Male Rape – A Problem That Persists


This post is inspired by the very emotional programme about male rape shown on the BBC in December 2017.  It covers the stories of a number of victims of male rape and how it affected them and continues to do so.  The programme included the estimates that one in six men will be the victims of rape or sexual abuse, and that approximately eight men are sexually abused every hour.

eight men are sexually abused every hour.

It’s difficult not to be shocked by those figures but, as a therapist, I found myself angry and frustrated at the fact that so few of them had been able to connect to services that would allow them to recover.  The programme ended with the statistic that ‘On average, it takes a man 26 years to speak out.’  That means there’s lots of people that take substantially longer than 26 years, to finally open up.  How are we failing these people so badly that they either don’t know where to get help or feel too ashamed to ask?  This seems to be much worse for men, the macho attitude of ‘just getting on with it’ and not wanting to be seen as a victim.  The fact is that for far too long, many of the services offered have not met the grade, whether NHS, charitable or private, and I hate to say it but the support groups on in the programme left me with the same depressing feeling, let me explain why.

Here, it’s important to make the clear distinction between ‘care and support’ (typically counselling) and ‘treatment’.  In the case of an assault, the proper approach is care and support where the person is able to be open emotionally in a safe environment that supports their return to normal emotional balance.  But all of the ‘victims’ and I’m trying so hard not to use that term in this article, showed all the signs of still be traumatised by the event many years later.  It is normal to be impacted by these events, you are supposed to lose sleep, your mood be effected, the constant re-living of events, to be hyper-vigilant following an event …. and then you are supposed to return to normal.  That’s the healing process.  The diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not that they have these symptoms but that they are not getting better after three to six months – that is the ‘disorder’.  And in each case on the BBC programme, I saw people that remained traumatised years after the event.  Each re-telling came with stuttering, tears and a wealth of other tells that showed they hadn’t escaped from the pain yet.

It’s difficult to know why some people spontaneiously recover from trauma and some don’t (about a third don’t).  Often there’s an unconscious strategy to try and go back and change what they did “If only I’d taken a taxi” or they feel they need to explain what happened, or to find some reason that will satisfy them as to why they didn’t report it or why they didn’t scream for help….   None of these approaches work in healing the trauma.

When the problem has persisted over years, a proper treatment is required, not care and support.

More often with men, they are so devastated by the attack that they can’t tell anybody at the time, they feel ashamed they couldn’t/didn’t fight off the abuser, the trauma leaves them unable to deal with life’s struggles, they are emotionally erratic, they drink, take drugs, relationships fail, life seems on hold.   A little care and support (counselling) might have prevented them from becoming traumatised (PTSD) at the beginning.  The problem is that ‘care and support’ is not treatment for PTSD.  Care and support, which often involves the re-telling and re-experiencing of the event, over and over, often in a support group, only keeps the trauma alive.  When the problem has persisted over years, a proper treatment is required, not care and support.  Thankfully there are many treatments available which effectively go in and recode the memory so that it’s no longer frightening and over-whelming.  As a therapist, in most instances, I don’t want the story, I don’t encourage the re-telling of the circumstances, it’s not needed for therapy; if it is needed we can retrieve the information in a way that is safe for the client.

I wish I could give my full support to ‘Stay Brave UK‘ and similar services because I know they are well meaning, their heart is certainly in the right place and I know they do good work.  But people that need to go to such support groups over and over and feel the need to tell their story, are still crying, are showing all the signs that they are still traumatised.  Their lives are still highjacked by it, even if the support helps them to cope better.  I’d love to see them continue to educate the community that help is available and to offer timely care and support for those able to seek it.  But they also need to understand when care and support must give way to proper treatment so they can regain control of their lives and refocus on their own values and goals make that the most important thing in their lives.


Diagnostic Labels and Meds are Barriers to Quick Change

Modern Psychiatry Is Losing Its Way

Every month or so I get enquiries from a potential client who’s clearly been through the medical/psychiatric pathway of care and my heart sinks.  This week I had a client who insisted I read his psychiatrist’s notes on how they’d been diagnosed with this and that.   The actual issue that was creating difficulty in his life, which was real, and very treatable would have taken me or any of the students I work with 30 minutes to resolve completely.  Hours of correspondence and calls later, an insistence that three people were involved in booking and monitoring the sessions and there’s still no appointment in the diary.  It will probably never happen.  I’m certainly not reading those notes; that’s never going to happen.  Why would I see this client through somebody else’s eyes, rather than my own?  A lot of the information I need from the client is non-verbal anyhow.

Diagnostic Labels

When a client says they’ve been diagnosed as Depressed or suffering from PTSD, it’s information that I hold very lightly; at most it sets a course of inquiry into the mental processes they are experiencing that are unhelpful.  We help identify them and find ways of putting better processes in place to run automatically so the client can really leave the problem behind after the session.  Often clients read the news and believe they are socially awkward because of their genes, or feel truly hopeless after being diagnosed as a ‘Depressive’; well at least the medication will help them feel less sad about that!  Diagnosis by an authority figure can lead to rigid beliefs which can affect their whole identity and sense of self, as opposed to understanding their brain has learnt to run a process, which can be unlearnt.  The truth is that whilst diagnostic labels relates to the symptoms of the client, they do not relate to, or identify, the cause.  I frequently get clients suffering from both ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’ – conditions that should be two ends of the diagnostic spectrum.

Psychiatric medicine fails to address the cause.

Here’s an example.  A recent client had killed a pedestrian driving at night.  Six months later she was getting flashbacks, bouts of anger, sleep problems, reliving that ‘thump’ and being fixated by that image on the ground under a blanket.  If you were to attach psychiatric labels to this client, it would be PTSD, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc.  The standard treatment would be antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and then something to help them sleep and none of this would address the problem, only the symptoms.  Psychiatric medicine fails to address the cause.  The cause, in this instance, was her replaying the ‘thump’, the images, etc in her head over and over.  One session to stop that, one to ensure nothing else was needed and confirm the first session had done what it was supposed to.  Job done, no medication required.  And let’s remember, that medical/psychiatric intervention would have been a minimum treatment of six months on those drugs, probably several modifications of those drug types and levels to get the client to the right level of detachment and indifference to the ‘thump’ and the images her unconscious were unhelpfully regurgitating.

Render Unto Caesar

Because of the success of the medical model of disease to treat viral, bacteria and genetic conditions, researchers and psychiatrists have pushed the medical model far beyond its natural ‘biological’ scope in the hope of helping people with psychological problems.  It’s undeniable that changing levels of neurotransmitters has demonstrable impacts on consciousness, mood and personality but this denies other facts in existence.

We learn to regulate ourselves over decades.  There are thousands of systems and sub-systems in the brain that are essentially regulated by just ten or so neurotransmitters.  Raise dopamine and the client is more goal-focused but his movements become disregulated.  Raise serotonin and the client might seem more satisfied but they’re less motivated to solve their real problems – oh, and their sleep isn’t the same as it was and their appetite has gone haywire.  Have you ever looked at the list of side-effects for anti-depressants?  That’s because of all the other non-related systems those neurotransmitters help to regulate.  Typically these types of drugs are as targeted as a blind man shooting at fish in the sea hoping he might get lucky this time.

To use the ‘brain is a computer’ metaphor from Cognitive Science, the psychological problems we are talking about are software not hardware and altering the clock speed, voltages and currents to the whole computer is not helpful.  What we need is a change in the processes and the code that manifest the client’s problem.

None of these psycho-active drugs offers a treatment.  Once they stop taking the drug, everything goes back to how it was.

Typically most doctors and psychiatrists have a list of five drugs they often use for a condition such as depression; if the first doesn’t work they move you to number two and so on.  They pretend it’s scientific but it’s guess work because each patient has a unique neurology controlled by their unique learnt responses to neurotransmitters.  That’s why some people get lucky but many loose hope after the third or forth new drug.  None of this really addresses the processes that the client is systematically engaged with.  None of these psycho-active drugs offers a treatment.  Once they stop taking the drug, everything goes back to how it was and if the client is still in the same depressing situation, their life will be no better, and their hopelessness will have increased.

Big Business

I’m a big fan of big-pharma but I’m also the first to admit it has its black sheep.  Pharmacology is big big business, billions are at stake, but some companies have created a pretence of helping clients that is little short of a racket.  Don’t believe me?  This is how Dr Marcia Angell, editor of The New England Journal of Medicine described current drug research in her book on the subject:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”(1)

One case, in particular, cited by Dr Angell, describes her concern over a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of paediatric psychopharmacology at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Thanks largely to him, children as young as two years old are now being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with a cocktail of powerful drugs, many of which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose, and none of which were approved for children below ten years of age.”

