A Focus On The Future: Why Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Works

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.

Who do Hypnotherapists help? A look at life as a Practitioner

I know it’s a bit of a career cliché, but every day is different for the hypnotherapy practitioner.

To give you an idea of the kind of issues you’ll encounter during training, and when you qualify, here are some of the main reasons people seek out hypnotherapists.

“I feel stressed a lot of the time”

We all feel stressed sometimes. The pressures of work, family life, managing finances, even keeping on top of the housework, get to us all at some point. However, for the individual who’s suffering from stress, this feeling is relentless, and it begins to take over so many aspects of their lives.

“How can I manage my anxiety?”

Again, there’s a difference between feeling anxious and having anxiety. The former is part of life (and indeed, it’s often helpful in short doses), but the latter is a recognised psychological condition that can be truly debilitating.

Many of my clients come to me because they have anxiety. We offer psycho-education to clients about the neuroscience of anxiety, anger and depression which helps to ‘normalise’ how the brain works. Solution focused hypnotherapy combines hypnosis with solution focused brief therapy to work towards replacing the anxious and negative thoughts and behaviours with positive, future-focused ones.

“I think I’m overthinking…”

Negative forecasting and overthinking are key traits of anxiety – and these are the ones that keep us up at night. Too much negative forecasting leads to a vicious cycle of overthinking – anxiety – overthinking – anxiety and so on;  as hypnotherapists we work with the client in a non-directive way, to help them to empty that stress bucket and reduce hyper-vigilant states.

“I’ve been diagnosed with depression”

Solution focused hypnotherapy can have benefits for people who struggle with mild to moderate depression. The therapeutic alliance is about working in partnership with your client, going at the client’s pace, and using solution focused techniques to help your client identify the next small step toward a preferred future.

“I want to stop smoking”

Even though the individual genuinely wants to quit and they understand all the reasons why they should, stopping an addiction can be really hard to do.

But… as trained hypnotherapists, you’ll be able to help your client ditch their cigs in a single two-hour session.

“I need to lose weight but can’t seem to get started”

A balanced diet and exercise are the key to a healthy weight – we all know this (and most of us have tried a diet at least once!). However, lack of motivation or comfort eating can be caused by psychological factors, whether that be stress or boredom or something else. In our partnership working, the client has the opportunity to discover alternative ways of coping, helping to empty the stress bucket, and allowing a sense of clarity to emerge. This can pave the way for the client to focus on moving toward their goals.

“I’m scared of flying”

Or spiders. Or exams. Or dentists. Many people have phobias, and you’ll come across a lot of these during your career. They’re caused by the brain perceiving something to be a threat, and it’s pretty tricky to get your protective brain to change its perspective!

Depending if there is any additional general anxiety, it normally takes around three sessions to help a phobic client achieve their goal. Using the trance state, and by using techniques borrowed from Neuro-linguistic programming, that long-haul flight suddenly becomes possible.

“I can’t sleep”

Insomnia can be truly miserable for the individual. Lack of sleep affects every aspect of life, makes people feel physically ill, and prevents the brain from running its overnight programmes (which are essential to keep stress levels manageable).

There is often some stress or anxiety related issues going on. We work using solution focused techniques. The client also receives a copy of a hypnotherapy audio to listen to every night.

And those are just some of the issues you’ll come across as a qualified solution focused hypnotherapist! Every day is different – and always rewarding.

Find out more about CPHT Sheffield Hypnotherapy training, or contact me, Debbie Daltrey, or Jane Fox, at info@cphtsheffield.co.uk.

The positive power of helping others

By helping others, we help ourselves.

We’ve all heard that said; however, is this old truism actually true? From my experience of working as a hypnotherapist, it most certainly is. Here’s how we meet our own emotional needs by being pro-social.

What does it mean to be pro-social?

As the term suggests, a pro-social behaviour is an action that benefits others, either socially or individually. If you’re acting in a pro-social manner, you’re acting altruistically, perhaps by volunteering, donating to charity or going that extra mile to help someone out.

Pro-social behaviour also involves conforming to accepted social norms. For example, driving carefully, paying the bills and being polite to others are all pro-social behaviours.

Acting pro-socially meets our own needs, as well as benefitting the wider community. But surely, doesn’t benefitting from altruism miss the point? Not at all.

The science behind pro-social behaviour

We know that a lot of our thoughts and behaviours have developed for survival reasons. But how does this fit in with the actions of the volunteer lifeboat crew, leaping up from their cosy sofas to risk their lives at sea to rescue strangers? They’re not even paid. Surely this goes against our instincts?

Not necessarily, as we’re also programmed to help our tribe survive. In the case of the brave crew, the notion of tribe is pretty wide – anyone else who comes into contact with the sea or coast.

People who risk their own lives to help others can be motivated by altruism, which actually sets off our pleasure receptors: helping others in extreme situations feels good.

However, you don’t need to go to extreme lengths to help others in order to feel better about yourself. On the whole, those who volunteer at least weekly are reported to be up to 16% happier (yes, this is measurable) than those who don’t.

Even small acts of kindness make both parties feel good. Hold a door open for someone, make the effort to compliment the check out assistant on their fabulous fingernails. Try and make at least one small gesture like this every day, and see how it makes you feel.

How pro-social acts can benefit us

There are several ways that helping others also improves our own emotional wellbeing. Here are some of the key benefits of being pro-social:

• Emotional regulation. By comforting a friend who’s having a hard time, we also enhance our ability to deal with our own emotions. (This is a definite plus of training in hypnotherapy!)
• That warm glow of happiness from helping others reinforces our feeling of connectedness with other humans – an essential psychological need
• Altruistic acts such as volunteering have an impact on feelings of depression, helping us stay mentally healthier
• Working with others towards a common goal builds friendships and a sense of belonging to a community
• Helping activates your mesolimbic function, which is the part of the brain that deals with reward. The feel-good emotions this creates makes you want to help others again – good for you, and for the wider community

With a simple compliment or an offer to carry someone’s shopping, you’ve made another person smile. That’s bound to rub off on you! And when it does, you’ll feel empowered that you (yes, you), made a genuine difference to someone’s day.

