Sunday, 13 May 2012

Relaxez Vous

Should hypnotherapy be more widely available on the NHS?

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the company of a few fully qualified hypnotherapists and what an interesting evening it was.

Apart from the rigorous training they undertake, it was inspiring to note how dedicated each person was to their vocation.

Hypnotherapy is a subject I believe in. Many years ago I suddenly acquired an intense dislike - hatred wouldn't be too strong a word - of flying and because my work involved a considerable amount of air travel, I sought help through my German GP.  He was most understanding and immediately referred me to a hypnotherapist who, he insisted, would certainly be of help.  After two sessions I was able to return to air travel instead of the lengthy journeys by train and boat.

My treatment was paid for by my health insurance which is mandatory in Germany.  Somewhere in the attic lies a tape which I was given as part of my treatment.  Back then the Walkman was just coming into fashion and the idea was I played the tape when sitting in a departure lounge or on the aircraft. That same tape was used many times on other occasions just to unwind quickly.

Last night I learned how little the NHS uses hypnotherapy. Dentists and midwives, I was told, use it regularly but it's seldom prescribed for other symptoms such as anxiety, phobias and the multitude of ailments which are exacerbated by stress.

Three of those present during our pleasant evening worked full-time in private practice and another part-time. When she was discussing her 'other' job it became obvious her skills in hypnotherapy would be quite valuable, yet her employers had no interest.  They preferred to employ more welfare staff to cope with the demand rather than acknowledge hypnosis has proved it can be beneficial to wellbeing.

What is her 'other' job?  She's a student welfare advisor at one of Scotland's largest universities and insists quite a percentage of those who seek her services would benefit from hypnotherapy but her employers 'don't want to know'.

Like any 'main stream' or complementary medicine practitioner it's essential to do homework to ensure they are fully qualified as it is a therapy which has yet to set an minimum standard of excellence, but with the help of websites such as the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, checking is reasonably easy.  The advice I was given last night was to ask see written evidence of qualifications and not to hesitate to follow up any doubts.

Should hypnotherapy be more widely available on the NHS? Yes, but not until the profession gets its act together and organises a recognised national body to oversee training and accreditation procedures.  Currently, anyone with a few hundred pounds available, can take one or more of the various courses available and set themselves up as a therapist.

He who laughs, lasts.
Mary Pettibone Poole


JRB said...

Should hypnotherapy be more widely available on the NHS?

Simple answer – NO!

No mater how skilled, ‘fully qualified’ (?) or dedicated therapists may think they are.

Until they as a profession can organise their training, accreditation and professional standards under the control and supervision of a single, chartered professional body; they should not be allowed to practice within the National Health Service.

Once they have appropriately organised their own profession I am sure they will make a very welcome and positive contribution within the NHS to the health and wellbeing of many

In the meantime, if individuals which to consult them on a private basis, then they are free to do so, just as they are equally free to consult a snake-oil salesman.

Brian said...

Excellent post. I was sceptical until I tried a course of hypnosis and now I can hypnotise myself. It's also excellent as a deep relaxation technique.

As for snake-oil, Big Pharma can't do everything and NHS referreals would be through a GP (Royal College thereof). Mind you, there are many inadequate GPs practising.

Barbarian of the North said...

There are already counselling services available, which provide - for the majority of patients - sufficient treatment.

I've had basic counselling training, and used one myself following a serious illness a number of years ago.

Once hypnotherapy is properly organised and fully accredited, then fine. But there are higher priorities on the NHS which is already stretched, even without PFI taken into consideration.

I may be wrong, but your hypotherapist probably wants to be used in that role with students as it would certainly pay more than a student welfare counsellor. And to be honest a GP should be making clinical decisions about the well being of a student.

hector said...

until the nhs looks at its relationship with drug firms 'alternative' methods may have an uphill job to gain full recognition.a pill is often seen as a quick fix that suits under pressure health services.

Jo G said...

I agree with the accreditation issue. We have to be sure about those practising hypnotherapy otherwise we'll have all sorts looking to make a fast buck.

I've tried hypnotherapy myself and found it deeply relaxing. In fact Rosie you've reminded me I have a DVD stashed away somewhere. I think I'll dig it out again.

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subrosa said...

You say No for the same reasons as I say 'Yes but' JRB. Couldn't agree more with you.

Of course the problem is that hypnosis is used minimally within the NHS already.

subrosa said...

Thank you Brian. It's a while since I used it as a deep relaxation technique but it does work - for me.

subrosa said...

I've seen many forms of 'counselling services' come and go Barbarian and I don't believe hypnosis is counselling.

'Your hypnotherapist' is not my hypnotherapist. I just happen to be in the company of a few of them who were in the area for a conference. I had not met any of them prior to our evening.

I don't think the woman who commented about students meant she would diagnose serious clinical conditions. Her comment included hypnosis as a help towards reducing stress, which students have in abundance.

subrosa said...

Indeed Hector. Good point.

subrosa said...

I should find a video myself Jo, but the voice is important I find and few sites give a preview of the voice.

subrosa said...

Glad to be of help Junican. :)

RMcGeddon said...

I think it's probably safer and cheaper and quicker having a couple of pints to combat fear of flying etc rather than get some beardie weardie with sandals and a certificate messing with the most complex part of your body. The brain.
Go for a run or chat with friends for anxiety problems. Who knows what latent damage is left in your sub conscience after a session on the couch.
I googled hypnotherapy courses and could be fully certified ( again ;) ) for $250. The brass plaque was dearer but I'd get that from ebay.

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