Dr Angell continues….”In June 2009, an American senate investigation revealed that drug companies, including those that make drugs he advocates for childhood bipolar disorder, had paid [him] $1.6 million in “consulting” and “speaking” fees between 2000 and 2007.”(2)

We are now in a position that doctors are unable to tell truth from fiction in the journals they rely upon.

The Bible – DSM V

The once trusted DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders) is now up to volume five but with each incarnation, the common sense has been left behind and now we have been left with an uncomfortable parody of good scientific practice.

This is how DSM-V was described by one (honest) psychiatrist:

“This is the saddest moment in my 46 year career of studying, practicing and teaching, psychiatry.” – Allen Francis.(3)

He continues, “They are pathologising everything.  If a kid has a temper tantrum now, they are calling it ‘Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder. [for the purpose of accessing government aid/programmes].  Grief is no longer considered normal grief, it’s now Major Depressive Disorder…. The everyday forgetting characteristic of old age, will now be misdiagnosed as Minor Neuro-Cognitive Disorder. ”

The most shameful aspect of this are the parents desperate to get Johnny diagnosed so they can get state assistance.  Heaven help Johnny if it looks like he’s getting better!


Whilst it’s true that some people do suffer from complex, chronic and acute problems based on trauma or genetic deficits, this is a very small number of people and they are suited for and benefit from psychiatric help.  However, for most people, depression, anxiety, trauma, most mood disorders can be treated quickly and cheaply through brief therapy, such as Cognitive Hypnotherapy.  Many doctors and psychiatrists are either unaware or refuse to acknowledge this fact and their clients are poorly served because of it.




  1. ‘The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It.’ – Dr. Marcia Angell
  2. ‘NEJM editor: No longer possible to believe much of the clinical research published.’  The Ethical Nag,
  3. ‘DSM 5 Is Guide Not Bible—Ignore Its Ten Worst Changes.’– Allen Francis. Psychology Today.



Eye Movement Treatments For Depression Are Here To Stay

There are a number of effective treatments for depression. As a Cognitive Hypnotherapist I know that there is no single treatment that works for everybody which is why I have many treatment options for my clients with depression (and anxiety). I trained in IEMT over five years ago and nothing in my arsenal has been more useful in helping clients quickly and easily recover from this debilitating condition.

By treatment, I do mean treatment. I don’t consider anti-depressants to be a treatment. When they work, all they they tend to do is allow a little comfort within the shrunken world of the depressive. Anti-depressants temporarily cover the symptoms, they don’t address the causes of the depression, they don’t teach the client to make the necessary adjustments to their lives to make a full recovery.

How Does Depression Start?

Before discussing the Eye Movement treatments, it’s worth asking the question, “How does depression start?” We aren’t born depressed, we’re born inquisitive, excited and energetic. Life and parenting teaches us where to set boundaries on our behaviour by teaching us what behaviour is likely to be painful, unproductive or outside of our skill set. Sometimes the boundaries are appropriate (not touching a hot stove) sometimes they are over-cautious, such as “dogs are dangerous!”  One of the problems is that, for many people, they often fail to update as our age and competences increase.  Martin Seligman coined the phrase ‘learned helplessness’ to individual tasks, that after a period of no improvement easily becomes a chronic ‘hopelessness’ that is central to depression.

As an example, the guilt that we felt about the way we broke-up with out first love, can generalise to the idea of relationships generally, making them something to avoid.  After that turbulent flight, the panic that we feel about flying makes the idea of a foreign holiday too painful to consider. Being bullied at school filled us with rage when we couldn’t prevent the unfairness, the same uncontrollable rage that now emerges at the bullying behaviour when somebody cuts us off whilst driving. At each stage some behaviour which could add to the quality of our life becomes a cause of pain.  It also affects our self-esteem through our assessment of our own competence (I failed at this before) and worth (I’m ashamed at how I behaved before).  Self-esteem is an unconscious assessment of our ability to thrive as well as an assessment of whether we deserve to thrive.  When our self-esteem is challenged we no longer feel capable of meeting the regular challenges of life.  The usual motivation we feel from the anticipation of engaging with life’s activities are replaced by hopelessness and fear.

Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT/EMI/EMDR)

Eye Movement Therapy works by removing the support structures of depression, by undoing the hold of these poorly learnt life lessons. There are several similar ‘Eye Movement’ therapies, such as IEMT, EMI and EMDR which are becoming common in therapeutic circles. Each therapy fits well within the Cognitive Hypnotherapy treatment methodology and IEMT, in particular, which was developed by Andrew Austin, incorporates the ‘Three Pillars of Depression’.

