CPHT trained practitioners keep up-to-date and work using proven, modern techniques.

At the Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training School in Edinburgh, like the other 19 satellite schools around the UK, we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest research from neuroscience and believe that we lead the way in this regard.  Two of the fastest growing areas in psychotherapy and medicine are SF work and Brain Based Therapy.

Research now provides more and more evidence to support the theory that our subconscious minds can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality.  We know this to be true from our own personal experience – the more we dwell negatively on our problems, the bigger those problems feel and the more negative, anxious or angry we become.  While we consciously know the difference between imagination and reality, our brain responds as if the events we are thinking about are happening right now and we get a related and often negative physical and emotional response. Think what happens if you imagine sucking on a lemon right now for example, making the thought as clear in your mind as you can.  I’m salivating just by typing those words!

As Solution Focused Hypnotherapists, we help our customers to turn this around, supporting them to focus on how they want things to be and creating a positive image of this in their mind.  Our students learn about the fascinating brain-based research behind this and the highly effective therapy techniques that have emerged from the growing understanding of how our brains work.  They also learn how to explain this to clients in a succinct and inspiring way, so that their customers regain a real sense of control over their own emotions and behaviours.

After graduation, the Clifton Practice encourages therapists to keep their skills up to date through sessions with their highly training Supervisors and by attending their Continual Professional Development programme.  New courses are frequently added to keep the content relevant and up to date.

The Clifton Practice also now offer an Advanced Hypnotherapy Diploma, accredited by the NCFE at a level 5.  After 3 years in successful practice, Clifton Practice Graduates are eligible to join this Advanced Diploma programme, something that will really set them apart from others in the field. 

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with 20 satellite schools across the UK and a growing international presence.

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

A support mechanism both pre and post graduation that is second to none at CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training.

I was recently asked why I enjoy teaching others so much.  I have been involved in adult teaching, supervision and lecturing for so many years and am so passionate about it yet have never really stopped to work out why.  And then it came to me.  I thrive on the thrill of watch people learn, develop skills and succeed in meeting their own goals and dreams as well as on finding just the right way to support each individual to do so.  What is wonderful is that I am yet to find a Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training Senior Lecturer who feels any different.  Furthermore, the Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma (HPD) is written and delivered with this ethos at its core, both in terms of our students and their future customers.   

Support on course

The supportive ethos is first evident right from weekend one of the HPD course.  Our students come from many different walks of life, some with no experience of the therapy world at all, some who are moving across from a different approach.  Regardless of background, age and experience, we know that working with real live customers with real live emotional and mental health needs can be more than a little daunting at first and often the thought of setting up in private practice as a self-employed therapist is even more so.  We layer our teaching as a result – teaching the basics first in class, both at a theoretical and practical level.  We then ask you to practice just this first step with friends and family at home, with access to us as your senior lecturers when you need us.  Each weekend we lead group discussion where our students feel very comfortable in sharing their experiences with customers since the last teaching weekend, allowing us as lecturers to provide additional support, ideas and different ways of thinking.  It also allows the students to learn from and support each other – invariably someone asks the question another student perhaps did feel ready to ask.  Teaching then adds another layer of technique and research, time on course to practice, and then off our students go again to refine their skills at home with real customers as time moves on and of course with us on hand if needed.  And so it continues. 

As lecturers, we take the opportunity to quietly and unobtrusively observe students in their practical work on course and our first intervention if we feel a student is having difficulty is always to provide support, explanation and demonstration.  At CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training, both Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt have specific training as supervisors to do this with a high level of skill. 

Support post qualification

Lasting friendships and professional relationships are made on CPHT Hypnotherapy Training courses and Edinburgh is no different.  The ethos of support is so engrained in the training that our graduates take it with them into their practice and their ongoing interactions with colleagues.  Even years after qualifying a CPHT graduate is never isolated from the support of colleagues whether in person, by phone or online. 

CPHT Graduates have optional membership access to a wide variety of professional bodies, all of which require levels of regular ongoing supervision.  The Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training model takes this so seriously that it has its own Supervisors’ training course, externally accredited by the NCFE as a level 5 diploma.  This ensures that CPHT graduates have an army of supervisors to choose from, all of them ready to support them throughout their career.    

