Let’s Research If Hypnotherapy Works?

Research Programme for our Students

One of the questions our students are likely to have to answer from friends and colleagues, both during and after their hypnotherapy training is “Does hypnotherapy work?”

It is tempting to answer with a very short and simple “yes!” followed by a torrent of personal examples which students at CPHT Belfast have quickly amassed.  But stories and anecdotal evidence is not solid evidence.

There is a huge amount of very good quality evidence already out there about the effectiveness of solution focused therapy and the benefits of hypnosis.  This is also supported by the latest understanding in neuroscience.  As with all things, it sometimes takes a little time for evidence to become mainstream and more widely accepted by the public and the medical fraternity.  That should not be an excuse to sit and wait though.

At CPHT Belfast we encourage all our hypnotherapy students to participate in a far-reaching research programme. This has already demonstrated the effectiveness of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

The Research Programme:

By definition, solution focused therapy focuses on solutions rather than problems. This presents challenges in trying to measure its effectiveness.  The moment you start asking questions about symptoms (which some research programmes encourage in order to identify improvements or otherwise) you are focusing the client on problems. Generally, our clients are already well practised at looking at their problems and this is something we want to change in order to see improvement in their wellbeing. However, CORP (Clifton Practice Outcome Rating Programme) has been designed to measure effectiveness whilst remaining positive and solution focused.

We train our students to use the software in a very simple way that fits seamlessly into sessions and benefits both the student and client. Students ask their customers to rate themselves against the following scales in the initial consultation and at the end of each session thereafter.

The seven scales:

1/ How positive have your thoughts been?

2/ How interactive have you been with others?

3/ How would you rate your level of activity?

4/ How would you rate your confidence?

5/ How well are you utilising your strengths and resources?

6/ How much have you achieved?

7/ How would you rate your level of happiness?

The software allocates a score out of 10 for each answer and the changes are measured over a period of time and illustrated in graph form.  Now both student and customer can easily see what has changed across the scales.

We generally introduce the programme in module 6 of the 10-month course. This gives students chance to get a firm understanding of how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works and get some practice under their belt before taking part. After all, once they start using the software their outcomes will feed into the overall research programme and compare their results against their peers (which at the time of writing includes more than eighty Solution Focused Hypnotherapists), so we want them to be on a level playing field from the off.

The Benefits:

Students quickly realise the power of being part of this exciting piece of research. Not only do they benefit as practitioners (being able to compare their results to the global results of the other participating hypnotherapists), but the clients benefit from being able to see their own progress. The clients then have an expectation of the

Hypnotherapy Research Programme
Improvement rating

progress they can make from past global results. They are also reminded of the areas they should focus on to maximise their improvements.

And to those that do not believe the anecdotes, our students can show and explain this research programme and its results!

Train to be a Hypnotherapist in Belfast and become part of this exciting research:

Would you like to know more about becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Ireland or Northern Ireland?  Train with CPHT Belfast and participate in this powerful research programme which is helping to change the perception of Hypnotherapy?

The Power of the Next Small Step

Clients and supervisees are often talking to me about the need to get things done. Getting started on that goal, big or small. Whether its clearing out the garage or starting a new career. What is it that seems to be holding us back. I’ll not get in to the neuroscience of why we might procrastinate here, but I will tell you about one of the most powerful tools I have learnt to help beat procrastination, at least some of the time.

Several years ago I was lucky enough to attend a CPD (Continual Professional Development) event at CPHT Bristol, where I trained to be a Hypnotherapist in the first place. The CPD was on Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Strategies. The highly respected lecturer, Matthew Dyson, asked the group the following question: “where do you get the motivation to get on the treadmill from?” The group gave several answers including: “by visualising yourself getting fitter”; “reminding yourself how good you feel when you are done”; “thinking about the guilt free glass of wine afterwards!” None of these were the answer he was looking for. As Matthew explained, “The truth is you get the motivation for getting on the treadmill when you get on the treadmill”!

The next small step

And it’s true of course, you get motivation to get up and do, when you get up and do.

Small steps make a difference.

Again I won’t go in to the details of the neuroscience behind that, but it does remind us of the importance of simply focusing on the next small step.

Let me give you an example. I am a regular gym goer. I enjoy being at the gym. Notice I write “I enjoy being at the gym”. I often don’t enjoy getting there. Getting myself changed, ready, in the car and down to the gym with the thought in my head that I am going to put my body through its paces is often very difficult.

More recently I have chosen to simply focus on the next small step to get me there.

