AfSFH Blog

Welcome to the AfSFH blog page!

Our blogs are designed to further the aims of the AfSFH, which are to increase public awareness about Solution Focused Hypnotherapy and its benefits, and to support our therapists and their clients.

AfSFH members can send in their blogs for publication to, with their name, contact details, and website information (so readers can contact you should they wish to do so).

For members of the public, welcome to the fascinating world of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy!

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  • 24 Mar 2017 5:17 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by Trevor Eddolls

    IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a common, long-term problem. Different people show different symptoms and some people are affected more severely than others. The symptoms may last for a few days or for a few months and may be associated with eating certain foods or periods of stress. Estimates suggest that one in five people may experience IBS, which usually develops when people are in their twenties. Estimates suggest that twice as many women are affected as men.

    There is no cure for IBS. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends hypnotherapy as a treatment.

    NICE recommend that people living with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months, consider a referral for psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, and/or psychological therapy.

    The most common symptoms of IBS (according to are:

    ·        abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping, which may be relieved going to the toilet

    ·        a change in your bowel habits – such as diarrhoea, constipation, or sometimes both

    ·        bloating and swelling of your stomach

    ·        excessive wind (flatulence)

    ·        occasionally experiencing an urgent need to go to the toilet

    ·        a feeling that you have not fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet

    ·        passing mucus from your bottom.

    Some IBS sufferers also experience:

    ·        lethargy

    ·        feeling sick

    ·        backache

    ·        bladder problems (such as needing to wake up to urinate at night, experiencing an urgent need to urinate, and difficulty fully emptying the bladder)

    ·        pain during sex (dyspareunia)

    ·        incontinence.

    Because of the impact IBS has on a person, they may also have feelings of depression and anxiety.

    The cause of IBS is unknown, although there are suggestions that it’s related to problems with digestion and increased sensitivity of the gut. There are suggestions that food passes through the GI tract too quickly, causing diarrhoea. Or it passes through too slowly, causing constipation. Or that it doesn’t pass through at all. Or it may be that the brain becomes oversensitive to messages from the gut, so mild indigestion feels like severe abdominal pain. And often a period of IBS can start after a stressful event. Other triggers for IBS include: alcohol, fizzy drinks, chocolate, caffeine-containing drinks, processed snacks (crisps and biscuits), and fatty or fried food

    Diagnosing IBS is difficult because there is no specific test. Often their doctor will exclude other causes first such as IBDs (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, which leave inflammatory markers in their blood tests.

    Cochrane looked at the research evidence and found that the studies provide some evidence that suggest that hypnotherapy might be effective in treating IBS symptoms including abdominal pain. However the results of these studies should be interpreted with caution due to poor study quality and small size.

    As well as hypnotherapy, people with IBS may try keeping a food diary to identify any foods that seem to trigger an episode. People with diarrhoea may try cutting down on the insoluble fibre (wholegrain bread, bran, cereals, and nuts and seeds). If they have constipation, they might try increasing the amount of soluble fibre they eat and the amount of water they drink. If a person has persistent or frequent bloating, they might try a low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyol) diet. FODMAP carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables, animal milk, wheat products, and beans) aren’t easily broken down and absorbed by the gut. As a result, they start to ferment in the gut relatively quickly, and the gases released can lead to bloating. Many people say that exercise helps to relieve their symptoms of IBS. The exercise needs to be strenuous enough to increase a person’s heart and breathing rates. Some IBS sufferers take anti-spasmodic drugs, some are on laxatives, others are prescribed antimotility medicines (for diarrhoea), and others may be using peppermint oil. Some people find taking probiotics regularly helps to relieve their symptoms of IBS. And some people will be taking antidepressants.

    One of the main benefits of hypnotherapy for IBS is that it can help a client to relax, which, in turn, can help them to manage stress – to empty their stress bucket. It can also be used to help the client to visualize themselves coping and decreasing their sensitivity to messages from their gut. Hypnosis can also improve a client’s general mental well-being, and provide psychological coping strategies for dealing with distressing symptoms, as well as help suppress thoughts and behaviours that increase the symptoms of IBS.


    Trevor Eddolls
    iTech-Ed Hypnotherapy
    Wilts SN14 0TL
    01249 443256

  • 05 Jan 2017 5:19 PM | Helen Green (Administrator)

    Written by David Newton

    I am often asked the question ‘What is Solution Focused Hypnotherapy?’

