Treatment Plans and Therapy Sessions

Even though we use the term hypnosis, there are many varying therapy techniques that can be applied depending on the issues and circumstances you wish to address. For example, besides Direct Suggestions and Metaphors, there are Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT) such as Neuro-Linguistic-Programming Techniques (NLP), Forgiveness Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy as well as Regression Techniques (to name only a few) that can be incorporated into a hypnosis session. What follows is a general overview of treatment plans followed further down by some specific examples:
Session 1
Objective:

  • Finding Initial Sensitizing Events (ISE)
  • Identify issue provoking stressors (IPS)
  • Agree and establish goal /desired outcome of therapy
  • Provide hypnotherapy session

Method:

Using Interview, including information from (depending on presenting issue):

  • Intake Questionnaire (IQ)
  • Feelings and Response Questionnaire (FRQ)
  • Personality Questionnaire (PQ) and report
  • Weight-loss Questionnaire (WLQ),
  • Stop Smoking Questionnaire (SSQ)
  • Hypnosis Regression technique
  • Objectifying emotions where verbalization of issue  is difficult

Intervention:

  • hypnotherapy/CBT based on presenting issues
  • prescribed hypnosis recording based on presenting issues
  • prescribed work sheet diary/worksheet for charting progress

 All clients are required to sign a Psychological Services Consent Form

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Subsequent Sessions
Objective:

  • Identify changes in issue perception since start of intervention
  • Reinforce cognitive strategy through CBT and hypnotherapy session
  • Where needed, discuss and provide additional cognitive strategy

Method:
Using Interview, including information from:

  • Worksheet/ diary
  • Client self-report

Intervention:

  • Reinforcement CBT/hypnotherapy based on presenting issues defined in session 1.
  • If cognitive strategy changes are required we will consider further CBT and one of the following hypnotherapy techniques::
  1. Any cognitive exercise that allows for negative to positive thought restructuring,
  2. Desensitization methods using dissociation techniques for trauma, severe anxiety or phobia related issues.
  3. Forgiveness of self hypnotherapy where negative self-talk (caused by guilt, self blame,etc.) has not been significantly reduced through direct suggestions
  4. Forgiveness of others hypnotherapy where negative thoughts and feelings are significantly influenced by third parties and client feels unable to make progress because of it.
  5. Mindfulness therapy based on Buddhist psychology (i.e. Nichiren Buddhism) where clients seek a deeper philosophical understanding of presenting phenomena and consider practicing  observation of mind and directive attention as a valid strategy to maintain cognitive balance*.
  • prescribed hypnosis recording based on chosen strategy will be provided
  • prescribed worksheet/diary for charting outcomes of applied strategies

*If mindfulness therapy is considered clients are required to first read “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” in order to determine whether the philosophical underpinning of the approach is in agreement with their own.

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I have outlined below what you can generally or typically expect when taking up therapy with me (note: depending on the issues approaches may be different, for example for smoking we typically only need one – two  sessions).

Stage 1

Before we meet in person you will be  forwarded the following documents which would be great if returned before our first session:

1. Intake Questionnaire– This form is designed to provide me with the usual demographic information as well as provides me with some details of your general direction and motivation. However, if you don’t feel like completing the questionnaire in your own time, especially if you feel that answering questions about your past or current situation is just too distressing DO NOT complete the questionnaire beyond section A.  We will then do this together here at your first appointment.

2. Feelings and Response Questionnaire– this questionnaire aids in identifying the situational thoughts and feelings you wish to change. Again, if you don’t feel like completing the questionnaire in your own time, we can do this together here at your first appointment.

3. Hypnotherapy Explained– this document explains what hypnosis is all about and provides a video link on hypnosis for educational purposes.

4. Mental Health Support Services– this document introduces you to some of the free Australian psychological emergency counselling services available to you (such as Beyond Blue or Lifeline)
Having the information beforehand gives me some time to better prepare for our session. However, if for some reason you would rather want to complete these forms together with me here at your first visit, that’s perfectly OK too.

Stage 2

Session 1 – In our first session we will be covering the following:

1. Q&A about hypnosis, i.e. resolving any concerns you may have so that you can feel comfortable with what we are going to do.
2. Finding out what the issues are and (if necessary) where they may have their origin.
3. Agreeing to the desired outcomes.
4. Using information from our interview and the forms you have supplied we will be conducting a hypnosis session.
5. Depending on the issues you are facing I will provide you with a Hypnosis CD of our session to take home.
6. You are required to listen to the CD (which also entails brainwave entrainment stimulation) for a prescribed period and chart your progress on a 3-4 daily basis until we see each other next (the chart will be supplied).

Stage 3

Session 2 – (usually 7- 8 days later)

1. Using the progress charts and your own observations we will talk about the changes that you have experienced since our first session.
2. We will review if other measures may be necessary to advance you further (i.e. regression, forgiveness of self or others therapy, negative-positive NLP type restructuring, modelling and projections, more direct suggestions, etc.)
3. Based on this we may conduct an additional Hypnosis Session to address what has been discussed.
4. The information from this session may be used to customise an additional CD (if required) which can be picked up at the third session 7-8 days later.

Stage 4

Session 3 – (usually 7-8 days later)

1. We will talk about the changes that you have experienced since our last session.
2. We will review if other measures may be necessary to advance you further.
3. You will be given the additional customised CD to take home.

At this stage you are about 3-4 weeks into therapy and you will have a very good idea of how effective it all is. Based on our assessment if the aims of therapy have been achieved, we will discuss whether more sessions are required.

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Selected Treatment Plans

What follows are a number of treatment plans designed for a number of conditions. However, please note that these are subject to change depending on the specific circumstances an individual might be experiencing.

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Stop Smoking

Stage 1

Before we meet in person you will be forwarded the following documents which would be great if returned before our first session:

1.      Stop Smoking Questionnaire – designed to identify the patterns of your addiction, the completion of the questionnaire will assist me in determining what works best for you

2.      Intake Questionnaire – provides me with your details.

3.      Hypnotherapy Explained- gives you an understanding of what to expect when hypnotized

Having the information beforehand gives me some time to better prepare for our session. However, if for some reason you would rather want to complete these forms together with me here at your first visit, that’s perfectly OK too.

Stage 2

Session 1 – In our first session we will be covering the following:

1.      Q&A about hypnosis, i.e. resolving any concerns you may have so that you can feel comfortable with what we are going to do.

2.      Using information from our interview and the forms you have supplied we will be conducting a hypnosis session.

3.      You will be provided with a Hypnosis CD of our session to take home.

4.      You are required to listen to the CD (which also entails brainwave entrainment stimulation) for a prescribed period.

5.      You may be given an additional CD entailing a 10 minute relaxation and breathing exercise which you can use whenever you would normally feel like having a cigarette.

This is usually where the hypnotherapy for ‘Stop Smoking’ ends. However, for those people who feel the need to reduce their habit step by step, more sessions may be necessary.

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Weight Loss

Stage 1

Before we meet in person you will be forwarded the following documents which would be great if returned before our first session:

1.      Intake Questionnaire – This form is designed to provide me with the usual demographic information as well as provides me with some details of your general direction and motivation

2.      Feelings and Response Questionnaire –aids in identifying the situational thoughts and feelings you wish to change.

3.       Weight Loss Questionnaire –aids in identifying the eating patterns you wish to change.

4.      Hypnotherapy Explained– this document explains what hypnosis is all about.

 

Having the information beforehand gives me some time to better prepare for our session.  However, if for some reason you would rather want to complete these forms together with me here at your first visit, that’s perfectly OK too.

Stage 2

Session 1 – In our first session we will be covering the following:

1.      Q&A about hypnosis, i.e. resolving any concerns you may have so that you can feel comfortable with what we are going to do.

2.      Finding out what the issues are and (if necessary) where they may have their origin.

3.      Agreeing to the desired outcomes.

4.      Using information from our interview and the forms you have supplied we will be conducting a hypnosis session.

5.      Depending on the issues you are facing I will provide you with a Hypnosis CD of our session to take home.

6.      You are required to listen to the CD (which also entails brainwave entrainment stimulation) for a prescribed period and chart your progress on a 3-4 daily basis until we see each other next (the chart will be supplied).

Stage 3

Session 2 – (usually 7- 8 days later)

1.      Using the progress charts and your own observations we will talk about the changes that you have experienced since our first session.

2.      We will review if other measures may be necessary to advance you further (i.e. regression, forgiveness of self or others therapy, negative-positive NLP type restructuring, modelling and projections, more direct suggestions, etc.)

3.      Based on this we may conduct an additional Hypnosis Session to address what has been discussed.

4.      The information from this session may be used to customise an additional CD (if required) which can be picked up at the third session 7-8 days later.

Stage 4

Session 3 – (usually 7-8 days later)

1.      We will talk about the changes that you have experienced since our last session.

2.      We will review if other measures may be necessary to advance you further.

3.      You will be given the additional customised CD to take home.

At this stage you are about 3-4 weeks into therapy and you will have a very good idea of how effective it all is. Based on our assessment if the aims of therapy have been achieved, we will discuss whether more sessions are required.

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Couples Therapy

In my experience relationship issues are mainly caused through differences in personality styles of interaction (if not identified and respected/mediated these lead to conflict) in addition to significant life events which may have led to conditioning/ or certain kind of unhelpful focus that lead to self-fulfilling prophecies.

In other words, if a partner feels unlovable, unworthy, etc. then it is likely that he or she will project these beliefs onto the environment and thus gets what he or she will be reflecting. Hence a person’s thoughts will be confirmed which will ultimately lead to a cycle of psychological/physiological reinforcement. This then consequently forms the identity of that person (yes…even though it is unhelpful … it is better to be something instead of ‘nothing’ or something they just don’t know).

To get the best possible results in couple counseling I am of the opinion that each individual should attend an individual session with the therapist first to identify personality type and life defining issues rather than expecting the other partner to change based on unreasonably defined expectations.

The idea here is for each individual partner, with assistance of the psychologist, to realize their base personality, ‘baggage’ and ‘trigger points’ (i.e. beliefs and ideas about themselves and where they might have originated from) they bring to the relationship – something they might not open up to when the other partner is present at the time.

Based on the information the psychologist will then be able to offer advice of how each partner can change their unhelpful beliefs and the experienced consequences. It is of course important to point out that before seeing both partners together one will have asked both individually about what information they don’t want to share during ‘together’ sessions, as this will remain confidential information with the psychologist.

The steps in a little more detail:

Step 1. (individually)

As mentioned, what I found most useful here in couples therapy is first and foremost finding out the persons base personality (nothing to worry about… we’ve all got one). In other words, for example (and there is a lot more here than what this rather simplistic example provides), as mentioned earlier, is your default position that of an extrovert, or are you a more introverted person? (There is no right or wrong answer here … you are what you are and that is good enough). Investigating by means of a broad based personality assessment what makes one ‘tick’ we can gather an incredible understanding of ourselves and if our partner is prepared to do the same we can actually possibly for the first time really understand where our strengths and weaknesses are and consequently come to know where our ‘hang ups’ typically appear. The beauty is we now have a framework that provides a communicational basis and invaluable relationship advancing tool. Once we are familiar with this concept it is actually quite easy to understand the needs of our partner and ourselves. No need to be constantly reminded of what needs to be done…once you’ve ‘got it’  you will notice that your mind will automatically engage with the understanding and you will naturally feel that you can observe your actions and responses rather than feeling lost in some possibly ‘irrational’ behavior.

Step 2. (Individually)

Using a psychoanalytic intake questionnaire we will investigate some of the other beliefs you may hold and how these influence your relationship and the way you see yourself in general. If we feel that some of these beliefs need addressing we will use cognitive behavioral therapy in conjunction with hypnosis/hypnotherapy to address them.

Again, just like outlined under step 1, using this approach you will find that there is no need to be constantly reminded of what needs to be done… you will notice that your mind will automatically engage with your deeper wisdom emerging from this process and so you will naturally feel that you can observe your actions and responses rather than feeling lost or confused.

I typically also give you a hypnosis download of the session to take home with you so you can keep reinforcing the crucial aspects of what needs to be understood.

Step 3. (Together as partners)

After you had some time to process everything you have learned about yourself and how this has already altered your understanding and actual behavior within the relationship we will get together here as a team of 3. I will facilitate a process in which I once again explain to you both what I have learned from the process we went through together in our individual sessions. I will furthermore highlight the differences and similarities between your personalities in order to make you aware where your true strengths lie in the relationship. I will also function as a mediator between you and your partner in situations where a deeper understanding of the kind of conflict you are facing should be difficult. We will discuss tools and techniques that allow you to better communicate with each other so that you and your partners needs are addressed from here on into the future.

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Mindfulness

About Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation

Please note that the mindfulness therapy I am providing is grounded on the principles and belief system found in the Nichiren Buddhist philosophy and not in the often quoted Zen Buddhist tradition. It is important to understand that although Buddhism is by most regarded as a philosophy, some see it nevertheless as a religion and therefore clients wishing to engage in the kind of mindfulness will need to be aware of how this practice might impact on their already established faith or belief structures. Therefore I ask all clients wishing to practice Nichiren Buddhist Mindfulness to first and foremost read the attached document “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” before deciding whether this approach is appropriate for them or not.

In essence the approach is based on a number of principles that according to Nichiren Buddhism governs human perception and consequent behavior such as:

  1. The law of cause and effect (i.e. we will experience that which we create, consciously or unconsciously – similar to the Australian proverb “what goes around, comes around”)
  2. The law of energy conservation (i.e. energy cannot be destroyed and is therefore infinite as it goes through different phases, human beings are defined as an energy form, just as all life is)
  3. Dependent origination (i.e. interconnection and therefore interdependence of all things)

Nichiren Buddhism mindfulness defines enlightenment as being aware of one’s true nature, i.e. by observing one’s mind based on some of the principles outlined above one can achieve and maintain mental and physiological wellbeing. This is realized through mindfully chanting a mantra that defines the essence of the true nature of mind. This essence of mind is defined as what is called ‘NamMyoHoRengeKyo’ based on the concept of ‘ichinen sanzen’ in Nichiren Buddhism. However, as these are rather foreign concepts to the day to day person it is really best to take the time and read the details provided in “Buddhist Mindfulness and the True Purpose of Conflict” to get a deeper understanding of the subject matter first.

Nichiren Daishonin’s mindfulness practice has been established in 12th century Japan and is usually performed morning and evening at a time, place and duration of the practitioner’s choosing. As such, Nichiren Buddhist practice is a form of mantra meditation (i.e. chanting) that uses a phrase (mantra) to aid focus. Transcendental Meditation on the other hand is also a form of mantra meditation however it is using mantras related to Hinduism as opposed to Buddhist philosophy.

Just to clarify once more, Mindfulness Meditation in Zen Buddhism basically involves the stopping or slowing of discursive thoughts in order to allow a practitioner’s deeper nature to come to the fore in order to harmonize mind with their true self which they belief is “void”. As such the aim is to simply ‘settle the mind’.

Nichiren Buddhist meditation follows along a somewhat similar principle, but in addition to slowing thoughts down, thoughts are also redirected onto the true nature of existence thus enabling the practitioner to reassess and eventually shutting down or restructure incompatible thoughts. The method of mantra meditation is regarded as an expansion in mindfulness practice in Buddhism.

There are many studies documented that have highlighted the positive effects of meditation. However, even though meditation is generally regarded as having a positive influence, it is my opinion that it is equally important what a person meditates on in order to get the best possible outcome.

GP Referral under Mental Health Care Plan

In general, if clients have been referred by a GP or other Health Professional on the basis of a Mental Health Care Plan, the approach typically consists of the following process:

Assessment

  1.                                                                i.      Clients are encouraged to complete a self-reporting psychoanalytical type questionnaire as well as a situational type questionnaire designed to provide information about stressors (severity to be rated on a scale from 0-10), thus defining currently held belief patterns and their likely causes and undesired consequences that need to be addressed over the course of therapy (e.g. lack of motivation, lack of confidence, negative thoughts, anxiety, depressive thoughts, etc.).
  2.                                                               ii.      For food or nicotine addictions additional questionnaires are administered that help determine addictive behavioral patterns, negative thoughts and possible levels of emotional attachments to the addiction. Hypnotherapy for Pain Management also utilizes a different type of intake questionnaire which I will discuss with you prior to forwarding.
  3.                                                             iii.      Personality type assessments may also be administered to provide for greater self-knowledge for example where relationship issues cause conflict between individuals or where a clients’ lack of confidence, increased levels of anxiety, etc. may be due to a lack of understanding that different personality types have different kinds of psychological needs.
  4.                                                             iv.      Based on the collection of the above information, a client interview during the initial consultation is designed to further define the goals of therapy and thus establish a level of measurability that allows for an assessment of session effectiveness over the duration of therapy (see also ‘Session Effectiveness Assessment’ further below)

Information

Prior to the initial consultation my clients will have received information about:

  1.                                                              v.      A privacy statement named ‘Statement for the Provision of Psychological Services’ (i.e. this document ) which provides information relating to my fees, Informed Consent, the limits of confidentiality, as well as describing my policy for the management of my clients’ information and other relevant policies.
  2.                                                             vi.      Information outlining my contact details, appointment times, my email response times, session costs including bank details and terms and conditions, emergency phone numbers as well as web links to a host of emergency counselling organisations, treatment plan overview, my philosophical orientation, and a web link to download additional session support materials such as worksheets and hypnotherapy audio recordings.
  3.                                                           vii.      Information aimed at educating my clients about the use of Hypnotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) including some research abstracts and links to reputable websites containing further information.

Intervention

Assessment Interview, Problem definition, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Hypnotherapy.

  1.                                                          viii.      Once the clients’ problem focus has been determined through the assessment process, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques are used to teach clients solution focused skills to manage and overcome their psychological problems through recognising and challenging their undesired negative thoughts and beliefs. Relevant CBT worksheets will be made available for download from my website and clients are encouraged to utilise those between therapy sessions.
  2.                                                             ix.      These solution focused skills are further reinforced through the use of hypnotherapy techniques usually applied in the second half of the therapy session. The hypnotherapy session typically consists of deep relaxation techniques, positive self-statements, solution focused reinforcement suggestions in relation to the clients’ problem definition, as well as positive projections of how the client sees him or herself addressing challenging situations in the future. Hypnosis recordings relevant to the clients’ problems will be made available for download from my website as part of therapy. Clients are advised to listen to these recordings frequently between sessions.
  3.                                                              x.      In my experience, due to the combination of assessment and therapy techniques outlined above as well as the increased client focus (sessions are usually in excess of 120min) the total amount of sessions to affect the desired changes may be greatly reduced.

Session Effectiveness Assessment (SEQ):

My client feedback component takes the form of a ‘Session Effectiveness Questionnaire’(SEQ)

  1.                                                             xi.      In the SEQ my client is asked to chart his or her progress between therapy sessions.
  2.                                                           xii.      In addition to charting progress, it also provides my client with a tool with which he or she can determine whether issues are resolved or not and thus to some level self-determine whether further therapy is required or not.
  3.                                                          xiii.      The SEQ is based on the answers given during the intake consultation (client is asked to define up to 3 core issues/problems that need to be addressed and which will be discussed during intake).
  4.                                                         xiv.      As part of the therapy process I will ask you, the client to discuss your progress (based on the answers given in the SEQ) at your next scheduled appointment with the referring health practitioner should you wish to do so.  At this stage the referring health practitioner may also want to ask your permission to make a copy of the SEQ to add to his or her client file for future reference.
  5.                                                           xv.      In order to discuss specific feedback on your behalf with the referring health professional I will need to be in possession of written client consent first in order to safeguard that client confidentiality is not breached.
  6.                                                         xvi.      Thus, to ensure that such issues of confidentiality do not occur in the first place, and to foster better communication between health professionals and client/patient, it is my aim to first and foremost motivate you to share your insights and experiences achieved as a consequence of therapy directly at the scheduled follow up appointment with your referring health practitioner. This structured and transparent feedback approach then would have verbal as well as written qualities and, something I believe is a more holistic approach and therefore provides better outcomes.

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