Tag Archives: Anxiety and CBH


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 www.cbttherapies.org.uk and request a prospectus.

Solitude – why it’s good

23 Sep

“the state of being or living alone; seclusion: to enjoy one’s solitude.”

Most of us lead extremely busy lives these days. We spend at least 1 hour and 30 minutes each week stuck in traffic, over 30 minutes waiting for public transport due to traffic and road works, over an hour waiting in queues and shops, at least an hour dealing with bureaucracy and even longer trying find things we have misplaced at home. On average we spend one working day per week in these time consuming activities. On top of that working days are longer and we have access to many stimulants like the Internet, Twitter, Facebook and computer games. Time for taking a breath is a luxury for most.

Socrates said “An un-reflected life is not worth living”. This may be a tad strong of course but the point is reflecting on one’s life and taking stock every now helps us to grow, be thankful, question if we are happy and hopefully find solutions; to do that we need solitude. Solitude also allows us to just stop and take a breath and just be.

Great ideas and solutions more often stem from being alone with one’s thoughts.

For many people solitude is also a time to connect with greater things, for some it may be God or the higher self, and for others it may be nature or just being. This may be going to a place of worship such as a Church or walking in the countryside or just sitting in a park. For many people solitude is a time for nourishing the spirit.




Why is it hard for some people?

Solitude is hard for some people because they have grown accustomed to a particular life style where being busy or being engaged in something external like Twitter or Facebook or the Internet is a buzz. Children are growing with over stimulation as a result of fast moving action packed games. The child grows into an adult who is unaccustomed to being OK with quite alone time.

For others it has become a luxury due to long working hours as well as having a busy family life.

For others it triggers anxiety. This is rather common. Some people think ‘I have to be doing something, being productive, because if I’m not it’s unbearable and proves I’m lazy’. So some people link it to their self worth and have low frustration tolerance to it.

For others it triggers anxiety about being alone. We have worked with many people, using Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) model that it based on Laws of Nature, whose anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia would make it impossible to sit alone and enjoy the solitude. The anxiety disorder itself is an obstacle to having solitude.




How to achieve helpful solitude?

If someone does not get anxious about being alone, then there are many practical things to do. The most important step in creating time alone and solitude is setting a goal and then committing to it. It is vital that solitude is seen as a beneficial state first. You have to think of the benefits of solitude and make it significant. It has to be your personal goal.

1) Make solitude a goal and commit to it

2) Think of options available to you e.g. meditation classes, sitting in the park on for half an hour, walking, spending time alone in your home reflecting and so on.

3) Choose one or two

4) Do it regularly and consistently.

You don’t have to do this daily even though some people do of course. You can choose whether it’s once, twice, three times a week or even every other week. That too would be beneficial. You may decide to drive to the countryside every month or two. There are many alternatives, so be creative.

Anxious at the thought of taking time out?

If however, you become anxious at the thought of taking time alone or even being alone, then you need to explore what’s at the heart of your anxiety.

REBT, the philosophical CBT, has a simple explanation about why we feel anxious. It states that we feel anxious because we hold unhelpful or unhealthy beliefs and thoughts about something. There are four types of unhealthy beliefs that can trigger anxiety.

1) Absolutist thinking e.g. I must have feeling of excitement when I’m alone, I must not be bored, I have to be busy

2) Exaggerating the badness if the internal demand is not met e.g. it’s horrible to be alone, it’s terrible not to be busy

3) Low frustration tolerance if the demand is not met e.g. I can’t stand being alone, I can’t bear it if I’m not busy

4) Damning the self if the demand is not met e.g. If I’m not busy it proves I’m lazy and worthless

Such beliefs would trigger anxiety and most people have a tendency to avoid situations or states like solitude if it triggers anxiety.

Solution to anxiety about taking time out?

The solution is change the above beliefs by reflecting and realizing that they are not based in reality and that they are unhelpful if you want to make solitude a personal goal.

