Tag Archives: Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy

CBH at CCBT

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.

Gratitude – is it useful? Apparently, it is.

21 Oct

 “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Cicero argued that from gratitude springs hope, kindness, courage, patience, generosity, wisdom, wisdom and so on. So is it possible that simply by practising gratitude, we could improve our lives? Be more content?

Gratitude has been around in most world religions and philosophy for millennia and science is now catching up. Since Seligman’s announcement of 2000 the American Psychology movement has been researching Happiness of which an integral part of that research, under the direction of Dr Robert Emmons, has been on Gratitude; its nature, its causes and its impact on human health and well-being.

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Here is a brief summary of Emmon’s research findings:

· Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.

· Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

· A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison.

· Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another.

· Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families.

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So it seems the evidence is pointing towards the possibility that, when people express their gratitude and are of a grateful disposition, people tend to have higher levels of subjective well-being or happiness and are generally less stressed. They suffer less with feelings of depression or anxiety and self-worth issues. They tend to be more independent, learn well from life’s lessons, develop healthy coping strategies, are more generous, sleep better, have a greater sense of fulfilment. People who exercise gratitude also appear to have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use.

Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Numerous studies suggest that grateful people are more likely to have higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress and depression. In one study concerning gratitude, participants were randomly assigned to one of six therapeutic intervention conditions designed to improve the participant’s overall quality of life (Seligman et. all., 2005). Out of these conditions, it was found that the biggest short-term effects came from a “gratitude visit” where participants wrote and delivered a letter of gratitude to someone in their life. This condition showed a rise in happiness scores by 10 percent and a significant fall in depression scores, results which lasted up to one month after the visit. Out of the six conditions, the longest lasting effects were caused by the act of writing “gratitude journals” where participants were asked to write down three things they were grateful for every day. These participants’ happiness scores also increased and continued to increase each time they were tested periodically after the experiment. In fact, the greatest benefits were usually found to occur around six months after treatment began. This exercise was so successful that although participants were only asked to continue the journal for a week, many participants continued to keep the journal long after the study was over.

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What makes gratitude the parent of all other virtues? Well if we takea look at Albert Ellis’s model of CBT, Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), it has a strong basis in stoic philosophy and he, as the Stoics, recognised that we disturb ourselves by the beliefs we hold about events. REBT’s theory identifies four beliefs that generally lead us to disturb ourselves. They are:

* Demanding something must or must not be (when it blatantly is).

* Awfulising the end of the world catastrophe when the demand is not met.

* Low Frustration Tolerance to the unberableness of what is happening or is not happening with thoughts like “ It’s unbearable, I cannot stand it”

* Self. Other or World Damming

So practising gratitude helps us to maintain a wider perspective , keeps us from “awfulising” beliefs that lead us to think the world is about to come to an end when the washing machine breaks down. Gratitude helps us to recognise that our first world problems are exactly that, first world problems and our lives do not depend on their resolution. By stopping our “awfulising” beliefs we reduce our feelings of anxiety and experience greater sense of physical ease, in turn we are able to feel more comfortable, reducing our “Low Frustration Tolerance” to discomfort or the unbearableness of our situation.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has” ~ Epictetus

Ways to Practice Gratitude

Before you implement a gratitude practice, there are a few things you should know that might help:

Remember, the goal is to actively practice gratitude, not just wait around to feel grateful. It doesn’t matter exactly how often you practice gratitude; what matters is that you do it routinely. Every day, once a week, three times a week–whatever works for you, just keep it consistent.

* Gratitude journal: This is the most common gratitude practice, and one of the most effective according to research. Get yourself a journal and write down 5 things you are grateful for. Try not to repeat items too often. You can do this each night before bed, or once a week, but do it regularly. It’s not how often you do it that counts—it’s how regularly.

* Gratitude Letter & Visit: Think of someone who has made a powerful impact on your life, write a letter of gratitude, and then visit and read it to them in person is the most powerful gratitude exercise you can do according to Seligman’s research.

* Say “Thank You” more often. Just start saying it. For everything. Everyone likes to be thanked, and you will feel more joy just for saying it.

* Write Thank You Notes. When someone touches your heart, write them a note. “Thanks for being a great friend” is simple but very effective. Texts and emails are good second best.

Thank you for reading this

Are you compassionate?

30 Aug

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Dalai Lama

The two most common emotional problems that people seek help for are depression and anxiety, and both of these emotional problems can be very disabling, and lead to a all sorts of problems in simply getting on with life and dealing with the day-to-day challenges that we all face as we deal with work, relationships, and even our social life. REBT teaches us that when we are depressed and experiencing anxiety symptoms, we also feel bad about ourselves, and talk unkindly to ourselves, berating ourselves for failures, and vulnerabilities which, when not anxious or depressed, we can usually overlook, and allow for. Albert Ellis calls this tendency to criticise, ‘self-depreciation’ or ‘self-damning’ and most of us are familiar with it, as a large majority of us experience these two emotions to a greater or lesser degree at some point in our lives. We are our own worst critics.

