Sometimes people ask me ‘what is cognitive hypnotherapy?’ and I usually come up with a few answers that include statements like ‘Well it’s a very flexible approach based around the needs of the client; it draws on a number of established and cutting-edge psychological theories and practices; it uses hypnosis as just one of the tools to help create positive change and it works within the client’s model of the world. All these statements are a way of trying to describe what I do but Trevor Sylvestor’s blog ‘Aiming for permanent heresy’ caught my eye recently on the Quest Institute’s website.

Trevor’s uses Bruce Lee as an example of someone whose flexibility as a fighter is to be guided by his opponent’s responses as a way of deciding which ‘technique from which approach to use at each particular moment.’ In the same way Cognitive Hypnotherapy can be viewed as ‘a framework to guide the same kind of choices we have to make with each client, rather than a therapy itself.’ I frequently find myself feeling thankful that I chose to do my hypnotherapy diploma with The Quest Institute a couple of years ago. There have been a number times when I have been using a technique with a client only to find that that technique is not working for them or we are reaching some kind of a dead end. The ability to change direction with a client and employ something else that may be quite different and works better for them is without doubt due to Trevor’s excellent training and his dedication to Cognitive Hypnotherapy remaining ‘an organised, permanent, heresy’ whereby we assume that nothing is true.

What I mean by the above is that there are many excellent therapies and techniques out there but whilst a particular technique might work for most people it won’t work for everyone. Most therapists will say that they work with the individual but, when the individual doesn’t fit into their therapy model of the world, it can be all too easy to blame the client when therapy doesn’t achieve what it sets out to do. As Trevor explains, many therapies become stifled under the weight of their beliefs and assumptions, becoming a type of church that aims to preserve its beliefs rather being open to new evidence or ideas. As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist my aim is to remain open and to keep learning as much as I can so that I can be as responsive to my client’s needs as possible. As Bruce Lee said ‘If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.’

To read Trevor’s blog go to: