Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?
I often get asked questions about my work at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic – not just by clients but by people I meet elsewhere who wonder what hypnotherapy is all about. Some are intrigued and some are puzzled. And others have some funny ideas about the whole process.
So I thought it might be a useful exercise to try to answer some of the most common questions that come my way.
I’ll kick off what is going to be a series of blogs by trying to address a question I was asked just last week: “Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?”
Well, I know what I might be expected to say.
But I’ll start by stating that the efficacy of any type of treatment generally depends on the expertise of the person offering help. And I’m fully aware that counselling provides a valuable service for many people.
In essence, counselling involves a trained professional listening to an individual’s emotional anxiety regarding a particular traumatic event, for example a job loss or relationship breakup or bereavement. Counselling can be on a one-to-one basis or involve group sessions or be conducted on the internet or even over the phone.
In the UK, the National Health Service offers free counselling and there are more details to be found at www.nhs.uk. Treatment can be accessed without referral from a GP. There are also private counselling services available, which incur a fee. There are free counselling services offered by a variety of charities too.
Psychological issues with hypnosis
Hypnotherapy usually includes elements of counselling and is a category of psychotherapy, which itself is an umbrella term covering various forms of treatment for psychological issues. One particular advantage of clinical hypnotherapy is that it achieves more immediate results compared to conventional treatment, though there are always going to be some people for whom conventional treatment will be preferential.
And then there are psychologists – both counselling psychologists and clinical psychologists who work mostly in hospitals and rehab units as well as privately. Some will employ hypnotherapy within their treatment programmes.
But hypnotherapy, sadly, is not usually available on the National Health Service as a specific treatment option, though the benefits of properly administered clinical hypnotherapy are widely acknowledged by most health care professionals.
Gaining insight “Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?”
At Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, I treat clients for a range of psychological conditions using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the first instance to enable them to understand their condition. The client’s newly-acquired insight is then integrated into the unconscious (subconscious) through clinical hypnosis.
We are all governed by our unconscious – it keeps us alive and protects us instinctively but at times, for reasons of conditioning or even circumstance, the unconscious can misinterpret our environment. As a consequence people often misunderstand why they act as they do – why they smoke, or why they have this or that phobia, or why they get angry or feel unable to control their emotions, why they feel anxious, frightened or depressed.
What hypnosis provides is a means of communicating with the unconscious to achieve a heightened sense of awareness. This enables an individual to reset his or her unconscious and, therefore, in the future react with rationality to specific events. Hypnotherapy trains the individual to think accurately. As well as addressing specific issues it enhances overall wellbeing.
Whatever psychological issue a client presents at Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic, there is no judgment but a simple assurance that most psychological conditions can be treated successfully. When other forms of treatment might be preferable, I advise accordingly.
Easing anxiety with counselling and hypnotherapy
“Is hypnotherapy better than counselling?” It’s true that for some people, the opportunity to talk about their issues with a counsellor will resolve or ease their anxieties.
But for others the services of a trained clinical hypnotherapist is going to be more beneficial, especially when dealing with longer-term conditions such as phobias, OCD, weight issues and smoking. More details about treatment and conditions are to be found on my Leeds Hypnotherapy Clinic website.