Training to become the best solution focused hypnotherapist

Thanks to Jane Fox, senior lecturer at CPHT Sheffield, who writes this blog on how to train to be the best for your clients as a solution focused hypnotherapist.

One of the questions we frequently hear is “Does hypnotherapy work?”

Of course, as Solution Focused Hypnotherapists that have seen numerous clients make enormous changes in their lives, we would feel confident answering with a very short and simple “yes!”. But stories and anecdotal evidence are not considered to be solid evidence that the therapy works.

There is a huge amount of very good quality evidence already out there about the effectiveness of solution focused therapy and the benefits of hypnosis. This is also supported by the latest understanding in neuroscience. But it can take some time for this evidence to become mainstream and to be widely accepted by the public and the medical fraternity. That should not be an excuse to sit and wait though.

At CPHT Sheffield, we encourage all our hypnotherapy students to participate in our large-scale research programme. This has already demonstrated the effectiveness of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

The Research Programme:

By definition, solution focused therapy focuses on solutions rather than problems. This presents challenges when trying to measure its effectiveness. The moment you start asking questions about symptoms (which some research programmes encourage in order to identify improvements or otherwise) you are focusing the client on problems. Generally, our clients are already well practised at looking at their problems and this is something we want to change in order to see improvement in their wellbeing. However, CORP (Clifton Practice Outcome Rating Programme) has been designed to measure effectiveness whilst remaining positive and solution focused.

We train our students to use the software in a very simple way that fits seamlessly into therapy sessions and benefits both the student and client. Students ask their customers to rate themselves against the following 7 scales during the initial consultation and at the end of each session thereafter.

1/ How positive have your thoughts been?
2/ How interactive have you been with others?
3/ How would you rate your level of activity?
4/ How would you rate your confidence?
5/ How well are you utilising your strengths and resources?
6/ How much have you achieved?
7/ How would you rate your level of happiness?

The client allocates a score out of 10 for each answer and the changes are measured over the period of therapy and the scores illustrated in graph form. Now both student and client can easily see what has changed over time.

The programme is introduced to students in module 6 of the 10-month course. It gives them the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of how Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works and to get some practice under their belt before becoming fully qualified. Once they start using the software their outcomes will feed into the overall research programme and compare their results against their peers.

The Benefits:

Students quickly realise the power of being part of this exciting research programme. They benefit as practitioners (being able to compare their results to the global results of the other participating hypnotherapists), and also their clients benefit from being able to see their own progress. The clients then have an expectation of the progress they can potentially make from seeing past global results. They are also reminded of the areas they should focus on to maximise their improvements. The students also have this wonderful resource to show to those that do not believe the stories and anecdotes!

How to choose your Hypnotherapy Training Course

So, you are thinking of re-training to become a hypnotherapist. You are looking for income that would work around the family, or fit around work whilst you train, and you like the idea of helping people and doing something you enjoy. Maybe you went to see a hypnotherapist and you thought you would like to help others in the same way.

Either way, you are now doing your research and trying to find the next step forward.

Here are a few points to look for when choosing your hypnotherapy training provider.

  • Are they research based?

There is little evidence around old fashioned tricks and hypnosis stage tactics, but there is lots of evidence on the more modern psychotherapy techniques based on neuroscience. Find a school that will train you on the most updated, research based methods, that work. You don’t want to be doing stage tricks with your clients, you want to be helping them to feel better, and building your confidence from seeing the results in your clients. At CPHT we use proven psychotherapy tools that work, and we have the ongoing research evidence to prove it.

  • How many of their ex-students went on to go into practice?

Do some research to find out how many hypnotherapists trained with the school, and who are now up and running. LinkedIn is good for this. Try a search for Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training, or CPHT, and see how many across the UK are now busy running their own private practice.

  • How long will it be before you can start to practice with clients as a student?

Do they support you right from day one to get going? We encourage you from day one, so you are building your client base, and building your confidence right from the start. By the time you finish the course after 10 months, you can already have your practice up and running, if you like.

  • Do they provide a list of CPD (continuing professional development) courses for after you qualify?

As a professional therapist, you will never feel that you have learnt enough, you will be naturally interested and enthusiastic to develop your skills and develop yourself even further as you practice and grow. You will have a firm foundation from the course to start your own practice and work successfully with clients. We also run national CPD courses which include further ongoing training on a whole host of topics including pain, NLP advanced, CBT, medical hypnotherapy for use in hospitals, revision days, neuroscience, marketing, working with children, hypnobirthing, OCD … the list goes on !

  • Do they offer supervision whilst you train, to offer you advice on dealing with clients, and do they have a support group that meets after the course ends?

Supervision is included as part of the course to help you with setting up your business, and help you with client issues as you go. We have a supervision group that meets up for support after you qualify.

  • Do the tutors run their own busy clinics? 

You need the tutors to be running their own practice because they are fresh with the up to date knowledge you need. Your tutors will likely be setting your example when you start to practice. Debbie and Jane both run their own busy, successful practices and they love their work because of the job satisfaction this work brings.

We are CPHT Sheffield, we run our quality hypnotherapy classroom training course once a year starting in September. Our courses run one weekend per month, for 10 months. We are so proud of our newly trained solution focused hypnotherapists and we continue to support them throughout their careers.

I’m Debbie Daltrey, I’m on the right in the photo below. If you are interested in a new career and finding an organisation to support you, contact us for a chat or apply online at www.cphtsheffield.co.uk

Debbie and Jane

Senior Lecturers

CPHT Sheffield.

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 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 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!

 

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

I am often asked the question ‘What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?’

Well, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) is a model of excellence that uses interventions that are effective. It will use the very best procedures that science and research prescribe. In reality though its core philosophy is very much based on the work of Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and the basic tenets of SFBT.

Hypnotherapy, and SFH is no exception, has a history of being associated with many forms of therapeutic practice. Often, but not always, this can be a force for good. What follows could be described as the foundation philosophies on which SFH is built. Dr James Braid (1795-1860), who could be thought of as the inventor of modern hypnotism, successfully created a blueprint that could be described as the original hypnotherapy model.

“He was best known in the medical world from his theory and practice of hypnotism, as distinguished from Mesmerism, a system of treatment he applied in certain diseases with great effect.” (Obituary. The Lancet 1860)

Braid’s influence and success was very much a result of his empirical and scientific approach. In effect he said that the clinical progress should be verified by research and related to the latest understanding of psychology. He attributed the success of trance to ordinary psychological or physiological factors such as focused attention, expectation, motivation and endeavour. SFH is very much based on Braid’s basic premise that mental focus on imagery and language mediates the physical and psychological effects of dominant ideas.

It would have appeared sensible to consolidate the work done by Braid and to capitalise on what worked. This was not to be the case. In late Victorian and post Victorian times ‘wackiness’ once more sabotaged the credible scientific clinical practice. Even worse, in the late 19th and most of the 20th Century the pseudo-scientific ‘hi-jacked’ hypnotherapy and kept it in a state, often a delusional state of stagnation.

Fortunately, as Robertson says in the ‘Complete Writings of James Braid “The Father of Hypnotherapy in the 21st Century”, “Braid’s ‘Common Sense’ and empirical orientation have become fashionable once again”‘.

Hypnotherapy was partially rescued from post-Victorian ‘quackery’ and later from Freudian ‘analytical’ theory by psychiatrist, Milton H Erickson. He practised as a hypnotherapist from the 1940’s until his death in the early 1980’s. Erickson’s ideas reached far beyond hypnotic technique. He posed radical ideas regarding the role of therapist and the competency of clients. Milton Erickson was convinced that everyone has a reservoir of wisdom and competency and emphasised the importance of accessing client’s resources and strengths. Major interest in his work gathered momentum in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Erickson’s success and creativity spawned a variety of approaches. There was in particular great interest in one of his primary approaches entailing first learning the problem pattern and then prescribing a small change in the pattern.

Steve de Shazer’s first contact with psychotherapy happened when he read ‘Strategies of Psychotherapy’, the ideas and work of Erickson by Jay Haley. It has been said that this book coupled with the work of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Paolo Alto, formed the foundations for what would later be called Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).

The basic tenets of SFBT are well known and are different in many ways from traditional forms of treatment. It is a competency based model and the focus is on the clients’ desired future rather than on past problems or current conflicts. It assumes that no problems happen all the time, there are exceptions and that small changes can lead to large increments of change. The setting of specific, concrete and realistic goals is an important component. In SFBT it is the client that sets the goals. Once formulated the therapist will use a number of specific responding and questioning techniques to assist the client construct the steps that may be required to reach the ‘preferred future’. Solution Focused Hypnotherapists note Steve de Shazer’s often repeated assertion that solution work is “the same whatever problem the client brings”.

In the 1990’s modern technology led to what some have referred to as a sequel of the Copernican revolution. MRI, PET and CAT scans can photograph the brain. Electronic microscopes, the nuclear tagging of living human molecules and other biochemical investigative techniques, enable scientists to have an ever increasing understanding of how the brain works. With at least 500 therapeutic methods, all proffering special theories, techniques and philosophies, psychotherapy could be described as bordering on dysfunctional. The neuroscientific revolution beginning in the 1990’s and progressing with ever increasing vigour into the 21st Century has begun to give the field uncharacteristic coherence. Certainly the days when therapists could make things up have gone.

“For future generations of therapists training will certainly change” says Mary Sykes Wylie and Richard Simon, (Discoveries from Black Box 2002), “Curricula will have to face the accumulation of knowledge coming from neuroscientists… having an understanding of such clinical relevant areas of knowledge as neural networks and brain structures”.