Frequently Asked Questions

How Positive Mind Clinic’s approach differs from other forms of therapy?

Our approach to psychotherapy and counselling is solution-focused, integrative and future-oriented, which helps people feel better as quickly as possible. What makes this approach different from other therapy models is that we look to see what is missing, or being misused, in clients’ lives, with the aim of helping them find ways to better meet their needs. The aim of therapy is to help people detach and cope alone, not become dependent on the therapist.

To do this a therapist will draw from a variety of tried and tested therapeutic methods (such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Human Givens, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Psychodynamics, Gestalt, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy) as well as the latest findings in Neuroscience and insights from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programme (MBSR).

It is a practical, forward-focused approach, which concentrates on mastery of skills that people can use in the future once therapy is completed, rather than concentrating on, and being stuck in, what went wrong in the past. 

What is Integrative Psychotherapy?

Integrative Psychotherapy is composed of a collection of strategies and theories from various schools of psychotherapy. These theories and methods serve as a guide for the psychotherapist to facilitate clients’ internal integration of physiological sensations, feelings, thoughts, and actions. In short, integration means becoming whole, with full access to all that one is and may become. 

The term integrative, originally composed by Dr. Richard G. Erskine in 1972 refers to both – the full synthesis of theory and methods of psychotherapy; as well as the outcome of psychotherapy – the process of integrating the disowned, unaware, unresolved or fragmented aspects of the client’s personality.

An objective of Integrative Psychotherapy is to gain personal awareness and responsibility so that the behaviour is by choice in the current situation and not stimulated by compulsion, fear, or conditioning.

Integrative Psychotherapy, unlike an ‘eclectic’ approach, incorporates only those aspects of other theories and approaches that fit within a consistent and comprehensive theoretical framework and that have proven to be clinically useful.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that uses the power of suggestion to encourage positive change. A hypnotherapist will use relaxation techniques to help you reach a state where the conscious part of your mind is relaxed and your subconscious part is more open to suggestion.

How does Hypno-psychotherapy differ from Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a subset of Hypno-psychotherapy and the difference is in the therapist’s training and the types of issues they can deal with. When Hypnotherapy is integrated with other forms of psychological treatment (e.g. CBT, Psychodynamics, Solution-focused, Mindfulness, Gestalt, etc.), this integrative approach is known as Hypno-psychotherapy. Therapists who are trained in Hypno-psychotherapy (a form of Integrative Psychotherapy) through a UK Council of Psychotherapy (UKCP) approved training school can use hypnotherapy with psychotherapeutic techniques as part of a therapy session because they undertook training in psychotherapy and counseling theory and practice. 

What is hypnosis?

Hypnosis is often confused with a state of consciousness which is not. It’s a technique used by a qualified therapist to induce a hypnotic trance and artificially access the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state. Thus, hypnosis is a process, separate from the trance state that it induces.

It is worth understanding that hypnosis cures nothing. It’s what happens during hypnosis that has the potential to be therapeutic—the new understandings the person develops, the new associations they form in their mind, the new perspectives that evolve for this person as they go through the hypnotic experience. So the hypnosis itself simply provides a context in which this person can learn things in a much more concentrated way.

What is hypnotic trance?

The hypnotic trance is an altered state of consciousness whenever our attention is focused and locked on something. It is a natural state of deep relaxation, accelerated learning and heightened imagination during which your attention becomes very concentrated on a dominant idea, to the exclusion of any other thought.

Most people experience trance on a regular basis, such as when daydreaming or when being ‘in the zone’ or ‘losing yourself’ in a book or a hobby or anytime when we are on ‘autopilot’ – we are effectively in trance. The deepest trance of all is dreaming during the REM phase of sleep. During the trance in therapy context, you are fully conscious and in control, but you tune out most of the stimuli around you, giving you the ability to focus on the solutions at hand.

Why do we access REM state during the therapy?

The REM state is involved in programming our innate skills and learned knowledge. It helps in maintaining the integrity of our instincts, thinking patterns and behaviours.

At night, during the REM state, we re-run events of the day translated into metaphors (dreams). We absorb and organise this new knowledge and deactivate emotionally arousing expectations not acted upon in the previous waking period. In REM state we freeing the brain from stress to respond afresh to each new day. We can artificially induce REM state through hypnosis and use it in the therapeutic contexts to regulate emotions, stabilise mood and promote general wellbeing.

Is Hypnotherapy the same as Hypnotism and will I lose control during the hypnotherapy session?

Let’s dispel some myths. Hypnotherapy doesn’t take control over your mind.

During most hypnotherapy sessions the conscious mind is completely aware of what is going on, we only stay in trance by the conscious continuously allowing the process to take place. As soon as the conscious mind has had enough, we step out of trance, just as we step out of daydreaming.

Often, the public has a negative perception of hypnosis due to the TV programmes where stage hypnotist made other people do silly things in front of the masses, leading many to think that it is a dangerous and misguided technique, that gives control of our minds to others. Stage hypnotists have us fooled, as they thoroughly vet their participants beforehand and choose extroverts who want to perform on stage and who would not embarrass themselves or the hypnotist by not playing along.

Clinical hypnosis, as used for therapy, won’t make you lose control and it’s impossible to get stuck in hypnosis. You are completely in control and in charge at all times. You cannot be made to do, say, think or accept anything against your will. The level and depth of the hypnotic trance will depend on your willingness to ‘play along’ and trust in the therapeutic process. It is fully your own experience controlled by you.