First I might simply focus on the task of getting my trainers on. Then I focus on finding the car keys (why does that always take so long?). Then I focus on the job of getting in to the car. Throughout this whole process and on arrival I am telling myself: “just ten minutes and then you can go home, just ten minutes!” I stick out 5 minutes and then 10 and then, usually, the strangest thing has happened. Now I am warmed up, my heart is pumping, I am becoming less stiff and awkward, energy is returning, and the oxygen to my brain increases. I am building up momentum, I have got myself on the treadmill and that is where I find my motivation!

Now that I am there and have done my 10 minutes its rare I do less than 50, but my intention on arrival is always to do only 10.

The same principle can be applied to anything. We know the primitive brain can over-inflate the size of any task and underestimate our ability to achieve it. By focusing on that next small step with the understanding that we can stop and go home at any point we can gently steer ourselves more towards those activities which lead us to our goals and further from those that don’t. Just one small step!

Are you thinking of becoming a Hypnotherapist? Do you live in Northern Ireland and want to train in Belfast? I wonder if your next small step is simply to complete this application form: cphtbelfast.co.uk/application-form/… After all a “journey of a thousand miles starts with just one small step”- Lao Tzu.

Hypnotherapy with us is fun!

David Newton, Founder of CPHT
David Newton: “It has to be fun”.

As David Newton, founder of CPHT, is always saying: “It needs to be fun” and “We need to get on with it”.

If we were to take these two sentences and put them into practice with regards to our whole life, wouldn’t life be different?  Sometimes this isn’t always possible, but when it comes to training at CPHT Belfast we really do like to ‘get on with it’ and have fun.

Are all courses this much fun?

One of our students asked “Are all courses this much fun”? Our answer to that was “Yes, but the people from NI and Ireland seem to laugh more”!  On occasion there were absolute tears of laughter.

In addition to this there was also a great deal of concentration.  Especially in the early days as the students were getting to grips with neuroscience and how the brain works. However, we’d encourage them with words such as “Sometimes we just need to get on with it”.  Or we’d lighten it with one of Alex’s great drawings!

Alex’s drawing of the brain, nick-named ‘Paul’ by students on course 1.

Why do we sometimes have to ‘get on with it’?  Well the subconscious mind is an absolute professional at procrastination.  This isn’t a recent development, the word procrastination has been in the English dictionary since the 1600’s.  We suspect it was around well before then too.  Therefore gentle encouragement to get on and do something, or even simply start a process, can be very useful.

By not over-thinking things and taking the mental attitude of ‘yes I can’, we allow ourselves to concentrate more easily on what is being said.  Whether that’s about the chemicals in the brain; the physical symptoms of stress; the signs of depression.  All the things that make a CPHT Hypnotherapist knowledgeable, even in the early stages of their 10-month gold-standard diploma course.

Fun and laughter is good for the brain.

We encourage our students to transfer the fun to the therapy room so the client can benefit. Nic can recall coming down the stairs at a clinic with her client when the receptionist turned round and said with a smile: “I could hear you laughing down here, it’s not supposed to be fun you know”.  Ah well, that’s the good thing, yes it is – that’s how the brain learns more easily.

Take any child at school, they will do better in a subject if they’re enjoying it.  In therapy sessions with solution focused hypnotherapy, the brain can learn that it can laugh, despite what’s going on around it, and then not only can it overcome issues more easily, but it can come up with the correct assessment of any given situation and each individual can arrive more easily at the right solution for them.

One of solution focused hypnotherapy’s tenets is ‘find what works and do more of it’.  This can then help change negative beliefs and negative patterns of behaviour.Alex and Nic having a laugh whilst lecturing.

So keep smiling, it’s proven to be very good for you, and if you want cheering up, then perhaps it’s time for a change of career so have a chat with us! 😉

Nic and Alex

Tel: 0773 866 5172 (Nic) or 07917 415926 (Alex).

 

Hypnotherapy training progressing well

Would you believe we’ve already carried out our second weekend of hypnotherapy training in Belfast with our lovely bunch of students? Admittedly the start of the course was put back a week so as not to coincide with the start of school going back, so we only had three weeks till the second course weekend.

We’ve decided we’ve got the best students ever.  In the first month’s training they really got to grips with how the brain works and they were amazed at the long list of symptoms that we can help our customers with. We introduced them to hypnotherapy in that first weekend and had them practising on each other which caused some laughter.

In between the first two course weekends the students have been out practising guided relaxation with volunteers (mainly friends and family) with very good results.  We’ve also discovered they can certainly tell a yarn in the classroom!