There is great wisdom in the notion that an experienced therapist who does not participate in ongoing training, supervision and reflective practice is likely to be as effective as a new graduate.  I’d argue less so.   Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training has an ongoing programme of CPD (Continual Professional Development) courses and regularly updates them and new ones in accordance with recent research findings. 

From the first morning that students first walk into CPHT Edinburgh’s Hypnotherapy Training room to the day they graduate and every day of their career thereafter, CPHT support is always available in one form or another.  That really does take some beating!

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with 20 satellite schools across the UK and a growing international presence.

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!



Fully accredited Hypnotherapy Diploma

The Clifton Practice’s Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma Course comprises approximately 120 hours of top-quality classroom teaching over 10 months, delivered by Senior Lecturers who are also working therapists with their own successful Practices.  In addition to this is practise with real clients between sessions and required reading.   

Diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (DSFH)

Successful completion of the course will see CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training students awarded the DSFH, a full Diploma qualification in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.  This qualification enables graduates to work immediately as fully qualified hypnotherapists, granting them access to full insurance and membership of a variety of professionally organisations. 

Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD) – level 4 accredited by NCFE

Importantly, successful graduation and completion of a written portfolio of evidence also leads to the nationally accredited (NCFE) Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD), widely considered to be the gold standard in Hypnotherapy qualifications.

The National Council for Further Education (NCFE) has been granted status as an Awarding Organisation by the qualification regulators.  The NCFE has gone on to accredit the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD) as taught at CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training at a level 4 rather than the more widespread and lower level 3.  This same HPD has been verified by the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH). 

Achieving this level of accreditation is no mean feat for any training school and gives our students assurance that the content of a training course is of a high standard and meets the rigorous requirements of a national awarding organisation.

Professional registration

In addition to these two diplomas, CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training graduates are eligible to join a wide variety of professional bodies.  More information can be found on our website at https://cphtedinburgh.co.uk/accreditation/

Success is of course dependent on hard work and various assessments throughout the course, including practical in-class exercises, evaluation of your activity between course weekends and completion of a portfolio.   Our success rate however is high, testimony to the quality of teaching and the effort the Clifton Practice puts in to ensure that we are at the cutting edge of the latest techniques and methods in modern Hypnotherapy as well as up to date with the latest research findings.

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with 20 satellite schools across the UK and a growing international presence.

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training – a complete package.

The network of Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training Schools, Edinburgh being the only one on Scotland, pride themselves on providing a ‘complete’ training package, with teaching continually in line with the latest research from neuro-psychology and neuro-science.

All well and good but what does this actually mean?

Well, we mean that everything that you need to move from someone who has either no prior experience of being a therapist at all or has experience in a different approach to therapy, to a fully practicing and competent self-employed Solution Focused Therapists is addressed on course. In fact, Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt, the Senior lecturers at CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training require students to be fully competent, theoretically and practically, with a growing practice of real customers before they sign a student off on graduation day and provide full support to help them achieve this.

So what does the complete package look like?

Four key areas are required from a complete training course and CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training delivers on all four:

  1. Theoretical teaching
  2. Practical experience
  3. Marketing support
  4. Recognised, accredited qualification

Theoretical Teaching

Our students learn how the brain works – how anxiety and depression (our bread and butter areas) are created neurologically, along with a wide variety of other issues that customers bring to our clinics. Not only that but we teach you exactly how to explain this to customers in a wonderfully straightforward, informative way. This explanation forms the basis of any initial consultation that CPHT trained hypnotherapists go through with new customers. To say customers find it life changing and empowering is an understatement. It is not unusual for them to feedback that despite years of other therapy approaches and medical interventions, they have never had anyone explain why they are feeling how they are feeling and how they can take control to change things at an emotional and neurological level. It is truly fascinating and empowering stuff!

The theoretical teaching covers a wide variety of issues and symptoms, including, but far from a complete list:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger
  • Fears and phobias
  • Insomnia
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Addictions (including Smoking)
  • Weight management

Practical Experience

There is no point graduating with all of this theoretical teaching without knowing how to put it into practice and having the confidence to do so. CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training graduates leave able to do just that. We don’t believe that leaving practical work until the last minute is the way to achieve this, so our students begin to work with customers right from weekend one, starting with friends and family and building up to real customers with real issues. By month 8, providing Alex and Anne are happy with their level of competency, our students are charging half price, advertising themselves as student hypnotherapists. From very early on in the course they will have insurance in place to enable them to do this.

