On this page, the "they" forms refer to both male and female.

Psychological Therapy and Hypnosis

If you have been browsing the internet you may wonder what all those techniques are (there are literally hundreds of them) that therapists claim to specialise in, and whether one or other of those techniques might be more effective than the rest for treating the problem you have in mind. My philosophy about therapeutics is straighforward.

Techniques (you name them! - NLP, EFT, EMDR, CBT, PCP, SOBT, "curative hypnosis", "cognitive hypnotherapy" etc etc) for treating, say, a phobia or anxiety are only tools, and tools cannot do the job without a craftsman. Likewise a craftsman, however good they may be, cannot do the job without tools. It takes both in partnership, but that fact alone is not the whole picture. The most crucial element is the healthy working relationship between a client and their therapist. Rapport is a two-way thing, and ultimately the real "expert" in treating or solving the problem is not the therapist but the client. The role of the therapist is to empower the client to develop this expertise, which should stay with the client after the therapy is concluded.

The therapist's responsibility therefore is one of using the best appoaches that they has at their disposal. Often this would be a combination of a range of techniques as well as a clear understanding of the client's problem(s). This understanding is founded on advanced knowledge of psychology. 

Though qualified in hypnoanalysis and therapy, I see myself more as a Psychologist who uses hypnosis for therapeutic purposes than as a hypnotherapist "per se". This is because as a Psychologist, hypnosis is only one of such tools I use, and I do so because of its high and subtle effectiveness in bringing about desired change without the need for strenuous conscious contemplation and self-examination. And as an approach that does not rely heavily on talking (and almost every therapy technique does - viz-a-viz "talking cure"), it can be really helpful for people who find it hard to express themselves.

Psychological underpinnings of therapy  

I don't often use the term "clinical". This is primarily because of my belief in modern psychological practice. In the past, psychological therapies have mainly looked at deficits and how to address them. As such, therapists adopted the so-called "medical model" of identifying a "deficit" and upon such a "diagnosis", prospect upon a "cure". This would then be matched with a stock-in-trade "treatment" or "therapy" for it. However, it doesn't take a genius to work out that no one-size fits all in psychological matters and the individual needs of a person, since no two persons are the same. No two persons can have the same "personality", bio-psychology or personal history, and when these combine to produce a psychological problem, the ramifications can be unimaginably complex! And that is before we consider other contributory factors such as demands on the person in the relationship contexts of family, work, social groups, identity groups and society. Such complexities cannot be addressed simply by a linear medico-psychological approach.

Modern psychology takes the view that human beings' problems are far more complex than could be prospected by simple aetiology (ie, causation of illness). Further, such complexity is not only unique to each person but also extremely subtle. Modern psychology also takes the view that the strengths of the person must be taken into account as part of the intervention. "Positive psychology" gives much more emphasis to personal and individual resources of a client or group (or even a community) to facilitate positive desired outcomes. These may involve factors such as a person's creativity, emotional resilience, unique skills, personal history, personality factors, levels of contentment  etc.  

This is not to say that the medical model is bad, but to directly import it into psychological therapy would be to deprive the therapeutic process of rich resources, which can contribute so much to the therapeutic or interventive process.

Hypnotherapy and Clinical Hypnosis

Despite the many claims and fancy names, acronyms and alphabetics given to different "schools" of hypnotherapy, there are basically two different kinds of therapy involving hypnosis, with a continuum running between them. The first seeks to treat the symptoms (and may be loosely couched as "clinical" work), and at the other end, the other seeks to resolve psychological issues (and this is where personal resources, described above, fit into the operation). As such, clinical hypnosis may refer to "suggestive hypnotherapy", while at the other end "psychological hypnotherapy" takes the operation outside the treatmennt of symptoms into the domain of psychological therapy. Anything else is really a point along that continuum or a mixture of the two. (I tend to avoid the term "psychotherapy" as this has connotations of adherence to specific schools of thought, and there are even "psychotherapists" who do not have an Honours Degree in psychology).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both "clinical" and "psychological" hypnosis. Cinical hypnosis (or suggestive hypnotherapy) addresses the symptoms without necessarily resolving the causes for them. It can produce amazing results quickly, but these may not be long-lived (as the unresolved psychological issues can re-surface to reproduce further symptoms). Such an approach may be useful for situational crises, such as exam- or interview nerves etc, but would not really be appropriate for long-established phobias, anxieties, self-esteem issues etc.

Psychological hypnosis on the other hand delves deep into unconscious causes of symptoms, and the therapy is expected to take longer. However, the effects of successful therapy would produce a firm sense of freedom from the presenting problems and a progressive sense of personal growth. And this growth is likely to extend way in the future after the therapy has been completed (see "Unsolicited Comments from Previous Clients").

Undertakings

I would undertake psychological therapy (with or without hypnosis) with a client only after there has been a prior discussion. An Introductory Consultation is therefore recommended, where you can discuss together in a relaxed and candid way what the problems are and how I can best help you. For this please contact me for an appointment. Do rest assured that I would not recommend that you use my services unless we are both perfectly happy with that. This is needed in order to establish the "Rapport" which, as I say in the first section above, is crucial for success in the therapy.