsure, please feel free to contact me and we can decide together.
Lastly, I do wish to emphasise that cognitive hypnotherapy is not appropriate, and could be detrimental, for individuals suffering from Epilepsy or serious mental illness such as: Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder (aka Manic Depression) or Clinical Depression. If you are currently suffering from one of these conditions or suspect you may be, please contact your GP or NHS Direct by dialling 1 1 1.
My Theraputic Framework
As mentioned above, cognitive hypnotherapy is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ therapeutic approach. That said, I tend to follow a basic framework, which I find, allows for a high degree of flexibility while providing sufficient structure to ensure we stay focused on your goal. The three core elements of this framework are: Understanding, Exploration & Transformation, and Living Well.
How long it takes to move through each of these elements is client specific. For some clients, change comes quickly while for others, more slowly. Whatever your pace, will be the right pace for you.
No-Cost Consultation (Optional)
15 - 30 minutes
In many cases my clients tend to be initially unsure or slightly hesitant as to whether or not cognitive hypnotherapy will be right for them. They’ve heard good things, but are not quite ready to commit. This, of course, is perfectly natural and understandable, and if this feels like you, please consider giving me a call or emailing me, and I’ll be happy to discuss and answer any questions you have.
Aside from answering your questions, I will tell you if I believe cognitive hypnotherapy feels like the right fit for you and if not, I will endeavour to provide you with alternative options.
Assuming we are both comfortable about proceeding, we will book your first session and decide the location. Additionally, I will email you my consent agreement and some simple questionnaires for you to complete before our first session.
60 - 90 minutes
Our first session together is about giving you the time and space you need to describe your problem (how long you have had it, under what circumstances does it occur, when doesn’t it occur, what physical symptoms, if any, do you experience in association with it, etc.) and importantly, for you to describe how you want to be. This is your time to set aside all other life pressures and focus on your reason for being here. Simply put, this is our foundational session and as such, it is a time for me to listen and a time for you to be heard.
Exploration & Transformation
~60 minute sessions
Exploration & Transformation is where the ‘hypnotherapy’ element of cognitive hypnotherapy starts. I’ll ask you how things have changed since our previous session, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential these changes may appear. Based on our previous discussion and any new information presented, I’ll suggest a starting approach and, assuming you agree, we will get to work.
At the end of the session, I will provide you with a recording of personalised suggestions, which I will ask you to listen to each day, ideally at or around bedtime. If appropriate, I may also assign you some homework for you to do.
The objectives of subsequent sessions will be to understand how your experience has changed, to what degree change has taken place, modify our approach, if necessary, and address any other concerns, which may have arisen even if this means widening our focus from the initial goal.
30 - 60 minutes
This will be our final session together. During this time, we will reflect back on our journey together, acknowledge your personal transformation, and look forward to you being well and living well.
If you talk to many hypnotherapists or review their websites, you will likely notice that they refer to numerous conditional labels with which they work. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, I believe it fails to capture the essence of what I offer. Labels such as anxiety, depression, stress or phobia, while useful as a communicative clinical shorthand, have the unintended consequence of minimising elements of your unique self and life situation.
We are all unique, amazingly complex and multi-faceted. Consequently, so too are our experiences, which we utilise to define our thoughts, beliefs and ultimately, our realities. Because of this, we often choose different labels to roughly definey similar challenges. Many hypnotherapists use labels as a marketing tool hoping that potential clients will recognise their label and contact them.
I am not interested in labels, which can oversimplify and depersonalise, but in the thoughts and physical responses experienced by my clients as we work jointly towards realising their goals. The critical point is, that while labels are interesting and potentially directional in nature, they are not fundamental to the change process and can often act as barriers to change.
To summarise, while some hypnotherapists find working with labels to be a helpful approach, I set labels aside, choosing instead to work with my clients… as the people they are… in the moment.