NCH Conference 2018 – David Newton – ‘Solution Focussed hypnotherapy and the treatment of anxiety’

1 in 4 adults will suffer from some form of mental disorder each year, yet it is still hard for individuals to get the right support during these times. Often feelings of hopelessness and loneliness start to set in and anxiety or stress are an uncomfortable topic for the vast majority of people out there yet these feelings are a natural occurrence.

Solution Focused Therapies are fast becoming the treatment of choice for a society beset by pressures and a world in which people increasingly feel unable to cope.  David Newton HPD DHP SFBT(Hyp) SFBT Sup(Hyp) FAPHP MNCH MNCP SHS SQHP Sup Hyp, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist, is Chairman and Trustee of AfSFH and Director and Senior Course Lecturer of CPHT and is the senior practitioner of The Clifton Practice which he co-founded in 1995 and which has developed into a leading multi-discipline clinic.

He can be described as the father of present day Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. David will be speaking at the National Council for Hypnotherapy 2018 Conference in Birmingham on Saturday 23rd June about Solution Focused interventions in the treatment of anxiety.

Steve de Shazer’s first contact with psychotherapy was Erickson in nature and it can perhaps be thought that from the outset that Brief Solution Focused Therapy (BSFT), created by by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg, was rooted in hypnotherapeutic techniques.

The basic tenets of SFBT are well known and are different in many ways from traditional forms of treatment. It is a competency based model and the focus is on the clients’ desired future rather than on past problems or current conflicts. It assumes that no problems happen all the time, there are exceptions and that small changes can lead to large increments of change. The setting of specific, concrete and realistic goals is an important component.

In SFBT it is the client that sets the goals. Once formulated the therapist will use a number of specific responding and questioning techniques to assist the client construct the steps that may be required to reach the ‘preferred future’. Solution Focused Hypnotherapists note Steve de Shazer’s often repeated assertion that solution work is “the same whatever problem the client brings”.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy does not ask the client to re-visit past traumas or move at a pace they are not comfortable with, instead it uses a combination of techniques from psychotherapy and neuroscience to bring joy back into a person’s life so they can find meaning and happiness in their work and play.

The 2018 NCH conference will be held at the Birmingham Council House Banqueting Suite on Saturday 23rd June from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM. There are still a limited number of discounted tickets available at a cost of ₤109; you can buy a ticket by clicking here.

Expand your horizons: cure your fear of flying with hypnotherapy

Summer holiday season is fast approaching and with that comes decisions about where you are going to go – stay in the UK or head off somewhere sunny? Many people are terrified at the thought of flying; fear of flying affects 1 in 10 of us, although some studies suggest the numbers are even higher, according to the national charity Anxiety UK.   Maybe it’s the take offs and landings, perhaps it’s claustrophobia or it could be for some other reason like feeling like something bad is going to happen.  You might not think that your fear of flying is a phobia, after all phobias are irrational fears…. And there’s plenty to be scared of when it comes to flying, right? 

Perhaps you hate flying and avoid all trips, or it’s just the long ones which stress you out.  Maybe you end up self-medicating with alcohol or tranquilisers in order to be able to get on a plane. While all these methods work in the short term, none of them are long term or particularly healthy solutions.  Learning relaxation techniques including breathing and mindfulness exercises can be far more effective, as can distracting yourself with a good book, movie or puzzles.

The fear of flying is so common that several airlines have responded by creating ‘fearless flyer programmes’.  These programmes offer advice, education and support to help stop your brain running a loop of your most feared outcomes.  

It may seem that an obvious way to deal with the fear of flying is to simply avoid it, but according to Dr Simon Petrie, a clinical psychologist, this simply reinforces the fear and over time makes it stronger. As well as education about the technical aspects of flying, these courses offer practical techniques such as mindfulness exercises to help promote feelings of calmness while on the plane. 

Hypnotherapy is often extremely effective in removing phobias or fears about flying.  By tapping into the unconscious mind, information is able to be processed more effectively allowing for rapid desensitisation of the phobia.  .  A range of different techniques may be employed, depending on whether you know when the phobia first started, how you view it and how receptive you are to change, including guided visualisations which specifically target your fears in form of mental graduated exposure therapy.

If you are scared of flying, make contact with an National Council for Hypnotherapy  using their directory of over 1,800 qualified hypnotherapists throughout the UK and get ready to jet off on your summer holidays stress free.

NCH Conference 2018 – Gut Feelings: Gut Bacteria, Cravings, Chocolate and Poo!

Do the bugs in our belly control us? Come hear Emily speak at the NCH Conference and find out!

Emerging research suggests that our gut bacteria influence what we eat and how we feel, altering not only our cravings and appetite, but changing our moods and how we behave.  Our keynote speaker at the 2018 National Council for Hypnotherapists conference is scientist, Dr Emily Grossman, a highly respected expert in molecular biology.  Emily has a Cambridge Double First in Natural Sciences, a Ph D in cancer research and an impressive speaking engagement resume including TEDx UCL and the British Science Festival.

