Tag Archives: CCBT

Four Levels of Happiness – Aristotle and REBT

15 Jul

Four Levels of Happiness – Aristotle and REBT

National Feel Good Day is launching on 19 July 2013 across the UK, where the entire nation is being called upon to dedicate time to paying compliments to friends, family and strangers alike and to celebrate feeling good.   Doing something for the benefit of another is one way to help your feel happier.

The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) wrote that people strive for happiness and that happiness was the only thing that man seeks for its own sake.  Everything we strive for was for the purpose of happiness.  He said there are four levels of happiness.  This blog briefly looks at these four levels and explains the REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy) philosophy and view point in each.  REBT is one of the most influential schools of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and the one that underpins the teachings at The College of Cognitive Behaviour Therapies.


shutterstock_83348110 calming



Level 1

Aristotle said that the Level 1 happiness is felt when we get instant gratification.  This is feelings based, doing the things that feel instantly good.  Examples of instant gratification include: enjoying a good meal, sexual gratification, buying something we want, watching something we love like Tennis, Football or a Film, and so on.  He said that this type of happiness is short lived.  He also said it is unhealthy if one only pursues this type of happiness. 

This is similar to the REBT concepts of demanding beliefs where a person holds a core belief ‘I must feel immediately happy and therefore must do the things that provoke instant gratification’.  Obviously, wanting instant gratification is fine but insisting that you must have it becomes unhealthy because the demand must always be fulfilled in order to be happy at Level 1.  It can’t always be fulfilled.




Level 2

Aristotle said another way to feel happy is to strive for ‘ego’ gratification.  This is Level 2 happiness.  Examples of achieving Level 2 happiness include: being the best in the class, best looking, wealthiest, most liked, admired or respected, being the most powerful.  Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting these things provided you pursue them in healthy and balanced way.  Aristotle said such pursuits become unhealthy if you only pursue this type of happiness.  In REBT we say pursue your ‘enlightened self interest’, meaning do not demand it and do not define your worth by it.  It’s healthy to want to be the best but it doesn’t mean that it MUST be so.




Level 3 – National Feel Good Day

Another way to help your feel happy is to do things for the benefit of others. This is Level 3 happiness and it is about moving away from doing things just for your and doing something for someone else.  Examples of Level 3 happiness include: commitment, giving, loyalty, care, concern, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and above all self-sacrifice.  This is a good thing to do and National Feel Good Day is about recognising this and doing it.  You know that you feel good when you receive a gift and also when you give a gift.  Receiving a gift is out of your control because it depends on someone else.  Giving a gift is within your control and it also provokes happiness.




Aristotle also recognised that this can be unhealthy you if this becomes your only way of making yourself happy.  In REBT we say that if you demand this of yourself, put yourself down when you don’t always put others first then you will experience emotional problems.   REBT says give love, you are in control of giving love to a project, to a hobby, people, society, animals but do not demand that it always has to be this way and do not define yourself as worthless if you don’t always give love. 



Level 4

Aristotle said that Level 4 happiness acknowledges that we all desire certain things and we all want life and other people to be a certain way you but there is acceptance of truth.  The truth that we are all imperfect human beings and that life is not always perfect.  Such a person enjoys a great inner peace because he or she no longer needs to be perfect and no longer needs others to be perfect.     This is idea is at the heart of REBT philosophy of healthy beliefs.  REBT says give up the demands.  Accept that you have desires and wants but that you do not need.  Accept yourself as imperfect, accept others are imperfect and accept that life is also imperfect at times.

So, be balanced and do Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 happiness but if you strive for the philosophic Level 4 happiness you will feel better and happier.  Mix it up and for this week let’s all go for Level 3 happiness and do something nice for someone else.




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…

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)




22 Jun

Over the next few months we will be writing about the different types of emotions we feel and why we feel them.  The explanation will be based on the Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), one of the main schools of cognitive behaviour therapy. 

REBT posits it is not the event, but the belief or view you hold about the event, which is at the heart of emotional states and behavioural tendencies.   The event can be something that has happened in the past, something that is happening now or something that could happen in the future.  It can also be real, imaginary or internal or external. 

Beliefs can be healthy or unhealthy.  Healthy beliefs provoke healthy negative emotions about adverse events, whilst unhealthy beliefs provoke unhealthy negative emotions about adverse events.  Many people think mistakenly think that any negative emotion is a problem and as such should be ‘worked on’.  This is not true. 

Unhealthy beliefs provoke unhealthy negative emotions like anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, hurt, hurt, jealousy, shame/embarrassment and unhealthy envy.

