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Training to Be a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist – My experience

13 Aug

I have just completed my Advanced Diploma exam at CCBT. The journey to this point has taken just over a year to complete taking the fast track route Foundation, Diploma before the Advanced Diploma courses. In this time I have learned huge amounts about myself, my fellow students and people in general. I am now a practicing CBH therapist and believe the courses have equipped me for this demanding and rewarding role. All the staff at CCBT willingly share their wealth of experience (without breaking confidentiality of course), are skilled trainers and are all thoroughly good people. The course materials are packed with pragmatic, useful, and concise information and the course assessments are challenging and thoughtfully designed to embed the underlying principles, core structure and key concepts of CBT / REBT.

Becoming a therapist wasn’t the main motivation for me when signing up for the Foundation course. Initially, the main reasons were personal (I wanted to learn more about self hypnosis and to understand more about depression and anxiety as I have friends and family members with these conditions) and professional (as a learning and development consultant, trainer, coach and mentor, I often work with people who have lost their confidence, have limiting beliefs about their potential and do not have any effective strategies to cope with stress and mental anguish).

 

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With this in mind, whilst being absorbed by the subject matter in and for itself, the main question I always had at the forefront of my thinking was: ‘‘How will this new knowledge be useful to me and how can I apply it?” It quickly became clear to me that the CBH concepts, skills and strategies would help me in relation to: (i) coping with my own challenges, insecurities, irrational demands and unhealthy emotions; (ii) understanding how to help and guide (though not treat) friends when they experience unhealthy, negative emotions; (iii) my role as a learning and development coach and consultant; (iv) my role as a potential CBH therapist.

The course has been fantastic in exceeding my hopes and expectations. On a personal level I have become closer to a family member now I understand her behaviour more and at work there have already been loads of benefits. Recently, for example, I undertook a training event with participants from all over England, called ‘Mindset and Mindfulness’. This was heavily influenced by what I’ve learned on the three CBH courses.

There is a quotation from Abraham Maslow that has always resonated with me; “To learn and not to do, is not to learn”. This has become my guiding principle in relation to CBH. Even though at the moment I am busy with my primary occupation as a learning and development consultant, I have decided to always be working with at least one therapeutic client at any given time, to cement my classroom learning with real therapeutic experience. My short term goal is to help people to cope more effectively with challenging events and psychological conditions. Going forward five years or more, I would love to have the breadth of experience and competence as a therapist to deliver courses of this nature and inspire other people, as I have been inspired by the whole experience at CCBT.

By Bob Craig

The Healing Power of Humour

9 Dec

Oscar Wilde once famously wrote that life was far too important to be taken seriously, whilst one of the most often used sayings ever is that laughter is the best medicine.

 

Studies have shown that laughter can have a positive effect on the immune system, blood pressure and cholesterol; that it can massage vital organs, aid digestion and release those happy hormones called endorphins.

 

A good bout of laughter has been likened to a 20-minute cardiovascular workout and has been shown to help people deal with a vast range of emotional problems including anxiety, stress, depression, confidence and self-esteem issues, guilt, obsessive thinking and more.

 

In India, they have laughter clubs, where people report a wide variety of positive effects from the use of repeated daily laughter.

 

There are even organizations, such as the American Association for Therapeutic Humour (AATH) and the International Society for Humour Studies (ISHS) that actively promote its healing power.

 

The notion of humour and its effects on our mental and physical health come to us from out of antiquity, and is even mentioned in The Bible, where it says, “a merry heart hath a cheerful countenance, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 King James version, if you really want to know).

 

However, Plato considered humour a form of malice, whilst the 15th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes called it hostile and aggressive.

 

That said, the Ancient Greeks thought that laughter made their crops grow and were famous for two types of drama: tragedy and comedy. The former provided catharsis whilst the latter provide relief.

 

Until the 19th century, the body was said to be composed of four basic substances or “humours”, namely (and somewhat disgustingly), blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm, that were responsible for your health and disposition.

 

A balance of these fluids made for good humour, whilst an imbalance made for bad. Black bile, for instance, was seen as the cause of black moods or depressions.

 

In psychology, one man who devoted a lot of thought to the subject of humour was Freud, who considered it a release from repression and regarded it as a form of healing.

 

Albert Ellis, who was the founder of a branch of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) known as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), took this view a lot further.

