Practice quick factsheet
This article is aimed at dental, medical and fellow therapy professionals (and anyone else who is interested) who are perhaps considering referring patients/clients and want quick access to concise and relevant information about me and my practice.
What is Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH)
- CBH is a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and hypnosis and offers an evidence based approach to therapy.
- Hypnotherapy is a complimentary and not an alternative therapy.
- CBT is combined with hypnosis as evidence has shown that hypnosis increases the efficacy of key and already proven CBT methods.
- The key uses of hypnosis are:
- Direct suggestion of new beliefs, utilising increased suggestibility.
- Imaginal (in vitro) rehearsal of desired behaviours, emotional responses and thinking patterns.
- Relaxation (esp. combined with the previous point, to defeat anxiety and stress)
- Utilisation of mind-body effect (calming pain, IBS)
- In CBH, hypnosis itself is reconceptualised in a rational and empirically supported manner which can be summarised as follows:
- Hypnosis is a natural ability of the mind that has measurable effects beyond that explained by placebo. A renowned UK based researcher and academic (Irving Kirsch) described hypnosis as a ‘non-deceptive mega-placebo’.
- Hypnosis is an activity performed by the client and not a special state of mind or something the therapist does to the client. As an activity it requires modest skill that can be taught, practiced and improved.
- Hypnosis in itself is not therapeutic but is a way of delivering therapy (such as CBT) so as to enhance its efficacy
- Hypnosis is explained as engagement with imagination – which anyone can do - and refutes common misconceptions (inability to do it, getting stuck, being controlled). Therapeutic techniques are explained as imagination exercises.
- Popular concepts of hypnotic trance, hypnotic depth, the unconscious mind (duality of mind) are not supported by evidence and do not appear in CBH. Also techniques such as regression which attempt to resolve a historic cause, (and the existence of repressed memories as a cause) are disputed and considered to have an unacceptable risk of re-traumatisation or introduction of false memories.
- The focus of CBH therapy, as with CBT, is on the issue now and not any historic cause. It is about teaching the client to understand their issue and adopt ideas, attitudes and practice techniques to promote self-efficacy. Therapy is taught by the therapist and realised by the client.
Key Applications and Approaches of CBH
- Generally, the core of therapy and CBH is to teach the client to assert or regain control over some aspect of their life, be it a behaviour, emotion or combination of the two, that they perceive as problematic
- Anxiety/Phobia – Social, Performance related, confrontation or other problematic situation based anxiety. CBH uses imaginal exposure and desensitisation combined with refutation and restructuring of cognitions (beliefs and inner self- talk). Specific phobias include needle phobia, public speaking, water/swimming, dogs, spiders, driving etc and the process can be adapted to many similar unwanted irrational and automatic fears
- Changing habits – Hair pulling/eating, nail biting and any unwanted physical habit. CBH employs habit reversal to retrain the client to perform a preferred and conflicting habit in response to the same stimuli.
- Dysfunctional thinking patterns. For example as seen in anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, poor confidence. CBH teaches the client to reflect on their thoughts, become more self-aware, healthily sceptical of them and adopt a more helpful and appropriate thinking style and patterns
- Stress and general anxiety or general heightened emotional state. CBH can employ a secular form of mindfulness meditation which is taught to the client. This has the twin goals of calming the mind and teaching greater self-awareness which is helpful when combined with cognitive restructuring and the move to more helpful thinking patterns
- Hypnotherapy is associated with helping people stop smoking but the evidence suggests that there is no significant difference between the effectiveness of hypnotherapy and other popular approaches. Unlike some approaches, hypnotherapy does not involve drug therapy or continued intake of nicotine and has no known side effects
- Hypnotherapy is also associated with weight and lifestyle management. Advice from the NHS states that an effective approach should combine diet, activity and psychological support. Hypnotherapy offers the psychological support. The focus of the weight loss program is the adoption of life long habits to promote return to healthier weight and diet. This includes identification and removal of current problematic eating behaviours such as emotional eating, boredom eating, unconscious eating with reduced awareness, ‘addictions’ to specific foods (chocolate, cake, coffee)
- Steve Baxter is a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist (CBH) - being an evidence based approach to hypnotherapy. He is also Senior Tutor at a major UK based Hypnotherapy School, the Anglo European College of Therapeutic Hypnosis based in Bournemouth and running training courses UK wide.
- Steve has two diplomas in Hypnotherapy, one externally validated by the NCFE; a certificate in CBH and a range of certifications in other therapeutic approaches. He is a member of the General Hypnotherapy Register and registered with the CNHC thus bound by their codes of ethics, requirements for supervision and CPD and subject to their complaint procedures. Both organisations have validated his qualification. Copy of certificates and proof of memberships and current professional insurance can be provided on request.
- Steve Baxter is not medically trained and does not treat medical issues. There are symptoms (such as chronic pain, the experience of IBS) that may be alleviated and patients with certain medical conditions can benefit from help for associated depression, anxiety, loss of self-esteem or confidence.
- Typical therapy takes place over 4 x 1 hour sessions at weekly intervals at a cost of £320 paid by the client. Clinic hours are Monday – Saturday 10am – 8pm (4pm Saturday) sessions can be arranged outside this in cases of genuine need. Practice is based in the Strawberry House Clinic, Station Approach, Hayes which has excellent access by car, bus and train. Whilst demand varies, sessions can usually be scheduled within 1-2 weeks. Due to the training nature of therapy it is rare for more than 4 or 5 session to be needed. Contact phone number is 0845 519 9301.
- I work with adults and can refer younger clients to a Bromley based colleague, a CBH therapist and ex-teacher who specialises in working with children. Other than smokers, I also do not work with clients with substance addiction (including alcohol) and again can refer them on to a specialist.
- All prospective clients are offered and required to attend a free initial consultation. This allows the therapist to give a correct outline of hypnotherapy, how it could be applied to their issue and set an appropriate expectation of both the therapy and results. The therapist also screens the client for issues outside their competency (eg Psychosis) and refers them on if in doubt. The focus is on educating the potential client so they can make an informed choice and there is no sales follow-up or pressure to book therapy.
- When a client is receiving treatment from a medical practitioner they are required to agree not to vary or cease that treatment as a result of progress achieved in therapy without the agreement of that practitioner. The role of the medical practitioner as the primary care giver and the non-medical nature of hypnotherapy is emphasised.