The healthy counterpart beliefs provoke healthy negative emotions like concern, sadness, annoyance, remorse, disappointment, concern for one’s relationship, regret and healthy envy. 

Diagram 1 shows the relationship between events, beliefs and their consequences.  Diagram 2 shows the emotional pairs and the themes of the beliefs that provoke them.  For example, Anxiety and Concern are emotional pairs.  Anxiety is the unhealthy emotion provoked by an unhealthy belief about a perceived threat or risk, while Concern is the healthy negative emotion provoked by a healthy belief about perceived threat or risk.

Events, beliefs and their consequences

Events, beliefs and their consequences


Healthy and unhealthy beliefs

The first blog will be on the emotional pair of Anxiety and Concern.   This will be published next week.  We hope you will find it interesting and helpful.

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.

Changing career? A positive step

27 May

Sometimes work can really be getting us down, it can have such a negative impact on not just our working lives, but our lives in general. Even though many of us would like to change jobs, it’s the prospect of looking and trying to find something different that scares many of us off, not to mention the potential need for drastic re-training and starting again. For the majority of us, we believe it’s far easier to just put up with the current situation.

For some of us, bad news can often bring about a positive mindset and therefore change in careers. With bad news, such as being made redundant, we often find ourselves sitting back, taking stock of our lives, the skills we have and our general interests. This can lead ultimately to a positive mindset, drive and ultimately career change…

A great example is one of our very own hypnotherapists, Beverley Harper. After 20 years working in sales, Beverley held a senior position with a good salary, so when she lost that job it was a huge blow to her. In a recent interview in Woman magazine, Beverly explained:

“I was the main wage earner and had a big mortgage to pay each month. I kept thinking, what am i doing to do now. As I left the office for the last time, I wondered if I’d ever work again. Would I lose everything? I was forced into shaking up my entire life.

Thinking about my skills and interests, I decided I wanted to go down a completely new path. I’d already started a course on hypnotherapy, which I’d experienced when I tried to give up smoking, so I decided to study for diplomas in clinical hypnosis and cognitive behavioural hypnosis at the College of Cognitive behavioural Hypnotherapy in London. I followed this up by studying for a master’s degree.”

Beverley undertook a massive change in her life, and it wasn’t easy, choosing to remortgage her house, paying course fees on her credit card and juggling freelance jobs. Losing her job was the catalyst that has driven her to her change of career, a career that she now feels gives her far greater job satisfaction. Her retraining has taken 5 years, but the big payoff is that job satisfaction. Beverley finished off her interview by saying:

“On the one hand I wish this dramatic change had happened years earlier, but then my life experience helps me empathise with my clients. Work used to be a pressure cooker – now it’s a privilege”

So if you are thinking of a career change, and you want to make a positive step, remember to be positive. You are the one in control of your life and you can make any changes you want to it. You don’t need to wait for something bad to happen to kick start that positive change…

If you are interested in a course at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, you can ask us any questions here, or request a prospectus.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy Training, Open Evening on 10th May

27 Apr

On May 10th, the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CCBH), based in Baker Street London, will be holding an Open Evening for anyone interested in becoming a qualified Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist.

The evening will be open to anyone who wants to drop in and take a look round the college and get a feel for the courses. There will be an opportunity talk to lecturers and past students, and ask any questions. The event will be from 6pm.

Avy Joseph, Principal at the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy explains more about the Open Evening:

“We would encourage anyone to come along to the evening if you want to find out more about Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy, before committing to attending one of our courses. Remember, you don’t need to have any specific academic requirements to take our foundation course. The CCBH philosophy is that life experience and other skills are valid. We have people from all different background on our courses including health-care professionals, teachers, counsellors and social workers. So if you are interested, or looking for a complete change of career, come along on May 10th.”

The CCBH courses are accredited, and have most recently become accredited by the Royal College of Nursing. They prepare students for membership of the General Hypnotherapy Register, and as a professional practitioner of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy.

Past students of the Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy courses are now following all sorts of career paths – some are running their own practices, working for the NHS or have gone on to do their Masters degree in CBT.

The evening:

6.00 – 6.30 pm Welcome and introduction

6.30 – 7.00 pm Why Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy instead of  Hypnotherapy?

7.00 – 7.30 pm Q & A: Find out about us

7.30 – 8.30 pm Refreshments and snacks:  Time to mingle and talk to students and staff

8.30 – 8.45 pm Rounding up

If you would like to attend the open evening, then please drop us a quick email to admin@ccbh.org.uk, to register for the event.