Category Archives: General

Overqualified or Over Stated? by Michael O’Sullivan

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A tongue in cheek look at our profession

The plethora of qualifications and designatory letters after many a hypnotherapists name can be a cause of some confusion to members of the public and indeed, other healthcare professionals.

Even should the reader know what the various letters mean, in some cases they may not mean what they imply! Some highly qualified therapists simply get by with their Dip Hyp and leave it at that.

For example, how many hypnotherapists are now called Doctor by virtue of a PHD? And is it a genuine PHD or a case of Pile it Higher and Deeper?

In any case, who decides whether a particular qualification is ‘real’ or not? Some non-traditional Universities are indeed truly excellent, and lets face it, few of us have the time or inclination to spend 3 to 5 years sitting in a classroom when we need to be out there earning a living.

I recently read that a Spiritualist had been on the receiving end of a complaint that they were misleading people by using an inappropriate qualification, a PHD of questionable origin.

The complainant argued their case that this was misleading because it gave the impression that the advertiser was more qualified than they actually were.

Give them their dues, the advertiser wrote a letter for publication in a trade newsletter, to apologise, and explained their part of the story.

The argument was settled amicably and the qualification was not to be used in any future advertising. In our own profession we’ve seen some people embarrassed when their claimed PhD’s were traced back to spurious organisations. That the lure of fast sales talk would lure a hypnotherapists, a master of language and persuasion after all, might be worth another paper all on its own. maybe the sellers of these degrees are master hypnotists???

According to my unfiltered email inbox on an average day I myself am apparently qualified for several University degrees. These are generally unspecified, however recently they included offers of two PhD’s and a doctorate in divinity. Of course as I’ve lived for so long, have had so many life experiences, am able to read my email and therefore presumably able to send payment, of course I ‘qualify’!!!

In the spring of 2005 I was in communication with a colleague, who during said discourse, told me that his title was now Doctor! I was asked to amend my records accordingly.

Being the inquisitive type, I did some research and found that although my colleague may well be ‘entitled’ (as in not breaking any laws) to the title by virtue of the PhD that he had ‘earned’, the source of the PhD did not inspire confidence.

The title was ‘awarded’ by a ‘University’ that awards degrees and PhD’s for ‘life experience’. It was one of those ‘institutions’ that spam offers around the Internet ad infinitum, and one whose emails I delete on a seemingly daily basis as discussed above. Otherwise know as a diploma mill, these ‘Universities’ sole criteria for awarding any of their qualifications is that the recipient be alive and capable of paying for it.

In short, it is the kind of PHD that each and every reader of this page, as long as the fees can be paid, can ‘earn’. Should the public consider that these kinds of qualifications are confidence inspiring and mean superior knowledge?

Well, they don’t inspire me in the slightest, and having been involved in this field for a fair number of years I do believe that I know what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s a sad reflection on market forces?

A hypnotherapist across the road now has 17 series of initials after his name??? OH dear! Quick quick, where can I find another 3 to get ahead again??? With that mindset people will have to start printing letterheads in landscape format to get them all on!!!

In comparison a dear friend of mine has just been granted her PhD – after 4 years of hard study and a year writing a thesis which was then presented before the rigorous scrutiny of a board of examiners.

Suddenly that Internet offer is looking a bit more attractive!

In any case, the wrong questions are usually asked about qualifications.

Most authorities will tell you that you should always ask a hypnotherapist what their qualifications are before agreeing to being treated by one. Most professionals within the field probably agree with that one.

However, to most people a PhD after a persons name usually means something and speaks for itself. In too many cases, and sad to see, these can be meaningless letters bought to impress.

A PhD from Oxford or Cambridge can’t be compared to one from a degree mill.

As there is absolutely no proven link whatsoever between how someone trains to become a hypnotherapist and how effective they are at their work; asking what their qualifications are is not always quite the right question!

Might it not be much better to ask ‘what kind of person has the qualifications?’

If this sounds like splitting hairs, then go back and read that last bit again, the questions use similar words, but are asking entirely different questions?

What good to a client is it if an expensively and well qualified therapists is also inept and obtains poor results with clients?

