Types of Hypnotherapy -
The Three Main Approaches
If you are looking into the possibility of hypnotherapy treatment, whether for yourself or someone else, then no doubt you will already have done some research into the subject. If so, then you may well have found yourself surprised to discover that not all hypnotherapy is the same and that there are in fact various different types of hypnotherapy treatments available.
You may have come across words such as; 'curative,' 'analytical,' 'cognitive,' 'solution-focused' and 'behavioural' (to name but a few). And that's not to mention those that are rooted in other therapies, such Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation & Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
For those new to the subject, it can all be very confusing and extremely difficult then, to come to an informed decision as to which treatment might be right for you. In order to assist you and guide your hypnotherapy investigations more effectively therefore, we attempt on this page to simplify things somewhat.
Firstly, it is important to understand that hypnosis is simply a tool. And, just like any tool, it can be used in various different ways, each with their own purpose, aim or desired end result. This applies to many different fields. For instance, if someone is a lawyer, this merely tells us that that person works in the field of law. We would of course then, need to ask what type of lawyer they are; i.e. tax, probate, criminal or employment for example. All very different jobs with very different aims depending on what it is that person is looking to achieve. In this example, Law is the basic tool but each professional is choosing to apply it in very different ways so as to achieve different end results.
In just the same way, hypnotherapists all use the tool of hypnosis but in different ways and to varying degrees, depending on the outcome we are looking to achieve. We can split the field of Hypnotherapy into THREE main approaches or therapeutic directions, as set out below:-
This type of treatment is cognitive or suggestion-based and deals with the conscious, analytical mind. Focus is on what you are going through now, i.e. the thoughts, feelings and any resultant behaviours you are currently experiencing, what you would like to change and what ways or strategies can therefore be found to help you manage your reactions more effectively. This might involve practising affirmations or using positive self-
talk, for example. Focus is on speed of change rather than on providing lasting results and effects are usually short-lived, often requiring the patient to return for further treatment.
This treatment operates on a more subconscious level and is often categorised as 'clinical' or 'analytical.' Focus is on when the problem first started and looks to identify the time when you first started to experience your symptom or condition, i.e. the trigger incident or 'Initial Sensitizing Event.' Therapy then looks to review this and other situations when the symptom has been or is currently triggered, getting you to work through, rationalise and thereby better understand your reactions to these events. In this way it is hoped the patient can be enabled not only to come to terms with their past traumas or experiences but also be better equipped to deal with such situations going forward. Hypnotherapy treatments might use visualisation techniques to regress the patient to a particular event with a view to enabling that person to revisit, review and re-frame their memories of a particular event.
In some situations, either with or without the help of previous treatments, a person may know all too well what their unhelpful thoughts, feelings and behaviour are but still be unable to change them. They may also know exactly when or in which situations their symptom will be triggered, yet still find it nigh on impossible to manage or challenge their reactions to such situations. In such cases, affirmations and positive thinking simply reinforce for that person the fact there is a problem in the first place. And trying to rationalise or challenge their reactions to a particular set of circumstances only serves to tell them their reactions are illogical; a fact of which they are already well aware!
In such instances, it may be more helpful to look at the Why; i.e. why has that person reacted to certain life events by going on to develop a particular issue or condition? In other words, what 'loaded the gun' for them in the first place? By then looking to identify and correct the Need or Reason and the Core Beliefs underlying the reaction, we can remove that ammunition, so that the gun simply cannot fire! With the causative information fully addressed and corrected, there is no longer any belief, need or reason for the reaction and the problem is then naturally disposed of; completely and permanently. Thereafter, situations which would previously prove problematic no longer trigger the patient, since the gun has been unloaded. And, with the underlying information now corrected, there is no longer a need for that person to use affirmations or to work at thinking positively. Nor is there any requirement for them to adjust their viewpoint on any given situation. There is simply no need to correct something that is no longer wrong!
Choosing Your Practitioner
Finally, once you've chosen what you feel is the right approach or therapeutic direction for you, all that remains, of course, is to choose a suitable practitioner. And here it is important to add a note of caution. As we said at the beginning, hypnosis is simply a tool. And, just as with any tool, hypnosis can be used well, ethically and morally but can equally be abused or utilised badly or incorrectly. Hypnotherapy in the UK is not currently subject to statutory regulation. It is therefore important to fully research your chosen practitioner and, crucially, check as a minimum that they are qualified by a recognised training body and accredited by one of the main hypnotherapy organisations, such as the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR), Hypnotherapy Association (HA) or National Hypnotherapy Society (NHS). Further, do not be afraid to ask your chosen practitioner for proof of their qualification(s) or accreditations. A good and reputable practitioner will have nothing to hide and should also have their certificates on display when you visit their practice. For full details of the qualifications and accreditations we hold, please go to 'About.'