6 Questions to ask before you choose your hypnotherapy course

woman studyin with bookshelves behind herHypnotherapy is a highly diverse profession, with many different models of therapy and approaches. If you want to work in the field of clinical hypnotherapy, potentially working alongside mainstream health professionals, such as the NHS, you need to be sure your training will set you up for that.  The trouble is, you almost need to be qualified to understand what the glossy websites are actually saying! However, a few specific questions can help you see if the course you are being offered is the right one for you and whether you’re going to get the training you need to support you in becoming a professional hypnotherapist.


  1. Does my lecturer have a therapy practice? Can I look them up online?

The struggles people are facing have changed hugely over just the last couple of decades, with people seeing hypnotherapy differently, understanding what we offer more and even the problems they face are changing.  If your lecturer isn’t aware of these changes and the strides being made every day in the field of brain science, how will they be able to support your development as a credible and current hypnotherapist?  Look for a school that’s lecturers are also successful hypnotherapists; you may need to ask who will be teaching you to find out. Ask ourself if they seem credible, professional, successful and up to date because their experience and case histories will help you understand not just the academic side of hypnotherapy but its practical applications too.

  1. Will we do regression or past life regression therapy as part of our training?

Whilst regression is still used successfully by some practitioners we know there are less invasive, less risky ways to treat those issues.  In the wrong hands, regression can actually cause more trauma and, due to advances in the field of neuropsychology, hypnotherapy has moved on.

As a clinical hypnotherapist, you will not be using past life regression; a form of regression based on the belief that current issues can be from past lives.  This is holistic and spiritual in approach, and not something used in a clinical setting.  In the same way, as clinical hypnotherapists, we do not use stage hypnosis techniques as part of therapy.

  1. Do you use hypnosis alongside a recognised model of therapy?

As a clinical hypnotherapist you will be working in the area of mental health; as such, you will require a model of therapy to support your work.  When you realise hypnosis is the conscious and subconscious parts of the brain working together to solve a problem it is important we, as therapists, know how to work with both parts of the brain confidently and safely.  A reputable therapy model will help you do this and it is worth investigating what your chosen school offers and whether you agree with the model of therapy on offer.

  1. How practical is the course? How much will I practice in and out of class?

As a practitioner of hypnotherapy you must practice.  Academic learning supports the theory behind the practice, but you must have access to a safe environment in which to practice with real clients so that you can see what it is like to support someone engaging in therapy.  This means practice sessions in class and supported practice between learning days. A minimum of 50 hours practical work is required for most reputable courses so it is important to ask about the practical side of your training too.

  1. What kind of research backs up what I‘m being taught?

Modern hypnotherapy now works alongside mainstream medicine which means we need to be able to prove what we do works.  For over a century hypnotherapy has been striving to prove its efficacy and now, because of modern brain imaging techniques, more interest in the subject and neuroscience, we have been able to prove not just how hypnosis works, but more importantly why.  You will need to be able to prove this to your clients too, so ask your potential training provider if they can explain it to you.

  1. What training will I have around mental health?

As a clinical hypnotherapist you will very likely see clients with mental health issues, ranging from anxiety and depression to OCD, PTSD, social phobias, eating disorders, addiction, past trauma etc.  Without a proper understanding of not just the limitations of the work we do but how to support someone with a mental health struggle you cannot hope to practice safely or well.  It is becoming more and more important, particularly as we move away from being known as just the person you go to see when you want to stop smoking, or biting your nails. Ask your school what support and training they offer.

Working as a clinical hypnotherapist is one of the most rewarding careers you can have and times have never been more exciting, because, more and more, you will being seen as a practical professional who delivers life changing and long lasting results for your clients.  To do that, you need to have the right training to set you on the right path.  As the questions; train with confidence.

This post was written by Ali Hollands.  Ali is a multi-award winning clinical hypnotherapist with Inspired To Change in Maidstone.  Ali gained her first hypnotherapy diploma in 2012 and extended her training with a diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy in 2015 with Gary Johannes, head of CPHT Peterborough, Kent, St Albans, Essex, Northampton and Birmingham.