One of the many strengths of the course that enables students to practice from the very start is that teaching is layered – each month we add in another skill and more information for students to practice so that they build up from practicing basic relaxation skills through to working essentially as a full therapist by the end of the course but with the support of Alex and Anne both on course weekends and in between as required.

Marketing support

So our students now have the theoretically understanding and practical experience that they need to be competent hypnotherapists. Wonderful. But that doesn’t help you to create a thriving therapy practice as a self-employed hypnotherapist and without that, your time and money has perhaps not been used to greatest effect.

CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training provides a marketing module to address this aspect of training and working life. Not only that, because we require students to work with customers right from the start, they are already building a great reputation from word of mouth. It isn’t unusual for students to begin to develop marketing materials and their website on course and many find themselves premises to work from too.

As a group, our students gel beautifully and provide mutual support, sharing marketing information and that helps greatly. Every weekend, Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt as senior lecturers lead feedback sessions, where students report back on how things are going for them and their customers in terms of practical work and marketing issues are often discussed here too.

Recognised, accredited qualification

It won’t surprise you to know now that the CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Diploma course is fully accredited – this will be covered in our next blog so please look out for it! It will be posted on our Facebook page when it goes live ( https://www.facebook.com/cphtedinburgh ) and more information can be found on our website at https://cphtedinburgh.co.uk/accreditation

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with 20 satellite schools across the UK and a growing international presence.

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

Highly qualified, talented teachers who are successful, experienced hypnotherapists.

The Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training School was established in 2002 by David Newton, probably the most successful and experienced clinical practitioner in the country.  With over 30.000 clinical hours to his name, David is recognised as being a gifted teacher.  Understandably, he is extremely proud of the network of 15 UK and 5 international CPHT schools and is meticulous in vetting ex CPHT graduates who aspire to become senior lecturers. 

Excellent Therapists, Excellent Trainers, Excellent Therapy.

Excellent therapy can only be provided by excellent therapists who have been trained by excellent teachers and David prides himself on choosing the best.  This means finding talented Clifton Trained therapists who are not only are running their own established and highly successful therapy practices but who also have exceptional skills when it comes to teaching others how to achieve the same.  Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt, senior lecturers at CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training are delighted to have met David Newton’s exacting standards.

Alex Brounger

Alex has been working as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist since 2011.  He gained the ‘gold standard’ Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma and transitioned into full time practice in 2012. Since then Alex has consistently seen more clients per week than 75% of all hypnotherapists registered with the NCH (Nation Council for Hypnotherapy)Alex has gone on to qualify as a supervisor, much to the delight of colleagues who hold him in such high respect.  As Alex says “like anything in life if you want to be good at something you have to practice it. And I continue to get a lot of practice!”

Alex has extensive experience of teaching others, providing CPD courses to colleagues which continue to be in high demand as well as being an established CPHT Senior Lecturer at CPHT Belfast. 

Alex is also committed to providing excellent therapy for his clients and so not only meets but exceeds the expectations of the three professional organisations he is a member of, the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council), the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy) and the AfSFH (Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy).

Anne Wyatt

Anne began her therapy career as a Speech and Language Therapist.  She dedicated 18 years to the NHS, rising to the top of her clinical career as a Specialist Trainer and Therapist for Disorders of Fluency.

She retrained as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in 2013, building upon much of her existing training.  She immediately opened a full time Hypnotherapy Practice in the North East of Scotland and has exceeded all expectations, both her own and those of experienced colleagues, in terms of the consistently high numbers of weekly clients she has seen in her single rural practice in Banchory.  Like Alex, she has gone on to train as a supervisor and is sought after as such by colleagues.  Anne often reflects on these achievements.  ‘Having only know full time employment, I had no idea how to set up a private practice.  I just didn’t know where to start.  Not only did CPHT training guide me in how to do it, my experiences now help me to understand where students are coming from and how to support them to make that transition and achieve their dreams.’

