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14 Jan

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy; training at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies.

At our college, we train people in CBH using cognitive and behavioural theories and frameworks such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) which was developed by Albert Ellis. We also use other cognitive and behavioural therapies such as Cognitive Therapy, developed by Aaron Beck. So, CBT is the base theory and framework for integration with hypnosis. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy. At the heart of CBT is the premise that what people think can affect how they feel and how they behave. Within this broad definition are a number of cognitive behavioural psychotherapies such as Behaviour Therapy (BT), Cognitive Therapy (CT), Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to name but a few.


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The two pioneers of CBT, Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck, shared the view that most disturbances arise from faulty thinking and that the remedy is to be found in corrective actions. Both concentrate on present problems and present thinking in contrast to the earlier forms of psychotherapy. Also, both recommended the inclusion of behavioural exercises as key in effective change.

The CCBT course covers Ellis’s REBT model of emotional disturbance first for three reasons; firstly Ellis’s model deals with symptom treatment and advocates a philosophy of healthy living, in contrast to Beck’s model which primarily focuses on symptom treatment only. Secondly, Ellis’s model does not shy away from targeting and disputing client’s most disturbing events from the outset of therapy, whereas Beck’s model focuses on reality testing. The REBT model deals with the client’s ‘what if?’ question. Thirdly, there seems to be a convergence among Beckian therapists towards following one of the central pillars of the Ellis model; that of disputing rigidly held beliefs.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH)

CBH is the practice of hypnotherapy, using the structure and philosophy of Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as the backbone of the therapy. It combines CBT and clinical hypnosis to become a form of psychotherapy. Counselling skills are also used, a full case history is taken, a therapeutic alliance established, problems and goals defined, any misconceptions dealt with, and therapeutic strategies clinically developed and implemented. A typical CBH session would comprise of both hypnotic and non-hypnotic parts. Hypnotherapists who work with CBH should develop a solid understanding of the theory and process of cognitive behavioural therapies and their therapeutic use in hypnosis. They also need to make a thorough clinical assessment of the client’s problem/s and learn how to integrate other psychotherapeutic approaches into the CBH framework. You can argue that CBH is integrative as opposed to eclectic hypnotherapy, in addition to the use of direct suggestions, the therapist may draw on inner child work, regression or ego states therapy to name but a few. However all of these approaches are firmly underpinned by the CBT structure and philosophy.


CBH also involves therapeutic work outside the trance state. From the outset, clients learn the core cognitive and behavioural skills of challenging unhealthy beliefs and strengthening their healthy counterparts. Other work may include the use of counselling skills, psychological education, assertiveness exercises and role playing. According to Kirsch et al. 1993, the average client receiving cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, improved further than at least 80% of clients receiving cognitive behaviour therapy only.

To find out more or retrain in CBH please go to our website and request a prospectus.

How it all began….

20 May

Although the college launched its first courses in October 2009 the actual idea for the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH) came about during the previous year, as most good ideas do, over a meal, at the end of a busy teaching weekend with Avy and Tony (Avy a decade earlier, had studied REBT with Windy Dryden gaining his MSc and he took to it like a duck to water.) Along with Maggie, Tony and Avy were the initial founders of the College.


Maggie Chapman

Maggie Chapman


A few short months later the CCBH was launched and the real work commenced!  There was a busy 6 months to launch, designing and refining the courses we developed.  We each came with strong ideas of what was important.  Ethics and exceptional learning experience with a strong desire that our students, when finishing their studies with us at whatever stage, would be confident, competent and informed was paramount.


Avy Joseph

Avy Joseph


Avy says: “After working as a hypnotherapist for many years I also became interested in the cognitive and behavioural aspects of hypnotherapy.  I pursued this interest in studying for a Master’s degree at Goldsmith College in Cognitive and Behavioural therapy.  My knowledge and confidence as a hypnotherapist grew and I started integrating the two with great results.  After running many Master Classes on specific topics combining these two styles of therapies and after listening to feedback from participants, I felt that it was time to develop a course for those students qualified in hypnotherapy and with an interest in cognitive behavioural therapy.  I initially wrote and developed a shortened version of our Diploma course in partnership with another training organisation.  After running that course for a few years and in discussion with Maggie and Tony, we decided to run cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy courses that were more in depth and effective and also contained other CBT models”.

We launched the opening of the College to coincide with the release of Avy’s first book ‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ with a drinks party at our headquarters, 83 Baker Street in central London.  Our medical advisor Dr Claude Botha gave a fascinating and amusing presentation about Anxiety and how CBH can assist in its treatment.