In terms of treatment, each method essentially acts in the same way.  The therapist elicits the problem state and associated memories and then gets the client to deliberately move their eyes in a pattern, whilst they try to maintain the memory.  It doesn’t sound much but the results are often astounding.  The memory of the break-up, the plane journey, or barking dog doesn’t go away, but the emotion does!  In most cases. In five years, I’ve never had the same painful experience come back once successfully treated.

How Does Eye Movement Therapy Work?

With my background in Cognitive Science I’d like to say that I have the answer to this question.  I don’t, but what’s been clear for several decades is that when the eyes move to the periphery, the brain tends to switch to a different conscious experience.  When you ask a person ‘what colour is your front door’ – typically their eyes go up and to your right.  Now, that’s not where the door is but it does allow the client’s eyes to stop looking and go and grab an image of the door from memory, put that into consciousness, so the question can be answered.  When a therapist moves the client’s eyes through a sequence, the client will struggle to maintain his problematic memory, as the brain is taken through a number of shifts in consciousness (auditory, visual and kinaesthetic).  This has the effect of desensitising the memory.  Cognitive Hypnotherapists often deliberately interrupt problem patterns but this intervention seems much more useful, often leaving the client with a very different and relaxed attitude to the event that a minute ago was problematic.

I don’t typically say much about this intervention to a client.  When they call, I don’t tell them, ‘well for £90 I can move your eyes around a bit.’ because I’d certainly have no clients.  When I do explain it to clients, it’s usually afterwards, it bypasses any natural scepticism because they’ve just had a very clear experience of a painful difficult memory one moment, followed a few minutes later by a client who’s only frustration is to not be able to get that feeling back.  It’s usually at that point that the client completely relaxes, a new trust is established and they feel able to take on other areas that need a quick detox.


The Three Pillar Model of Depression

The Three Pillar Model (specific to IEMT) separates emotions into PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE. Painful memories from the past (Guilt, Shame, Regret, etc) makes us worry about how we will respond to events in the future (Panic, Anxiety, Worry, etc.) which tends to create distress in the moment which can lead to loss of control in the present moment (Rage, Anger, etc), which leads to incidents that make us feel Guilt, Shame, Remorse – and so the vicious cycle continues. Depression and anxiety are often diagnosed separately by doctors and, on the face of it, they seem at opposite ends of the diagnostic spectrum but in my experience, they nearly always appear together in my clients. They are two sides of the same coin.

The good news is that by treating the Guilt, Shame, Regret, etc. or the Rage, Anger, etc. we remove that pillar from the cycle and start to restore freedom of movement for the client.  They are no longer crippled by their past, or scared of their future.  This new freedom restores behaviours they can enjoy and builds their self-esteem. In most cases the client won’t know about the old emotional conditioning until it is brought out in the therapy session. Whilst some memories are fresh, clients are often surprised about how some earlier and often long-forgotten memories have created a wave of havoc throughout their lives.

IEMT is a great way of treating these learnt emotional responses. We look for an emotional memory associated with one of the stand out emotions (e.g. Guilt) and by holding that memory in mind whilst the eyes are moved in certain precise ways, it quickly disrupts the memory. Within a few minutes a very painful memory can be reduced to something my client is totally indifferent about. It doesn’t always work but nearly always!

This might not be the only treatment offered but as each painful emotional experience is treated, the freedom is restored, the anticipation of the future becomes brighter and more engaging. The depression and the anxiety just don’t work the way they used to.

Objectively Measured Improvement

I use IAPT questionnaires which are widely used to assess levels of depression and anxiety. By talking with the client and using these measures in every session it becomes clear how effective the treatment has been and typically a three-four week treatment is enough to restore the client to where they are no longer clinically depressed or anxious. After each treatment, the client will know that something is different, they don’t need to worry that ‘something will shift after eight weeks’ their internal experience is different from the start. Some clients need more help or a different treatment and that’s easily established from early on.

Many people that struggle with depression and anxiety for years or decades feel their condition is hopeless. Unfortunately NHS mental health treatment are very hit and miss and the standard treatment of using medication won’t change the behaviours or emotional conditioning that lies at the heart of these conditions.

