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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.

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.

The importance of the mind in sporting performance

24 Jul

2012 has already been a great year for sports fans, and it is set to get much better in just a few days with the London 2012 Olympic Games getting underway. The Olympics is a great showcase for sports and athletes across the globe, it pits the best against the best while we mere arm chair athletes watch on with excitement, cheering on our own personal favourites.

Most of the sports in the Olympics though focus very much on the individual. Unlike team games like cricket or rugby, at the Olympics the majority of athletes are out there competing all alone. Being part of a team can be mentally a little easier, allowing you to gain re-assurance and confidence from your team mate’s performance. In many ways, being in the spotlight as part of a team is a lot easier than being out there competing on your own. In many sports such as Athletics, Archery, Tennis and Gymnastics, the athlete is alone with just their own thoughts and performance.


Mental strength and focus is always on display just before the start of the 100m sprint final

Push to improve

Something that is often overlooked when we talk about sporting performance is the importance of the role of the mind in training. This was picked up in the recent BBC documentary series: Faster, Higher, Stronger. Athletes have to be mentally strong and ready to train every day for their event, pushing their limits almost every training session, disciplined in their diet and motivated enough to get up and do it all again the next day. It is this daily grind that is the building blocks of any athlete’s achievements, no matter their sport.

Mental Pressure

Mental pressure for athletes grows the bigger the stage of competition is…

This year at Wimbledon, we saw just how strong Roger Federer is mentally, coming back from 2 sets to love down early on in the tournament and finding his best tennis and performances right when it mattered most, in the semi-finals and final against Britain’s own Andy Murray. Even though many said he would feel the pressure of being in his first Grand Slam final in over 2 years, Roger was able to focus his mind on himself and his performance. It is this mental strength that can make all the difference between winning and coming close.

Mental strength though is not just about self belief, or being able to push your body to train each day. It includes being able to make the right decisions at the right time. The Olympic 1,500m race in 1984 illustrates the importance of the combination of athlete and mental strength. Seb Coe, the reigning Olympic champion, lined up to defend his Olympic title against Steve Ovett (the world record holder) and Steve Cram (Reigning world champion).  His training leading up to the games ensured he had the stamina of a marathon runner and the explosive speed of a sprinter when needed. Physically he was ready to win. However, his mind played a massive role, ensuring that tactically he made the right decisions in the race and he executed the right strategy that would see him retain his Olympic title. This is even more impressive since he ran a poor 800m only a few days before. All of this he was able to achieve under the microscope of the world on the biggest athletic stage there can be.

Seb Coe strikes for Gold in the 1,500m final in LA Olympics, 1984

Seb Coe strikes for Gold in the 1,500m final in LA Olympics, 1984

At the Olympic Games this year, athletes like Usain Bolt will feel the world’s eyes on them as they line up for their own personal events. They must remain mentally strong and mentally focused on delivering the performance of their lives. This can be hard to do, especially when as an individual so much is placed on this one single performance. Many of the athletes would have been training for the past 4 years solidly for the Olympic Games, if not much longer, and to know that all that hard work can be rewarded or for nothing, can be all too much for some.

Techniques to stay mentally strong

Hypnosis in sport can help athletes focus, and increase their concentration levels, blocking out other distractions. That’s going to be important for every single athlete at the London 2012 Olympic Games this summer.

Hypnosis techniques can be used to help improve performance by considering the athletes pre-performance, performance and post performance attitude.

Pre-performance attitude helps athletes train hard and to work hard on their sport, focusing their efforts to get the most from their training regime. Performance attititude ensures a good strong mental attitude during the athletes sporting event. It helps them put into effect all the skills they have learned from all their previous training sessions, and helps the athlete produce their best performances when it matters most. Post performance attitude helps an athlete reflect and learn from their performances, addressing areas that can be improved and remembering areas that went well.

There are also a number of hypnosis approaches that help athletes:

  • The inner game: This is mental practice and includes mental visualisation of what the body is about to do
  • Direct suggestions: This is where the athlete focuses on their best performance to date and remembers that, keeping it in their mind.
  • Staying in the moment: This helps athletes focus on the moment as opposed to being distracted (something that is becomes increasingly important at bigger sporting events)

Positive thinking

As the summer of sport continues, and we sit by and watch the Olympics unfold, keep in mind the pressures they must feel and try to imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes at that moment.  The difference between winning that Gold medal could all come down to mental strength…

Why is Counselling helpful to Hypnosis?