Some theorists have divided depression into two categories in this context; self-blame and self-pity. Self-blame usually involves a theme of ‘bad me’. Self-pity, on the other hand usually involves a theme of ‘poor me’, otherwise referred to as ‘victimhood’. When experiencing this kind of extremely exaggerated and biased self-talk, we listen to our own inner voice criticising us, and we don’t for one second judge it to be harsh or biased, and we usually accept such thoughts as being justified and deserved, and reflective of a reasonable evaluation of our worth. In other words we treat ourselves, and talk to ourselves with a marked lack of self-compassion.

Usually, when we talk about compassion, we refer to our compassion for others, both specifically for individuals, but also generally for groups of people. Most of us understand compassion to be a godly virtue and indicative of good character and personality. It is not so common to find people thinking about compassion for ourselves.

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The origins of the word “compassion” are Latin, (com) ‘with’ and (passion) ‘to suffer’, (as in the ‘passion’ of Christ). When we talk of compassion today it is with a meaning of patience, understanding, tolerance, and acceptance. All of this we find difficult enough when it comes to feeling it, practicing it and extending it to others, but we are spectacularly unsuccessful at doing the same for ourselves, especially when we are depressed or anxious. Consequently, and move we can make toward extending compassion to ourselves is part of a healing process, as we return to a more balanced and emotionally even frame of mind.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy is all about belief change, and is a very adaptive tool when it comes to re-learning some of the compassion we used to feel toward ourselves before we became depressed or anxious, and together with these emotions we can add others which feature a lack of compassion; guilt, unhealthy anger (rage), shame, jealousy, hurt, and envy. Using hypnosis and the CBH process we can learn to be kinder to ourselves and more accepting of our ‘fallibility’ as human beings. It is sometime very surprising how quickly change can take place when we start to talk to ourselves differently and with self-compassion, allowing and accepting our vulnerabilities as evolutionary beings.

Paul Gilbert (author of The Compassionate Mind) repeats frequently, ‘It’s not your fault, so stop blaming yourself’. When we are self-compassionate, we allow for the fact that we are human beings who are evolving in an ever-changing world, and the pace of change is accelerating all around us. Is it any surprise that we struggle to keep up, and have a tendency to blame ourselves for not being as efficient as the technologies we are now producing and using?

Put simply, if we can learn to talk to ourselves with greater kindness, and understanding, tolerance and compassion, our brains quite literally re-wire, and unpleasant and unhealthy negative emotions find it less easy to thrive within us. CBH is one of the best strategies we have for bringing about the changes we can benefit from and so the sooner we start to use it, the sooner we notice changes within our own emotional landscape. Our training in CBH uses the structure and philosophies of REBT which is a humanistic model of CBT. This is then combined with hypnosis where relevant to create emotive, compassionate, goal focused therapy.

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

You Don’t Have to go to the Wilderness to Conquer OCD!

5 Aug

The current BBC Three documentary “Extreme OCD Camp” highlights the excessive lengths that sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder will go to try to cope with their condition. However, it is not necessary to take such extreme measures, as you will find out later in this blog.

 

Surprisingly many very successful people suffer from OCD including David Beckham, captain of England, part of the Olympic bid and the face of numerous advertising campaigns. Beckham has admitted he hates odd numbers and is obsessed with symmetry – if there’s three of something; he has to hide the third somewhere out of sight. If something is askew, he can’t rest until the row has been straightened. Before he can settle into a hotel room, he says he puts all of the books and pamphlets together in a drawer. Others celebrities such as Cameron Diaz have admitted to washing her hands constantly and to opening the doors with her elbows. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Whilst some of this behaviour may sound bizarre and even faintly amusing, for people who struggle with more serious OCD however, it is absolutely no joke and completely dominates their lives.

 

The World Health Organization lists OCD as among the 10 biggest causes of disability, yet many sufferers keep their illness hidden and the condition is often the subject of skepticism and derision.

OCD has two main features: obsessions, such as constant unpleasant and intrusive thoughts about issues such as contamination and symmetry; and compulsions, the irresistible urge to behave in a certain way.

 

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Men and women are equally affected, and OCD is thought to run in families, suggesting it may have a biological cause. Some research has shown that changes in brain activity and pattern may also cause the condition, and it often occurs alongside other illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

 

Most importantly Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), an influential school of CBT, are recommended by National Health as the first line therapy for OCD

A central tenant of REBT is that it is not events themselves that cause psychological disturbance but the view that we take of these events, our beliefs, which may be rational or irrational. People with OCD believe that their obsessions will somehow lead to disastrous outcomes for themselves or others. This sense of responsibility leads to self-denigration and heightened anxiety. In order to reduce their anxiety, they perform compulsive behaviours. When their anxiety is reduced and nothing catastrophic happens, the compulsions are reinforced strengthening the likelihood of repetition.