Hypnotherapy Training Course at CPHT Belfast

In our second course weekend, we went on to explain brain research and the aspects of neuroscience that help us in understanding our customers. We also talked about different personality types, identifying a few characters in our classroom at the same time!  We had good feedback on the breakout exercises we did, one of which put the students in the client’s chair and gave them a whole different perspective.  It’s so easy to see things from just one perspective – switching it around to see things from the other side can be very helpful indeed both in training and in life.

On the second day of the weekend we introduced the Miracle Question – that got a few raised eyebrows I can tell you! It is one of the great tools we use, in addition to hypnosis, to help the client to move forward.

Between now and the next course weekend the students are out practising their Information Gathering techniques with friends and family.  This enables them to become adept at getting the information they need in order to progress their customers in the best way possible.

The best thing of all is we had so much fun, there was a lot of laughter in the room.  Learning becomes easier if you have fun!  We’ve even started interviewing for our next course starting in May, so Alex and myself will be out twice a month at that point – our airline is going to love us!!

Finally, we’ve discovered that Northern Ireland and Ireland seem to rather like solution focused hypnotherapy and its beneficial effects.

An interesting hypnotherapy case study

Over the years I’ve worked with a large number of hypnotherapy clients who come into my clinic with all sorts of presenting problems.  The majority bring in the usual issues such as anxiety, depression or allied symptoms such as insomnia, panic attacks or not being able to keep control of alcohol or food intake.

Sometimes there’s a case that’s unusual though.

A lovely lady came in with significant back pain.  She’d tried all sorts of treatments including private consultations in Harley Street, MRI scans, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy etc etc.  Then someone highlighted that it could be a psychological rather than a physical problem, and somehow she ended up in my client chair.

After six sessions of hypnotherapy she reported back that the pain had reduced by 75%.  We hadn’t actually talked about the pain directly, we’d simply worked to offload what we call the ‘stress bucket’ of life.  By reducing stress and teaching relaxation techniques we went on to almost completely rid the client of the pain.  She now realises that the pain is simply an alarm bell the subconscious is ringing to say “I’m in trouble”.

Frequently a symptom can be ‘rung’ as an alarm bell by the subconscious, especially insomnia or an addiction.  A client will often think of the symptom as being the actual problem, i.e. “I can’t sleep”, whereas Clinical Hypnotherapists know it can be down to something completely different – the stress bucket overflowing!

Rarely will a client understand this until it comes to the Initial Consultation.  Not only do we explain how hypnosis works, but we also explain how the brain works in a way the client can understand.  This explanation is based on the latest findings from the world of neuroscience.  Once the client gains an understanding of how the brain works, they are then on the pathway to taking back control.

The range of issues we deal with as hypnotherapists is vast, yet the way we deal with those issues is reasonably straight forward.  So if you want to make a difference to people’s lives in a very positive way, get in touch and have a chat about how you could change not only their lives but yours too.

Belfast Venue Announced

We’re very pleased to announce that the 2016 CPHT Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma course will be run at the Source Wellbeing Centre in Beersbridge Road.  We could see the Harland and Wolff gantry just down the road, but that wasn’t what decided our venue!  The main reason for choosing this delightful clinic was the bright and airy space in the training room, plus the welcoming feel the rest of the clinic had.  Another reason was the space to relax between lectures and it’s central location to Belfast.

One thing to bear in mind is if you don’t come from Northern Ireland and have an interest in the course, then we offer a postcode discount when students travel from afar.  Mind, we only offer it for this first course, so get in touch soon!

Meanwhile, this last weekend, Alex and I attended CPHT in Bristol to remind ourselves of how the second month’s course was delivered.  The students there learned about personality types which is very helpful given the array of different personalities they will deal with once qualified.  They also had an exercise in information gathering in order to really understand the client at the initial consultation.  Last month we covered the huge variety of conditions we can help with as hypnotherapists, anything from insomnia and IBS through to anxiety or confidence building. The list is significantly long!!  This month we covered more indepth aspects to these issues plus really started to get into the neuroscience of how the brain works – quite fascinating even for those who have no previous knowledge.

Alex and myself came away buzzing as we always do.  We trained some years ago and it’s always good to be reminded of the basics.

CPHT Belfast
Delegates at CPHT Bristol this weekend.

We’re now champing at the bit to get the CPHT Belfast course up and running in April!  Interviews will be taking place mainly through Thursday 3rd March to Saturday 5th but we will be carrying out a few prior to that too.  Get in touch if you have any questions or want to know more about the course itself.