18 May

At the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy we believe that teaching counselling skills are an important component of becoming a proficient hypnotherapist; we also believe the combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnosis is a potent one. All psychotherapy is based in good counselling skills so CBT employs counselling skills as does the psychoanalytical/dynamic schools of psychotherapy. So it is fair to say that basic counselling skills are an integral part of all “talking therapies” including hypnotherapy.

Counselling and Hypnotherapy

Counselling is helpful to hypnosis

It could be said that Hypnotherapy, is a special case. Most effective hypnosis is based on well- developed levels of rapport.  It is unlikely that effective altered state of consciousness or relaxation will occur if you are in the least bit anxious; most hypnosis, but not all, asks clients to have their eyes closed and relax, often on a first appointment!  Without rapport what is the likelihood of this happening, how many of us feel comfortable enough to close our eyes and zizz off for a few moments unless we are amongst close friends or family?

Milton Erickson, a leading figure in the world of hypnosis is stated as saying 90% of all hypnosis is rapport. So I think we can safely say rapport is pretty fundamental to gaining a state of hypnosis.  Maintaining rapport throughout a therapy session is essential for effective therapy.  So what is rapport?

Rapport is the mainstay of therapy and is a relationship which has mutual trust and emotional affinity at its core.  Rapport is a fundamental counselling skill that has specific components that can be clearly identified and learnt, practised and refined. To gain rapport, two important components are Attention and Active Listening.

Giving and showing attention to clients can be carried out in a number of ways.  Counsellors communicate to clients and show their empathy and compassion by choosing their words, voices and body language.  Listening Actively is an activity. It is NOT, Non listening, Partial listening, or Tape-recorder listening

It is, in the words of Carl Rogers (1980)

“entering into the private perceptual world of the other and become thoroughly at home in it. It involves being sensitive, moment by moment to the changing felt meanings which flow in this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever he or she is experiencing. It means temporarily living in the other’s life”.

When we actively listen we can Hear what is being said, as well as the music behind the words. This skill is important within hypnosis, as we give suggestions or enable a client to visualise a concept, by using client language accurately we are able to feedback suggestions in their own language which are more impactful than if created by a “third party script”.  Suggestions that are congruent with a client’s world are more effective and are more readily accepted than language which is not.  To be able use client language hypnotically to the greatest effect awareness and knowledge of basic counselling skills are of great benefit.

Because use of language is the key tool for the hypnotherapist using words and language to its greatest effect for the clients benefit is important.   To do this being able to listen and empathise with constancy and accuracy during any session is vital to becoming successful as a hypnotherapist. Basic counselling skills when well taught give a strong structural foundation to hypnotherapeutic work as well as learning how to refine language skills to become the “persuasive communicator” that Michael Yapko describes in his book Trancework.

It takes years to become proficient at counselling .  Successful counselling is a process made up of stages and elements that can be identified.  The counsellor is required to learn specific skills to apply the counselling process.  The counsellor listens and responds in ways which accept the feelings of the client and uses questions to allow the client to say whatever is on his mind.  The purpose is to help the client explore and clarify his own feelings, perceptions and beliefs and later take goal oriented actions. The counsellor demonstrates acceptance and a non- judgemental attitude to help the client to freely explore his issues and feelings.

At CCBH we aim to combine both basic counselling skills and hypnosis on our Foundation course so students learn how to integrate both skills in the most effective manner from the very beginning of their training.

The Foundation course aims to:

1.  Increase your understanding of the counselling process and the skills needed including ethics.

2.  Practice and improve basic skills, such as, open ended questions, active listening, empathy, boundaries and signposting.

3. Understand the hypnotic process and learn basic hypnotic skills.

4. Acquire observation skills for counselling and hypnosis

4. Integrate counselling and hypnotic skills.

5. Practise reflection and reflective thinking skills.
If you have any queries call us on 0207 034 7051. You can find out more on our Foundation course on our website.

Can New Zealand learn from using Sporting hypnosis in the RWC 2011 final?

