CBT - Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based psychological therapy. The emphasis is on recognising and modifying negative thoughts and beliefs and maladaptive behaviours, subsequently impacting on mood and emotions. I am a Psychologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Castlebar, Co.Mayo that offers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions to clients based in Castlebar and the wider Mayo hinterland.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) is a combination of cognitive, behavioural and hypnosis interventions. CBH is the abbreviation used to refer to the incorporating of clinical hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques and strategies. The combination of the two most widely researched and most effective therapeutic techniques maximises the therapeutic outcomes.
Psychological and emotional difficulties are found to emerge from negative, unhelpful and destructive cognitions. When we use the word cognition, we are referring to mental activity, which can be represented in words. This includes thoughts, attitudes, ideas, beliefs etc. To find a valuable solution for a difficulty it is essential to assess how the problem functions. The current cognitions, information-processing, problematic thinking patterns and behaviours are monitored, assessed and altered through CBH.
The emphasis in CBH is on the 'here and now'; on the current cognitions and behavioural responses. CBH is an evidence based approach. Therapeutic interventions, which focus on the past, looking and waiting for ‘insight’ to emerge through hours of talking through past incidents and experiences, viewed as merely an excuse for procrastination. This approach can frequently serve to disempower clients, as one is constantly focusing on past reflections and negative unhealthy thoughts, with these responses becoming part of their identity accompanied by an increased chance of relapse. While CBH recognises that the past is important, it takes second place to the 'here and now'. Symptoms and roots are viewed as thoroughly interwoven, pull one thread; we are pulling all the others.
The rationale for including hypnosis...
Hypnotherapy enables the focusing and sustaining of attention on suggestions. In other words, the client focuses attention on the realistic and helpful suggestions. These suggestions are alternative ways of thinking and processing circumstances and events. Suggestibility is increased in hypnotherapy, therefore the client is less likely to become distracted and is consequently more responsive to the CBT techniques, there in lies the rationale for combining hypnotherapy with CBT. It is extraordinarily powerful.
Notably, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH), it is not emphasising the 'power of positive thinking'. CBH acknowledges that positive thinking in itself is insufficient. CBH is a constructive approach, recognising and working on the individual's unique version and perspective on their reality. This reality which the individual has lived with, which has gone unquestioned and has lent itself to psychological distress. The clients processing of information and biases in perception uncovered, monitored, altered to develop more productive, healthy patterns of thinking. This results in one achieving relief from symptoms (e.g. stress, anxiety, guilt, fear, anger, panic), freedom from habitual behaviours, developing psychological resilience, well – being and long term gains.
The Medical and Scientific Approval
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) uncovered as one of the most evidence based therapeutic interventions, available today in the field of psychology and psychotherapy. The range of research in the area of psychological therapy goes back 50 years. Recent research includes brain-imaging data, clinical trials and laboratory experiments to name but a few.
Thousands of clinical and experimental research conducted in the area. The therapy gained recognition by the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association in the 1950's. It is recognised by the American Psychological Association, The British Psychological Society and is used by the NHS.
In 2001, The British Psychological Society, commissioned expert psychologists to publish a report entitled The Nature of Hypnosis. The aim was to investigate hypnosis, its applications and practice, in a variety of contexts such as clinical purposes, academic research, training and forensic investigation. The report begins by stating 'Hypnosis is a valid subject for scientific study and research and a proven therapeutic medium'. The research went on to state that '...the inclusion of hypnotic procedures ...beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy'.
Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy integrates social, cognitive and behavioural psychology. Alladin (2008) refers to empirical research, including meta-analysis, which found increased effectiveness in incorporating hypnosis with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Noteworthy to mention, the majority of protocol and strategies of CBT were in fact devised in hypnotherapy. The traditional methods of hypnotherapy frequently viewed as a precursor to CBT.
Importantly, research conducted in the area (e.g. Kirsch et al 1995, 1996) found that for between 70% - 90% of participants, cognitive and behavioural therapies were more effective when incorporating hypnosis i.e. for the majority of participants Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy was more effective than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alone.
'Meta-analyses have established that different psychotherapies have different outcomes. Cognitive-behavioural therapies are significantly more effective than psychodynamic therapies, and their superiority increases when long-term follow-up is assessed. Hypnosis enhances the efficacy of both psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy'. (Kirsch, 1996)
In sum, CBH is an integrated psychological therapy employing cognitive behavioural techniques and protocols utilising hypnosis to increase the therapy's effectiveness. It can potentially aid one in coping effectively with life's difficulties, developing psychological resilience and achieving long-term gains.