Imagine that tenfold, every working day – and if that sounds good, have a serious think about training to become a hypnotherapist.

Do you want to make a career out of helping others? Find out more about CPHT Sheffield Hypnotherapy training, or contact me, Debbie Daltrey, or Jane Fox at info@cphtsheffield.co.uk.

5 reasons why I love being a hypnotherapist

As I mentioned in my last article, I trained as a hypnotherapist because I felt it was time for a career change. I was interested in people and psychology, so hypnotherapy training seemed a natural choice. And 5 years down the line – I absolutely love my job.

From my point of view, here are the 5 best things about being a hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy is about helping people

I wanted to make a difference to people. Yes, my previous role had benefitted businesses; however, I wanted to use my interest in people and psychology to help individuals. The positive, forward-looking approach of solution focused hypnotherapy really appealed to me, as it combined therapeutic techniques with practical ways forward towards a clear goal.

As a therapist, people come to you because they need your support to help them change their lives. That’s quite a responsibility – but it’s also very, very rewarding.

It’s a rewarding job

“Rewarding work” means something different to all of us. Some people like visible targets and results, others get a buzz from the social aspect of their workplace. For me, it’s about ending the day knowing that I’ve helped someone make a change for the better.

I sometimes see a former client going by on the bus who had trouble leaving the house before. I know all the steps we took to get him to this point; so now to see him travelling confidently makes me want to burst with pride for him. Every day, you’ll be helping people quit habits, gain confidence, learn how to relax. That’s some job.

The hours are flexible

The traditional “nine-to-five” actually suits very few of us. It could be that your commute is crazy in the morning, or you care for young kids or an older relative. Being a self-employed hypnotherapist allows me to bypass conventional working hours, and I have colleagues who fit their clinics in around courses, family and other employment.

Business tip: if you can flex around your clients’ hours, that’s a great advantage. Evening or weekend clinics enable busy nine-to-five people to see you when it’s convenient for them. The Sheffield hypnotherapy course is on a Saturday and Sunday, one weekend per month, as that makes it easier for most people to attend.

There are constant self-development opportunities

Working as a hypnotherapist has given me an exciting career of constant learning. Psychology and therapy are dynamic fields to be in, and there’s always new research and techniques. Sitting down with a professional journal and a cuppa is actually a real treat.

Sometimes a client comes to me with an unusual problem I haven’t encountered before. You’ll find this happens all the time, as we humans have such a range of complex and nuanced issues. There are always techniques you can draw upon; and as you work together towards a specific solution for this individual issue, you’ll find yourself growing along with your client.

Hypnotherapy helps with my own relaxation

Like physiotherapists always have good posture, hypnotherapists know how to care for their own emotional health. I’ve learned various relaxation techniques and tips over the years, which can be just the thing after a busy day at the clinic.

It’s truly wonderful being so in tune with your own mind. I can spot any signs of stress or overload a mile off; and when you start your hypnotherapy training, so will you.

Sounds good? Find out more about CPHT Sheffield Hypnotherapy training, or contact me, Debbie Daltrey, or Jane Fox, at info@cphtsheffield.co.uk for a chat.

New Year, New Career?

Jane and I are so looking forward to teaching on the new hypnotherapy training course in Sheffield later this year. These days, Jane and I are experienced and busy practising hypnotherapists – and we actually met in 2013, on the same course we’re about to teach!

When I was first looking into hypnotherapy training courses, I was in a high-pressure job, travelling up and down the UK. I was meeting my ever-increasing targets and doing well, but then after 20+ years of loving it, it stopped being fun. It was time to make some changes.

I’ll be honest; I never thought for one moment that I could earn a living from hypnotherapy. I just knew it was something I was attracted to. I was interested in people and psychology, and I needed to think about new career options.

I enrolled on a hypnotherapy training course with The Clifton Practice. It really helped that I could do my training one weekend per month, so I could stay in my then-job, earn a salary, and take my time deciding what to do. My colleague Jane Fox, now senior lecturer at Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training Sheffield, took a similar approach. She says:

“I practised part-time while I kept my job as a researcher; and now I’ve got a really busy hypnotherapy practice, I’m a supervisor and a senior lecturer. So, like me, you can decide how you want to run things, at your own pace”. 

That’s the beauty of practising as a hypnotherapist: you can choose your hours to work around your circumstances. Part-time, full-time, or flexing your hours as it suits, the choice is yours. 

Before I started my training with The Clifton Practice, I had no clue what hypnotherapy was. I had an idea from things I’d seen on TV of swinging watches and putting people to sleep – how wrong I was!

I quickly realised that the solution focused approach is a genuinely positive one, and I was very quickly hooked. I practiced with my family and friends at first, then offered my services as a student practitioner – and I soon realised that this actually works! My new clients always came back for their next sessions, and were telling me how much better they felt.

I think that was the moment for me. That realisation that I could do something to help people. It felt like my work had real purpose, and that I was delivering something that offered real value to individuals. That positivity started to rub off on me – which is something you’ll hear experienced solution-focused hypnotherapists say all the time.

I hope I’ve given you some sense of what it can feel like, and how positive it is, to be a practising solution focused clinical hypnotherapist. If you’re looking for a new career, one that brings you into contact with lots of amazing people, and is rewarding every single day, I can’t recommend my chosen field highly enough. Or, you could simply enroll on the new hypnotherapy course in Sheffield and see where it takes you!