What is solution-focused hypnotherapy?

Have you been put off asking for help for fear of getting into why your problem exists? Solution-focused hypnotherapy (SFH) could be for you. A client-centred therapy, SFH is goal-orientated, focusing on guiding you towards your ‘preferred future’. Whilst it acknowledges the past, the focus of the therapy is on your current situation and how you want that to change moving forward.

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SFH was actually born from a specific branch of psychotherapy. It identified that harnessing the power of the trance-like relaxed state of hypnosis can diminish any self-limiting beliefs and reinstall positive frameworks that are solution-focused.

How does solution-focused hypnotherapy work?

This form of therapy uses relaxation, visualisation, and suggestion techniques as the centre point of the therapeutic process. This is why solution-focused hypnotherapy is particularly helpful for anxiety-based conditions. The relaxed state or ‘trance’ helps access the subconscious mind – which is then far more accessible and receptive to suggestion – reducing any negative thought patterns and switching the mind to a solution-focused mode.

When we allow ourselves to explore deep relaxation, our brainwave activity shifts. The brain displays more alpha and theta wave activity that encourages a calm state of mind, plus enables us to visualise images or develop new perceptions of ideas that may serve us better than current thought patterns. 

The miracle question

SFH therapists use ‘the miracle question’ technique to help you both identify and gain clarity on what the problem is, and how this affects your life.

“The client is asked to identify exactly what they would like to achieve in their future. Solution-focused questions such as ‘what would tell you things are better?’ are used to further develop that picture,” explains solution-focused hypnotherapist Amy Grand.

This powerful questioning technique seeks to encourage you to imagine your problem-free future, and determine the steps you need to take to reach your goal. You will then work together to set realistic, tangible steps that challenge your current problem.

“The client is then induced into the ‘trance’ state using traditional hypnosis techniques. ‘Whilst in this state, positive suggestions are made by the hypnotherapist, which enables the client to build and create their picture into a ‘template’ in the unconscious mind,” says Amy. 

“When the client is bought out of trance, they have begun to develop a new way of thinking about their future in their unconscious mind. This new picture now forms part of their reality going forward.”

Using visualisation like the miracle question can help you see a way forward, investing in the possibility of this future and motivating you to overcome the problem. Solution-focused hypnotherapy is often a short term form of therapy, as many see positive change within the first few sessions, even within the first session.

What conditions is solution-focused hypnotherapy helpful for?

This form of therapy is particularly helpful for anxiety, or conditions that are exacerbated by anxiety such as irritable bowel syndrome, phobias and insomnia.

Amy notes that due to the nature of anxiety and its negative forecasting, treatment with SFH can have excellent results. “During the talking part of the therapy, the therapist uses solution-focused questions to allow the client to identify ‘exceptions’; times when they are not anxious. The client can then start to identify why these times are different and what they might be doing differently.  

“Their answer to the miracle question recognises that it is possible not to be anxious and identifies times and things that they can do to reduce the anxious moments.”  

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Solution-focused hypnotherapy for addiction

SFH can also be helpful for people seeking help to overcome addiction, such as drug and alcohol abuse, but the technique works slightly differently to anxiety-based conditions.

“Here it is essential to understand the metaphor of the ‘stress bucket’,” says Amy. “The stress bucket is where we store our negative thoughts, which are essentially the things that cause stress in our lives. It is important that clients understand that it is not the events in our lives that cause the stress, but the way we think about those events.”

Amy explains that addictions are often caused when the stress bucket ‘overflows’ and you respond to this by doing something you think makes you feel better. But, over time, you begin to realise that your go-to coping method – such as alcohol, smoking, taking drugs etc. – is doing more harm than good, and driving more anxiety and stress.  

“SFH works here by using trance to create similar conditions in the mind to the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep state. This is the body’s natural way of emptying the stress bucket and, therefore, the ‘trance’ state also serves the purpose of emptying the stress bucket. Again, solution-focused questions are used to allow the client to identify a future where they are not reliant on drugs and alcohol.”

It is a core belief of solution-focused hypnotherapists that you, the client, already possess the internal resource to make this change, and they are there to guide you towards accessing that power.

Upon exiting the trance, Amy shares that you’re better able to make decisions as the stress bucket is emptier and you are more able to function from the left pre-frontal cortex (the more intellectual, logical part of the brain) where you have created a future without dependency.  

How to find a solution-focused hypnotherapist

Amy Grand is a solution-focused hypnotherapist who has contributed to The Art of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. If you’re ready to make a change, you send her a message from her profile.

Alternatively, search for a hypnotherapist using the advanced search tool. Simply browse profiles until you find a therapist you resonate with, and send them an email.

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Written by Katie Hoare

Katie is a writer for Hypnotherapy Directory.

Written by Katie Hoare

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