 

Perhaps in a nod to Oscar Wilde, he believed that people disturbed themselves not just by taking themselves seriously, but by taking themselves too seriously.

 

To that end, Ellis used every kind of humour possible, including taking things to extremes, reducing them to absurdity, paradoxical intention, puns, rational songs, witticisms, irony, whimsy, evocative language, slang, swearing, obscenities and more.

 

Many therapists today believe that humour can help you laugh at your problems, accept yourself more readily, clarify self-defeating behaviours in a way that is non-threatening, offer insight, distance yourselves from your problems, interrupt dysfunctional thought processes, show you the fun, absurdity and enjoy-ability of life and even help relieve the monotony of therapy itself!

 

Over the years, there have been many, many advocates of its use and very few detractors. The question is, would you want your therapist to use it with you and, do you think it would help?

 

After all as the saying goes, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; but weep, and you weep alone.”

 

 

Daniel Fryer is a practising Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. He has an MSc in RECBT from Goldsmith’s College, University of London and runs private practices in Southwest London. He also works as a specialist for Medicentre and The Royal Brompton Hospital. He presented the use of humour in psychotherapy at this year’s Association for Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (AREBT) conference.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

5 Oct

Guest Post by Moya Layton

Irritable Bowel Syndrome commonly referred to as IBS, is a widespread and distressing functional bowel disorder, which carries a considerable burden both for sufferers and the medical profession alike. About two in 10 people in the UK have IBS and it’s twice as common in women as men. Although not life-threatening, IBS can be extremely debilitating for those people who suffer from it. The pathophysiology of IBS is uncertain and currently no single cause explains the condition, which is characterized more by symptoms, suffering and disability than by any demonstrable organic abnormality.

IBS can develop at any age, but most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 35. Symptoms may come and go and you may not have any symptoms for months and then experience a sudden flare-up. Common symptoms include, abdominal pain, feeling sick, indigestion, headache, backache, combined with an altered bowel habit that can be either constipation or diarrhoea predominant or a mixture of the two.

Although specific IBS symptoms may respond to certain medications unfortunately to date no single medication or class of medications has been demonstrated to be consistently successful in relieving the full spectrum of IBS symptoms. Traditional treatments for IBS include dietary therapy, antispasmodic medication and antidepressants; however it is important to note that only 25% of people who suffer with IBS symptoms respond to these traditional treatments methods.

A new understanding of IBS

Currently IBS being redefined as a disorder of brain gut dysfunction that does not fit into a specific psychiatric or medical condition. Doctors therefore are now moving from the disease-based model to a biopsychosocial understanding of this disorder. This model proposes that biological, psychological (thoughts, emotions, and behaviours), and social factors interact to play a significant role in the initiation and perpetuation of the disease or illness.

Cognitive Behavioural hypnotherapy combines hypnotherapy, clinically proven to relieve symptoms, and cognitive behavioural techniques, to directly address the maladaptive thought processes and behaviours that emerge from and perpetuate IBS. This therapy approach exemplifies this biopsychosocial
understanding.

Hypnotherapy for IBS is widely recognised as one of the success stories. Response rates to treatment have been identified as 80% or more in most published trials with evidence suggesting that individuals who respond to hypnosis treatment for IBS can generally look forward to years of reduced bowel symptoms.

It has been also been identified that many people with IBS frequently suffer from anxiety and depression and worry excessively about their illness and symptoms. The combination of cognitive behavioural techniques with hypnosis therefore allows the client to directly focus on changing these maladaptive thinking patterns. Clients learn how to modify their beliefs about illness, chronic pain and discomfort. They also learn how to challenge the catastrophic thought processes they may be experiencing about the social and occupational consequences of their gastrointestinal symptoms. This allows them to change their morbid pessimism about their condition and any perceived helplessness about their ability to cope with this disorder.

If you already work with clients who suffer from IBS or wish to see clients who present with IBS or are simply interested in the subject then the Moya Layton CCBH Master Class on IBS is for you.

IBS is a complex and multifaceted disorder and the effective use of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy will teach you how you develop a well-established effective therapy programme for your client. This therapy not only addresses the IBS symptoms themselves, but also challenges the distorted dysfunctional thinking patterns that underpin and perpetuate this chronic and distressing disorder allowing clients to understand that they can finally gain control over their symptoms.

 

IBS is a complex disorder

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)