Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is, essentially, a therapy that seeks to alter the way we think and behave in order to improve how we feel. CBT can be COMBINED with hypnotherapy in order to make it more effective. it is thought to make it more effective as it causes the individual being treated to become more receptive to the therapist’s suggestions, and, also, it enhances his/her ability to utilize imagery. Hypnosis can also help the individual being treated become more insightful into the causes of his/her psychological symptoms.
Below, I provide some examples of areas of CBT in which hypnosis can help it become more effective in treating the patient:
1) THE USE OF POST HYPNOTIC SUGGESTION: For example, the individual being treated may be given the post-hypnotic suggestion (this is a suggestion made by the therapist to the effect that the individual will behave in a particular way once the hypnosis is over. An example of a post-hypnotic suggestion is: ‘whenever you have a negative thought you will challenge it and try to replace it with a more positive one.’
2) REFRAMING: Another area where it can be useful to combine hypnotherapy with CBT is by improving the ability of the individual being treated to develop the skill of REFRAMING. Reframing refers to the skill, taught in CBT, of looking at a negative experience or situation and trying, with conscious effort, to interpret it in a more positive way.
3) INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS: Furthermore, it can help the individual under treatment identify INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS and more effectively control their emotional responses to such thoughts.
These are just some of the ways that hypnosis can be combined with CBT to both accelerate and augment its effectiveness. It is thought to do this by helping the individual under treatment FOCUS on the experience of therapy. It may, too, improve the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the individual being treated, because, for example, the hypnotic experience tends to be comforting, and, also, promote trust between the therapist and patient. Additionally, it can give the individual being treated a greater sense of security which often leads to greater compliance with the therapist’s suggestions.
.David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).