What is Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy?

By Lara Tozer
Counselling in Hove

Understanding Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy

Life can often present us with challenges and stresses that feel overwhelming, whether it’s the weight of anxiety, the restraints of a bad habit, or the constant loop of negative thoughts, many of us are seeking solutions to improve our mental well-being in this busy fast paced modern-day world. One powerful approach that has gained popularity in recent years is Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy (SFHT). In this blog, I’ll explore what Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy is, what you can expect from a session and how the majority of clients feel afterwards.

What is Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy?

Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy (SFHT) is a therapeutic approach that combines elements of solution-focused psychotherapy (talking therapy) and hypnosis to help people address and overcome their issues. It focuses on the present and the future, aiming to promote positive change by guiding the client to identify and find positive solutions to issues and focus on achieving these future goals by taking one small step/action at a time, rather than dwelling on problems.

This model has evolved over time through the introduction of new neuroscientific discoveries and modern research. Before the Second World War psychotherapy was embedded in delving into the clients past to gain an understanding of the self, this focus switched quite dramatically with the influence of American culture and became more future orientated and looking towards intervention rather than understanding.

A key element of the SFHT approach is empowering clients to improve their own lives through knowledge, and an understanding and appreciation of how the brain works. Advances in neuroscience, especially in sophisticated modern scanning equipment, have been critical to the development of the SFHT approach.

SFH therapists support their clients in making positive changes in their lives by spending time in each session explaining and revising key pieces of research on how the brain works. Key areas of explanation include the brain structure (the conscious and unconscious mind / intellectual and primitive mind), the limbic system (including the role of the amygdala, hippocampus and hypothalamus), that the primitive mind cannot tell the difference between imagination and reality and we can therefore create powerful negative responses to imagined threats and stimuli, the concept of the metaphorical ‘stress bucket’ and an understanding of the importance of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in emptying the ‘stress bucket’.

Alongside using trance, or a heightened state of suggestibility, whereby the therapist can facilitate the creation of new templates of behaviour and beliefs through working directly with the client’s subconscious mind.

Key elements of SFHT include:

  1. Positive Psychology: SFHT incorporates principles from positive psychology, emphasizing the importance of focusing on strengths, resilience, exceptions to the problem and the positive aspects of life.
  2. Solution-Focused Approach: Unlike some traditional therapy approaches that delve into past traumas and problems, SFHT is forward-looking. It encourages clients to set achievable goals and build strategies to reach them.
  3. Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of deep relaxation and heightened focus. During an SFHT session, the therapist helps you achieve this state, which enables your subconscious mind to be more open to positive suggestions and ideas. This is not the mind control often portrayed in movies, no one can be made to do anything they don’t want to whilst under trance and the client is in complete control and can come out of the trance state at any time simply by opening their eyes.

How Does a Session Work?

An SFHT session is generally half talking therapy and half hypnotherapy. A session typically starts with a conversation between you and the therapist around what’s been good in your life in the last week, what’s been different since the last session, what difference that’s made, who else has noticed. This leads into a discussion around how our brain works, how the most recent neuroscience can empower and support us to make changes in our life. This moves on to a future focused discussion and an exploration of potential achievable goals for the next week and beyond. The therapist will then guide you into a relaxed state of hypnosis.

During the hypnosis part of the session, the therapist will use positive suggestions and metaphors tailored to your specific goals. These suggestions can help you change your thought patterns, behaviours, or emotional responses. The process is collaborative, with the therapist and client working together to create positive change.

How Will You Feel After an SFHT Session?

The post-session experience of Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy varies from person to person, but there are some common feelings and changes that clients often report:

  1. Deep Relaxation: You will likely feel deeply relaxed after an SFHT session. Hypnosis is a natural state of deep relaxation and mental alertness, it is not sleep, it is more like a daydream. Hypnosis circumvents our critical conscious critical faculty (CCF) (or automatic filtering system) thus allowing new positive ideas and suggestions to be accepted without being blocked by any feelings of threat or danger from the primitive brain.
  2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: SFH can help alleviate stress and anxiety, leaving you with a sense of calm and tranquillity.
  3. Increased Positivity: Clients often report a more positive outlook on life and an increased sense of well-being. The positive suggestions given during the session can lead to a more optimistic perspective.
  4. Empowerment: Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy empowers you to take control of your own life and make positive changes. After a session, you may feel more in charge of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
  5. Improved Sleep: Many clients experience improved sleep patterns and a reduction in insomnia after SFHT sessions.
  6. Progress Toward Goals: SFHT is goal-oriented, and you may find yourself making progress toward your desired outcomes more easily.

Conclusion

Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy is a powerful and forward-focused therapeutic approach that combines hypnosis with a solution-focused mindset to help individuals overcome their challenges. After a session, clients often experience deep relaxation, reduced stress, increased positivity, and empowerment. SFHT can be a transformative tool for those seeking to make positive changes in their lives. If you’re considering this approach, remember that the key to success is a willingness to work collaboratively with your therapist and a commitment to your own personal growth and well-being.

To find out more about SFH, contact Lara.

About the Author:

Lara Tozer

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