21 Oct

This weekend sees the Rugby World Cup 2011 Final fast approaching, and no doubt there are a lot of scenarios running through the players’ minds; lots of emotions flying about and, on the day, lots of
adrenaline too. For many, you only ever get one shot at becoming a World Cup winner, so on that one day you need to take control of your emotions, your fears, your hopes, and focus on playing the best you possibly can, bringing your “A” game.

New Zealand Haka - focussing the mind?

New Zealand Haka - focussing the mind?

In many past World Cups, New Zealand have entered as outright favourites, but for whatever reason, they haven’t performed on the big stage, winning the world cup just once back in 1987. So could the New Zealand rugby team gain anything from using hypnosis? The simple answer is yes, and that all sportsmen and women could benefit massively from hypnosis, and many already do.

What can hypnosis do for the sportsman / woman?

Hypnosis in sport is individually designed to meet the need of that athlete no matter what sport they partake in, and at what level.

Here is a list of some of the areas in which hypnosis can help:

  • Increase concentration, control internal dialogue and decrease awareness of unimportant external stimuli
  • Enhance sensory awareness and muscle control
  • Control anxiety, anger and emotionality
  • Enhance motivation and enthusiasm
  • Increase energy levels, feelings of invigoration and endurance
  • Enhance performance skill
  • Increase confidence and self efficacy
  • Control perception of time and focus on the present experience (time contraction or expansion)
  • Resolution of unconscious blocks or conflicts
  • Management of discomfort
  • Muscle memory
  • Deliver mental strength

Many of the areas listed above help rugby players dramatically, increasing their discipline so as to not give away penalties, ensure they focus on their role within the team, to ensure they feel motivated,
enthused and full of invigoration and endurance…

At almost all sporting occasions you will hear the commentators talking about mental strength, mental preparations, attitude and believing that they can win. These are all areas where hypnosis can help.

Hypnosis and the athlete

It is typical for many athletes to come with a negative self fulfilling prophecy, or “worry” about their performance / capabilities. This is a problem at all levels of competition, but once at a professional level, mental attitude plays a massive role in the difference between winning, and losing.

Using hypnosis, performance can be improved by considering:

a)      Pre-performance attitude

b)      Performance attitude

c)       Post performance attitude

Ensuring an athlete’s mental attitude is right before the big game ensures they focus, train hard, avoid nerves and are ready for the big occasion. Mental attitude during the game ensures they focus and play / perform to the best of their abilities, blocking out distractions. Post performance attitude helps identify what went right, areas to focus on and ensures positives are always taken.

Some hypnotherapy approaches

Hypnotherapy is when hypnosis is applied in a therapeutic setting. There are a number of approaches to using hypnotherapy for sporting performance, here we will list just a few of them, illustrating how hypnotherapy can help all round performance, concentration, and ability.

The inner game: This is all about mental practice and attitude, helping to mentally prepare and handle the pressures of the game, the crowd, and even pressures athletes place on themselves.  The athlete mentally visualises executing precise motor skills under pressure, at the same time, they visualise a physical experience in their bodies, which strengthens neural patterns.

Direct suggestions to improve performance:   Here the individual focuses on their best performance to date, accessing it in their mind and focusing on how they performed and what it felt like. The positives of this performance are emphasised. Suggestion is also used, suggesting to athletes that what they visualised, should be put into action, for example a runner, running at the same level they visualised.

With direct suggestion, a positive state of mind / belief system is established. Athletes are also encouraged to describe in 3 words their best performance; these are then used to “anchor” the positive state so that the athlete can trigger this state as and when they need it.

Suggestions for concentration: Staying in the moment is a big thing for athletes, ensuring they focus directly on what’s at hand and block out all forms of distraction.

Time distortion: Here the athlete “speeds through” challenging or uncomfortable moments while slowing down positive moments, making them last longer.

Self hypnosis: This can be taught so the athlete can effectively visualise and mentally rehearse their winning performance. This is often seen in action when watching “high jumpers” prepare for an attempt. Self hypnosis can also really help with muscle memory, ensuring your body moves as desired.

Keep in mind…

Hypnosis can really help performance in sport, it can help muscle memory ensuring athletes can repeat specific actions over and over again, it can help improve mental attitude and strength, promote feelings of confidence and endurance, and it can raise concentration levels and remove distractions. All in all, hypnosis can make the difference between winning and losing.

