Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be thought of as a process that enhances the brain’s natural ability to reduce anxiety. It is very effective on its own but can also be used as part of a well-being program designed to improve mental health.
During a therapy session, I focus my attention on getting you to be the best version of yourself, your end destination. To get you to this end destination there is no need for you to recall negative experiences associated with the past. Whilst sometimes in life it can be beneficial to analyse and evaluate situations. When using hypnotherapy for anxiety-related conditions it can be very counterproductive and can itself create more anxiety.
With Solution Focused Hypnotherapy we recognize that we can’t change the past, therefore we begin with the end in mind. You might think of it a bit like a taxi ride. When you get into a taxi you tell the driver where you would like to go. They have no need to find out where you have been or why you were there, in order to get you to your destination.
All of my work is focused on getting you to your end destination. A place where you are free from the debilitating effects of your condition that you sought help with. I look at what you want to achieve (the solution) as opposed to what prompted you to seek help (the problem). Our time is spent being focused on the present and future and not where you have been.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy refers to a type of therapy that uses hypnosis to help people improve their physical or mental health. Hypnosis or trance is a perfectly natural state. We go into trance roughly every 6 to 7 minutes throughout the course of our day. It’s a state of focused attention where the client becomes responsive to suggestions that can have a positive effect on their lives.
You may recall a time when you bumped into an old colleague and had a conversation all whilst trying to remember their name. Later at home, when you’re daydreaming, the name has popped into your head. Your unconscious mind has given you the answer to your problem even though you weren’t focusing on it. Going into trance enabled you to recall the name.
You may have been driven to work thinking about something that you needed to do. When driving your unconscious mind is driving the car whilst your conscious mind is concentrating on the important task in your mind. You then often arrive at work thinking ‘How did I get here?’. You’ve been in a trance state while you are driving.
For Solution Focused Hypnotherapy to be effective you only need the ability to relax. There is no rapid induction and no direct suggestion. I cannot control your mind. I simply help you to achieve a relaxed state. When you are relaxed, the emotional part of your brain quietens down. This allows other parts to be open to positive suggestions and to start the process of change.
Hypnotherapy for Anxiety
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is particularly effective in dealing with high stress and anxiety levels which can have a negative impact on both physical and mental health.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to a stressful situation. It’s an unconscious mind/body survival response that has been with us throughout our evolution.
Throughout most of our history, as a species, we have lived in very harsh conditions. We spent a lot of time fearing for our lives. When we judged a situation to be life-threatening we engaged our fight/ flight mode. Our body was flooded with stress hormones. Blood flow increased to our heart, lungs and muscles. This gave us the best chance to fight our foe or flee as fast as we could.
In this instance creating anxiety would have increased our chances of survival. However, anxiety is often created gradually over a period of time. It doesn’t have to be one life-threatening event to put us into our fight/flight mode.
It is more common for it to be a gradual build-up over weeks, months or even years. Neuroscience informs us that anxiety is created by thinking negatively or worrying about a situation or event. It’s not the actual event that creates anxiety but the thoughts surrounding it.
What conditions are exacerbated by anxiety?
Anxiety is symptomatic in a wide range of conditions that negatively affect mental health and wellbeing. Using hypnotherapy to treat anxiety can help to bring about positive change for people suffering from many conditions. These include; chronic pain, depression, erectile dysfunction, IBS, insomnia, migraines, obesity, OCD, phobias and PTSD.
What happens during a typical session?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a process that optimises brain functionality. It uses scientific methods and techniques to help people’s brains to operate at their best. This is when they’re free from the emotional states of anxiety, anger, and depression. It allows people to think predominantly with their intellectual mind as opposed to their emotional primitive one.
A session will follow the same format each week. We will recall and then have a brief conversation about the positive parts of your week, focusing on the positive actions, positive interactions and positive thoughts that have taken place.
I will then talk about the brain and explain more about why you feel the way they do and how we can build new positive neural pathways in the brain.
To help you to work toward your preferred future I will use solution-focused questions. I might ask ‘where would you place yourself on a happiness scale from 1-10?’ .‘If you woke up tomorrow 1 point up on the scale what would be the first thing that you noticed?’. ‘What difference would that make to you?’ ‘What would you feel?’ ‘Who else might notice?’ ‘What would they think?’
Once you have built up a picture in your mind of your preferred future then I help you into a natural trance state. This is where you close your eyes and relax while your mind drifts and dreams.
The actual online hypnotherapy sessions I use to follow the same format as if we were meeting face to face. The only difference is that all our communication is done via the Zoom platform. This makes it a particularly safe form of therapy that can take place from anywhere in the world providing there is a reliable internet connection. You will receive the same structured session and excellent level of service that you would during face to face therapy.
All parts of the hypnotherapy process can take place via Zoom, from the initial consultation through to the therapy session itself. A vast majority of our time together is spent in conversation. We therefore just need a method of communication where we can see and hear each other.
You can find out more about how I use online hypnotherapy to improve mental health and wellbeing here.
How does Solution Focused Hypnotherapy work?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps people to reframe their thoughts. Remember it is only the negative thoughts we have about ourselves and our circumstances that create anxiety. When we start to recognize the small positive parts of our life we start the process of change. Eventually through repetition, the brain, through a process called ‘unconscious bias’ starts to look out and expect positive things to happen.
After a few weeks the brain starts to rewire itself and instead of dwelling on negative thoughts and feelings, catastrophizing the future, you begin to alter the way that you think. Instead of expecting the worst, you start to look forward to the future and are better able to take control of your thoughts and emotions.
During the psychotherapy part of the therapy, you will be encouraged to think and visualise your future, when you are free from your condition. Once you have this image in your mind then we use hypnosis to help your brain to work towards this end destination.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a collaborative process that focuses on what the client wants to achieve. By focusing on how you want to think, feel and act in the future you build up new pathways in your brain.
When you are consciously aware of your surroundings and if you suffer from an anxiety-related condition, your beta brain waves are overwhelming other areas of your brain. For your brain to function well it needs all brain waves to be able to play its part. During hypnosis, when you are relaxed, your beta brain waves calm down, which allows your theta and alpha brain waves to take stock of your situation, visualise your preferred future and help you to find a way to get there.
This is what makes Solution Focused Hypnotherapy so effective. Whilst in other forms of therapy you may speak about what you would like your outcome to be. However, if your brain is still creating anxiety and your beta brain waves are running amok, your brain isn’t in the position to problem solve and come up with suitable solutions.
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