Things move on and develop and as we approach our fourth anniversary, Tony has left to join a seminary in the Papal City and we have renamed the college to be the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CCBT).  This incorporates our progression from the original three levels of training in CBH to three levels of training in CBT too.


Windy Dryden is no longer our patron but guest lectures for us on our newly developed courses in CBT. Our lecturing team has continued to grow and we boast one of the strongest teams in the country of REBT specialist lecturers.

We have developed a wide suite of Master Classes from anxiety to mindfulness and the list continues to grow.

We are about to launch our distance learning modules to enable students to complete a large part of their studies in the comfort of their own homes and as we continue to develop will bring more of what we do online. Exciting times ahead…

Psychogenic Pain

24 Sep

A psychogenic pain is a physical pain that is caused, increased or prolonged by mental, emotional or behavioural factors, with headaches, muscle, back and stomach pains being some of the more common types.

Psychogenic Pain can be helped with Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

You might think that the term pretty much encompasses any kind of pain that you can think of. However, as a therapist you will rarely, if ever, have someone referred to you because they’re suffering from psychogenic pain.

Technically, it’s a form of chronic pain that is itself a variant of a somatoform disorder (a mental disorder characterised by physical symptoms suggesting physical illness or injury but that cannot be explained by a medical condition or mental disorder or by the effect of a substance).

In pain circles then, psychogenic is a dirty word and one not to be bandied lightly. Using it courts controversy.

However, by the time a pain sufferer is referred to a therapist, either by themselves directly, or though a doctor, physician or pain clinic, it is usually because they have been dealing with it for quite some time, conventional medical treatment has failed, the professionals are stumped and the client is at their wit’s end.

As the medical doctor and hypnotherapist Dabney Ewin says, “Constant pain is nearly always psychological in my experience, almost any physical pain can be temporarily relived by medication, rest, sleep or positioning.”

Pain control, thankfully, is one of hypnotherapy’s success stories.

It is an excellent tool for the treatment of many acute pain conditions. However, with chronic pain conditions, things get a little more complicated and a multi-modal approach, such as the one offered by cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, becomes a more elegant tool.

As a therapist or hypnotherapist, you don’t need to use the term ‘psychogenic’ with anyone (least of all the patient), but you do need to keep it very much in mind.

What cognitive factors and unhealthy beliefs are influencing that person’s perception of pain and how? Does the client present with emotional problems in other areas of their lives that are having an impact upon the pain and how they perceive it? Does the client exhibit maladaptive coping mechanisms to guard the pain that need to be addressed and, what on earth do you focus on first?

As the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) says, “pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”


If you are already working in pain control, wish to see clients who present with pain problems or are simply interested in the subject then the CCBH masterclass in psychogenic pain control is for you.

On it, you will learn how to effectively formulate a treatment plan on a case-by-case basis, confidently assess pain levels, accurately work out how their emotions affect their pain and vice versa, break down typical unhealthy beliefs that increase the perception of pain, and better understand the various hypnotherapy techniques that can manipulate the symptoms of pain.

The treatment of pain can be a complicated business. The effective use of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy allows you to tailor a pain control program to the individual rather than take a prescribed approach to the treatment of the symptom.

As with any other client walking in through your door, you are treating a person, not a symptom and you need to find out as much about them as you can.

Find out how to treat the person, and you find out how to treat the pain.

60 Second interview with Maggie Chapman, Director and Co-Founder of CCBH

29 Aug

1. What inspired you to become a therapist?

I always had an interest in psychology and started volunteer work at 17 with mental health patients. It was in my early thirties when I was inspired to get involved in trauma and bereavement counselling after a family tragedy that refocused my career.


2. When did you first hear about REBT?

Initially about 20 years ago when studying the behaviourists in depth and then Avy reintroducing me to the elegance of the model 10 years ago or so.


3. Ellis or Beck and why?

I prefer Ellis.  His theory has a philosophical basis that spans time, from the early Vedic writings of the Upanishads through to Buddhism, the Stoics and Shakespeare to now.


4. Favourite Ellis (or other) quote?

Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am) – Rene Descartes


5. What element of the CBH philosophy most resonates with you?

The construction of thoughts and how they inform our lives is what most resonates with me.   6. What inspires you?

Children and their laughter.  Their ability to view the world in a clear, uncluttered way, their energy, curiosity and wonder.


7. If you weren’t a therapist, what would you be?

An activist for children’s human rights.


8. How do you unwind at the end of the day?

I reflect on my day in a relaxed state and then go to sleep!