Most of us regularly see clients in our practice who want help with weight control, mood issues and food cravings.  Dr Grossman investigates how gut micro-organisms could influence how we feel and how we behave… and why; she became interested in this area after a friend talked to her about toxoplasma gondii, the third most common parasitic protozoa to infect warm blooded creatures. This parasite controls the behaviour of the animals that it infects, causing them to stop fearing their natural predators – cats, causing them to be eaten.  In this way the toxoplasma gondii ensure that it is replicated and survives.  This lead Emily to explore how our own gut bacteria could be influencing our mood – causing anxiety or depression – and also affecting what we choose to eat – encouraging us eat too much or to crave certain foods.

So are the bugs in our belly controlling our clients? And what can we do about it?

Dr Grossman will discuss the use of probiotics and dietary interventions to alter gut bacteria, and thus affect mood and stress levels and prevent weight-gain, and explores the exploding field of fecal microbial transfer – more commonly known as poo transplants! So could a poo transplant kick chocolate addiction? Or help our clients lose weight? You’ll have to come to hear Dr Grossman to find out!

The 2018 NCH conference will be held at the Birmingham Council House Banqueting Suite on Saturday 23rd June from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM. Everyone is welcome, from hypnotherapists to members of the public; you can buy a ticket by clicking here

Depression and anxiety growing among young people.

Depression and anxiety among young people is a growing phenomenon, not just in the UK but globally.

 Twenty years ago depression in children was almost unknown. Now the fastest rate of increase in depression is among young people; recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed one in five 16- to 24-year-olds had symptoms of depression, anxiety or stress. Earlier this month the Government released a green paper focusing on early intervention and mental health awareness training for school staff as well as incorporating mental health awareness into the curriculum.

The National Health Service (NHS) says the problem for parents is that mental health problems in children and adolescents can be difficult to spot. The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) believes it is important to reduce anxiety in one’s life as research shows that prolonged exposure to the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol can cause memory problems, a weakened immune system and many other negative health outcomes.

This is particularly relevant as exam time approaches for many students and pressure mounts.  This increase in stress for our teens was discussed during Question Time and Childline reported that demand for counselling services focused on exam stress has increased 11% in the last 2 years.

Sarah Kendrick, of children’s mental health charity Place2Be, said more than half of all mental health problems start before the age of 14.  She believes that early detection and intervention can significantly improve mental health outcomes. 

“It is by picking up on problems early and helping children and young people to build their resilience that we can equip them with the tools they need to cope with life’s difficulties and to thrive as adults,” she said.

“Continuous support, and an open environment in which  children are encouraged to talk about their feelings, enables early identification of any problems or challenges." 

What you can do to help:

  • Open a dialogue with your child about mental health; make sure they know that they can talk to you or other adults about their feelings and struggles without judgement.
  • Provide a healthy environment with good food and a routine which allows for down time and regular sleeping patterns.
  • Encourage your children to get daily exercise, perhaps you can go for a walk together or find some other mutually enjoyable activity that gets them moving.

If you think your child is not coping with their stress levels or having other mental health problems it is important to find them someone they can talk to.  In clinical hypnotherapy, the underlying emotions that feed the anxiety or depression are addressed and effective hypnotherapy can bring fast and effective relief.  The NCH has a register of over 1,800 therapists across the UK, many of whom specialise in working with children and teenagers.  Use the NCH directory to find a therapist near you.

Is workplace stress affecting your health?

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), 526,000 workers in the UK suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17, and 12.5m working days were lost as a result over that period.  A survey of 3,000 workers conducted by an employee benefits platform found that work was the biggest cause of stress, followed by family pressures (45%) and money worries (45%).

The number of fit notes issued for mental health conditions, including workplace induced stress and anxiety, have been on the rise for a number of years. They accounted for a third of all fit notes written by GPs in England between December 2014 and March 2017.  Chronic workplace stress can lead to a wide range of negative health outcomes, from physical health issues to signs of anxiety, depression and low mood.

Overwork was given as the biggest reason for workplace strain, and a significant percentage of respondents turned to stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol to help them manage.

Supporting the call for better mental health care, the National Council for Hypnotherapy says that about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK currently. And while some people manage, more and more people are struggling with significant impacts on the quality of life and well-being.

There are many practical steps you can take to help you cope better with workplace stress including seeking out and building supportive relationships both inside and out of work, making sure you are eating and sleeping well and exercising regularly. If these steps are not enough to alleviate your stress, the NCH is well-placed to assist with over 1,800 registered hypnotherapists who can teach you tools and help you work through your problem.

A hypnotherapist can help assess your anxiety, identifying the root of stress or anxiety and helping you to set goals for how you would like to feel and the things you would choose to do in your life if you were free of the stress and anxiety. They will then work with you to reach your goals using a range of different techniques. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but working towards the same goal.

Stress is one of the major reasons people take time off work and, by investing in stress reduction schemes, companies can increase productivity, happiness and subsequently loyalty in their employees, comments the NCH.

Many hypnotherapists offer special offers to businesses for stress reduction schemes at work. It is worth talking to your employer or to a local hypnotherapist to see if that this is a possibility.


Is losing weight a struggle?

A lot of us are overweight to some degree, or simply unhappy with our bodies.

Social media is the place where we compare our lives and bodies to those of strangers, and cashing in on this dissatisfaction, the diet industry is an ever growing mega-billion pound industry.  We all know the basic equation for weight loss goes a little something like this: eating less food + more exercise = lose weight but it’s difficult to keep the weight off and it’s now been documented now that diets often don’t work in the long term. In Weight Watchers’ own studies, the average person will reduce their body weight by around 5% after six months, but within two years a third of that will return. And while the exercise part still stands, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests weight loss actually has a lot less to do with smaller portion sizes and reduced calorie intake than we first thought.

The study, published this week in the academic journal JAMA, showed that dieting individuals who reduced their consumption of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains while focusing on increasing their vegetables and whole foods, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting the size of portions.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy says hypnotherapy has a proven track record in helping people manage weight through creating healthy self-management techniques by changing negative habits.  Rather than just reducing calories with a diet plan that you are unlikely to stick to long term, hypnosis gets you in touch with the reasons why you unconsciously eat. If you are the type of person that struggles to stop after a small piece of chocolate and feels compelled to finish the packet then working with a hypnotherapist can help you understand why, and help you create new healthy self-management techniques.

Healthy and sustainable weight loss takes time and sustained habit changes.  By sticking to their eating plans for a year both groups from the study demonstrated significant weight loss even though they didn’t worry about their calorie intake. Those in the low-fat group lost about 11.7 pounds on average, while the members of the low-carb group lost a little more than 13 pounds. Individuals in both groups also showed improvements in other important health markers such as reduced body fat, lower blood sugar, improved blood pressure levels and decreased waist size.

Hypnotherapy for weight loss is about changing your habit with food for the rest of your life, so unlike crash diets it changes the root of your compulsive eating or lack of interest in exercise so you are free to enjoy the rest of your life – eating and exercising sensibly without having to think about it,” adds the NCH.

“After a session you may feel uplifted, lighter and very relaxed. Often change is very subtle, as your hypnotherapist will be working with you subconscious mind, and you may just notice a very positive shift in how you are feeling,” says the NCH.

Search for a qualified hypnotherapist near you now and take control of your eating habits.



Is health anxiety harming you?

Do you worry that you have a serious, undiagnosed medical condition?  The number of people in the UK suffering from health anxiety is rising.  Many of us are guilty of Googling a symptom when we have a cold or worrying that a sore throat may be something worse; but health anxiety is more than that. People affected by health anxiety have repeated, obsessive thoughts that they have (or will have) a physical illness.  The most common health anxieties tend to centre on conditions such as cancer, HIV, AIDs, etc. However, the person experiencing health anxiety may fixate on any type of illness.

According to the NHS, people with health anxiety have obsessively anxious thoughts about their health. They frequently check their body for signs of illness and are always asking people for reassurance that they’re not ill.  Often the physical symptoms of anxiety become signs of an impending and life-threatening health problem.

The distress and negative impact upon lives that health anxiety can cause is real, with sufferer’s worrying that their GP may have misdiagnosed them.  This preoccupation impacts negatively upon their lives, affecting work, study and relationships because of the constant need to seek reassurance about their health.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy notes that our society is one where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us and while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of stress and anxiety which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and wellbeing.  Last year a report was released which found that mental health issues were the most common reason for people to take time off workAnxiety can also manifest itself in different worries, explains the NCH. “It may be fear of being around other people; it may be anxiety in specific social situations, anxiety in your relationships with particular people at home, at school or at work.

Working with a hypnotherapist may help you feel more confident and more at ease about things which have previously been challenging for you says the NCH.

“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious.”

To contact your nearest NCH-registered therapist and start the process of shedding your anxieties, simply click here.

Sticking to your resolve…

How are you progressing with your New Year’s resolutions?

According to a survey conducted by health insurance company Bupa in 2015, 66% of you will have thrown in the towel already.  Making changes towards a healthier lifestyle is the most common resolution but it really doesn’t matter what your resolutions were, it’s not too late to get yourself back on track and achieve your goals in 2018.

