Learn about solution focused hypnotherapy. Is it woo woo? Does it involve mind control? How is it different from other therapies? And, the latest evidenced-based research informing Solution Focused Hypnotherapy’s development.
Certainly, solution focused hypnotherapy can help with a wealth of conditions, but most hypnotherapists choose a niche. For instance, I personally focus my service offer around Anxiety and related conditions. For example, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Tinnitus, and Insomnia. All of which, are often caused by or exasperated by Anxiety.
Importantly, “Solution-Focused” is fast becoming a buzz word of the 21st century, but what does it actually mean? To begin, solution focused brief therapy was first developed in the 1980’s by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer. Contrarily, when we take a quick look at other therapies, we find many talking therapies are “problem focused”, they focus on unpicking the issue, re-living the issue, and real-life exposure. Granted, this can work well for some people, for many, it can cause more challenges.
On the other hand, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy works by identifying exceptions to the rule. So, let’s say you came to me wanting to stop procrastinating, we would work together to identify when it is you are most productive. As a result, we identify when you don’t procrastinate, and these are what we call “exceptions”.
In addition, as well as identifying exceptions we will go in the opposite direction to other talking therapies and instead of focusing on unpicking the problem; we will look at identifying what life looks like when the problem is no longer there for you, because this gives our brain a positive goal.
As a result, once we have a goal to work towards we can begin to move away from ruminating and stopping our only focus being on the challenges we are facing. Next, we therapists then use Solution Focused questioning to help you identify achievable goals to work on each week. Why? Because, these will assist you in working towards a future where the challenges you have been facing are no longer an issue.
So, although we are very much future-focused, and solution focused, we do acknowledge and allow you time to discuss what has been on your mind should you wish to. However, we limit this to a small section of our session so that we can focus on assisting you with moving forwards to achieve your preferred future.
Above all, hypnotherapy is a form of deep relaxation. Generally, hypnotherapists use guided imagery and direct and indirect language to help you to get into a lovely relaxed state that induces trance.
Specifically, trance is a natural state we all go into regularly. To illustrate, have you ever been listening to someone and suddenly realised you weren’t paying any attention? Maybe you’ve read a whole page of a book and had to go back and reread it? Or perhaps you’ve driven somewhere you drive to regularly and been surprised that you hadn’t focused much on your journey? Essentially, this is your mind going into natural trance. Yes, that’s right, you already do it!
Most importantly, neuroscience research using brain scans demonstrate the same area in the brain is active during trance, as during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) part of our sleep cycle. In addition, they also found when we’re in REM, our brain is more active than it is at any other time! So, when we’re in REM scientists believe that really important events are happening in the brain. Most importantly, they believe stressful events and memories that we have stored in our emotional brain, are being consolidated and processed to be filed away in the more narrative parts of our mind.
Occasionally, you may have noticed this happen to you. Maybe you were driving somewhere, and someone ‘cut-you-up’. There wasn’t an accident, but the person appeared to blame you for it. You were left feeling so angry and once home, contacted your friend and told them all about it and how frustrated you were. Your friend may have said not to let it get to you. Later though, maybe lying in bed that night, it’s still on your mind. As a result, you’re really annoyed by it.
However, that particular night you get some good quality REM sleep and the following day it’s not such a big deal anymore. In fact, you even chastise yourself a little and maybe even regret allowing it to get to you so much. So, what’s happened? Well, scientists believe this memory has now moved from your emotional and often irrational part of your brain, to your more rational and reflective, narrative part of your brain.
Similarly , have you ever been really affected by a text message or voicemail out of the blue, or a car cutting-you-up suddenly, or maybe that family member that just winds you up the wrong way? Well, this might be just what you’re looking for. My little freebie crib sheet provides you with a solution focused exercise to plan your future responses. It may be really helpful to you. You can download it here.
To clarify, we use trance in our clinic room in two different ways. Firstly, we use it to help your brain to consolidate and process all of our discussion during the first half of our session together. Secondly, we use it to speak more effectively to your subconscious mind.
During hypnosis, hypnotherapists speak to your subconscious mind using guided imagery, positive affirmations, confidence building and story metaphors that all help towards building a more confident you. So, on top of having a small achievable and solution focused goal every session, you also get the benefits of consolidating and processing that goal AND building your confidence up so that you’re even more likely to achieve your goal too. Moreover, you even get some good quality relaxation time just for you too!
Furthermore, the story metaphors we use are great too. Specifically, the subconscious mind and conscious mind begin to see parallels with the story and what is going in your life. Subsequently, this helps you to move towards letting go of the past and discovering and achieving your preferred future.
Granted, this is a question I’m asked often. To clarify, stage hypnotism tends to work with the hypnotist first identifying who is the most likely in the audience to do something really silly. For instance, they might do this by using phrases like “you’re not in control, I am now in control” or “no matter how hard you try, you just can’t lift up your arm”.
As a result, this helps them to identify who is most easily influenced and will create the best act for the audience. To illustrate, the constant use of suggestions that you are not in control almost has an effect like when you may have had alcohol. Certainly, it allows you to lower your inhibitions and act a bit silly because you’ve been given permission to. But, the truth is, that you are always in control of your mind.
In fact, have you ever watched a stage hypnotist ‘live’? If so, you’ll see how their selection process works. Firstly, they begin by identifying who the best person for the job will be. Then, each request gets sillier and sillier. Subsequently, more and more people will begin to “wake up”. Of course, this is because they have been aware of what’s being said but have felt like the hypnotist was in control. However, this time the hypnotist has gone a step too far and it’s not something they want to be a part of, so they immediately come out of the trance.
On the other hand, when you are placed in trance by a hypnotherapist in a clinic setting, you will be told that you are always in control, that you are safe, and that you will only pay attention and listen to what is relevant to you and matters most to you. Most importantly, hypnotherapy is about you being as relaxed and as comfortable as possible. So, don’t fret! Of course, there’ll be no funky chicken dances anywhere in sight!
Certainly, some hypnotists may move towards the woo woo. However, solution focused hypnotherapy is based on the latest neuroscience research. Meaning, it’s evidenced-based practice. Furthermore, having a degree in Psychology, this was something that was really important to me. Above all, I like to be able to use science to explain what is happening and to help people, who want to know, to understand what’s going on for them. Particularly, when we find ourselves using behaviour that we’ve identified is unhelpful to us, and yet we continue in the vicious cycle of repeating the unwanted behaviour anyway.
In conclusion, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is in my experience, a truly effective therapy for overcoming anxiety. For me, it changed my life when I went to a solution focused hypnotherapist for public speaking, irritable bowel syndrome, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. So, if you’re someone who struggles, you’re most welcome to get in touch. There’s lots more information on my website www.Tania-Taylor.co.uk. I also offer a free 20 minute consultation over the phone.
Tania is a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist practicing in Milnrow, Rochdale. She sees people for 1:1 and group sessions, both face to face and via video link worldwide. Tania has a first-class honours degree in Psychology, two hypnotherapy and psychotherapy diplomas, and keeps up to date with post qualification training. Tania also lectures for the Clinical Hypnotherapy School and for her own business, supporting other therapists with a variety of topics.