There’s a range of different therapies out there. The therapy we teach on the Sheffield hypnotherapy course and use in our own practices is called Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.
The reason I prefer this approach is that, as the name suggests, it has a positive focus on the future, and gives clients real strategies to make lasting change.
This future focus is the main difference between Solution Focused and conventional psychotherapy. The latter looks more at past issues and how they affect the present. This is invaluable when it comes to understanding an individual’s mental and emotional health, and can be used in cases where a diagnosis and future treatment is needed.
SF acknowledges that there may be issues in a client’s past. Anxiety, stress and addiction all stem from somewhere; and when possible, it helps us gain a better understanding of our client if we know about their relevant history. However, as SF practitioners, we are here to help with our clients’ futures, it is not necessary to unpick their pasts in order to help with positivity moving forward.
Modern SFBT comes from the work of psychotherapists Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg in Milwaukee in the 70s and 80s. In summary, they switched from looking at problems to looking at solutions. It was a revolutionary approach. Based on the simple premise that it’s easier to achieve a goal if you know clearly what that goal is, de Shazer and Berg empowered their clients to imagine a future where their problem was under control. They could then work on step-by-step strategies towards reaching this goal.
This was not to abandon the past, and the SF practitioner will always discuss and acknowledge their clients’ experiences. However, one of the first things you’ll learn about the SF approach is that the solution is not necessarily always related to the problem !
As solution-focused therapists, our role is therefore to help the client picture their preferred future and identify ‘baby steps’ or agree goals towards it. We are very much in a non-directive role, gently guiding our clients using psychotherapy approaches including active listening and specific questioning styles. For example, De Shazer and Berg identified what they termed as “exceptions”. These are the times when the problem does not exist. What is different about these times? These can be used to elicit the clients strengths and resources which can be developed and aid confidence in all sorts of situations.
The SF approach is simply ‘focused’, and individual, helping our clients to overcome problems and get to where they want to be. If you’d like to know more about this modern approach in hypnotherapy as a future hypnotherapy student, and to get a kick start to your therapy career by becoming a solution focused hypnotherapist, please get in touch with me, Debbie, or my co-tutor Jane.