If you have any questions about eye movement treatments, please get in touch at

Simon Bates.
MNCH(Acc)  BSc Cog. Sci.  MNLP

Abuse Stays Fresh Until It’s Treated – PTSD, Football, Rape

Nobody could have been left unmoved by the revelations of retired football players this month.  First a lone footballer speaks out about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child from a coach, then the floodgates opened up as we realise the extent of the abuse for the first time.

BBC Victoria Derbyshire – Footballers Speak Out

The numbers don’t surprise me, that culture was toxic in many ways, it still is.  What surprises me is that so many adults including those in the know actually think those men should just get over it, put it in the past, bury it, ignore it, take one for the team (again). It was clear that hadn’t, they couldn’t, they didn’t know how. The memories were as vivid, painful and frightening today as they were 30 years earlier. Several of the victims said that not a day had gone past when it hadn’t affected them. Many suffered from anxiety, many would drink too much, undoubtedly there was shame, anger, guilt, difficulty in moving on to the next phase of their lives.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterised by intrusive stressful thoughts, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, anger, loss of sleep, irritation, shame, depression, suicidal. This mental health condition is notorious for it longevity. Even depression, left untreated, has a tendency to go away on its own for many suffers. Not so much for PTSD.

It’s worth remembering that it’s not a disorder to be upset, to ruminate over the incident, to lose sleep, to be on alert when we go through something over-whelmingly negative, such as loss, injury, abuse, tragedy. The disorder is to not to return to normal emotional comfort within a month or two. I’m not sure why but about 70% of the population that goes through trauma spontaneoiusly get better. The remaining 30% struggle to recover and can stay in that emotionally wounded state for decades. Typically they resort to coping strategies, repression, anger, drink, drugs, sex, becoming an abuser, isolation, just surviving.

Thankfully, over the last few decades psychological research has identified methods to quickly and painlessly deal with memories that are too painful to process normally. Now, treatments for PTSD are typically just a handful of sessions from a qualified therapist – sometimes just one! (It’s important to make the point that counselling does not qualify as a ‘treatment’. Counselling is care and support which is quite different and may be appropriate immediately after the trauma but it is not a treatment for PTSD and can, in fact, make things worse.)

There are many reasons why people don’t seek treatment:

  • fear of the pain of reliving it
  • failure of previous treatments or distrust of therapists
  • loss of faith in NHS/state provision of care
  • concern over lengthy or costly treatment
  • shame/guit (ironically)

Thankfully modern therapy such as Cognitive Hypnotherapy is able to work without you needing to discuss any details of the trauma and a good therapist will ensure the session is an entirely positive experience. Private treatments can be arranged at short notice with a therapist of your choice and therapy should give you improvements from the first session and rarely last more than four or five sessions. Ask a friend for a recommendation or look for a Cognitive Hypnotherapist near you for a fast and effective treatment so that you can take control back of your life.

End the suffering.



Firstly, a simple reminder that anxiety is not a disorder.  Anxiety is a normal feeling, rather uncomfortable, but one that we need to be able to experience in order to stay healthy.  Without anxiety, blowing the rent money on restocking your fish tank becomes really easy.  We need to be able to anticipate feeling really bad or injured when assessing certain future scenarios so we can take steps to avoid them.  Anxiety is, after all, entirely future focused.  (If we are anxious about having cheated, it’s really an anxiety about what happens in the future as a natural result.)

So why do we often refer to feelings of anxiety as being bad for us?  Why do we go out of our way to stop those feeling, to repress them, avoid them, drink or drug them out of existence?

In most cases, this comes about when our brains mistakenly learn to treat more and more non-threatening situations as threatening, or to over-emphasise the danger.  This is further exaggerated in people of low self-esteem since their assessment is ‘I don’t have the ability to deal with this situation or these feelings’.  Under these circumstances anxiety becomes a chronic (persistent over time) condition and is worsened by simple day-to-day challenges.  This is when anxiety becomes a disorder, or Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) to give it its proper name.

Common experiences that can lead to GAD are earlier traumatic experiences where the person was unable to deal with the situation and became highly emotional and unresourceful.  For instance, being embarrassed in front of a classroom at age 8 can lead to severe anxiety in the office whenever called-upon to present material.  This creates avoidance behaviour, such as calling in sick or not taking promotions which might require speaking to groups.