1) So accept that you don’t always ‘have to be busy’ for example

2) It’s not horrible or terrible even if you don’t want to do it often

3) You can stand it and bear it

4) You are not worthless if you take time alone

Initially as you practice solitude you may feel uncomfortable but keep thinking in the helpful and realistic way above and sit with this discomfort. After practicing this a few times you will become accustomed to solitude and from then on you will begin to have feelings of comfort and positivity about it. Your mind will then be free to just be, or to reflect.

People with anxiety disorders must first see their GP and perhaps consider therapeutic help.

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).




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

A Potent Combination – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnosis

11 Apr

The combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Hypnosis is a potent one. Combining these two approaches appears to turbo charge the benefits of both approaches, in what is called Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy. Like many other winning combinations it appears that either approach used alone is reasonably effective for many people, but when used in conjunction by properly trained therapists the effect is dynamic. So, as someone who has been practicing this approach with my clients for over 5 years, as well as lecturing it at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH), I thought I would attempt to explain why this should be the case…

Our minds are wonderful, creative, aspects of ourselves. When we are struggling to deal with difficult issues such as depression and anxiety, crippling panic or low self esteem,  it is the way in which we think about the events, or ourselves, which is the biggest culprit in maintaining the problem. The cognitive approach helps you to take on the role of a Detective and examine the beliefs and thoughts, which you are holding on to so tightly that your behaviours, thoughts and feelings are becoming problematic for you. When this is combined with the relaxation of hypnosis, the new way of thinking is integrated at a deeper, unconscious level which, for most people enables the changes to take place more quickly.

Our unconscious or subconscious minds are where all our habitual thoughts and responses are held. When we relax with hypnosis there is a direct route to our subconscious, bypassing the more critical conscious mind. Hypnosis alone is very effective in helping people to ‘feel’ better, but unless the faulty thinking is changed, it is likely that when faced with the same or similar situation, the unwanted response will remain and re-emerge over time.  Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is designed to help a person get better.

 So, it is the combination of these two powerful approaches for change that is so effective for people dealing with emotional, behavioural and symptomatic problems.

 If you want to find out more about CBH, or are interested in becoming a CBH therapist, check out our website for CBH courses. At CCBH all the lecturers are practicing CBH therapists and are all MSc graduates from Goldsmiths College, University of London ensuring that the training students receive is of the highest standard.

 By Beverley Harper, Student Liaison and Lecturer at College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy.

Is your glass half full?

4 Apr

It’s a classic phrase, one that is constantly used to illustrate the difference between an optimist, and a pessimist. However, the same phrase and question can tell you a lot about your own mindset towards life in general, are you a positive thinking person? Or do you have a rather negative outlook?

It is well documented that negative thoughts can have real negative impacts on our lives. So by the same reasoning we should remember that positive thinking can have a positive influence in our lives in general. This theory is even illustrated on a number of TV shows, though exaggerated; we can find a number of characters who we all seem to admire, simply because they have a very positive outlook on life.   Now let me explain that when I say positive thinking I mean healthy, balanced, realistic and helpful.  I don’t mean like Pollyanna, where even stuck in traffic on a hot day when you have an important appointment to make, is positively spun. 

But sometimes it is good to see how one person’s poison can be another person’s sugar, proving what we say in CBT that it is your beliefs, thoughts and attitudes that are at the heart of your emotional responses.  For example, I was watching Cougar Town (if you don’t know it, it is an American sitcom starring Courtney Cox on Sky Living), which has a character, Andy, who has an unbelievable positive outlook on life. A recent episode was devoted to this and how positive thinking deals with a number of events in his life (I know a little silly and farfetched but it gets the point across in an exaggerated fashion). The character constantly sees the good things in all the events that happen to him, even those that many of us would have seen as stressful or difficult, for example a  lost phone; lost wedding ring; relationship problems etc. But Andy’s character remains positive, and deals with all these “negative” events with ease, allowing him to remain constantly happy and up-beat.  Now wouldn’t we all want to be like that all of the time?

“People are not disturbed by events but by the view they hold about them”. Epictitus.