Why Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) and not Hypnotherapy

21 Jul

You may have heard these different words and phrases bandied about – ‘hypnosis’, ‘hypnotherapy’ and ‘cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy’. So now we wanted to talk a bit more about the differences between them. Why do we teach CBH and not just H?

Not just hypnotherapy

Not just hypnotherapy

Well, firstly, Hypnosis is not a school of therapy and does not provide a theory of personality or behaviour change.  Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness.  It is a ‘state’ under which you can use any type of therapy or psychotherapeutic framework.  It is for this reason that many Hypnotherapists use ‘techniques’ from a variety of different and sometimes opposing theoretical perspectives.  This, in our opinion, can often lead to client and therapist confusion and poor clinical assessment. 

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) uses only one model of therapy, CBT, and combines this with hypnosis.  The CBT model is solid, evidence based and comprehensively researched.  It is also recommended by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for the treatment of many disorders including anxiety and depression.

At our college, we train people in CBH using cognitive and behavioural theories and frameworks such as Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (RECBT) 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.

CBH is technically diverse.  Most techniques are cognitive or behavioural but, sometimes, we combine techniques from various psychotherapies too.  The difference is that in CBH these techniques are selected deliberately from a cognitive and behavioural context to guide the practice of CBH and for each client.   The framework and the guiding theory remain cognitive and behavioural.

There are many advantages to working with CBH and, indeed, research highlights the benefits of the addition of hypnosis to CBT practice.  Other advantages include the following:

  • The addition of hypnosis can shorten treatment.
  • Hypnosis enhances imagery.
  • Hypnosis can enable the therapist and client to identify deeply held beliefs and attitudes.  It provides access to unconscious beliefs.
  • Hypnosis helps build rapport between the client and the therapist which strengthens the therapeutic relationship.
  • Hypnosis can be used to induce deep relaxation.  The client can learn self hypnosis to produce similar relaxation.
  • Hypnosis is an excellent state for receiving helpful suggestions based on CBT philosophies.

In conclusion, apart from benefiting many clients, CBH can be really useful for both CBT therapists and Hypnotherapists.  It allows CBT therapists to continue working therapeutically without sacrificing their theoretical bias and preference.  It allows Hypnotherapists to learn a scientific and evidence based structure and framework on which to hang their hypnotic techniques   Both CBT therapists and Hypnotherapists can enhance their current practise.


19 May

Its good to hear that hypnosis is being considered for trials within the NHS.  Hypnosis has long been recognized in many different countries around the world as an effect way of managing and effecting the experience of pain.  Since the mid 1930’s, in what was then the Soviet Union, hypnosis for pain control was widely employed and from the 1950’s it was officially sanctioned by the Soviet government to be used in Labour and Childbirth.

Ernest Hilgard, a professor at Stanford University and a leading authority on Hypnosis and pain control in labour and childbirth back in the 1960’s  his research illustrated the effectiveness of relaxation, breathing methods and education in this area.

Hypnosis is a greatly researched area in psychology, the Royal Society of Medicine has its own section devoted to Hypnosis and Psychosomatic medicine. Yet there still remains so many myths and misconceptions around hypnosis much due to the fact that the entertainment business has popularized a particular form of its use with famous hypnotists. Similarly stories about childbirth run through generations of families with horror story after horror story.

Hypnobirthing uses deep relaxation, which we can all learn how to achieve with a little practice and a few lessons. There is scientific evidence to show that anxiety and stress affect how we experience pain or discomfort and relaxation inhibits both anxiety and pain perception.  The Hypnobirthing techniques  are usually taught to the expectant mother and their birth partner enabling both parties to feel enabled through having knowledge of the facts and understanding that childbirth is nothing to fear, rather to be embraced with the birthing process being viewed as your child beginning his or her  journey into the world.

You maybe interested in learning more about hypobirthing and how to be a hypnotherapist, if so, you may find it interesting that our foundation course teaches relaxation and hypnosis skills. The diploma course teaches healthy thinking  elements, that apply to any situation, which is a component part of the hypnobirthing protocol. You can find out more on our courses at

by Maggie Chapman