11:27am Tuesday 12th February 2008
At the core of human emotional disturbance is our tendency to transform desires, wants and preferences into rigid, unhealthy beliefs, rules and demands. These demands might be: I must; I should; I have to I've got to . . .; and it HAS to be! Often these beliefs are unconscious.
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy works towards making our operating beliefs conscious - and identifying whether they are healthy and helpful, or unhealthy and unhelpful.
Think of your mind as a computer - just as you wouldn't want a corrupt computer operating system, so you don't want unhealthy beliefs to be underlying and negatively influencing and informing every action, thought, feeling and behaviour.
An unhealthy and self-defeating belief is unrealistic, irrational, illogical, unhelpful and creates psychological disturbance.
Healthy beliefs accept the fact that we don't always get what we want and that, although this may be very difficult, not getting what we want is not the end of the world!
We have a common misperception that an event, person or situation causes us to feel a certain way - that something outside of ourselves or out of our control determines how we are going to feel at any given time.
Rational emotive behavioural therapy (REBT) developed by psychologist Albert Ellis, and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), developed by psychiatrist Aaron Beck fundamentally contest this misperception.
They represent this using the ABC model: A (or activating event) represents the trigger. B represents the belief about the trigger/event, this can be healthy or unhealthy. C represents the emotional, behavioural and psychological consequence that follow from the beliefs about A.
This model says simply that unhealthy beliefs will lead to unhealthy consequences - and healthy beliefs will lead to healthy consequences.
Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy works with this model and helps people to understand that emotions and beliefs are caused by their beliefs and way of thinking.
The ABC model also disputes irrational beliefs and enables people to implement new, effective ways of feeling and behaving.
This is done through discussion and various tasks, as well as working directly with the unconscious mind in hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a relaxed state of altered consciousness that allows for creative helpful problem solving, negotiation and suggestion for implementing new, helpful and healthy beliefs and psychological change.
Our thoughts really do create our reality and we can choose to create a potentially devastating and negative reality, or a potentially hopeful and positive reality.
However this often takes work and self-discipline! It can be easy to indulge in negative talk and create feelings of victimisation and disturbance.
We need to listen and watch out for the ways in which we disturb ourselves. This might be by distorting reality, demanding, seeing events as awful, discomfort intolerance and detrimentally judging ourselves and others. We can then choose to practise healthy and helpful ways of thinking and subsequently feeling.
Positive change is always possible!
Abi Strevens trained as a clinical hypnotherapist at the London College of Clinical Hypnotherapy and is a member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis. Prior to this, Abi trained and worked as a music therapist in the NHS within the fields of psychiatry and learning disabilities. She is currently completing her additional training as a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. Abi specialises in working with stress, anxiety, depression, phobias and the breaking of unwanted habits. For further information call The Bell Trees Clinic on 01865 200365.
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