Glass is Half empty…Negativity…

You have to admit that being a pessimist is far more draining than being an eternal optimist. Optimists seem more relaxed, happy with life and events simply because they see the positive and enjoy positive emotions. On the flip side, if we suffer with negative thinking and negative emotions, these can have powerful impacts on our day to day lives.

One of the most challenging and unhealthy negative emotions is that of Anxiety. It’s experienced by all of us at some time or other and it takes many forms. Some of the more familiar labels used to describe common anxiety problems are work related stress, panic attacks and panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, performance anxiety and general and specific phobias.  Each of these emotional problems has its own focus, but each share a common origin.

Seeing the glass has half full…

Taking a positive approach to all events in your life will help with your own happiness. But dealing with those strong negative thoughts and emotions may require help.  CBH (Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy) can not only help you tackle negative emotions, but also provide you with the tools to combat them in the future.

For more information on CBH, anxiety, depression, hypnosis etc please read some of our useful pages on our website, some of which are shown below:




Combating the anxiety enemy within

7 Jan

In today’s modern world we don’t seem to be able to take time out and relax.
It seems we are working harder, working longer, staying connected and
“plugged in” more each day and spending less time relaxing. Is it any wonder
then that many of us are suffering some form of Anxiety?

Elizabeth Machnicki, is a therapist in the Costwolds, who achieved a Diploma
from the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
>  last November. She contributed to an interesting article in the
Independent ( Supplement ‘Depression and Burnout, dated Dec 2010) all about
anxiety and so I thought I would share some of the article with you.

Anxiety disorders come in a number of different forms, and you can include
well known disorders such as OCD, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder
and panic attacks.  Anxiety problems are rarely experienced on their own,
all too often they occur along side other conditions, such as depression.
The one common thread though, is the massive impact anxiety can have on our
day to day lives.

Some facts and figures are always interesting at this point. 1 in 6 adults
at any one time will be affected by mental distress (Office for National
Statistics). According to MIND, around 300 people out of every 1,000 will
experience mental health problems every year in Britain, of these 230 will
visit a GP and 102 will be diagnosed as having a mental health problem. 6 of
these people will become inpatients in psychiatric hospitals. Mixed anxiety
and depression (according to the Office for National Statistics 2000 survey)
is experienced by 9.2% of adults in Britain. That is a pretty high
percentage. So what are some good ways to combat anxiety?

Well I personally like to try and make myself relax, typically through some
form of exercise or spending some quality me time alone, have a nice
relaxing hot bath and more typically do brief self hypnosis which is incredible.
Other good things to try are swimming, Yoga and anything in general that
makes you feel more relaxed. But for some, anxiety will still be a problem.

Typically anxiety can start with feeling stress or under pressure. Often
early warning signs include not being able to sleep, worrying more, and
going over things more and more in your own mind.

So what happens if you start to suffer with an Anxiety disorder? Is there a
solution to Anxiety? Well the treatment with the best-established and most
thorough research is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on the
dysfunctional attitudes (for example negative and self-defeating thoughts)
that we have. The cognitive component looks at our thoughts, and how best to
deal with the bias we create with regards to how we think about certain

In the article, Elizabeth explains how CBT though can be expanded to
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH), which combines the benefits of CBT
and clinical hypnotherapy. CBH gives both structure and flexibility to
therapy, which allows for a far more holistic and tailored approach. This is
what we teach at CCBH, the college of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy,
which Elizabeth attended. CBH is action-orientated and solution focused,
aiming to not only help the patient, but to equip them with the tools to
help combat against such symptoms in the future. Elizabeth also points out
that CBH is also very relaxing and provides the opportunity for positive
thinking and imagery, for example seeing themselves in the future – being
happy and as they would like to be.

So what do you think of CBT and CBH? What is your experience of it for
treating anxiety? We would love to know your thoughts. If you want to know
more about practising CBT or CBH, you can always contact us at the College
of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (http://www.ccbh.org.uk/).