 

REBT helps the people to recognize that their anxiety and distress are provoked by their irrational thoughts and beliefs. They are taught how to dispute these and replace them with more rational coping statements. They are helped to develop unconditional self-acceptance about themselves and their condition enabling them to understand that compulsions are only temporarily anxiety reducing. It helps them to learn to tolerate their anxiety without resorting to compulsive behavior. As well as minimizing their low frustration tolerance about their OCD it also shows them through the use of other to cognitive, emotive, and behavioral techniques to cut down OCD’s primary symptoms of self-defeating counting, checking, repeating, ordering, and other obsessive-compulsive rituals.

 

Many people leave it for years before seeking treatment for their OCD (typically 12 years). So you don’t have to go to the Wilderness and you don’t have to suffer in silence, learn and try REBT, the CBT therapy that works on the symptom as well as providing a philosophy on life. http://tinyurl.com/poy4ln6

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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…

The Evolution of CBT

22 Oct

We thought we would pose the question, what is CBT and how did it get to be what it is today?

Well, let’s start with expanding the acronym CBT. We can see straightaway, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is a treatment but what for? Best to start at the beginning….

The evolution of CBT took places in three stages. The first stage was back in the 1950s, when behaviour therapy emerged in both the UK and America. The second stage, the growth of cognitive therapy, took place in the US in the mid 1960s onwards. The third stage, the merging of behaviour and cognitive therapy into cognitive behaviour therapy, gathered momentum in the late 1980s and is now well advanced in Europe and in North America.

Behaviour therapy was very successful in the treatment of anxieties like phobias. However, as is still the case, most adults complain of both anxiety and depression. Whilst behaviour therapy was successful in treating the anxieties, it was not very successful in treating depression. This opened the door for cognitive therapy that provided education, explanation, rationality, common sense and showed that beliefs such as ‘I’m worthless’ were untrue and distorted. Two of the most productive and influential pioneers of cognitive therapy, Ellis and Beck, shared the view that most disturbances arose from faulty thinking or faulty cognitions. The remedy was to be found in correcting such attitudes, beliefs and thoughts.

Beck’s form of cognitive therapy was based on the rationale that an individual’s feelings and behaviour was largely determined by the way in which he viewed and structured the world. Ellis believed emotional or psychological disturbances were largely a result of thinking illogically or irrationally. It may be easier to understand these ideas, if you view problems and symptoms as stemming from unhealthy beliefs and thoughts. With the cognitive approach, you take on the role of a detective and examine the problematic beliefs and thoughts, which you are holding on to so tightly.

Beck’s early work was on understanding and treating depression, a clinical problem that remained essentially unsolved by behaviour therapists. Depressed people are subject, to what Beck described as the ‘cognitive triad’ in which they have feelings of pessimistic helplessness about themselves, the world, and their future. Understandably, clinicians turned to the work of Beck for guidance in trying to help people overcome their depression. Ellis, provided a scientific as well as a philosophical theory that could be applied to the treatment of anxiety, depression, guilt and other emotional, symptomatic and behavioural problems.

Both Ellis and Beck showed that in addition to proving the connection between cognitions and feelings, challenging erroneous and unhealthy attitudes and beliefs and replacing them with their healthy realistic alternatives, people need to take corrective actions and behave in accordance with their new healthy cognitions. Homework assignments and behavioural changes form a vital part of the therapy and hence the name Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy.

Development of other CBT influenced therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy
CBT has continued to develop and there are other schools that come under its umbrella. There are such therapies like Mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy that advocate meditation and being in the present. There is also valuable research that demonstrates the effectiveness of CBT and Hypnosis.

Even though cognitive therapy was developed during a time in which psychology was rapidly moving towards cognitive explanations, there was a gap between CBT and cognitive psychology. One main difference was that both Ellis and Beck’s therapies are concerned with conscious processes (thoughts and images). However, in cognitive science, it is assumed that the majority of cognitive processing is not experienced as consciously accessible thoughts or images. This is the area that cognitive behaviour hypnotherapy can bridge. Many of our beliefs outside of our conscious awareness and hypnosis is used to access deeper held beliefs. Hypnosis can also lend itself to strengthening healthy beliefs and attitudes and weakening their unhealthy versions.
CBT is now widely accepted and practiced all over the world, and enhanced by developments such as Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy. If this post, has piqued your interest, check out some of our other blogs on the applications of CBT and CBH.