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Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a modern approach developed to help people make the changes they want to make in their lives.

Traditionally, people talk about hypnosis as if it’s a special state – a place the hypnotist somehow gets you to go to. Trance, however, can be an everyday occurrence.

For example, when you’re daydreaming in a boring meeting, so absorbed in a TV show that you are unaware of anything else or where a conversation you’re having in your head makes you miss your turning, these are all examples of an altered state of consciousness that we label as trance.

In cognitive hypnotherapy, we also think of trance as being part of the thing you want to change. Do you behave against your will at certain times? Get scared by something harmless, stressed by something that shouldn’t bother you, unable to resist something you want to resist?
At those moments you’re in a trance

In a sense, cognitive hypnotherapists work to 'dehypnotise' you from the state your unconscious puts you in to get it to do what it thinks is best. 

By helping you to 'stay yourself' in those kinds of moments, you come to realise the problem no longer exists.

All behaviour has a purpose. 90% of what we do is unconsciously driven, and that includes the things we do that we’d like to change.

Negative behaviours are just wrong actions being done for positive intentions. 

Our brain is tuned to learn from our experiences and guide us towards behaviours that it’s learned have benefit, or away from things that could harm us. The trouble is, it can make mistakes in its understanding – especially when we’re young – that tend to grow over time. 

The good news is that the brain is 'plastic' – it’s always changing – and there are many ways of helping you change your mind so that the purpose of your behaviour is the one you choose. It’s like updating the software on your computer.

Everyone is unique. Most therapies attach a label to a problem, and then use it to guide their choice of treatment. We don’t.

We believe that everyone has arrived at their issue through a series of experiences that have shaped their minds in a unique way.

What this leads to is a way of working that is completely tailored to the client’s way of thinking, where we fit techniques and interventions from a wide range of other approaches such as cognitive behavioural therapy, NLP, gestalt and positive psychology into a bespoke treatment plan for each individual client.

This is supported and enhanced by using the client's own words to create suggestions that are intended to accelerate the rate of improvement and make it permanent.

The effect is to help them learn how to help themselves stay in control in situations where they didn’t used to be. And once you’ve learned you can be in control of that, you begin to realise that you can control anything about your life that you choose.

Here is an online magazine, if you want to know more...

From an article in The Observer (6 July 2008)

Cognitive hypnotherapy provides overworked minds with the toolkit they need to fix their own stresses and strains. It is based on modern psychology and neuroscience and, don't worry, there's not a pendulum in sight!

Chances are, when you think of hypnotherapy, you either imagine a swinging pocket watch or a hapless audience member being made to cluck like a chicken on stage in the name of entertainment. Neither of these preconceptions is true.

Cognitive hypnotherapy combines cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis with theories based on modern neuroscience.

We all go into natural hypnotic trances every day without even knowing it. It's comparable to being so absorbed in a book or film that the hours seem to fly by, or being in a meeting where your mind has wandered. It is this natural state of mind that is used in cognitive hypnotherapy. You never lose control and are certainly never put under the control of anyone else.

Is there any evidence?

Controlled trials have shown that hypnosis can reduce anxiety (particularly before medical procedures), although there is still some doubt that the hypnotic state actually exists. In the past five years, however, scientific research has become more credible, thanks to the latest brain imaging technology; brain scans now prove that hypnotised subjects are more susceptible to hypnotic suggestion. In one study, volunteers were given hypnotic suggestions to "see in colour". Scans showed that areas of the brain associated with colour perception were activated, even though the pictures they were looking at were black and white.

Where does it come from?

In the 18th century, Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer used magnets to practise a form of hypnotism (hence "mesmerising"). His patients claimed they felt no pain while being treated under his trance. Mesmer was later dismissed as a charlatan, but his methods have since been investigated and developed into the form of hypnotherapy we know today.

In 2001, Trevor Silvester set up the Quest Institute (questinstitute.co.uk) and introduced the idea of combining hypnosis with cognitive behavioural therapy, tools from positive psychology, cognitive theory and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).


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