Of cold pizza and life’s recurrent demands

24 Aug

Guest Blog Article by Luke Shaw


So, picture me if you will, twenty years younger, several pounds lighter and full of the unbridled optimism that both these characteristics imbue. I had completed my three year acting course at LAMDA and our final day of term was spent in the prestigious Duke of Yorks theatre in London’s West End, giving our all (twice) in individually prepared and lovingly rehearsed solo speeches. My vision was naturally one of being cascaded with agents’ calling cards, all dying to represent me, and being waltzed off into the sunset. As I picked my way through the cold finger buffet that my dear Alma mater had spared every expense on, and waited for the inevitable tap on the shoulder, it eventually came just as I was picking bits of ham off the ‘non-meat’ pizza. I turned in anticipation and was greeted by one of London’s leading agents, “Hi, were you in the show?”, not a promising opening but I gamely responded in the affirmative, “Could you tell me where I might find Paul Hickey?”. And that, as they say, is show business!

Cold Pizza anyone?

The next day I was now considering life through the prism of having no agent and having to be master of my own destiny. My weighty life choices were balanced finely between whether to dress up as a dog for fifty quid for a mate or temporarily suspend any form of responsibility in finding a job by donning a backpack and disappearing round Europe for a month. A few weeks later and fifty pounds richer (woof!), as I was being strip searched on the Swiss-French border, I took a moment to reflect on how significantly 24 hours had changed how I viewed my life. On my last day of term as I marched confidently up as speech number 43 in front of a bored and diminishing audience, I had been a feckless and carefree drama student, safely cosseted in the lovingly protective arms of his nurturing college, the next day I was a wretched and troubled unemployed actor.

As I look back on it now I can laugh at the naiveté I displayed in my expectation of employment, like there was almost some entitlement to a living. Ha! Pathetic! I can hear the demands now, “I should have a job!”, “I have to be successful”, “I must do better than Paul Hickey!”. Even now I feel a growing wave of tension as I recall the historic catastrophising (how could anything in the world be worse than this?!). Of course now I am more mature and sanguine about such events, whereas at the time I naturally went out and blew lots of money getting paralytic and attempting to sleep with anyone who’d let me…. Ah halcyon days!

Fast forward to the present day and the safety of a new college, where my major discomforts were where to sit in the class each month and who will notice if I have too many of the biscuits that Beverley has lovingly provided. Of course I’m not trying to diminish the potentially troubling journey through the diploma, but as a comparison to actually qualifying and plying one’s trade in the same way, it is, when I look back, (even to the depths of weekend 7 when I spent most of Saturday blubbing like baby (apologies if you haven’t done that one yet!)), a considerably easier time. And so again having travelled the Rubicon through those critical 24 hours spent re-evaluating my circumstances during which I went from a cocky and largely comfortable CCBH student to just another troubled unemployed therapist, I have to report that the greatest challenges lie beyond the completion of the course. As I look back on it now I can laugh at the naiveté I displayed in my expectation of employment, like there was almost some entitlement to a living. Ha! Pathetic! I can hear the demands now, “I should have a job!”, “I have to be successful”, “I must do better than Paul Hickey!”…. wait a minute… something seems familiar here….

So my message, for anyone who cares, (and of course I don’t if you don’t, in a fallible way of course not a nasty way), is to enjoy the course, it is truly fantastic. And suspend any awfulising until after graduation (or better still, dispute the hell out of it before then!). Meanwhile I’m off to challenge my  limiting beliefs around self promotion and the procrastination that prevents me from trying to.

Luke Shaw (Class of 2011)



Emotional Blog Series #5: Hurt and Disappointment

23 Aug

Another common emotion we have all experienced and experience from time to time is hurt.  Hurt is an unhealthy negative emotion provoked by holding an unhealthy belief about being treated badly, let down or betrayed by someone (and you think you do not deserve such treatment).  It can also be provoked by unhealthy belief about someone who appears to hold your relationship less dearly than you thought.  Disappointment is the healthy version of hurt and is provoked by holding a healthy belief about being treated badly, let down or betrayed.

Disappointment is the healthy version of hurt

You feel hurt or disappointment when you have an emotional connection to another person.  They can be felt within different relationships such as family, friendships, intimate, special interest group and work relationships.  They are emotions associated with lack of care.  It is less common to experience hurt or disappointment towards a stranger.

When you feel hurt, you tend to exaggerate the unfairness of the other person’s behaviour towards you and you think the other person doesn’t care about you.  You will see you yourself as someone who is uncared for and you will recall other times when you have been hurt.  Your mind will also be focused on how the other person should put things instead of you.  As a result, you will tend to sulk and shut down communication as well as criticise the other person without telling them that feel hurt.

