Cognitive Hypnotherapy: What is it and How does it Work?

Cognitive Hypnotherapy; a modern form of talking therapy backed by a wealth of positive research.

WHAT IS COGNITIVE HYPNOTHERAPY?

Classed as solution based brief therapy, Cognitive Hypnotherapy, or CogHyp as it’s also known, has its roots in modern neuroscience, scientific research and a host of established therapies. Utilising the best techniques taken from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Clinical Hypnotherapy, Regression, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and coaching, the aim is to restore the connection between mind and body.

When we are facing emotional problems such as anxiety; bad habits that we can’t seem to break; phobias and so on, it can be due to what we call ‘unconscious drivers’ in our brain thinking that the behaviour is doing us good somehow. This in turn, can cause compulsive or impulsive behaviour or thinking – we do it over and over believing that this gives us some control. This doesn’t have to make sense to the logical mind, and often does not. For example and simply put, the feeling of not being able to stop smoking comes from the brain having learned at some point that it’s a good idea to smoke and in turn creates responses and feelings of compulsion to keep doing it.

We are complex beings, made up of millions of years’ worth of evolutionary survival mechanisms, most of which work very well for us. However, sometimes it’s almost as if our brains are so good at trying to protect us, that information is fired off before we get the chance to consciously interrupt the process and prevent it. This is what we mean by a ‘disconnect’ between mind and body. This disharmony can occur for a variety of reasons: trauma, learned behaviour, outdated thinking patterns etc. If you imagine that you are afraid of dogs and can’t even bring yourself to look at one on television, for example, we would call this a phobia. It is likely that once in the past you had an encounter with a dog that scared you and you ran away; your brain did its job and protected you from the thing that scared you. As this process worked for you, got you away from the scary thing. The next thing the brain does is store the response to the stimuli, so the next time you see a dog you do what you did last time – run (or at least feel like running). Every time this pattern is repeated it compounds the message to the brain that this is the right thing to do. Every time it happens the behaviour becomes more automatic until you can’t even remember how or why the cycle started.

Cognitive Hypnotherapists aim to understand how you experience whatever it is that’s bothering you, be it depression; lack of motivation; issues mentioned above or whatever has been affecting your life, and help you to take back control of your thinking and therefore your life too.

WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?


​ANXIETY AND PANIC

Most of us have experienced anxiety – it’s all too common in the modern world. Generally speaking, it’s a fear of what might happen. The feeling of anxiety is a complex series of chemical and neurological reactions that occur due to outdated survival responses. To deal with anxiety we look at what causes it and why you react as you do, then we make the changes that help you to feel calm and in control of how you feel.

​PHOBIAS AND FEARS

Phobias tend to be universal and classifiable, such as: spiders, needles, cats, dogs, snakes, germs, lifts, public speaking, flying, balloons… the list is seemingly endless. Anyone can develop a phobia, of anything. No phobia is trivial; at best they can really inconvenience you, at worst they make you behave totally out of character. While phobias tend to be glaringly obvious and come in an array of forms, fears can be less obvious, niggling away at you and eroding your self-esteem. If it’s something that you are aware of or that’s holding you back, we can work with to resolve it.

​CONFIDENCE AND SELF-ESTEEM

Unfortunately many people suffer with self-doubt and thoughts and feelings of not being good enough. Cognitive hypnotherapy is very good for helping to change this by helping you to realise your potential and change how you look at yourself, re-enforcing your sense of self-worth. Learn to focus on your inner strengths and resources so that you can feel freer and stronger about who you are, so that you can lead a happier, more rewarding and enriched life.

​SMOKING AND BAD HABITS

Habits, including smoking, tend to be largely unconscious, with the conscious aspect being a secondary factor. The behaviour, or habit, might be viewed as a crutch or coping mechanism that you are afraid to let go of. Smoking, drinking, nail biting, self-sabotage, phone or online addiction, mindless eating, excessive exercise, cleaning and so on are just a few examples of habits you might want to break. Behind every habit there will be a reason for that behaviour and we will look behind the habit, seeking to unlock those drivers and free you from them.

​MOTIVATION

It’s easy to feel lacklustre and stuck in such a busy society. Maybe you feel like you’re not doing enough or you don’t know what direction you want to go in, or why. We can discover what’s at the root of these thoughts and feelings and help you to find the direction that’s right for you. We can get to the bottom of anything that you believe is holding you back and stopping you achieving your goals. We can set new goals, boost your confidence, implement direction and help you to stay grounded so that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

​OTHER PROBLEMS

If you can’t see what you’re looking for above, there is still hope – it just means it’s not listed because the list of possible issues would be endless. Cognitive Hypnotherapy is great for working with most issues because it is such a flexible, broad and deep branch of therapy. Cognitive Hypnotherapists work with all sorts of people, to resolve all sorts of problems. Chances are it won’t be unique to the therapist. They will at least have heard of what’s bothering you; even if it’s an underlying ‘bad feeling’ it can be worked on.

HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO CBT?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings and actions are connected and when we have a problem a vicious cycle can form, one part affecting the next and so on. The idea is that by breaking problems into these smaller parts they can be more easily managed. CBT therapists work with you to show you how to challenge negative patterns so that you can improve the way you feel. CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past and using them to feel better in the present, as CogHyp does.

Cognitive Hypnotherapists help you deal with current problems by looking at where they started. The theory is, if you can resolve the trigger, you change the subsequent reactions. They also believe in the interconnectedness of thoughts, feelings and actions but instead of challenging the behaviour and learning to cope with it, coghyp practitioners want to help you to remove the triggers that are affecting your life, so you can take back control.

If you don’t know why you smoke and can’t remember why you started, your unconscious will have all the answers so that you can be free of compulsive and impulsive thoughts and behaviour.

WHAT IF THE THOUGHT OF HYPNOSIS SCARES ME?

The media has a lot to answer for when it comes to people being scared of hypnosis. The truth is, no hypnotist can make you do anything that you don’t want to do – and that’s it. Stage hypnosis is not fake, but it certainly is not the same as hypnotherapy. CogHyp is a little different to traditional hypnosis anyway. They do not need to achieve ‘deep trance’ for the therapy to work. In fact this form of therapy is largely conversational and totally conscious. You may be asked to close your eyes, but that’s just to assist your imagination in not getting distracted.

One of the underpinning principles of Cognitive Hypnotherapy is the notion that we all enter ‘trance’ multiple times of the day: when driving, exercising, acting out habits and when we are stuck with a problem – such as a phobia. There will be no watch swinging, just talking and perhaps closing of the eyes. There’s nothing to fear.

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S FOR ME?

  • Do you want to enhance your life in some way; either by improving yourself or eliminating a problem, or even both?
  • Are you prepared to re-evaluate your thinking and habits?
  • Are you committed to clearing past problems?
  • Are you willing to dedicate time outside of sessions to implement and try out what you have learnt with me, and from yourself?
  • Are you ready to live an empowered life and to learn how to use your inner resources and strengths?

If you’ve answered yes to the above you are already in the right place, you just need to get in touch.

I only work with a small number of people at a time and those whom I really believe I can help, so it is important that you are totally committed to change from the get go. It’s difficult to say how many sessions you’ll need without knowing your specific case, but usually people need 2-6 sessions; obviously this is dependent on what’s been wrong and the pace you need to work at.

Published by Nancy Madden

My London practices are located in London Bridge / Monument EC3R, Primrose Hill NW1 and Croydon CR0. There are excellent transport links to all venues. I offer a range of treatments to help you with emotional and behavioural issues: Anxiety & panic Exam stress Phobias & fears Confidence & self-esteem Smoking & bad habits Motivation & more