Give yourself credit for working towards your solution.

As Solution Focused Hypnotherapists we recommend that you work towards your preferred future one step at a time. Even big goals seem more manageable when you ‘chunk them down’.

In fact, we often find that clients are already making progress towards their goal, but because it feels like a natural process they don’t realise the significance of the small changes they make.

We encourage people to celebrate their successes.

Hypnotherapists can help you make New Year’s Resolutions that last

How long do your New Year’s resolutions last? Hypnotherapists often report an increase in enquiries during March and April when people’s commitment to New Year’s resolutions has worn off. Many turn to Hypnotherapy to help them lose weight, give up smoking or achieve other important goals.

New Year's Resolutions

Part of the problem is that people tend to focus on external outcomes without addressing what’s going on inside.

Weight management is a classic case in point. Some people think that once they lose weight they will be happy. They struggle with various diets and lose heart when the weight piles on again. The chances are, they are struggling with internal issues that need to be dealt with before they can take control of other aspects of their lives, such as their relationship with food, cigarettes, work, money or family.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy helps people to regain control by helping them to focus on how they want things to be – their preferred future, rather than focusing on the problems. The therapy uses Solution Focused questioning techniques designed to help clients develop a clear vision of how they want to be.

Typically if we ask clients to tell us how they want to be, they will give us a list of what they don’t want – I don’t want to be overweight, out of breath when I walk, staying indoors because I’m not confident going out.

It’s our job to help them describe what they do want instead – full of energy, feeling healthy, slim and confident. The difference is profound. Hypnosis helps to reinforce the positive image the client has developed.

It’s wonderful to see the transformation people can make to the quality of their lives, once they stop focusing on problems and direct all their energy towards thinking positively instead. And the great thing is that, because the client has addressed their internal thought processes, the changes are usually long-lasting. Unlike many New Year’s resolutions.

Change your life in 2015 and help others change their lives

With 2015 just around the corner you may be thinking about making changes to your life.


Imagine being able to help someone overcome debilitating anxiety, give up smoking, overcome their fear of spiders or flying, or improve their sports performance.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapists help people with these, and many more, issues. Our 10 month course (1 weekend a month) leads to the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma, considered to be the ‘Gold Standard’ hypnotherapy qualification.

Make 2015 the year you change your life

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”.

Students learn ‘Quit Smoking’ technique

We’ve spent another enjoyable weekend as observers on the current HPD course running at CPHT Bristol. This weekend the students learned how to help people to quit smoking.

As with all aspects of the course, the students learned the neuroscience behind the issue as well as the techniques to employ. Most people think hypnotherapists simply wave a magic wand, but it’s much more involved than that.

And there was added value for the lucky guinea pig who volunteered to be the pretend client during the demonstration. They now no longer smoke!

Sleepless nights can become a thing of the past

Around a third of people suffer from some form of insomnia at some point.  Problems can range from difficulty falling asleep, waking up during the night or waking up early in the morning. It’s not just that lack of sleep makes you tired, if it goes on too long it can lead to lack of motivation, irritability, reduced ability to solve problems, inability to cope with stress, reduced immunity and even weight gain.

If you’re having difficulty sleeping, it’s worth making sure you’re allowing enough time for sleep. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep each day.  It helps to avoid heavy meals and alcohol before sleep and of course, reduce your intake of caffeine before bedtime. Your sleep environment can make a significant difference too, ideally make the bedroom very dark, comfortable, quiet, and cool.

Anxiety is a common cause of insomnia, and of course worrying that you’re not sleeping only makes the problem worse.  It’s not long before a vicious cycle sets in and the harder you try the more elusive sleep becomes.

As well as conventional approaches, hypnotherapy can help you get a better night’s sleep.  It works by addressing any underlying anxiety and by helping you to relax completely.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after just a few good night’s sleep.

Insomnia is a common reason for clients seeking help through Hypnotherapy. CPHT students are taught early on the importance of sleep to our well-being and quickly learn how to help their clients get better quality sleep.

Learning how to help clients with fears and phobias

We’re really enjoying observing the CPHT Bristol course. This weekend we’re covering fears and phobias. The students are learning how to help clients overcome fear of spiders, heights, needles, birds etc, and to recognise what techniques to use depending on the severity of the condition.

One of the benefits of attending the HPD course is that, by being on the receiving end of demonstrations, you can overcome your own fears. Bonus!

David Newton

Solution Focused Hypnotherapists avoid problem-talk

Anxiety, like many stress-related conditions, tends to creep up on people.  Busy lives, pressures of work, relationship issues or financial worries all take their toll.   It’s not unusual for clients to be caught in a cycle of negative thinking – negative thoughts heighten anxiety levels, anxiety leads to negative thoughts and so on.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a modern, research-based combination of psychotherapy techniques and hypnosis, aimed at encouraging clients to focus on how they want things to be.  We avoid problem-talk and instead help our clients to visualise their preferred future.  By encouraging clients to think and express themselves positively, we can help to reduce their anxiety.  By reducing anxiety, other related symptoms often improve and clients feel better able to cope with life’s stresses.

It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life

‘It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life’ is a common response from students who attend the CPHT HPD course.

We both studied Hypnotherapy at CPHT Bristol, gaining the prestigious Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD) in 2008. We’ve since built busy practices in Somerset and Devon, clocking up thousands of clinical hours between us.

We’re looking forward to sharing our experiences with students in and around Guildford, helping them to transform their own lives as well as the lives of their future clients.

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