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As the name suggests, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) is an integrated psychological therapy which combines clinical hypnosis with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) concepts and techniques.
The value of hypnotic procedures in facilitating relaxation is well established, and a client who is enjoying the sense of calmness and safety which is experienced whilst in hypnosis is likely to be better able to disclose and work through difficult material and experiences. Some therapeutic approaches, for example, encourage the client to relive a difficult memory in order to rehearse a different outcome such as a more effective means of coping with the problem encountered, whilst in other cases hypnosis allows individuals to more easily vent unexpressed feelings.
Hypnotherapy is often applied in order to modify a patients behaviour, emotional content or attitudes, as well as a wide range of conditions including dysfunctional habits, anxiety and stress-related illness. It can also help to achieve more effective pain management and help towards personal development.
Not only are cognitive and behavioural therapies, and to some extent hypnotherapy, on their own considered to be more effective than other types of psychotherapy, but the combination of CBT and hypnotherapy has the benefit of often producing much more rapid results than standard CBT on its own.
Basically, the CBH approach helps individuals to overcome psychological problems which are perpetuated by errors of thought and/or unhelpful and negative thought patterns, by re-programming them using hypnotherapy to think positive thoughts. In this way, patients can effectively unlearn old and destructive learning patterns and habits and learn new and healthier ones.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy uses the cognitive ability of the patient, which allows them to observe and think about their assumptions, feelings and behaviour, whilst at the same time exploring and working with unconscious factors under hypnosis. In addition, in order to effectively replace bad thinking with good thinking, it creates behavioural change which brings with it different emotional responses to cement the good thinking in place.
The integration of techniques which Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy uses emphasises the interplay between mental processes, feelings, behaviours and consequences, and is a very effective tool in terms of developing self-awareness and promoting personal development, as it provides the patient with specific tools for both understanding and changing coping strategies which have in the past been unhelpful and even harmful.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy helps people to identify where their thoughts are negative, destructive or unhelpful and so assists them in dealing with depression, low self-esteem and self-confidence issues and self-destructive behaviour. The behavioural aspect of the therapy relies to some degree on assertiveness skills training and systematic desensitisation.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy has been used effectively for the treatment of a range of clinical and medical problems, as well as certain others which could be deemed as psychological. Phobias, habit disorders, anxiety, psychosexual problems, smoking cessation, weight loss, eating problems, hypertension, psychosomatic problems and irritable bowel syndrome are all examples of conditions which CBH has successfully resolved. It can not only be used with individuals, but also works effectively with both couples and groups.
When clients first come to us, we make an initial assessment to determine their capacity to enter into Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy and, should this be an appropriate way forward, treatment sessions typically lasting one hour would be arranged, thus offering the possibility of a relatively short treatment period. The majority of each session is typically spent teaching, reviewing or applying specific Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy strategies to the clients problems and, particularly earlier on in treatment, the sessions are often more educational, with the therapist describing how to use particular techniques. As the sessions progress, however, more time is spent in actually using the new strategies under hypnosis.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, as has been described, is generally aimed at producing more rapid results than other types of therapy and, as such, the number of sessions is normally limited to 10 to 12. These main sessions are followed up by two further sessions which are held at six-weekly intervals. CBH can, however, also be used effectively for longer-term treatments according to the specific needs of the individual client.