    Well, Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH) is a model of excellence that uses interventions that are effective. It will use the very best procedures that science and research prescribe. In reality though its core philosophy is very much based on the work of Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg and the basic tenets of SFBT.

    Hypnotherapy, and SFH is no exception, has a history of being associated with many forms of therapeutic practice. Often, but not always, this can be a force for good. What follows could be described as the foundation philosophies on which SFH is built. Dr James Braid (1795-1860), who could be thought of as the inventor of modern hypnotism, successfully created a blueprint that could be described as the original hypnotherapy model.

    “He was best known in the medical world from his theory and practice of hypnotism, as distinguished from Mesmerism, a system of treatment he applied in certain diseases with great effect.” (Obituary. The Lancet 1860)

    Braid’s influence and success was very much a result of his empirical and scientific approach. In effect he said that the clinical progress should be verified by research and related to the latest understanding of psychology. He attributed the success of trance to ordinary psychological or physiological factors such as focused attention, expectation, motivation and endeavour. SFH is very much based on Braid’s basic premise that mental focus on imagery and language mediates the physical and psychological effects of dominant ideas.

    It would have appeared sensible to consolidate the work done by Braid and to capitalise on what worked. This was not to be the case. In late Victorian and post Victorian times ‘wackiness’ once more sabotaged the credible scientific clinical practice. Even worse, in the late 19th and most of the 20th Century the pseudo-scientific ‘hi-jacked’ hypnotherapy and kept it in a state, often a delusional state of stagnation.

    Fortunately, as Robertson says in the ‘Complete Writings of James Braid “The Father of Hypnotherapy in the 21st Century”, “Braid’s ‘Common Sense’ and empirical orientation have become fashionable once again”‘.

    Hypnotherapy was partially rescued from post-Victorian ‘quackery’ and later from Freudian ‘analytical’ theory by psychiatrist, Milton H Erickson. He practised as a hypnotherapist from the 1940’s until his death in the early 1980’s. Erickson’s ideas reached far beyond hypnotic technique. He posed radical ideas regarding the role of therapist and the competency of clients. Milton Erickson was convinced that everyone has a reservoir of wisdom and competency and emphasised the importance of accessing client’s resources and strengths. Major interest in his work gathered momentum in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Erickson’s success and creativity spawned a variety of approaches. There was in particular great interest in one of his primary approaches entailing first learning the problem pattern and then prescribing a small change in the pattern.

    Steve de Shazer’s first contact with psychotherapy happened when he read ‘Strategies of Psychotherapy’, the ideas and work of Erickson by Jay Haley. It has been said that this book coupled with the work of the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Paolo Alto, formed the foundations for what would later be called Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).

    The basic tenets of SFBT are well known and are different in many ways from traditional forms of treatment. It is a competency based model and the focus is on the clients’ desired future rather than on past problems or current conflicts. It assumes that no problems happen all the time, there are exceptions and that small changes can lead to large increments of change. The setting of specific, concrete and realistic goals is an important component. In SFBT it is the client that sets the goals. Once formulated the therapist will use a number of specific responding and questioning techniques to assist the client construct the steps that may be required to reach the ‘preferred future’. Solution Focused Hypnotherapists note Steve de Shazer’s often repeated assertion that solution work is “the same whatever problem the client brings”.

    In the 1990’s modern technology led to what some have referred to as a sequel of the Copernican revolution. MRI, PET and CAT scans can photograph the brain. Electronic microscopes, the nuclear tagging of living human molecules and other biochemical investigative techniques, enable scientists to have an ever increasing understanding of how the brain works. With at least 500 therapeutic methods, all proffering special theories, techniques and philosophies, psychotherapy could be described as bordering on dysfunctional. The neuroscientific revolution beginning in the 1990’s and progressing with ever increasing vigour into the 21st Century has begun to give the field uncharacteristic coherence. Certainly the days when therapists could make things up have gone.

    “For future generations of therapists training will certainly change” says Mary Sykes Wylie and Richard Simon, (Discoveries from Black Box 2002), “Curricula will have to face the accumulation of knowledge coming from neuroscientists… having an understanding of such clinical relevant areas of knowledge as neural networks and brain structures”.

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