What is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Hypnotherapy?
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Hypnotherapy (MBCH) is the combination of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Hypnosis.
I have twelve years of extensive training and experience in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). I have a Masters degree (with Distinction) from Bangor University's Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice and am a Senior Practitioner registered with the General Hypnotherapy Register. Each of these disciplines are interrelated, yet distinct (here's a post for those interested in learning more about the differences in approach).
ACT is a ‘third-wave’ therapy – at heart it’s a form of mindfulness based behaviour therapy which puts a huge emphasis on acceptance, mindfulness, compassion and values-driven behaviour.
To turn things around, ACT encourages us to be more:
AWARE, OPEN, and ENGAGED
All day long our mind spins stories about our work, our health, our finances, our family, or that funny look the person in the shop gave us. Often we’re not even conscious of the internal soundtrack unspooling in our mind and yet it is the greatest source of stress in our lives.
Although the mind is capable of creating life-affirming stories, it has what neuroscientists refer to as a negativity bias, a tendency to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. The negativity bias evolved as a survival instinct millions of years ago, as our ancestors focused much more attention on avoiding potential threats than on rewards. Stopping to savour a delicious meal or admire a Paleolithic sunset would have used valuable attentional resources, leaving our ancient ancestors more vulnerable to attack by a predator. Those who survived to pass on their genes paid a lot of attention to danger. Their legacy is a brain that is primed to focus on negative experiences and has a tendency to get stuck in conditioned patterns of thinking, returning again and again to thoughts of anxiety, depression, and limitation.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis is as old as the human race. The phenomenon known as hypnosis has existed since the beginning of recorded history, as found in the folklore of ancient cultures. Despite decades of scientific research into the benefits of hypnosis it’s surprising how it continues to be misunderstood and judged negatively on the basis of misinformation and simple prejudice.
People still often react negatively to the word hypnosis but virtually never react negatively to the description of the process of hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. It is like using a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun and make them more powerful. Similarly, when our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use our minds more powerfully. Everyone has experienced a trance many times, but we don’t usually call it hypnosis. All of us have been so absorbed in thought – while reading a book, or riding the bus to work – that we fail to notice what is happening around us. While we were zoned out, another level of consciousness which we refer to as our unconscious mind, took over. These are very focused states of attention similar to hypnosis. The unconscious part of our mind stores our beliefs and from the imprints held there we formulate emotions. Hypnosis is an overtly goal orientated process. In fact that is one of it’s strengths because when applied well it establishes an expectation and then gently guides the client on a path toward fulfilling that expectation.
What happens when you work with me?
The global Covid pandemic changed the way we all work and I am thankful to now connect online with clients on all continents. I am able to schedule appointments to suit your time zone so you can connect from the comfort of your own home and/or office.
After discussing the issues and challenges you wish to address in some depth we'll look at the ACT approach and how it applies to you. We will get clear that what is causing difficulty is not illness or pathology, but the natural consequences of how our minds work. As such, it applies as much to the therapist as to the client. To model this, ACT therapists will use more self-disclosure than is found in many counselling or therapy models. I will encourage us actively doing and experiencing things – within sessions and between them- rather than exclusively talking and listening. Where appropriate, with your permission, I may use the relaxation technique of hypnosis to help embed new ways of thinking at a deep, unconscious level. Clients find that this enables the changes to take place faster with far reaching and long lasting effects.
The most important element of my approach is that, by the end of our time together, you will have the knowledge to be able to apply these techniques to all others areas of your life. Clients know that I am here for an annual/bi-annual check in or whenever they feel they need some support but my aim is to empower you and give you tools that will last a lifetime.