One of the major benefits of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is that the therapy can be carried out both online and through face-to-face meetings. Both ways have proven themselves to be particularly effective in helping people to control their anxious thoughts and make positive changes to their lives.
Solution Focused Hypnotherapy is centred around getting you to your preferred end destination. This is where you imagine what your life would be when you are free from the problems that you are currently experiencing.
Many clients find this type of therapy refreshing as there is no need to visit the past and analyse what caused their condition. Revisiting the past can be very problem focused and instead of dealing with the solution, the focus is on addressing the other issues that arise. In order to take control of anxious thoughts there really isn’t a need to analyse the history surrounding it. This can be particularly damaging as there is a possibility of the process opening old wounds.
What Creates Anxiety?
Neuroscience informs us that anxiety is created when we worry, when we think negatively about life. Those thoughts could be about the past, present or future. They all act to increase our current anxiety levels. It’s not the circumstances that we find our self in that creates the anxiety but our thoughts surrounding the event. For example; some people may naturally find job interviews really stressful, finding it difficult to sleep the night before, or waking up early in the morning. For more fortunate people who take it all in their own stride, there is no worry attached to the event. They sleep fine and awake well rested. Everyone had a job interview so that was not the cause of the anxiety. The negative thoughts surrounding the event were.
How can we calm our anxious thoughts?
So if we change our thinking and focus on more positive areas of our life, we can start to take control of our anxious thoughts and lower our stress levels. Even if negative events that we have no control over are still current in our lives, with practice, we can change our thinking so they are not always the focus of it. By recognising and acknowledging the little positive things in our life, we begin to take back control of it.
All of our worries and thoughts get stored in a metaphorical ‘stress bucket’. At some point, if we keep thinking negatively, our stress bucket may overflow. At this point our anxiety is heightened and we may suffer from a panic attack. Solution Focused Hypnotherapy provides different methods for stopping anxious thoughts going into your stress bucket. In addition to reducing the flow of negative thoughts going into your bucket, using Solution Focused Hypnotherapy provides alternative ways of emptying it.
The power of positive thinking
We can help to lower anxiety levels by thinking positively. When we think positively no anxiety is created and instead of producing damaging stress hormones we are rewarded with serotonin. When we think positively, fewer negative thoughts enter our stress bucket so we are able to reduce anxiety levels and positively change our mindset.
Your end destination is our goal
With Solution Focused Hypnotherapy we always begin with the end in mind. Through conversation, we build up a week-by-week plan of little goals to achieve to get you to your end destination. These are often not directly related to your initial problem area, but are just areas of concern you currently have. It’s very common for someone to come for help with one problem and this is not highlighted again by them until much later in the therapy process.
As therapists, we often use a ‘life happiness’ scale to help us judge your progress. Each week you will assess where you are on this scale. Our conversation will then be based around what would be different if you were one step up on the scale? What would you feel? What would you be doing differently? What would you see? Who else might notice? What would they notice? How would that make them feel? What would life look like? How is that important?
What is hypnosis?
After the talking part of the therapy (psychotherapy), hypnosis is utilised. Hypnosis occurs when your brain enters a relaxed problem-solving state. This is a perfectly normal state of mind that is often referred to as a daydream. We naturally go in and out of trance many times during the day when awake. When in trance, the subconscious mind is open to suggestions that will help you to take in and absorb positive change. This part of your therapy will normally last for around 10 -20 minutes. It is during this stage your brain will be working to come up with solutions to your problem.
Whether you are using online hypnotherapy or face-to-face therapy, you will be guided into a relaxed calmness, which helps your brain to build new positive pathways.
At the end of every session, after the trance, clients are often asked to scale seven different aspects of their life from 0 to 10. These are positive thoughts, positive interactions, activity levels, confidence, how well they are using their strengths, their achievements, and their overall happiness. This therefore gives a maximum score of 70.
How many sessions does treatment last?