In this instance the exaggerated response is irrational.  The adult knows the material, knows how to stand and talk at the same time and knows that with a little good humour mistakes are easily tolerated.  The exaggerated emotional response, however, is not governed by logic, the response is triggered automatically when a certain environmental pattern or stimulus is present or anticipated.  Rationally, the adult knows he has the information and skills required and that he knows that no physical injury will result from his failure to recall last quarters sales figures.  Unfortunately, the Limbic system, which manages emotional responses to threats, literally doesn’t listen to reason, it’s not part of the same brain structure and nor does it use the same methods of internal communication.  It’s like two computers with no connection between them, each coming up with a different assessment.  Logical new brain: fine, whatever.  Emotional old brain: you’ll be humiliated again like before, stay home.  The result is always the same, a win for the emotional brain, since this is the part evolved to protect us from urgent threats (spears, tigers, fire).  The logical brain doesn’t even get the information once the fight, flight and flee mechanism is triggered.  It’s left to assess things only after the immediate threat has past.  Evolutionarily, it’s better to over-react to a threat than to not react, certainly when spears, tigers and fire were more of a problem…. it’s less well suited to the Facebook generation who only have to worry about being de-friended.

Catastrophisation is a feature of GAD.  Small problems become huge in the mind of the GAD sufferer.  There also tends to be over-generalisation, so from a small car accident, the GAD sufferer might believe all transport is dangerous and become home-bound.  Or the one-time threat from a large aggressive dog becomes an anxiety towards all animals all of the time.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is one system of treatment that helps sufferers to understand how they mis-assess their surroundings and try to gradually train their emotional mechanism to be more ‘reasonable’.  This process works for most but can be a slow process.

Cognitive Hypnotherapy uses a number of different methods to treat anxiety sufferers, primarily looking to remove the damage done by the initial traumatic memory so that it no longer serves as a base to launch negative emotional assessments.  We also work to reset the brain’s natural filters to ensure that attention is used productively; focusing more on positive environmental activity and less on counter-factual scenarios that can cause irrational fear.

Recent research indicates that Cognitive Hypnotherapy achieves as good or better results than CBT and does it in fewer treatment sessions.

If anxiety is ruining your life and you’re ready to tackle it, book a session with me so we can put it behind you.


Addiction: Johann Hari’s Seminal Ted Talk

Johann Hari asks the question, what if everything you think you know about addiction is wrong. Hari takes a similar position to the Human Givens style of treatment. We don’t need to focus on the addiction, if we restore the things that everybody needs to thrive, especially socially, the need for drugs will go away. Drugs use is seen as a failed attempt to address a person’s genuine needs but failing in their method.

Based on his book ‘Chasing the Scream’.

Humour: Free Phobia Workshop

Lee Mac gives us fly-on-the-wall access into his popular phobia workshops.

Wordweaving – The Science of Suggestion

Wordweaving™ is a style of hypnotic language developed and used within Cognitive Hypnotherapy by Trevor Silvester of The Quest Institute.

Historically, most hypnosis was done by taking the client into a deep trance through systematic relaxation and internal focus. Once in a deep trance the client was given suggestions to counteract the problems s/he were experiencing.  Some people experienced more difficulty entering deeper states of hypnosis and the sessions could fail, it can also take a significant portion of the session to reach the required state. The upshot of this is that only one piece of work could be addressed each session, assuming the client could be hypnotised, and unless the procedure was done exactly right, the outcome might not be reached.

More recently, hypnosis tends to be more ‘conversational’ using light trances where the aim is to work on the same issues using conversation as the main tool together with techniques that create the mental states required to effect change.

Wordweaving™ was created to guide hypnotists easily to creating the light trance state required but also to be highly targeted in terms of the suggestions given. Suggestions are designed to be carefully aimed to address the context of the client’s problem. Client problems are maintained by certain chronic trance phenomena, such as amnesia, and regression (being hijacked mentally/emotionally to an earlier period of your life, rather than being present). By identifying and utilising the specific trance phenomena we provide a counter spell able to counteract the mischief done by whatever force created the problem. The third area of focus for Wordweaving™ is the use of the Milton Model of hypnotic language to deepen the trance work and enhance the counter-spell.

Milton Erickson is one of the people most responsible for returning hypnotism to the prominence it has today. He described great hypnosis as being ‘artfully vague’. The vagueness helps create the trance, the artful, ensures the vagueness is still targeted. What Wordweaving™ does is ensure that the words are as artful and bespoke as possible. This increases its effectiveness and helps to modernise the overall protocols involved.

The best resources for learning more about Wordweaving™ are Trevor’s own books and the on-line course available from The Quest Institute store.