What is Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy?
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) is the combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnosis.
I have expanded my practice over recent years to incorporate the use of ACT rather than straightforward CBT. CBT often views problems and symptoms as stemming from unhealthy beliefs and thoughts. ACT sees many of our difficulties as arising from our attempts to control, challenge or remove naturally occurring thoughts and feelings, rather than learning how to pursue a fulfilling life even with them present some of the time.
ACT is a ‘third-wave’ therapy – at heart it’s a form of 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:
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.
Our conversations happen in Stoke Newington N16.
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