Depending on their current situation, a majority of people can successfully get to their end destination in just 6 to 12 sessions.
Before treatment you will have an Initial Consultation. This will allow your therapist to explain more to you about how the therapy works, why you feel the way you do, and, more importantly, how you are going to work together to move you towards your goals.
You will usually be provided with a ‘Guided Relaxation’ download to listen to each night.
Below is a case study that details the progress that was made in just six sessions of online hypnotherapy. Scaling questions are used to judge progress during the session when we are discussing the weekly plan. They are then used again at the end of the session after the hypnotherapy. This is a real case study, but the name has been changed for client confidentially reasons.
Online Hypnotherapy Case Study – Emma
Emma came to see me to calm her anxious thoughts and get back control of some aspects of her life. She also often lacked self-confidence in work-based situations and was suffering regularly from migraines.
Emma has had a variety of different therapies in the past including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EDMR) therapy. She wasn’t convinced of the benefit of CBT but recognised that the EDMR therapy was useful in addressing the trauma that was going on in her life at the time.
Emma recognised that she had a negative inner voice that was making her anxious and stopped her from believing in herself. She moved up from London to Birmingham a couple of years ago to be closer to family.
Emma also recognised that lots of her friends had moved away from London and that the hustle and bustle of London life was having a negative effect on her mental health.
While moving from London had benefits, it also meant that she needed to find a new job. She managed to secure a new job within a few months. Although it was in the same field as her jobs in London, project managing buildings and their refurbishment, Emma was doubting her ability to do the job even though no concerns had ever been raised about her performance.
Emma is 48 and is currently single. During our initial chat, she never mentioned that she would like to start a new relationship, but it later appeared that this was one of the missing parts of her jigsaw puzzle.
She also mentioned that she would like to lose weight and adopt a healthier eating pattern for health reasons.
For practical reasons due to our distance apart, the hypnotherapy sessions were conducted by Zoom.
I asked Emma how I could to help her. She replied that she had been feeling stressed and anxious which had affected her sleep. Her sleep was disturbed ,and she was often getting only 5-6 hours a night. She wanted to calm her anxiety because she was suffering regularly from migraine headaches.
Emma stated that she wanted to be the best version of herself and that she wanted to get back her zest for life and enjoy living again. Talking revealed she was hoping to achieve a more positive outlook as she recognised that her negative inner voice was currently running the show. She was also hoping to be more organised in her personal life and was hoping to gain more control over her diet. Emma recognised the link between her stress levels and her emotional/ binge eating and she felt annoyed at herself for eating junk food because previously she had been very careful about her food consumption.
Scaling Score 41/70
Emma was in a positive mood and was surprised at how different she felt in a relatively short period of time. We chatted for a while about Zoom and technology before we started to have a conversation around her positive things.
She had noted that she had been more interactive over the last week, and she was beginning to feel more positive again in social situations. She was sleeping much better, getting less fretful sleep, being able to stay asleep for longer.
Our brain revision therefore revolved around the importance of sleep and especially REM sleep and how this will help reduce Emma’s anxiety levels.
Scaling revealed that the lowest Emma had ever felt was 1/10 and the highest she could recall was 8/10. She currently rated herself at a 4.5/10 on her life happiness scale.
We focused on what would be different if she was a 5.5. For Emma to be a 5.5 she would need to feel lighter, more trusting of people, have more confidence in herself, and feel better about herself. We then explored the things that made her feel better about herself and why they were important to her.
Emma stated that she would start her meditation again
Emma was continuing to feel positive and during the session we shared many laughs.
She had been continuing to take walks during the week with her friends and was making more of a conscious effort to eat healthily. Emma again noted that she was sleeping much better.
We talked again about the stress bucket and Emma recognised how she would previously have been filling her bucket by negatively forecasting the future.
Life Happiness Scaling 5/10
Our conversation focused on how Emma would move from a 5 to 6. She noted that she would need to feel less anxious and stressed. We then discussed what things made her less stressed and what benefit they brought her.