Ali is a practicing Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and senior lecturer for CPHT St Albans, Kent and Essex. As well as this she is writing a book about how to set up in business and in practice, for newly qualified hypnotherapists.  Ali’s passion is in improving performance and enjoyment of life, for her clients and students.  Ali believes that life and work should be fun and fascinating and you can follow Ali on Instagram  and Facebook


Why I trained to be a hypnotherapist


People ask me why I retrained to be a hypnotherapist.  I say it is because hypnotherapy helped me stop being part of the 1 in 4 of us who struggle with a mental health issue and gave me back my health, happiness and a new career!

Caroline Prout is a highly qualified solution focused hypnotherapist, hypnotherapy supervisor and lectures for CPHT Peterborough.  This is her journey from illness to wellness and beyond.

1 in 4 of us will suffer from some form of mental health issue every year. The pressures of our modern lives means stress, anxiety and depression are on the rise and our National Health Service is struggling to keep up.

4 years ago I was one of those 1 in 4. A diagnosis of M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) had seen me go from someone who ran twice a week, swam twice a week and worked just as hard in a very successful career to someone who struggled to put one foot in front of another and string together a decent sentence. The uncertainty during the 2 years it took to get a diagnosis sent my anxiety rocketing and my confidence plummeting and, what had started out as a physical health issue, spiralled into a mental health issue too.

I’m pleased to say I am no longer one of the 1 in 4 – I’m now one of the 1 in 36,000. I’m one of the growing body of professional hypnotherapists who are leading the way in the mental health arena, helping those 1 in 4 overcome their stress, anxiety or depression, building their confidence and self-esteem so they can move forward with their lives.

Hypnotherapy helped me get my life back on track. I recognised that the high stress work environment I had thrived in before was no longer doing me any favours. I was so inspired by how hypnotherapy had helped me that I rather rashly decided the solution was to retrain as a hypnotherapist myself.

It sounded great as I imagined it in my mind – how lovely it would be to help others every day, to choose the hours I wanted to work, to ditch the daily commute. What a fulfilling life I would have! But then reality hit, I couldn’t just give up work and retrain and set up a new business – I had a mortgage to pay!

My hypnotherapist recommended I contact CPHT, because they provided the best qualification in the UK – if you’re going to do something you’ve got to do it properly right. I had a mixture of excitement and disappointment swirling around my mind as I picked up the phone to them – I’d read about their diploma course and it sounded amazing but I couldn’t see how I could find the time or the money to retrain. So I was delighted to learn that I could do the course at weekends and pay for it in monthly instalments! So there really was nothing holding me back.

I could not have imagined that just a few years later I would not only have my own busy practice, where I work the hours that suit me and my life, but also help other people fulfil their dreams.  When I made that phone call a few years ago it was just a dream, but now I don’t have to imagine how lovely it is to help people every day, I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to choose when I want to work, because that’s my life!

I don’t have to imagine what my life would be like without the daily commute and the stressful work environment. I live that fulfilling life every day on the other side of the 1 in 4 – as part of the solution, not feeling stuck in the problem.

If you want to be at the cutting edge of hypnotherapy and make a real difference to the clients you see in the future, with a successful career in hypnotherapy this could be the right Course for you.  To find out about the next hypnotherapy diploma course run by CPHT Kent, just give senior lecturer Gary Johannes  a call on 07780 592625 or click this link to send us an application form today.  

Caroline Prout DHP HPD MNCH (Reg.) AfSFH (Reg) SFH (sup) is the director of Associates for Inspired To Change, the leading provider of solution focused hypnotherapy services in the UK.  She has a highly successful hypnotherapy practice in Thrapston, delivers training for both CPHT Peterborough and delivers her own course ‘Train your brain for success’ and is a qualified supervisor.

What is 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.

The origins of hypnotherapy

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”‘.

How Milton Erickson brought hypnotherapy back from the brink

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).

What makes SFBT different?

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”.

How understanding the brain has helped the solution focused approach

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”.

If you want to be at the cutting edge of hypnotherapy and make a real difference to the clients you see in the future, with a successful career in hypnotherapy this could be the right Course for you.  To find out about the next hypnotherapy diploma course run by CPHT Kent, just give senior lecturer Gary Johannes  a call on 07780 592625 or click this link to send us an application form today.  

David Newton, Chairman CPHT

David Newton is the founder of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and the original Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training  (CPHT) School in Bristol.  David retired from practice in 2018 after over 4 decades in practice and teaching.  CPHT has, at the last count 20 schools across the UK and beyond and is recognised as the gold standard in hypnotherapy education in the UK.  He is recognised as one of the leading lights in modern hypnotherapy.