According to the BBC, research indicates that we are more likely to be successful at achieving our resolutions if they are aimed at recovering something (a skill, activity or level of fitness for example) that we used to have, rather than looking to add something new to our repertoire.  Here are some tips to help you get back (and stay) on track:

  • Make sure your goal is something that’s really important to you. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we make resolutions to change things to make other people happy.  Connect with the essence of your goal; how will achieving it improve your life, what impact will it make?
  • Enlist the support of your family and friends. This helps you stay accountable and it also means that you’ve got someone else to offer you a different perspective or give encouragement when your motivation starts to flag.
  • Expect that your motivation levels will fluctuate throughout the process. It’s unlikely that you’ll wake up every day with the energy and motivation to pursue your goals.  Sometimes the motivation comes after you start doing the work.  Connect back to why your goal is important to you to help get through those times.
  • Break your resolution down into smaller, measurable goals. As the NHS explain here, having small sub-goals linked to motivating rewards can make you more likely to stay on track.
  • Keep track of your progress. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it could be a journal or a computer spreadsheet or a series of pictures. Make yourself a record of your progress for those days when you just don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere.

If you still feel like you’re struggling to achieve your goals, hypnotherapy can help.  It has been clinically researched and found to be effective for a wide range of lifestyle and habit changes from quitting smoking to weight loss and boosting self-esteem.

The reason why hypnotherapy works so rapidly with bad habits and behaviours is because it works directly with your subconscious, bypassing the critical mind and getting to the root of the issue so that changes can be made that support your goals quickly and efficiently.

Depending on what you are seeing the therapist for, they will assess your habit and work with you using a range of techniques to help you achieve your resolutions.

Have a look at the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s directory to find a hypnotherapist near you and take a step towards achieving this year’s resolutions today!

Anxiety and depression: Are you getting effective help?

Hypnotherapy can help with anxiety and depression

Effective treatment for anxiety and depression can give you your life back

A new international study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety suggests that 90% of people who suffer from anxiety or depression don’t receive proper treatment.  Commissioned by the World Mental Health, the research described the treatment gap in anxiety disorders at an international level for the first time. Researchers examined the effectiveness of anxiety disorder treatment around the world from a sample of 51,500 individuals from 21 different countries.

According to this research, in the UK around 20% of the population is experiencing anxiety or depression at any one time and of those people only 1-in-10 is receiving an appropriate treatment.

This study has been published at the same time that Government ministers have ordered a landmark review of prescription drug addiction, amid concern over the rising number of prescriptions being dispensed for anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.  According to the NHS, prescriptions for anti-depressants have almost tripled since 2000, with 64 million NHS prescriptions now doled out annually – compared with 22 million in 2000. UK levels of antidepressant use are now fourth highest among Western countries.

Talking therapies have been proven to help treat anxieties, stress and depression and the National Council for Hypnotherapy has around 1,800 qualified therapists across the UK who can provide effective treatment.  Clinical hypnotherapy particularly can be of benefit when working with mental health conditions and helping to assess the issues and identifying their root – whether it is a situation, a physical issue, a past experience or a relationship.

Working collaboratively, the therapist and client will set goals and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns, helping create a happy and positive frame of mind. Every therapist may use slightly different techniques, but will work towards the same goal – being free of anxiety and depression.

“After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily,” states the NCH.

Click here to access the NCH directory, with over 1,800 therapists all around the UK there’s sure to be someone to help close to you.

Is your acid reflux medicine damaging your health?

Hypnotherapy can help

You might have noticed after the excesses of Christmas that you developed a bad case of heartburn.  Left unchecked heartburn can progress and become acid reflux or GERD, illnesses which cause stomach acid to move up into your esophageus. Acid reflux raises the risk of cancer of the throat, tonsils and sinuses in older people, a study has found.  Worryingly, taking remedies for acid reflux may further increase your risk of cancer. Research published last month revealed regularly taking heartburn pills could double your chances of getting stomach tumours.

GERD is thought to affect 10 to 30 percent of the population, more frequently in patients who are obese and elderly. And cancers of the respiratory and upper digestive tracts account for more than 360,000 deaths worldwide each year.  The scientists, from the University College of London and the University of Hong Kong found that using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which are freely available over the counter in the UK significantly increases the risk of contracting stomach cancer.

Often, physical conditions are exacerbated by underlying stress or anxiety.  By taking action to relieve the root causes of stress and anxiety in your life you may find that you experience a significant reduction in your acid reflux or GERD symptoms.  Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for heartburn and other stomach conditions.  A recent article in Medscape suggests that GERD is form of brain-gut dysregulation and that by working with the mind, researchers were able to reduce abnormal acid secretion under hypnosis.

Also, when you’re in the hypnotic state, a lot of defenses come down, and the brain does open up to the possibility of controlling symptoms better. That’s why we use hypnosis—because it gives that subconscious messaging.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy has a register of qualified practitioners from around the UK who can help.  Find a therapist near you and start to feel better.