Anne has extensive teaching experience both with colleagues, other professionals and students at a University undergraduate level.  She has built an enviable reputation as a trainer over her 22-year therapy career and is passionate about teaching and mentoring others and watching them grow in skill base and confidence.

CPHT has been providing Hypnotherapy Training in the UK for over 15 years, with 20 satellite schools across the UK and 5 international schools.

Find out more about the course and how you can apply at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk or call Alex on 07917 415926 for a preliminary chat. We look forward to hearing from you!

Training Therapists who are ‘fit for purpose’

The UK and internationally based Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training schools pride themselves on providing what is one of, if not the most practical courses available.  So many formal courses, regardless of topic, place the main emphasis on theory, leaving students to gain live experience at the very end of the course at best, or at worst, post-graduation.   At CPHT Edinburgh, we firmly believe that that is not good or safe enough when working with the emotional and mental health needs of customers.  Our expectation is that our students go on to work full or part time as Solution Focused Hypnotherapists and so our exceptionally high standard of training ensures you leave the course confident and competent to practice, with a growing therapy business already in place.  So how do we do it?

Relevant, up to date and useful research and theory.

We ensure that you leave us with the with very latest, research-based theory so that you understand what you are doing and why.  We teach you how the brain works in terms of our emotional and mental health and because we understand that the brain learns through repetition, you hear this a lot and get to know it really well!  You will learn the research underpinning the solution focused hypnotherapy approach and how sessions ‘should’ look in the ideal world.  We don’t live in an ideal world though.  Our customers haven’t read our text books and course notes and even if they had, no two people are the same, so there is far more than theoretical teaching built in to CPHT Edinburgh’s Hypnotherapy Diploma course.

Practise, practise, practise

At our CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training School we focus heavily on practical experience with real life clients right from the start of training.  In fact, we take this so seriously that our students will not graduate if they do not have enough.  Senior lecturers, Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt, observe students during practical group work and students leave from weekend one ready to practice on their own with family and friends.  Soon, they are honing their practical skills in our bread and butter areas of anxiety and depression and have student insurance in place to do so. Of course, support from both senior lecturers is available whenever needed in between course weekends.  We use a layering approach to our teaching, so students build their skills and importantly their confidence bit by bit.  Feedback from students during each course weekend ensures that successes and lessons learned are shared – you may not have worked with anger issues during your training for example, but you will certainly know someone who has and will have learned from their feedback.

Setting up and marketing your Practice

Ok, so you have the theory and you know how to apply it.  So now what?  Well, at CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training, we know that that really isn’t much use if, like most of our students you haven’t the faintest idea how to set up and market your own private practice. After 18 years as an NHS therapist I was very firmly in this camp when I trained as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist with CPHT! All the theory and practice in the world isn’t going to help you if you have no clients and don’t know how to get them.  Because our students begin to practice with real clients right from the start and because we ensure that they are confident to leave each weekend ready to practice what they have learned, word of mouth starts spreading quickly and their reputation grows.  In this way, by the time our students qualify they already have a growing business.  From month seven, we expect our students to be charging people at a student rate and it is not unheard of for some students to have recouped much of their course fees by the time they qualify.  On top of this, we provide a marketing module and in addition, during the feedback sessions each month, discussions often turn to setting up practice and sharing ideas on how to do this and what traps to avoid. 

So, you see we really do ensure that graduates from CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training are ‘fit for purpose’.  Happy, confident, qualified and competent therapists with happy and well customers.  What more do you need?!

Here is what one of CPHT’s graduates, has to say about her training:

“Being encouraged to start practising at the earliest opportunity seemed a bit daunting at first, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Practice gave me confidence in the success of the techniques I was taught and the confidence to start charging as a student after 7 months of training. By the end of the course, I had already earned my course fees back and within 12 months of qualifying I’m running a successful practice, working as many hours as I want and earning more money than I was before I embarked on my new life as a Clinical Hypnotherapist.”
Emma Triplett DHP, HPD, LAPHP, GQHP, MNCH(Reg)

So, if you are thinking of a new career or would like to learn retrain as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, please do contact us.  You’ll find out more on our website at www.cphtedinburgh.co.uk

Alex and I (Anne) look forward to hearing from you!

