Skills update and bringing you up to speed

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been away from the blog for a while, 5 years in fact. Whilst I may have been absent from the blog, I have been very busy outside of it seeing clients, going on training courses and I’ve moved premises and home a few times too. So I thought I’d write a post to get you all up to speed on my skills and training updates as well as more logistical changes to my business.

Over the years, I have attended many Continuing Professional Development (CPD) seminars and workshops linked to hypnosis and hypnotherapy in addition to more thorough training courses. Below I have listed the courses as well as briefly explaining a couple of the key points I took away from the training. I'll keep it as brief as possible but there were quite a few training courses so it still ends up being a reasonably lengthy post. So bear with me!

First off, I attended a seminar aimed at hypnotherapists working with (or would like to work with) children, run by Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training (CPHT). I really liked the flexibility of the approach we were taught. When working with adults, sessions are more structured but with children, their attention span isn’t as good which means things need to be made more bite size so they can understand and keep focused. I had only worked with a few young teenagers prior to the course but afterwards I saw a number of younger children. I have to say, personally, I prefer structure and I struggled with some of the children as they didn’t always do as they were told. I don’t have children myself and wasn’t that experienced in dealing with this. I have since decided not to work with children and so now if I get any enquiries, I refer them on to a colleague of mine who has experience working with them.

Then I attended the London College of Clinical Hypnotherapy (LCCH) where I learnt about treating insomnia and other sleep disorders. I found the seminar quite refreshing as it was clinical in its approach and provided me with lots of information about the stages of sleep, circadian rhythms, the brain chemistry involved in sleep and more besides. The main thing I took from this course were the research studies quoted to us about an insomniac’s perception of their quality of sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep and how long they’re awake for during the night versus the perception of someone who doesn’t have a problem with sleep. I highlight these studies to my clients who have sleeping problems and they find it helpful to see how their perception of reality isn’t actually what is happening for them and helps them to focus less on the quantitative measures of sleep.

Later I went on a free NLP Level 1 course with NLP Excellence and I was so intrigued by the subject that I later trained with them to achieve my NLP Practitioner Diploma. A number of the techniques I was already familiar with from my original hypnotherapy training, such as the swish pattern and the fast phobia cure. Whilst I was familiar with them, I didn’t fully understand the reasoning behind why the techniques were done the way they were. The NLP training gave me that understanding but also really enhanced the techniques. After this course I found I had a lot more success with those two techniques specifically. I also really liked learning about the language patterns within the Milton Model as it was all new to me. It gave me more of an understanding about the wording used in scripts that appear in books.

As an add on to my NLP course, I received a free coaching course with the same company. Coaching was never an avenue I wanted to pursue but I went along anyway. I did enjoy the course and I learnt a few interesting tools that on occasions I use with my clients. The aim with the free course was to get you hooked so that you would want to do the second part which you would then have to pay for. I chose not to pursue it because coaching didn’t feel very “me”.

I was then recommended by a number of my peers, to train with an Australian Hypnotherapist and GP, Rob McNeilly, who had trained with Milton Erickson. So I attended a two day seminar that he ran here in the UK on Ericksonian indirect suggestion. He was a lovely man and I really liked his simple approach to hypnotherapy. Both Ericksonian hypnotherapy and NLP have become increasingly complex over the years in their efforts to simplify things for people. It can be incredibly frustrating. But despite being an Ericksonian Hypnotherapist, Rob works very simply with his clients. McNeilly has a really nice definition of hypnosis, which I know James Tripp referred to at the recent UK Hypnosis Convention. He defines hypnosis as “an experience of focused attention, leading to increased absorption in that experience, and which is agreed upon by operator and subject to be hypnosis”. I also really liked how he focused people on their current experience as well as getting people to recall things that make them happy to induce and deepen hypnosis. He showed us how to help people solve aspects of their problems by identifying what they like doing and their strengths within that activity and applying them to the problem situation.

Whilst I enjoyed the CPD seminars I had attended up to this point, I was finding it increasingly difficult to find ones that interested me that also took a different approach to the ones I’d been attending for a few years which just regurgitated the same old information. I had been on the mailing list of Adam Eason’s for a number of years and always enjoyed reading about his approach to hypnotherapy. I decided to attend his two day seminars on rapid inductions and hypnotic phenomenon and the science of self hypnosis. These two days blew my mind in more ways than one. I knew that hypnosis was a powerful tool but I hadn’t realised quite how powerful until these seminars. During these two days, I learnt how to hypnotise myself (and another person, although not at the same time) to get a pen stuck in my hand and my hand stuck to my leg; create arm and eyelid catalepsy; create arm heaviness and levitation; and elicit name amnesia and glove anaesthesia in my hand. The most amazing of all was the glove anaesthesia. I used self hypnosis to create analgesia and anaesthesia in my hand and forearm and then had a surgical needle stuck through my arm and I did not feel a thing. It really boosted my confidence in my ability at hypnosis and as a hypnotherapist. I thought to myself, if I could create analgesia and anaesthesia in my arm to the point where I had no pain when a needle was placed through my arm, then I could help people to help themselves overcome the problems they are having in their lives. Many schools wrongly think that hypnotic phenomenon is outdated and as such do not teach it but personally I think that all hypnotherapists should be taught this as it really gave me a better understanding of hypnosis and what can be achieved with it.