Emma stated that she needed to factor in some ‘me time’ so decided to give herself a manicure.
Emma was again positive when we met. She found it easy to recall the positive things that had been happening in her week including catching up with friends and family and enjoying some ‘me time’ by taking part in some online Yoga sessions.
We discussed how being interactive with others made us feel safe and made us feel part of a tribe.
Life Happiness Scaling 6.5/10
Although Emma recognised that she had been more interactive, she also knew that there was still some anxiousness attached to meeting others. She recognised the benefits of meeting others in terms of serotonin production and realised that if she is to start a new relationship, she would need to improve her confidence in this area.
Emma was going to arrange to meet a friend tomorrow for a coffee and catch up.
Emma started by saying that she felt much more confident and in control and less doubtful of her own abilities. This was a big step because a lack of confidence in her work place was one of the problems that she was looking for a solution for. She now believed that she wasn’t an imposter and that the previous praise she had received from her boss was deserved.
Our brain revision focused on how we can get a steady flow of serotonin during the day.
Emma asked how hypnosis worked. So, we spent some time talking about the trance state and different brain wave activity.
Life Happiness Scaling 7.5/10
Emma recognised again that she was more confident and more assured at work and that as a result she was feeling much less stressed and anxious.
She was still looking to feel more confident in social situations because she again knew that, if she was going to start a new relationship, she would need to feel less anxious with meeting up with others. Further conversation revealed that it wasn’t the actual meeting up that caused the anxiety but the surroundings, eg busy places. We then explored places where she felt comfortable.
Emma again wanted to increase her social interactions so set this as a next step and was going to arrange a lunch date.
Emma stated how well her week had been. She had been more interactive than usual and had arranged to meet up with friends on several occasions. Emma had also arranged to meet up with a friend to go for short runs. She noted that the weather was warmer and so she had taken part in more activities outside.
Life Happiness Scaling 8/10
Emma recognised that she had managed to calm her anxiety considerably. She noticed that she had not had a migraine for weeks. Emma attributed this to her lowered stress and anxiety levels. Emma was sleeping for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Because of this she had more energy levels in the morning and throughout the course of the day. She noted that she was naturally finding it easy not to snack on junk food.
To get to a 9 she recognised that she needed to focus on her health and in particular her diet.
To eat more healthily, including more slow-release carbohydrates and more fruit and vegetables in her diet.
Emma again stated how much more confident she was in her work place, especially when dealing with and managing a number of male builders and building managers. She had received a pay rise this week in recognition of all of the work she had done well over the last couple of years.
Emma noted how her stress and anxiety levels were so much lower than when she had started the sessions and that her self-doubt had left her. She told me that she had silenced her negative inner voice and had allowed its positive counterpart to start running the show. She stated that her mental health and wellbeing was in a much better place than when we started her online therapy. Emma told me that she no longer had any craving for high-calorie food and found it easy to eat healthier alternatives.
Life Happiness Scaling 9/10
We focused on how we would get Emma to a 10. She said that the only thing in her life that was missing was someone to share it with. My questioning focused on her self-confidence and what would be the signs that she is confident to start a new relationship. After thought, Emma = stated that she wanted to be more confident in her appearance. I asked her if she had a goal weight she wanted to get to, but it was more a feeling of being able to get into her clothes without them feeling tight.
Continue to eat healthily and look to join a local gym.
Emma felt she had transformed from an anxious person with little self-confidence into a calmer more positive person. Her self-confidence and confidence in both social and work situations had improved enormously. Because she had managed to calm her anxious thoughts and lower the amount of stress hormones she was producing, she no longer suffered from migraines.
She had managed to silence her negative inner voice and replace it with a much more positive one that looked forward to the future. Her sleeping pattern had improved greatly, and she was able to sleep through the night for 7 to 8 hours. Previously she had been getting 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep.