Cognitive and Medical Hypnotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy and Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Edinburgh

Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation with focused concentration. Everyone’s experience of hypnosis is different; there are varying degrees to it. Some people experience light hypnosis (trance) while some experience a very deep state. Most people are somewhere in the middle. Hypnosis is used for therapeutic purposes through both Medical hypnotherapy and Cognitive cognitive behavioral therapy hypnotherapy.

When hypnosis is used to treat psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, it is known as Clinical hypnotherapy and when it is used to treat medical issues it is known as Medical hypnotherapy. The Cognitive approach can be applied to both and the most popular method used is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

To break it down into the easiest to understand form, CBT is a type of psychotherapy operating on the premise that the way in which we think affects how we behave and how we feel. Hence, by challenging our ‘faulty’ thought patterns and replacing them with more helpful ones, we can achieve positive changes in mood and behaviour.

To give an example, somebody suffering from low mood may get stuck in a vicious cycle as a result of their pattern of thinking. If they feel down they may decide that people don’t like them and withdraw from their social circle, thereby increasing their feelings of isolation…and ultimately making themselves feel worse. By challenging and changing that initial reaction to the situation, it can be managed more effectively, be more short-lived and less debilitating.

CBT has a wide-ranging application as there are many situations in which our unhelpful thinking can adversely affect our lives. Have you ever shied away from new challenges or experiences because you’ve found yourself thinking, “I always mess everything up”? CBT is about changing how you think, so that you can learn to view yourself and your situation from a realistic and helpful perspective.

Cognitive hypnotherapy is more interactive than traditional hypnotherapy, which tends to focus on the hypnotherapist reading out scripted positive suggestions to clients. This in itself can be very useful and effective and it often works, however some clients may need a more complex approach to their treatment. In cognitive hypnotherapy the hypnotherapist works with clients’ individual belief systems and uses techniques such as challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, identifying distortions (e.g. clients identify their habitual ways of thinking), cognitive restructuring (substituting unrealistic thoughts with more realistic interpretations and rehearsing them) etc.

Research suggests that the positive effects of CBT can be deepened when combined with hypnotherapy. An analysis of 18 different researches showed that participants receiving CBT in conjunction with hypnotherapy achieved “a 70% greater improvement” when compared with participants receiving only CBT.* Combining CBT with hypnotherapy allows it to reach the subconscious mind, the part of our mind that is more powerful in deciding our feelings and behaviour.

* [Crawford, H.J. & Barbasasz, A.F. (1993). Phobias and intense fears: facilitating their treatment with hypnosis. In J. W. Rhue, S. J. Lynn & I. Kirsch, (Eds.), Handbook of clinical hypnosis (pp.311-338) Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.]

To sum up, combining CBT with hypnosis can be a very effective therapy for treating symptoms such as anxiety, lack of confidence, performance anxiety, addictions, low self-esteem etc.


Medical Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis has been used for centuries for medical purposes, primarily to induce anaesthesia for dental and surgical procedures as well as for the removal of unwanted symptoms. More recently, hypnosis has been shown to be effective for common concerns in everyday general medical practice such as smoking cessation, weight reduction, insomnia, pain management etc.* Eclectic techniques are used to deal with such conditions, hence the treatment of each differs. For example, self-hypnosis and relaxation are particularly useful for pain management and insomnia and I can teach clients these methods in order to help them cope with their condition.

If you’re looking across Fife or the Lothians for a hypnotherapist to help you to tackle these or any other problems you may be facing, then my Dunfermline base means that I’m ideally located (only 30mins from Edinburgh). To inquire about booking a session, please contact me.

*[Heap&Aravind, Hartland’s Dental and Medical Hypnosis, 2002]

CBT