Cognitive Hypnotherapy

birdsoutsidecageCognitive Hypnotherapy is a flexible approach that draws from (amongst other things) Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), Positive Psychology, Solution Focused Approaches, Narrative and Metaphor Therapy. In fact Cognitive Hypnotherapy continually evolves according to the latest findings from neuro-science and other research.

It’s very much a two-way process and unlike traditional hypnotherapy, it doesn’t involve lying back on a couch whilst the therapist makes all the suggestions.

Instead, Cognitive Hypnotherapy is based on the following principles:

The solution to the problem lies within the problem itself

As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist I don’t believe that I have all the answers to your problems. However I do believe that we all have the resources we need somewhere within us.

My role is to help you access your unconscious mind to uncover your own solutions so that you can achieve the transformation you desire.

Trance is a natural state

We all go in and out of trance every day.

Have you ever driven or walked somewhere only to find when you reach your destination that you can’t remember the journey you’ve just made?  That’s a trance state.

Or day dreamed your way through a boring meeting only to realise (maybe to your horror) that you haven’t heard a word that was said? That’s a trance state too.

Or noticed that time just flew by when you were absorbed in a pleasant activity, so that you couldn’t imagine where all the time had gone?  Yes, you’ve guessed it, that’s another trance state.

When you’re in a state of trance your unconscious mind is taking care of things for  you and your conscious mind is free to wander.

Research suggests that we spend up to 90% of our waking lives under the control of our unconscious minds. This is a good thing in many ways because it means we can deal with the mundane day to day stuff without having to consciously think about what we’re doing. It’s as if your unconscious mind is a series of programmes running in the background that’s dealing with all the routine stuff for you.

The primary purpose of the unconscious mind is to keep you alive and safe. It controls all your bodily responses like your heartbeat, your breathing and your immune system. If it detects a danger it creates an automatic response which causes you to take the necessary action. You may have heard of the fight/flight/freeze response?  This is a type of trance state that overrides your conscious decisions in response to a perceived threat.

The trouble is, the unconscious mind has a tendency to generalise and can get things wrong. This means you can react, think and behave in ways that aren’t necessary or appropriate. Because this process is triggered outside of your conscious awareness, it can be very hard to stop it from happening.

So rather than putting you into a trance, one of my aims is to de-hypnotise you from any unhelpful trance states that may be causing problems.

All behaviour has a purpose …

… and the intention will always be positive, even though the outcome may not be what you want.  The primary purpose of the unconscious mind is to keep you alive and safe from harm.

However, because of this tendency to generalise it often gets it wrong. The unconscious mind will always err on the side of caution and any behaviour that was helpful in the past will be repeated, even though it may no longer be appropriate or necessary. These reactions are automatic and bypass your conscious mind.

Imagine if as a child, you were made to feel stupid whilst reading aloud in class.  At a young age an experience like this can feel catastrophic. Your unconscious mind will see any similar situation as something to be avoided.  Any situation that the unconscious mind recognises as being similar to the initial unpleasant event will trigger a fear response to keep you safe from a repeat of the humiliation you initially felt. Fast forward 20 years and you may find you’ve developed a phobia of public speaking. At times you may be able to consciously override this and go ahead anyway but it won’t be easy or pleasant.

Or imagine someone who, as an adolescent, had started smoking to be ‘one of the gang’. Their unconscious mind is likely to have seen this as a good thing. After all, at the time it made them feel accepted. Of course the chances are they go on to spend thousands of pounds and eventually develop health problems. On a conscious level they understand that smokings not good for them. Not only is it expensive and unhealthy, but it’s also socially unacceptable in most circles and to top it all, it’s smelly.

So at some point they decide to give up. Of course they do. It’s a no brainer, right?

So, in whatever way they do this, they manage to kick the physical addiction to nicotine. Their withdrawal symptoms are over and done with. They feel great.

The trouble is, in three weeks, or months, or even three years time, they start smoking again. What went wrong?

The unconscious mind, that’s what. Unfortunately it never caught up with the rational, logical, conscious mind regarding the facts about smoking. As far as the unconscious mind is  concerned, smoking is still the thing to do whenever they feel lonely or upset. It’s running in the background like an automatic programme remember and it has the ability to override their conscious mind when it deems it necessary. So when it does, it just keeps increasing the desire to smoke until they give in and smoke again.  Of course it is possible to override this unconscious programming but without help it can be quite a struggle.

To complicate matters further there may be many unconscious reasons for continuing to smoke. Maybe the unconscious mind believes it helps them concentrate, or calms them down, or gives them confidence. All these factors could trigger a strong craving to smoke.

The aim of Cognitive Hypnotherapy is to re-educate your unconscious mind so you can stop reacting automatically and have more conscious control over your thoughts, reactions and behaviour.

We’re all unique …

.. and soCage and birds silhouettes there’s no one size fits all method that suits everyone,

Each person who comes to therapy for help with something they call anxiety will have had completely different life experiences and will be experiencing their problem in a way that feels unique to them.

Because we’re all so different, whatever works well for one person may not work so well for another.

Therefore, as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist the approach I take is holistic and I’m more interested in the individual person than in the label given to the problem.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy draws from a range of evidence based disciplines to provide an approach that is individually tailored to each persons unique circumstances. With each client the therapy will continually adapt, according to their individual progress and feedback.


musicAs a Quest Institute trained Cognitive Hypnotherapist I use a bespoke form of hypnotic language called wordweaving, which communicates with your unconscious mind in a way that feels natural and is readily accepted.


Cognitive Hypnotherapy  was founded by Trevor Silvester of the Quest Institute in  London and continually evolves in line with the latest findings from Neuro-Science and Psychology. 

The Quest Institute conducts continual research regarding the effectiveness of it’s approach and has been proven to be more effective in less time than other therapies including CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). You can read about this research here: