What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH)?
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is a type of ‘talking therapy’, that combines the use of talking therapy with hypnosis. Hypnosis or ‘trance’ is a very natural, relaxing state, encouraged by using guided relaxation, where the mind can relax and then focus on thoughts and suggestions that might be useful. As a modern psychotherapeutic approach, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy uses practical, structured, and well-researched strategies to help people make significant, positive changes in their lives in a relatively short period of time. Crucially, in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, therapists look at what the client wants to achieve (the solution) rather than at whatever prompted them to seek help (the problem).
How does Solution Focused Hypnotherapy help?
At its heart, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy focuses on the present and the future and not on the past. A Solution Focused Hypnotherapist will ask clients to consider their preferred future, for instance asking solution-orientated questions such as: “what would be better if the problem had improved?” or “What would have changed?”. This enables the client’s possible solutions to become more obvious and gives the client a goal to work towards.
Hypnotherapy itself reduces anxiety, and this is done very simply through relaxation and visualisation, allowing the client to focus on the positive aspects of their life that encourages a shift in perspective.
Through working with the client in a collaborative way, Solution Focused Hypnotherapists can also help individuals experiencing confidence and self-esteem issues. It can also help (if necessary in conjunction with medication) in addressing aspects and symptoms of stress, low mood, anxiety (including panic attacks), and in helping people to cope better with physical issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and certain chronic pain conditions. Specific phobias such as fear of spiders, water, flying, and public speaking can also be minimised, along with painful memories and traumatic experiences.
What is hypnosis and is it safe?
In our day to day lives we all naturally go in and out of trance states many times during the day – perhaps when we are driving, reading a good book or even washing the dishes. In this relaxed state, we experience changes in our conscious awareness – almost like being in a day-dream. During this time, the unconscious mind is more aware and can focus on helpful suggestions and thoughts.
When we are in a trance state we are still in control, and we process and decide whether information or suggestions are useful to us or not and will not accept or do anything against our will.
What can I expect during an Initial Consultation for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy session?
A typical Initial Consultation will usually involve the following:
- Completion or signing of a consent form, which may include terms and conditions of therapy, and how your data will be utilised and protected (you may be asked to complete this prior to the Initial Consultation).
- Discussion of the issues for which you are seeking help and how you would like things to be different, including your goals and best hopes for how you would like things to be in the future (this could include a wide variety of things, such as wanting to feel more relaxed or confident, to cope better with things in your life, or to overcome a phobia. Goals may also include wanting to change certain behaviours, such as to sleep better, to create better eating habits or to stop drinking too much – and many other things for which Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be beneficial).
- Gathering of general information such as your contact details, any history or conditions that you might feel are relevant, and other details that can help your therapist assess how best they can help you.
- Discussion of how the brain works, how we experience emotions in the way that we do and how these can affect us and our habits, and what we can do to change these. Discussions will also include details about what trance is, and how it is a very normal and natural state, and what you can expect from your sessions.
- Your therapist will also give you an indication of the likely number of sessions that may be required, which will differ depending on your circumstances and the reasons for you seeking therapy.
- You will also be provided with a relaxation mp3 to listen to, for you to use in between your sessions, which can help you relax and reinforce the benefits of hypnotherapy.
The initial consultation is a great way for you and your therapist to get to know each other and to discuss the reasons why you’re seeking support, as well as your goals and best hopes for moving forwards in your life. It is also a good opportunity to ask any questions about the process, so that you can feel comfortable and informed about what will happen and how it will help.
What can I expect during a typical Solution Focused Hypnotherapy session?
During a typical session, your Solution Focused Hypnotherapy practitioner will start off by asking you about your week (or during the time since your last session). This will help you to discuss what positive things have been going on, and whether you have noticed or made any changes in your life that are moving you nearer to your goals. Following this, your Solution Focused Hypnotherapist will discuss aspects about how the brain works and how it relates to your experiences.
Discussions involving some solution focused questions and other techniques will then help you to consider and refine your solutions that can help you to move forward in your life. Depending on your circumstances, these discussions may also involve other elements of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) as appropriate.
After this, you’ll then be invited to quietly relax, whilst your hypnotherapist speaks and guides you gently into a relaxed state, where you can enjoy resting in a day-dream-like trance state, where your mind can focus on and further absorb and reflect on the things that will have been discussed during the session.