Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a modern talking therapy designed primarily by a man called David Newton, one of the world’s most highly reputable hypnotherapists. David began his career as an analytical hypnotherapist before realising that he could help more people, more effectively and with less chance of causing harm by using more modern methods of talking therapy.
Over his 30,000+ clinical hours, David developed a new form of talking therapy taking the very best tools and ideas from other models and combining them in to his own.
The approach takes lessons learnt from positive psychology, neuroscience, solution focused brief therapy, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and of course it also utilises the power of hypnosis, but without assuming that this alone can be the magic wand which cures all ills.
What Happens in a Typical Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Session?
Following an Initial Consultation, a practitioner of solution focused hypnotherapy will usually start each new session by encouraging a client (or a customer as a solution focused hypnotherapist might call them) to identify what has been good in the previous week or so. This sounds like simple exercise and it is simple, although that does not always make it easy. In my experience if you ask someone who is NOT struggling from anxiety or depression to find something that’s been good, or something that they are pleased has happened in the last week, may well struggle. Add anxiety, depression, grief, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or any other of the myriad of anxiety related (or exacerbated) conditions out there and things get difficult. Include in the mix the expectation that at least ten good things will be found and the challenge really does ramp up somewhat.
The interesting thing is that this exercise alone can be enormously powerful in improving someone’s mood as one good thing begins to roll out after another. Of course with a bit of practice over a number of weeks this simple exercise becomes just exactly that, even for those that have been given a diagnosis of depression by their GP.
Following this a solution focused hypnotherapist will want to make sure their customer is reminded of how the brain works. They might want to remind their clients about the different areas of the brain, and/or the primitive opt out clauses of anxiety, depression and anger and the other characteristics of the primitive mind that can cause us so much discomfort. They might go on to explain the stress bucket and its implications for problem creation before also discussing the importance of sleep. Finally they may want to reiterate the importance of the holy grail of skills: positive thinking, positive action and positive interaction.
A solution focused hypnotherapist will not typically advise a client as to what they should or should not do, on the basis that the only expert of the customers life is the customer. However, they are particularly adept at helping the customer identify for themselves what next small step they can take in order to help themselves empty the stress bucket. And this is the next step in the process: identifying what small step can be taken to move us towards where the customer wants to be. We know when the stress bucket is empty we can cope so much better with life and this is the aim, helping people cope better so problems appear and become less intrusive and eventually disappear.
Finally a solution focused hypnotherapist will want to move the customer in to a wonderful state of relaxed awareness. We know hypnosis is not a magic wand for most people, but we know it is still enormously powerful and can be extremely useful, especially when used following the previously described steps, in creating a step change in the way people think of the world around them and of themselves.
The feeling of hypnosis is unique to the individual and often unique each time the individual does it. Some people describe the feeling as similar to lying on their bed and getting absorbed in their favourite music, others report hallucinations, although this is rare and usually takes some considerable practice. A solution focused hypnotherapist will usually create the state of hypnosis through the use of positive visualisations.
Alex Brounger is a full time Solution Focused Hypnotherapist with practices in Stroud and Cirencester, Gloucestershire. His website is abHypnotherapy.co.uk. He is also a Hypnotherapy Supervisor and a Senior Lecturer for CPHTBelfast.co.uk