An Integrative Approach
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) is a modern, evidence-based therapeutic approach that integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnotherapy in a common framework.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnotherapy historically share very similar techniques and ideas on how to help people achieve their desired changes in a dynamic and lasting way.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps us understand the interaction between our inner experiences: our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, moods and behaviour. It can also help us create a more healthy and harmonic functioning of these inner parts of ourselves, one that is more in line with our goals and values in life. Hypnosis is a safe and powerful way to facilitate and deepen this learning process, by e.g. strengthening new healthy, motivating thoughts and beliefs, reinforcing new, useful ways of relating to situations and to our feelings.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy also teaches us the importance of how we interpret situations, how we react to them with our thinking. It can give us insight into the way these evaluations of situations and views of ourselves interact with our feelings and actions. These evaluations can appear in the things we’re saying to ourselves (often not consciously), in our negative automatic thoughts. As hypnosis is essentially about taking an idea and making it a reality for ourselves, we can see these negative automatic thoughts as negative self-hypnosis.
One of the things we do in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is helping clients distance themselves from unhealthy, distressing thoughts/negative self-suggestions and help them identify with more healthy and useful ideas, so that these new ways of thinking, feeling and acting become their everyday reality. In Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy we do not dwell in the past much. We focus on the present in a solution focused way. We are very interested in the client’s emotional experiences, feelings, and we work with these using well-established methods.
Research and clinical experience tells us that combining Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with hypnosis substantially increases the positive effects of therapy.
Hypnosis can enhance the benefits of effective, evidence-based interventions such as:
• Graded exposure: Facing fears in imagination and in real-life, in a graduated manner with coping techniques
• Relaxation training
• Assertiveness training
• Problem-solving skills training
• Teaching coping techniques
• Visualisation/Imagery work
• Mindfulness training
Hypnotherapy is a recognized treatment method of many psychological problems with a solid research base.
Let’s see what the main characteristics of hypnosis are:
All of us experience from time to time being so absorbed in a book or movie that we lose track of time, kind of forget about where we are and just nothing else seems to bother us. We are following the story very attentively while in the back of our minds always anticipating what will happen next.
Hypnosis is about utilizing this natural capacity of our mind to give its undivided, expectant attention to something, excluding everything else for a while. In hypnotherapy we use this mindset to help clients become very open and responsive to useful suggestions. Hypnosis utilizes natural, yet powerful psychological processes (e.g. focused attention, imagination, motivation) to help clients engage in therapeutic work with greater ease, creativity, receptiveness, and dynamism in the process.
Hypnosis is also a very powerful way of inducing relaxation. In hypnotherapy sessions the client will experience a deep sense of physical relaxation and mental serenity.
It is important to note, that in hypnosis you do not lose control or consciousness. On the contrary, you gain more control by learning to use your attention, imagination and willpower to influence your emotional, physiological and mental states. It is a safe and empowering mindset to be in when working on yourself.
I consider teaching self-hypnosis and other skills a very important part of therapy. Everybody can learn self-hypnosis and relaxation skills. I use well-established procedures to teach these techniques. Learning them will lead to an enhanced sense of personal control and empowerment.
If you would like to learn more about hypnosis, you can have a look at my related posts:
Stage hypnosis and Hypnotherapy