Information gathering & agreeing a SMART* goal
This first consultation will focus on finding out what is troubling you and why you feel 'stuck' in dealing with it. The essential part is to find out what factors are maintaining your problem so you can choose to change these.
The origin of your problem isn't usually important; you probably learnt the unhelpful behaviour or way of thinking as a way of coping in the past. We will work together to help you achieve your goal, using a progression of agreed daily 'homework' tasks/assignments to test out your increasing ability to cope with anxiety. Throughout, I will ask you to rate how useful you find each activity so that future therapy is tailored to your preferred methods.
There probably won't be time to teach you self-hypnosis in the first session, but I like to teach a simple mindfulness/cognitive defusion technique for you to practice at home. Depending on the nature of your problem, you may also be asked to keep a daily record of when your problem occurs and how you feel at the time.
We may need to adjust your goal and tasks at subsequent sessions, because different techniques suit different people. With CBH, I aim to teach you the skills to treat yourself long term.
*SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound)
Q1) What are the practical things I need for online therapy?
You need safety and privacy i.e. peaceful room where you won't be interrupted/overheard during the session. Headphones/ear buds are ideal.
A comfortable chair + notepad + pen +/- glass of water +/- anything you need for comfort.
A stable internet connection (such as for video calls over WhatsApp/Zoom/Google Meet/MS Teams) + connected laptop/tablet set up opposite your chair so that I can see the upper half of your body. We will agree arrangements in case of internet disruption.
Q2) How will I feel afterwards?
If we have practised relaxation, I usually recommend that you avoid driving/operating heavy machinery for 30 minutes or so afterwards, both for you to obtain maximum benefit and be fully alert to road conditions.
Q3) Does it work?
There is nothing magical about cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy. I teach you evidence-based techniques to achieve your goal. There is no 'it'; you do the work.
Q4) How long does the benefit last?
For as long as you continue to use the skills and techniques you have learnt.
Q5) How do I learn self-hypnosis?
I will teach you. Self-hypnosis is a skill like learning to drive/write/play a sport- it takes regular practice.