Introducing CPHT Hypnotherapy Training, Edinburgh.

Why choose CPHT Edinburgh?  Find out here  https://cphtedinburgh.co.uk/top-ten-reasons-to-choose-cpht 

Anne Wyatt, Senior Lecturer, CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Training

Edinburgh city centre is home to one of the 20 UK based Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training Schools and provides the only CPHT school in Scotland. CPHT is renowned throughout the UK and internationally for its Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma (HPD) course, NCFE accredited at Level 4.   Senior Lecturers Alex Brounger and Anne Wyatt are proud to bring the fourth CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy training course to Scotland in February 2019. 

Anne started her career as an NHS Speech and Language Therapist and specialised in working with children and young adults who stammered.  As the specialist trainer for the service, she spent much of her time training colleagues and other professionals as well as guest lecturing at University.  Following her training at the CPHT Hypnotherapy Training school in Plymouth, Anne has successfully transitioned into private practice.  She now runs her own thriving full time Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Practice in Aberdeenshire.  In 2017 she followed on from her NHS experience of supervising colleagues and qualified as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapy supervisor.  Anne is also one of two senior lecturers bringing CPHT training to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2019. 

Anne places much of the credit for her success on the quality of training she received through the Clifton Practice. The emphasis on research, continuous practice with real clients and the focus on setting up your own practice proved invaluable.

Anne is delighted to join her colleague, Alex Brounger so that CPHT Hypnotherapy Training in Scotland can continue.  Following on from the three previous courses in the city, February 9th, 2019 sees the start of the fourth CPHT Edinburgh Hypnotherapy Practitioners Diploma Training course.  Based in the Jury’s Inn next to Waverley Station, the course promises to not only provide superb teaching to produce top quality graduates fit for practice but brings it with fun and lots of laughter along the way!

If you’d like to find out more, please register your interest by filling out a brief application form here https://cphtedinburgh.co.uk/application-form

Anne Wyatt Joins the Team at CPHT Edinburgh

CPHT Edinburgh are delighted to announce that Anne Wyatt will be joining the team. Following an 18 year career as a Speech and Language Therapist for the NHS, Anne trained as a Hypnotherapist at CPHT Plymouth in 2013. Moving to Aberdeenshire a short time later Anne has since set up a very busy practice in Banchory. Anne became a Hypnotherapy Supervisor in 2017 and she will also be running CPHT Newcastle alongside CPHT Edinburgh. Sharing Alex Brounger’s desire for excellence, Anne’s considerable experience as a Hypnotherapist, Lecturer and Supervisor will be invaluable in the training room.

“I was overjoyed to be approached by Alex to join him in running CPHT Edinburgh. Setting up as a Hypnotherapist can be challenging. I truly believe the training we deliver at Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training gives our students the best possible start to this wonderful career. We take note of the latest in neuroscience and scientific research. We provide unrivalled levels of support, and we ensure our students leave the course with practical tools on how to market themselves so they can can help as many people as they can” said Anne.

Do you want to make a living changing people’s lives? Do you want to help people overcome anxiety and depression? The next training course from CPHT Edinburgh starts in February 2019. If you would like further information see our website here. If you would like to apply please complete our short application form here. Alex Brounger will contact you back to arrange an interview. We look forward to hearing from you.

Alex Brounger Takes Over the Reins at CPHT Edinburgh

CPHT Edinburgh are delighted to announce that Alex Brounger has agreed to take on the role of leading CPHT Edinburgh. Alex is a highly experienced Hypnotherapy Lecturer, Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and Hypnotherapy Supervisor.

Alex originally trained in 2011 with David Newton at CPHT Bristol and has since grown two very busy practices in Gloucestershire where he lives. In 2015 Alex became a Hypnotherapy Supervisor. In the same year Alex set up CPHT Belfast in partnership with another highly successful Hypnotherapist and Hypnotherapy Lecturer, Nicola Griffiths. He was also the CEO for the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH) from August 2016 to May 2018. Alex is now in the middle of his third course with CPHT Belfast, which he will continue to run alongside CPHT Edinburgh.

