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Not All Hypnotherapy is Equal
With so many therapies, including counselling, CBT, NLP, suggestion hypnosis, hypno-analysis and advanced hypnotherapy, choosing the right approach and therapist for you can be confusing. And, if you are looking for a hypnotherapist or are just simply interested in the subject, you’ve probably found quite a lot of conflicting information about hypnotherapy and hypnosis.
The Therapy You Choose Determines Your Likelihood of Success.
Choosing the right therapist can be challenging, simply because there are so many different approaches on the market. Some are better and more effective than others, and some therapy styles are more suited to particular problems or types of people.
Counselling, psychotherapy, coaching & talking therapies
Some people can spend literally years in talking therapies and still not resolve their issues, and it is not surprising once you understand how the mind works. Talking therapy approaches only deal with information accessible from your conscious mind, and work by helping you talk through your thoughts and feelings, so that they can be processed appropriately into your long-term memory.
Counselling and talking therapies are appropriate for immediate help with the natural healing processes for issues such as bereavement and critical incident debriefing (e.g. after an accident or traumatic event). However, for long-standing problems, where the problem is stored in the subconscious mind, counselling is fairly ineffective because it only deals with the conscious mind.
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
CBT is often recommended by GPs in conjunction with prescription drugs, for conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and eating disorders. A typical course of CBT can take between 5-20 sessions, and according to US organisation, the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists, the average treatment is 16 sessions.
In very basic terms, CBT works on recognising inappropriate behaviour and thought patterns and replacing them with the desired alternative.
CBT is essentially willpower – practising something consciously until eventually the subconscious takes it on board as the new habit or thought pattern. The approach can work, however, willpower can fluctuate and when it weakens, you give up. CBT is also limited by its inability to address emotions associated with the problem at a deep level.
Although ubiquitous, recent credible research has started to question CBT’s effectiveness. Research co-led by an academic at the University of Hertfordshire, reviewed findings from well-conducted studies in the use of CBT in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. They concluded that cognitive behavioural therapy is of no value in schizophrenia and has limited effect on depression. The authors also noted there are surprisingly few well-controlled studies of CBT in depression (Lynch et al 2009)¹.
Not all hypnotherapy is the same
People sometimes say “I’ve had hypnosis before but it didn’t work”. This is like saying I went to school and didn’t pass my exams, therefore school doesn’t work. The techniques used by the therapist, client commitment and the ability to follow the instructions given by the therapists correctly all impact on the outcome.
Some techniques in hypnosis are significantly more effective than others, and clients are more likely to succeed if they put in the effort and commitment required to complete the therapy.
An excellent hypnotherapist with poor or mediocre techniques will not produce as good results as a bad hypnotherapist with an excellent technique. Not the other way around.
In very broad terms, there are three types of hypnotherapy available; suggestion, hypno-analysis and regression-based advanced hypnotherapy
Suggestion and relaxation based hypnotherapy is the most commonly available type of hypnotherapy. New ideas, information or ‘suggestions’ around thoughts, feelings and behaviours are given to you during hypnosis.
Religious or ‘spiritual’ healing is a form of suggestion, which relies on the client’s belief system, and can be very powerful if that belief system is strong. The treatment can work well for uncomplicated problems; however it has been shown in research only work long-term for around a third of cases.
Suggestion produces one of three outcomes;
- it works without any further need for therapy, or
- the problem appears to be fixed but reappears a few months later once the suggestion has worn off , or
- it does not work at all.
One of the big drawbacks with suggestion hypnosis is that it can appear to work after a session, but because it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem, it can return or manifest in other ways later on.
Some hypnotherapists even dilute hypnotherapy with other therapies such as NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and CBT (behavioural therapy). To achieve a much higher success rate, a hypnotherapist with more specialist advanced hypnotherapy training is required.
Suitable for uncomplicated problems, quick-fix stress relief, self-hypnosis and children.
Hypno-analysis, also known as ‘free association’, is another technique which appears to be popular at the moment. It uses more sophisticated techniques than pure suggestion; however, it typically takes 8-10 sessions, and in some cases up to 20 sessions.
However, although this approach can delve deeper into the subconscious, it can also throw up more issues in addition to the one the client came in with. This can leave the client with more problems than they started with and create an unhealthy dependence on the therapist.
Advanced hypnotherapy incl. age regression
Advanced hypnotherapy, when applied correctly with full client commitment, can be a permanent solution because it tackles issues from all angles. However, this type of hypnotherapy specialist is rare. Advanced hypnotherapy involves the skill of gaining direct access to the subconscious, inner mind and the knack of finding the source of the problem. Once the root of the problem has been found, it can be dealt with.
Similar to an expert computer hacker, the advanced hypnotherapist eliminates the ‘mind viruses’ causing the problem(s). Once these ‘mind viruses’ are removed and the ‘new’ behaviour or thought pattern reprogrammed, the problem can be fixed. The process normally takes 4-6 sessions.
Success rates for advanced hypnotherapy (regression based therapy combined with direct suggestion hypnosis) have been reported in numerous research studies in the mid 90 per cents, across a wide range of problem². It appears that when it does not work is when (a) either the client does not commit to fixing the problem, or (b) there is secondary gain i.e. a bigger gain from keeping the problem than getting rid of it. An example of this would be a celebrity famed for gaining and losing weight. If the celebrity were to fix the problem, he or she may not longer be a celebrity and potentially lose their income. However, for many people, this approach provides a long-term solution to a long-standing problem.
If you are serious about resolving a long-term issue, advanced hypnotherapy could be the right solution for you.
find out how could we help you
Find out more about how we can help your particular issue by contacting Katie Glen or Jenny O’Kelly on 020 8712 5981 today.
¹Lynch et al. Cognitive behavioural therapy for major psychiatric disorder: does it really work? A meta-analytical review of well-controlled trials. Psychological Medicine, 2009. ²Barrios, Alfred A. ‘Hypnotherapy: A reappraisal’ Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice , Vol 7 (1): 2, Jan 1, 1970
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