I came away from this course excited and wanting more so I signed myself up to the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma that Adam runs. Whilst I had the qualification already, I knew from the syllabus that there was a lot of information that I didn’t get from my original training and that is what I desired. This is without a doubt the best decision I have ever made in my career as a hypnotherapist. It really solidified my understanding of the subject, filled in many of the gaps in my knowledge and boosted my confidence in being a hypnotherapist. The course was very robust with a wide syllabus. One of the things I liked about the course was how the evidence for and/or critique against a technique would be presented so that we had a full understanding of what it could and couldn’t do and any cautions that must be taken when using it. I liked that we weren’t told “this is what you have to do” but instead it was left to us to make our own judgements based on the information provided and choose the techniques and approach that we individually wanted to use to fit who we are as well as the clients we are working with. This was good for me as I had previously been working in a very set way that felt quite restrictive and that I felt had a limit to its effectiveness. It was amazing being offered a choice at how I worked and being given the tools to allow that to happen. Another key point I learnt was how important it is to set expectations with clients as to what hypnosis and hypnotherapy is (and what it isn’t) and how it can help them with their issues. Expectation is everything and can really sway how the client experiences hypnosis as well as the effectiveness of the therapy. I could go on all day about what I learnt from this course and the changes I have made to how I work as a result of it but I’ll leave it there for now.

Earlier this year, I went to a day workshop on dealing with intrusive thoughts and inner critical voices. The guy who ran the workshop was from Nigeria and told us about his life growing up there and how he ended up coming to the UK and now runs a training company – a real rags to riches story. I found him very inspirational to listen to and it made me realise how easy my life had been. The subject matter was very interesting and the exercises we worked through were really useful to me personally. I went in with a beginner’s mindset, something that I was taught on my previous training, and opened myself up to everything that was being explained. There were quite a number of things that didn’t sit well with how I work. Previously, I might have just shut down and stopped listening but now I find it so much easier to stay engaged, listen to everything, digest it and then afterwards I can draw out what I found useful and beneficial and highlight anything that I need to look in to further. That mindset allowed me to get more out of this CPD workshop than I might have done otherwise.

And finally, I attended the UK Hypnosis Convention which I mentioned briefly above. It is the first convention/conference I’ve been to on hypnosis. It was such a great experience getting to see some of the big names in the world of hypnosis and hypnotherapy such as Anthony and Freddy Jacquin, James Tripp, Adam Eason, Melissa Tiers, Gary Turner, James Brown, and Sean Michael Andrews, to name just a few. Such a wide variety of topics were discussed and it felt good to be fully immersed in all things hypnosis – it made me realise how much I knew and at the same time, how much I still had to learn. I’m already really looking forward to next year’s convention.

So that’s it for skills and training although a few other things have happened which are noteworthy too. I moved my hypnotherapy practice from The Healing Rooms on Gloucester Road to The Harbourside Practice in Redcliffe. I commute in to Bristol for work and I was finding it increasingly difficult to get up Gloucester Road without getting stuck in traffic so I decided to seek more convenient premises which were within close walking distance of Temple Meads train station. The Harbourside Practice ticked the box. It is very central to the city with good transport links and parking facilities and as it is on a side road, it means that it is pretty quiet with very few cars going by. It also has a waiting room for my clients to wait if they arrive early for their appointment and they can even let themselves in with a door code. All the rooms are double doored too which not only reduces noise but it also ensures client confidentiality. All in all, I’m very pleased with the move.

This academic year, I also became a teaching assistant on the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma at the Anglo European College of Therapeutic Hypnosis. My role as teaching assistant, along with the other assistants, is to help support the lecturer, Adam Eason, and the students in and out of class. We are three months in to the course and I have been thoroughly enjoying working with the lovely bunch of students.

I have been practising as a hypnotherapist in Bristol for quite some time now and for all that time I have been a member of the hypnotherapy governing body, National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH). This year, I was awarded accreditation by them for my length of practising as a therapist in addition to my knowledge and experience.

I realise this post is a little bitty, or at least it feels that way to me. I think I am a little out of practice writing articles so hopefully I’ll fall back in to it now I’ve started up again. I will no doubt explore some of the topics I have briefly mentioned here in future posts as I feel some of them warrant a more thorough explanation.

So that’s it, all the changes with me and my business in a nutshell. And we’re all up to date now. Thanks for reading!