Cognitive Behavioural hypnotherapy can be used for a vast array of issues. It is designed to give the clients the tools they need to manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave. It uses the integration of traditional CBT therapy which aims to change the way a client thinks and behaves. Studies have shown that using hypnotherapy alongside traditional CBT can increase its success by 70% (Kirsch, Irving and Montgomery April 1995).
Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a direct suggestion therapy that aims to look at the current situation and how the client is presenting their symptoms or how they are doing their problem. So how they think and behave in the problem situation. It is very much a future based therapy using mental rehearsal and commands to equip the client with the tools they need to resolve the issue that is presented. Identifying unhelpful thought patterns and embedding new more helpful patterns and beliefs enable the client to change their behaviour The therapy relies on providing better coping systems to address the issue. Mental rehearsal allows the client to practice coping in the problem situation so that they may be prepared and feel calmer in the future. Also replacing old unhelpful thoughts with more positive helpful thoughts can change the clients perspective as can teaching them how to change their behaviour.
There are many examples of techniques that can be used in hypnotherapy. Such as habit reversal, systematic desensitisation, cognitive restructuring and mental rehearsal. All aim to change thinking patterns and give the client a chance to practice their cognition and behaviours in their mind.
Systematic desensitisation for example involves the client relaxing when practising being in a situation that they would normally find stressful. By practising the event whilst continuing to relax they not only become less sensitive toward the subject but they also practice those thoughts and feelings in a safe environment.
This is also true with Habit Reversal. Not only are we teaching the client a new way to behave and think in the situation that they would normally perform their habit but they are also having the chance to practice that situation over and over again. By teaching the client a new way to behave , such as clenching their fist instead of biting their finger nails, and a new way to think about the nail biting (making them think of it as repugnant for example) the habit will be eliminated. And with mental rehearsal that new habit (clenching the fist) will become more and more entrenched.
Cognitive restructuring is a highly effective way to retrain the client about how they think of their problem. Particularly with phobias we can spend many years convincing ourselves of that phobia. Structuring our thoughts in a way that supports it and indeed encourages it. Using Cognitive Restructuring the client is able to learn to think in a different way and to practice those thoughts. Ultimately ridding themselves of the old destructive thoughts.