In the same street you may find a very competent but on the face of it, poorly qualified therapist who through personality, life and personal experience and knowledge is probably the best person in the world to help someone with their particular problem?

So, how far do we want to go – in the early days everyone had their Dip Hyp and went about their business quite happily. Today we have master hypnotists, advanced hypnotherapists and now a whole profusion of PhD’s and so many more ‘job titles’ its hard to keep up.

Where will it all end?

Author profile:

MikeMike is a highly experienced therapist, having first started using hypnosis in 1987 while in the military to improve sporting performance and endurance. Since returning to civilian life he ran a successful private practice for over 23 years before retiring from client work in 2011 to concentrate on research and education.Mike specialised in stress management with particular interest in traumatic stress syndromes.

Mike is a former director and founder of The Emergency Services Trauma Specialists, a charity providing education, training and services to the emergency services and their families following involvement in critical incidents. The charity came to a natural conclusion after many other organisations began offering those same services and a specialist charity was no longer deemed necessary. A resounding success story.

Mike currently holds the following professional memberships/awards among others:

Fellow of The National Council of Psychotherapists (NCP)
Fellow of The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH)
General Hypnotherapy Register (Registered Hypnotherapist)
NCP accredited supervisor (Professional Services)
And formerly:

Fellow of The International Association of Precision Therapists (IAPT) – Now closed
Co-Author of”The Hypnotherapy Resources & Careers Guide, a breakthrough publication when it first appeared helping potential hypnotherapists find their way into the profession
Former editor of “Fidelity” (Newsletter of The NCP)
Today Mike concentrates his efforts on providing quality distance learning courses at affordable prices as director of studies for The College of Integrated Therapies Ltd. His considerable experience adds value to these courses rarely found in this industry making our training courses unique

Hypnotherapy, yoga and meditation, what’s the difference? by Alice Penion

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An idea that takes root in the subconscious mind has no capacity for reasoning and MUST be discharged in motor action – whether a good or a bad idea. Essentially every single word uttered to a subject in a hypnotic state such as those experienced in any meditative or relaxation yoga practices may result in uptake of post hypnotic suggestion and thus influence that individual’s actions. Therefore it’s of utmost importance that everything said or thought during any yogic practice should not only be thought out thoroughly beforehand but tailored to be only positive and beneficial.

To highlight the importance of the correct use of wordings in suggestion I’ll use an example not only from clinical hypnosis but self imposed diets restrictions we’ve mostly all tried at some point. If you relax/hypnotise (same thing) somebody and tell them (or yourself) “Don’t eat cake” the subconscious mind will without doubt invert the “suggestion” and that person will want to eat more cake than they’ve ever thought possible – and seemingly can’t get the thought of cake etc from their mind!

Instead however, if you use the suggestion “you are amazed at how unbelievably easy it is for you to choose the foods that will help you become and remain slim and healthy” the subconscious, being the simple thing it is, will consume the suggestion, internally digest (so to speak) and turn it into the desired response i.e. no desire to eat cake or other junk food – just good healthy stuff in the right amount etc.

In other words it’s important to think about what you want and not what you don’t want.

So what exactly is hypnosis?

. That blurry place between sleep and awake and any time in fact you are engrossed in an activity such as work, a hobby, long distance driving and of course Hatha yoga, meditation and relaxation practices – where external stimuli are mostly blocked out. A hypnotic “state” is just a feeling of being relaxed coupled with a heightened state of awareness all of which is brought about by suggestion or autosuggestion. In fact it’s often said there is no such thing as hypnosis – only suggestion.

So what’s the difference between hypnosis and meditation?

One definition of meditation is the absence of all thought and to just be. If a person is mulling over a problem during meditation, they are actually thinking and therefore no longer meditating in its truest sense.

Hypnosis on the other hand, is to have a specific thought and affect a desired outcome, i.e. stop smoking, lose weight, stress management, pain management etc. In hypnosis just as in guided meditation the hypnotist may take you down a path, but instead of just suggesting a stroll through beautiful scenery the hypnotist skilfully uses suggestion to achieve predetermined goals – reduce exam test nerves, stop nail biting, develop confidence etc.

So as you can see if someone is participating in a guided meditation, the guide is also suggesting everyone to see this, hear that and experience with as many senses as possible. Some people may smell the flowers, feel the breeze, even hear sounds in this internal picture whilst usually also deepening relaxation and lowering anxiety levels albeit short term. Clearly this is no different in concept from the hypnotists scripting bar the actual suggestions themselves and resultant behavioural change.

So, hypnosis is just another word for relaxation. It’s what you do or think about when you are in this state of relaxation that differentiates between meditation, hypnotherapy, day dreaming etc.

Both are an allowing process. No one can force you into hypnosis. Otherwise hypnotists would already rule the world by simply obtaining your bank account number for their financial benefit and have you run around like a chicken for their entertainment!

Similarly in guided meditation, no one can make you go down the paths and smell the flowers if you don’t want to.

Suggestions given in the hypnotic state that are against your personal code of conduct, morality etc will not be taken on board by the subconscious and thus will not be acted out. It’s an all too common misconception that hypnotists can “control” your mind. If only! Then my job as a hypnotherapist would be far far easier! Sadly it’s a common misconception, thanks to stage hypnotists, Kenny Craig and other TV misrepresentations of hypnosis. Stage hypnotists incidentally are just very adept at selecting the more outrageous wannabes from an audience whose very personality type is such that they are looking for any opportunity to be the star of the show, however “silly” they may be made to look. They do volunteer after all, don’t they?!

Both hypnosis and meditation can be used for the better good of the individual. You may quite simply need to decide which word sits more comfortably with you. If meditation is a more palatable word for you, then by all means meditate! However, if you need more guidance or the mere mention of the word meditation brings up thoughts of rigid discipline that sends you screaming into the night, then by all means go find a well qualified hypnotherapist.

Emotional release in yoga, massage, meditation and relaxation…

So what with the common experience of emotional release in yoga classes?

You may have experienced or seen people crying their heart out or experienced sudden deep feelings of sadness for example during yoga and meditation, or just as commonly on the treatment table during massage. Well essentially these situations all induce the relaxed and therefore natural hypnotic state which allows bubbles of emotion to break the surface. It’s a bit like with a fizzy drink you shake it a bit and the bubbles come up and pop as emotion and tears, but each and every time you shake that drink in the state of hypnosis those bubbles will be unstoppable. If you’ve experienced this it demonstrates just how close to the surface those emotions are within you. No doubt it’s usually a very conscious and exhausting effort for you to ordinarily keep all those bubbles held in the rest of the time. It isn’t just these specific activities where emotions bubble up but rather ANY time one is otherwise a little “relaxed”. There are many of us who just can’t stop, can’t get to sleep, can’t unwind, for if we let it go enough the jumping monkeys of the mind break out of their cage to wreak havoc in our otherwise ordered lives.

Really these experiences are a huge wake up call to go get help in the form of Pure Hypnoanalysis to excise those deeply rooted anxieties and free yourself from your problems for good. If you are a meditator (or in this case someone trying to meditate), or practice yoga but find your experience is more distressing than relaxing then you must also stop using mind wander meditation techniques that allow brooding and rumination upon your problems. For certain personality types this will actually increase your anxiety levels (in Ayurveda they’re known as Pitta types or anally obsessive in psychology speak).

It’s all about reading the signs.

In Pure Hypnoanalysis we go a hugely important stage further than meditation’s observing and experiencing feelings. We ask WHY there’s this blockage and leakage of emotions in the first place. Pure Hypnoanalysis offers a natural, gentle but effective way of stepping deeper into the psyche/subconscious to release the true root cause of the problem stemming from ones deepest bottled up emotions.

As long as these source emotions are bottled up, they will have effects in the form of anything from life disrupting phobias, fears, panicky feelings and bad habits to physical symptoms, negative behavioural patterns etc that are all seemingly within oneself but out of ones control. More on this below…

Here, even the most dedicated of yogi’s “wanting” to practice their Sadhana (dedicated spiritual exertions towards achieving enlightenment) will not be able to escape Emile Coue’s “Law of reversed effort” where the force of the Imagination is in direct ratio to the square of the Will.

Essentially where there is conflict between the Imagination and the Will, the Imagination wins hands down every time – so the more effort the Will puts in to oppose or command the Imagination the more the Will’s efforts are reversed and the exact opposite is compounded. So the more you sit and think “I am going to blank my mind, think of nothing and meditate” the more thoughts will flood in by the truck load! A lot has to be said for surrendering to the observing Ego state and detaching from the thoughts themselves via the reliable vehicle of self or induced hypnosis. Entering that very natural state of hypnosis by-passes the critical factor of the conscious mind, thus effecting negation of our daily distracting thought stream. This is the very basis of mindfulness meditation, chanting and other “one pointed focus” practices.

These are practices that quite literally bore the practitioner into a hypnotic/meditative state.

This law of reversed effort is also the explanation behind the phenomena of subjects in hypnosis/relaxation experiencing suggested physiological effects such as heavy or light limbs, heavy eyelids etc. Most Yoga Nidra practices (usually after deepening, internalising and body scan) utilise the reverse law with suggestions of developing first one sensation such as heat and then the opposite ice cold, pain/pleasure, heaviness/lightness etc.

Yoga Nidra and other ancient practices have been using the natural state of hypnosis therapeutically for thousands of years. Hypnosis in itself is not a particularly useful thing. It’s only when it’s coupled with positive suggestion that it becomes useful and therefore therapeutic. In Yoga Nidra this suggestion is your Sankalpa or a short positive affirmation or statement of intent. If you can’t think of one yourself then you can’t really go wrong with our man Emile Coue’s classic cover all for everyone…
”Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better and better”.

Pure Hypnoanalysis lays the path towards true peace of mind.

The other form of hypnotherapy known as Pure Hypnoanalysis works very differently from suggestion therapy. Instead of putting suggestions into the mind as with clinical hypnotherapy, seemingly conversely it removes the source of ones problems from the mind – permanently, safely and effectively. Its amazing results are most commonly life changing for those individuals with deep rooted anxiety related problems. So not only for the aforementioned yogi’s experiencing emotional uprisings but also anyone suffering from any of a plethora of anxiety symptoms. Those yogi’s outbursts will be without a shred of a doubt just the tip of the symptomatic iceberg of their emotional problems and those rising emotional bubbles are simply a call to action to address a deeper rooted problem that needs to be released with the assistance of a professional Pure Hypnoanalyst (located here:)

Pure Hypnoanalysis simply is THE most effective therapy available for the total resolution of anxiety, depression, phobias, fears, negative behavioural patterns, panic attacks and other psychological and emotional problems. Pure Hypnoanalysis is a powerful, specialised and highly developed form of analytical hypnotherapy that achieves amazing results by totally resolving the root cause of unconscious anxieties. This total resolution leads to life long liberation from symptoms – not just short term relief from the worst of the eruptions of that bottled up anxiety but complete and therefore life changing relief from the emotional baggage that has been lugged around for most of the sufferers life.

In fact as an insight into oneself Pure Hypnoanalysis has no rival.

If you are on a search for deeper Self Knowledge as most folk (let alone Yogi’s) are to some level or other, then you would do well to surrender yourself to the process of analysis. It doesn’t take years, or a great intellect but quite simply 8-12 weekly sessions of about an hour long each.

Pure Hypnoanalysis utilises this powerful natural phenomenon of hypnosis to allow the individual to swiftly and naturally locate the reasons they’re stuck in certain thought patterns, behaviours, reactions, or beliefs about themselves. Once the problem is found and cathartically “let go” the mind is then permanently freed from those troublesome paths of thought or unconscious forces that surround the thing that is inside yourself but out of your control and can once again realise its normal, natural, efficient and healthy quality of functioning.

Often people who come to Pure Hypnoanalysts have tried to deal with or manage their anxieties using many other coping mechanisms such as NLP, EFT, alcohol, drugs, counselling and other talking therapies to varying degrees of success. But they typically find that although they feel better for a while their problems return, or crop up in some other area of their life to trouble them further.