Disappointment is the healthy version of hurt.  When you feel disappointment, you will be more realistic in your judgement about the other person’s behaviour.  You won’t automatically jump to the conclusion that you are uncared for.  You will tend to judge the insensitive behaviour rather than personalise it.  You won’t see yourself as alone and uncared for and you won’t think of other times when you have been hurt.  You will explain to the other person how you feel and won’t shut down communication and criticise them unnecessarily.  So the mind set and behaviours that trigger disappointment are more balanced, realistic and assertive.

An emotion often associated with hurt is anger.  This combination is known is Anger-Hurt.  Hurt is directed towards the self because the person thinks they are alone and uncared for and anger is directed towards the other person and the other person is damned as bad.  The anger emotion is the most obvious and the most expressed emotion out of the two.  Hurt tends to be held under the surface emotion of anger.



  1. Take responsibility for your emotions and explain how you feel but do not make the other person the cause of your feelings.  Use expressions like ‘I felt hurt when you ignored me’ rather than ‘you hurt me when you when ignored me’.
  2. Ask but do not demand change from the other person.
  3. Do not pay the other person back by being overly critical about other things they are doing.  Express your feelings in a balanced way.
  4. Focus on the incident that you felt most hurt about and refrain from bringing past hurts into the same conversation.

Core Values and why they are important

2 Sep

In the 21st century society there is  little reinforcement of values within our cultures.  Personal values are important to us; they are our moral compass, our reference point to know how we are doing in the world; without which we become discontent and often judgemental, deprecating of others and ourselves.

Importance of core values

Importance of core values

What are your values? What matters to you?

Every person has a unique system of values which inform their beliefs about themselves and the world.  Clear identification of your values help guide your reactions and motivate your behaviour even when facing personal difficulties.  It is about making a choice to live in accordance with one’s defined values.  Clarifying our own values is one of the most important exercises in our path towards personal fulfilment.

What do you really want to achieve? Not just at work, but in your life as a whole?

Core values exercises are very personal. These are the moments when you explore what is important to you – not to other people, society, or the world at large!  They are important to build confidence  and self esteem. Often when we feel guilty it is because we are acting “against” a core value we hold, though we haven’t consciously recognised we hold that value.

Often we have never really stopped to think what our value system is. Take time to identify your core values and consciously assess what really matters to you.

How to identify your core values

Our values should be choices rather than imperatives that “it MUST be so”.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) recognises the importance of healthy thinking – healthy thoughts are flexible, consistent with reality, logical and helpful.  When we think in unhealthy ways we think rigidly, illogically, inconsistently with reality and unhelpfully.  So values are choices, not dogma.

There are many ways of identifying your values; here are some of those ways:

1) Devising a life balance wheel is one way of exploring your value system.

The circle below may represent some of the significant areas that are significant to your life.  It is not an exhaustive list and you may wish to add something that is not on the list. (Source Joseph, 2009)

Core Values

Core Values

Choose at least five areas that are at the core of your life purpose.  Start by reflecting and writing a description of the person you would like be in each area.  Begin on the most important area and write
down a description for all your chosen values.

2) Take some time to reflect on your core values and list them on a sheet of paper.

Initially you may find it easier if you take a brainstorming approach and generate quite a long list.

Once you have made a list of your core values, then:

  • Go over the  list being much more selective and narrow it down to your top five or six.
  • Take each value and consider what it means to you.
  • Choose one to act on and begin acting in accordance with that value. Each month add the next value to act in accordance with.

Values may change with time as the world moves on, so regular re-evaluation is helpful.

3) Using Visualisation methods:

Imagine yourself meeting an inspirational figure and discussing values with him or her.

Imagine you are all most at the end of your life surrounded by people you care about and reflecting to them on your life.

Imagine you had an opportunity to give your message to the world and you had a short amount of time to present this to the world – what would you say?

Here are some core values you might like to consider:

Prudence* Temperance* Fortitude* Justice * Diligence* Love* Acceptance* Achievement* Altruism* Ambition*Appreciation* Authenticity* Freedom* Friendship* Fun*Respect* Harmony* Responsibility* Health* Balance* Choice* Beauty*  … and there are many more…

We hope that you do give working out your core values a go, and see what difference it makes to your life. If you have any questions about any of the advice here, do ask it below.

* Joseph, A (2009). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Your route out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage and Other Everyday Habits. Capstone Publishing, Chichester.