Is hypnosis safe and what contraindications should I be concerned about?

Yes, hypnosis is safe when it is used by a qualified therapist. Hypnotherapy is approved by the British Medical Association and recommended by the NHS.

However, there are contraindications when using hypnosis. The hypnotic trance should not be used (or only with special care and under medical supervision) on people suffering from psychotic episodes, serious mental illness (e.g.: schizophrenia) and epilepsy. During the free initial consultation, we always carry out a full assessment of your current state of health and decide on the best treatment for you. We can help individuals who had a history of serious mental illness and psychosis, if they’re under a medical supervision and their illness is pharmaceutically managed. We would have to directly interact with your medical doctor to ensure it is appropriate to give such a treatment.  It is highly inappropriate to treat someone who experiences an active psychotic state (hallucinations and delusions), as this could worsen the individual’s health condition. In such case we would refer the individual to seek a medical help first.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present in any given moment by paying attention in a very specific way (on purpose, with fresh eyes or beginners mind and non-judgementally). 

Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.

Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses and it is accessible to anyone of us at any moment in time. It’s not something that we have to conjure up, but it requires a teacher who will show the individual how to access it.

How can I practise mindfulness?

Mindfulness can be practised in many ways.

It can be achieved through meditation practice, often referred to as formal practice. This requires the participant to focus one’s mind on breathing, sounds, thoughts or emotions) for a period of time, in silence, usually in a sitting position.

Mindfulness can also be practised through informal ways such as mindfully paying attention to one’s movement or other tasks such as eating or cleaning etc.

 

What are the health and wellbeing benefits of practising mindfulness?

The most common health and wellbeing benefits of practising mindfulness are stress reduction, increased focus and improved sleep quality. The prolonged and regular practice carried out for a minimum of consecutive 8 weeks can result in reduced anxiety and depression, greater confidence and self-esteem as well as pain reduction.

Mindfulness is now becoming more popular in clinical research, which helps to pinpoint the numerous benefits of the practice.

One of the main benefits of mindfulness practice is stress and anxiety reduction. In the research conducted by Lutz, Dunne & Davidson (2008) as well as Goldin & Gross (2010) indicates that mindfulness practice changes the size of the amygdala – the region of the brain that is primarily associated with emotional processes and the centre controlling our fight or flight response. The research concluded that this part of the brain is less active or sensitive following regular mindfulness sessions. It is already well established that mindfulness practice is very effective in the prevention of depressive relapse or reoccurrence (Kuyken et al 2015). This research takes place at the Oxford Mindfulness Research Centre where scientists explore Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as an effective and cost-efficient treatment for depression.

There is also a small study done by Bhasin, et al. (2018) that shows that people who meditated over an eight-week period had a striking change in the expression of 172 genes that regulate inflammation, circadian rhythms and glucose metabolism which in turn, was linked to a meaningful decrease in their blood pressure. Regular mindfulness practice can also significantly improve sleep quality or duration as stated in the research done by Winbush et al (2009). The research done by Hong Gong et al (2016) also suggests that mindfulness may mildly improve some sleep parameters in patients with insomnia.

According to a study done at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Carson, J. et al. (2004) mindfulness-based interventions can improve or even enhanced relationship quality. The study demonstrated a correlation between greater mindfulness practice and improved levels of relationship happiness. The couples in the study reported more closeness, relatedness, acceptance of one another and more relationship satisfaction among other things. The research also suggests that the mindfulness practice beneficially affected individuals’ optimism. The latter is also suggested by extensive research carried out by Dr Richard Davidson and Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn (2003). By taking fMRI readings on hundreds of people the study revealed that regular mindfulness practice can re-wire our brains towards heightened activity in the left pre-frontal cortex – the part of the brain that is responsible for positive thinking, and upbeat, enthusiastic and energized behaviours. The results suggest that the emotional set point can be shift, and that the positive thinking can be learnt given the proper training. The research also found a significant increase in antibody titers to flu vaccine and improved robustness of the immune system.

 

How will I feel during and after the treatment?

Trance is a very natural, comfortable and relaxed state, similar to the feeling you get when you drift away in thoughts or fall asleep except you do not lose conscious awareness. It is as pleasant and relaxing as a spa treatment with the added benefit of huge personal growth and self-mastery at the end. You will notice your breathing will slow down, your blood pressure will decrease, and your muscles, as well as your mind, become deeply relaxed.  At the end of the treatment, you will feel intensely refreshed and rejuvenated.

How many sessions will I need?

Everyone is different, but generally, clients start to feel better within the first 3-4 sessions.

As a guide, specific phobias without underlying issues would usually require 3 – 5 sessions, chronic stress and anxiety may require a minimum of 12 sessions; more complex emotional issues, depressive moods, insomnia, trauma or PTSD may require a minimum of 16 sessions.

Is online therapy effective?

Yes absolutely!

Evidence shows that online therapy has many benefits and it produces the same positive outcomes as in-person therapy* (*Source: The Lancet and  World Journal of Psychiatry)

As long as we can see and hear each other our therapy works just as well online as it does in person. All you need is somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed and a stable internet connection.

What changes I can expect from this therapy?

Everyone is different but, in principle, there are 3 types of change that you might expect:        

Immediate: You feel a massive shift right away after 1st or 2nd session – immediate changes in your physiology, thoughts and behaviours.

Incremental: You see consistent shifts every day, or over time (after 4-6 consecutive sessions).

Retroactive: You don’t see the shifts right away and then one day you suddenly look back and see all the things that are different in your life.  

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