Even Yogic practices can be classed as coping mechanisms. I’m sure those of us who’ve been to a half decent yoga session have enjoyed the great feelings after class but they do wear off after a while and even with regular practice may not contain those persistent leaking emotions – in fact if not an engaging practice it may bring them on all the more in certain personality types. Yoga and the above mentioned coping mechanisms can calm frazzled nerves or anxiety for the short term and they certainly do have their place in the world but will never alone go deep enough to RESOLVE the deepest issues at their root source which is where your IAPH Hypnotherapist comes in.

The beauty of Pure Hypnoanalysis is reflected so tidily by Yoga’s twin sister Ayurevda (the ancient Indian health system), where the underlying principle is to tailor practices in order to achieve total alleviation of symptoms by dealing with problems from their root source as opposed to the temporary sticking plaster of continual symptom management. A salve is one thing one thing but complete relief from symptoms is the ideal that can be achieved with this amazing and unique therapy.

Enhance your meditation and whole life with hypnotherapy

Hypnosis is a wonderful, powerful tool to amongst other things locate the reasons why you’re stuck believing certain things about yourself. Once you find the source of the problem, you can let it go fully. Once you let it go, your mind is emptied from old negative qualities of thinking. Once you’ve done that your mind is clear and you can finally move into a quiet state of peace and meditation and connect with your True Self.

This is proven time and time again at the culmination of Pure Hypnoanalysis where the subconscious is finally free and untroubled by anxiety. The mind is just incredibly quiet, at peace and able to rest in a truly meditative state.

Author profile:

Alice Pinion BSc (Hon’s) DHyp MIAPH, IAYT is an IAPH therapist holding clinic in Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Essex

Alice is also a published author and internationally respected Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist.

© Copyright 2009 Alice Pinion, all rights reserved

Hypnotherapy, a brief introduction by William Broom

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What is Hypnosis?

Healing by trance state (or an altered state of awareness) is among the oldest phenomena known to man and is found, in one form or another, in virtually every culture throughout the world. It could also be legitimately described as the original psychological therapy and somewhat more contentiously, as the basis for many of the more recent styles of psychological intervention.

Although such altered states have been known for thousands of years, the term “hypnosis” (from the Greek “hypnos”, meaning “sleep”) was only coined circa 1840 by Dr James Braid, a Scottish physician and remains a somewhat less than accurate description of the experience, as the hypnotic state is, in most respects, entirely dissimilar to sleep.

At our current level of knowledge, the phenomenon of hypnosis cannot be conclusively defined but perhaps a reasonable interim definition might be that: Hypnosis is a state of mind, enhanced by (although not exclusively) mental and physical relaxation, in which our subconscious is able to communicate with our conscious mind. It may be better to define “hypnosis” by what it does rather than what it is and in this regard, it is widely accepted as a most excellent method by which we may access our inner potential. The state of mind referred to may be brought about either by oneself, unaided (self-hypnosis) or with the help of another person. If this other person is a trained professional, who utilises the resultant state of mind to encourage beneficial change to occur, the process is referred to as “Hypnotherapy”.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Psychological therapy and counselling (sometimes referred to as the “talking cure”) is the treatment of emotional and psychological disorders, unwanted habits and undesirable feelings, using psychological techniques alone. The aim of all such therapy is to assist people (usually referred to as clients) in finding meaningful alternatives to their present unsatisfactory ways of thinking, feeling or behaving. Therapy also tends to help clients become more accepting both of themselves and others and can be most useful in promoting personal development and unlocking inner potential.

There are many forms of psychological therapy but Hypnotherapy is distinctive in that it attempts to address the client’s subconscious mind. In practice, the Hypnotherapist often (but not exclusively) requires the client to be in a relaxed state, frequently enlists the power of the client’s own imagination and may utilise a wide range of techniques from story telling, metaphor or symbolism (judged to be meaningful to the individual client) to the use of direct suggestions for beneficial change. Analytical techniques may also be employed in an attempt to uncover problems deemed to lie in a client’s past (referred to as the “there and then”) or therapy may concentrate more on a client’s current life and presenting problems (referred to as the “here and now”). It is generally considered helpful if the client is personally motivated to change (rather than relying solely on the therapist’s efforts) although a belief in the possibility of beneficial change may be a sufficient starting point.

Regardless of the techniques employed, perhaps the most important thing is that a client should expect to feel comfortable and at ease with their therapist. This is of particular importance in Hypnotherapy, in which the value of the treatment is greatly enhanced when there is confidence in the practitioner. For this reason it is recommended that a single session only is initially booked, leaving the client subsequently free to decide if they wish to proceed with more.

Unlike many other psychological therapies, Hypnotherapy is generally considered to be a fairly short-term approach in which beneficial change, if it is to occur, should become apparent within a relatively few sessions.

N.B. In actual practice, most Hypnotherapists will combine hypnotic procedures with other appropriate counselling and therapeutic techniques. Should there be any doubt about the combination of skills utilised in individual cases, the therapist should be asked directly for a further explanation of their preferred methodology

Who can be hypnotised?

The answer to this question is undoubtedly “virtually everyone”. This claim must, however, be qualified by the observation that some are more readily hypnotisable than others and that it will also depend upon one’s willingness to be hypnotised at the time. This willingness will itself depend upon a number of factors, not least of which will be the strength of the person’s particular need and their trust and confidence in the therapist concerned. A corollary to this question is “What level of trance is required in order to achieve a beneficial outcome?” Although there remains some disagreement over the answer, most researchers concur that the actual level (or depth) of trance obtained does not relate to the beneficial results that might be obtained. In practice, this means that even where a person feels that they have not been hypnotised, given time (and this is a very important factor), the desired outcome of therapy might yet materialise. This matter of time is especially important in our current society, which has, in many respects, been coerced into believing that gratification of every desire should be instantaneous. Hypnotherapy can be extraordinarily effective but it is not magic. However, if the right ingredients are present, if the time is right and if a suitable practitioner can be found with whom the client is willing to work, then all their (realistic) goals are achievable.

Who may benefit from Hypnotherapy?

Again, the answer to this question is “virtually everyone”. Given that hypnotherapy can be utilised to access a person’s inner potential and that probably no one is performing to their actual potential, then this answer is literally true. However, it is not just potential which Hypnotherapy is well placed to address but also one’s inner resources to effect beneficial change. In this regard, it is the innate healing capacity of our own body that may be stimulated by Hypnotherapy. Consequently, the list of problems which may be amenable to Hypnotherapy is far too long and varied to catalogue but certainly includes: stress, anxiety, panic, phobias, unwanted habits and addictions (e.g. smoking, overeating, alcoholism), disrupted sleep patterns, lack of confidence and low self-esteem, fear of examinations and public speaking, allergies and skin disorders, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Additionally, it has proved of value within surgery, where normal anaesthetics have not been practical, in the wider sphere of pain management and in the areas of both sporting and artistic performance enhancement. As an adjunct to other counselling techniques, it can also assist in helping to resolve relationship difficulties and be useful within anger management strategies.

Although there remain many other areas of human suffering in which Hypnotherapy may bring relief, there are instances in which it may be contra-indicated. These could include some manifestations of depressive illness, epilepsy, psychosis (e.g. schizophrenia) and some breathing problems.

Some Common Concerns

People are sometimes concerned that they will “lose control” in hypnosis. However, general consensus indicates that regardless of how deeply people may go in hypnosis and however passive they may appear to be, they actually remain in full control of the situation. They are fully able to talk if they wish to (or not, as the case may be) and can stand up and leave the room at any time. Neither can a hypnotised person be made to do anything against their usual ethical or moral judgement or religious belief. It is likely that the notion of a loss of control stems from most people’s misconception of stage hypnosis, wherein participants are apparently made to perform all manner of (usually foolish) acts. However, the reader should be aware that participation in a stage act is an entirely voluntary process (thus “permission” is already given to the hypnotist) and that there can be no such volunteer who is unaware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for!

Author details:

William Broom
Chief Executive & Registrar,
The General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and General Hypnotherapy Register

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