“I am looking forward to applying what I have learnt in setting up CPHT Belfast to CPHT Edinburgh. Running a Hypnotherapy School can be hard work. However it is enormously satisfying to help guide students through the process of becoming fully fledged Hypnotherapists. We pride ourselves on training people, from all walks of life, to become competent and professional Hypnotherapists. Practitioners who can help a great many people cope with a broad range of problems and symptoms. I love helping others to do the job that I have loved doing since 2011” says Alex.

The next HPD Course starts in February 2019. It will continue for one weekend per month for ten months, ending in November 2019. If you would like further information on the course take a look at CPHT Edinburgh’s website here: cphtedinburgh.co.uk. If you would like to apply please complete our short application form here.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

I am often asked the question ‘What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?’

Well, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) is a model of excellence that uses interventions that are effective. It will use the very best procedures that science and research prescribe. In reality though its core philosophy is very much based on the work of Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and the basic tenets of SFBT.

Hypnotherapy, and SFH is no exception, has a history of being associated with many forms of therapeutic practice. Often, but not always, this can be a force for good. What follows could be described as the foundation philosophies on which SFH is built. Dr James Braid (1795-1860), who could be thought of as the inventor of modern hypnotism, successfully created a blueprint that could be described as the original hypnotherapy model.

“He was best known in the medical world from his theory and practice of hypnotism, as distinguished from Mesmerism, a system of treatment he applied in certain diseases with great effect.” (Obituary. The Lancet 1860)

Braid’s influence and success was very much a result of his empirical and scientific approach. In effect he said that the clinical progress should be verified by research and related to the latest understanding of psychology. He attributed the success of trance to ordinary psychological or physiological factors such as focused attention, expectation, motivation and endeavour. SFH is very much based on Braid’s basic premise that mental focus on imagery and language mediates the physical and psychological effects of dominant ideas.

It would have appeared sensible to consolidate the work done by Braid and to capitalise on what worked. This was not to be the case. In late Victorian and post Victorian times ‘wackiness’ once more sabotaged the credible scientific clinical practice. Even worse, in the late 19th and most of the 20th Century the pseudo-scientific ‘hi-jacked’ hypnotherapy and kept it in a state, often a delusional state of stagnation.

Fortunately, as Robertson says in the ‘Complete Writings of James Braid “The Father of Hypnotherapy in the 21st Century”, “Braid’s ‘Common Sense’ and empirical orientation have become fashionable once again”‘.

Hypnotherapy was partially rescued from post-Victorian ‘quackery’ and later from Freudian ‘analytical’ theory by psychiatrist, Milton H Erickson. He practised as a hypnotherapist from the 1940’s until his death in the early 1980’s. Erickson’s ideas reached far beyond hypnotic technique. He posed radical ideas regarding the role of therapist and the competency of clients. Milton Erickson was convinced that everyone has a reservoir of wisdom and competency and emphasised the importance of accessing client’s resources and strengths. Major interest in his work gathered momentum in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Erickson’s success and creativity spawned a variety of approaches. There was in particular great interest in one of his primary approaches entailing first learning the problem pattern and then prescribing a small change in the pattern.

Steve de Shazer’s first contact with psychotherapy happened when he read ‘Strategies of Psychotherapy’, the ideas and work of Erickson by Jay Haley. It has been said that this book coupled with the work of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Paolo Alto, formed the foundations for what would later be called Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).

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”.

In the 1990’s modern technology led to what some have referred to as a sequel of the Copernican revolution. MRI, PET and CAT scans can photograph the brain. Electronic microscopes, the nuclear tagging of living human molecules and other biochemical investigative techniques, enable scientists to have an ever increasing understanding of how the brain works. With at least 500 therapeutic methods, all proffering special theories, techniques and philosophies, psychotherapy could be described as bordering on dysfunctional. The neuroscientific revolution beginning in the 1990’s and progressing with ever increasing vigour into the 21st Century has begun to give the field uncharacteristic coherence. Certainly the days when therapists could make things up have gone.

“For future generations of therapists training will certainly change” says Mary Sykes Wylie and Richard Simon, (Discoveries from Black Box 2002), “Curricula will have to face the accumulation of knowledge coming from neuroscientists… having an understanding of such clinical relevant areas of knowledge as neural networks and brain structures”.