Factors which affect hypnotisability

How many people use hypnotherapy?

Ever wanted to know how many people use hypnotherapy?

A little way back I did an article for the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BSCH) addressing the question of how many people use hypnotherapy. This was inspired by my research into the public’s attitude towards hypnotherapy. It was a question which had been on the agenda of that project but never quite materialised, so here it is How many people use hypnotherapy

Please remember that this is not a fully peer reviewed paper  just a little research project I did on the side. At some point I may revisit it for a full systematic review because no one has yet done that .  I do however believe that it is the best information  on this topic currently available.

Take a look – How many people use hypnotherapy?  or cut and paste –  http://www.bsch.org.uk/hypnotherapyusage.html

how many people use hypnotherapy

The author – Matt Krouwel is a hypnotherapist and researcher in Birmingham (UK)



Opinions of people with IBS towards Hypnotherapy 

IBS research – UK volunteers needed

Refractory Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) sufferer’s attitudes and opinions towards hypnotherapy as a treatment.

I am looking for people who have;

  • Received a formal diagnosis of Refractory IBS. Refractory IBS means that a person has been diagnosed with IBS and received prescribed medication from their doctor but is still suffering with IBS 12 months later.
  • Currently live in the UK
  • And who have not seen a hypnotherapist for their IBS.

If you fit this description I would like to invite you to take part in an interview based research study. Before committing please take a few moments to read the following and consider if this is something which you feel comfortable to participate in.

What is the purpose of the study?  

In 2008 the National Institute for Care Excellence (NICE), who decides on ‘best practice’ for the NHS authorized the use of hypnotherapy to treat refractory IBS. As part of my doctoral research I am interested in finding out sufferer’s attitudes and opinions towards hypnotherapy and its use within the NHS.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is entirely voluntary and much appreciated. Feel free to ask any questions at any time you like. You can withdraw at any time you like without having to explain.


What will happen to me if I take part?

If you agree to become involved;

  1. I will come to interview you at the location of your choice, your home or at the University of Birmingham for example.
  2. I will obtain your written permission to conduct the interview.
  3. The interview will last 45-60 minutes.
  4. With your permission I will record the interview.
  5. I will ask questions around your general experience of IBS and IBS treatment as well as attitudes towards hypnosis and hypnotherapy.
  6. After the interview the recording will be transcribed and any identifiable data will be removed.
  7. If you wish your details can be retained by me so that I can inform you of the findings of the study (this may be several months or more than a year after the initial interview)


Expenses and payments?

If as part of the study you incur any reasonable incidental expenses, such as travel, then these will be met. Please bring these to my attention prior to our meeting to enable budgeting and please retain any relevant receipts.


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

As this research is based on an interview there are no risks to your health, however IBS can be a very personal topic and I advise you to consider how comfortable you will feel divulging personal experience to a relative stranger and in particularly to consider this when deciding where you would like me to meet you for the interview.


Is it confidential?

All information is confidential and will only be seen in full by myself and a transcriber who is bound by confidentiality. During the transcription phase identifying details will be removed to maintain your anonymity. Your details will be retained by myself for a period of 10 years in a secure locked file, after which they will be appropriately destroyed. Your data will not be used for any purpose other than those directly related with this study.


What if there is a problem?

In any study there are a number of possible problems which may arise. The most common of which is that you need to cancel or rearrange the appointment for the interview, in this eventuality please contact me (Matt) on 0739 295 7945.

In the event of a more serious problem or complaint you may contact myself (Matt 0739 295 7945) or if you would prefer to speak to someone else then please contact Professor Sheila Greenfield who is supervising this research on 0121 414 6493.

You are entitled to withdraw from the study at any point up to a month after the interview.


What will happen to the results of the research study?

The research is primarily for academic purposes and as such will be used, in an anonymised form, to help write an article for a peer reviewed journal and be used as part of my PhD thesis. Specifically, verbatim quotes may be used, these will not be identifiable.


Who is organising or sponsoring the research?

The research is being organised with the University of Birmingham and is receiving no funding from any other sources.


Further information and contact details:

Mobile 0739 295 7945

University E-mail  MJK599@student.bham.ac.uk


The Interviewer

Matt Krouwel is a Post graduate research student with University of Birmingham working towards a PhD in Health and Population Science.

What is the difference between neurosis and psychosis

What is the difference between neurosis and psychosis ?

What is the difference between neurosis and psychosis?  Let us start by defining neurosis and psychosis.



Neurosis is a broad term rarely used by therapists and psychologists these days. However, it does have some value to hypnotherapists. Broadly, neurosis can be said to be a mental problem in which the suffer is in touch with reality. Often this appears as a logical – emotional dissonance.  This means the suffer can tell you that their behaviour is inappropriate but feel it is beyond their control.  Typical examples would include;

  • Phobia’s – in which the sufferer knows that the trigger for the phobia is not dangerous.
  • Obsessions – where the obsessed know that they are over focused but cannot break out of that.
  • Extreme Habits – the sufferer may be able to identify the habit as unpleasant, but they are unable to take control of it.
  • Twitches and ticks – where the afflicted cannot control the muscles involved but there is no identifiable physical problem.

With neurosis there is an implication that some life event or problem is influencing the problem.  This may not always be true as a life event may have initiated the problem behaviour but it may now be a habit.

Neurosis is the most serious level of mental health issue a hypnotherapist may deal with. Psychosis (see below) are contraindicated for hypnotherapy.


is a general term used to describe any set of symptoms where the sufferer is thought to be out of touch with external reality. This may be due to any number of factors such as organic brain impairment or long term stress.  Symptoms of psychosis include

  • Delusions.
  • Severe lack of insight or self-awareness.
  • Hallucinations.

If you have any concerns that a potential patient may be out of touch with reality refer them on to a doctor.

Factors which affect hypnotisability

What are contraindications ?

So what are contraindications ?

Essentially a contraindication is a reason NOT to do something. So in the medical world, which is where we get the term from, a good example would be:

  • Drug X is for migraines, but also lowers blood pressure.
  • The patient has migraines, but also has low blood pressure.
  • because Drug X is likely to further lower the patients blood pressure and thus put them at risk it should not be prescribes. Drug X is contraindicated for patients with Low blood pressure.

What are contraindications for hypnotherapists?

Hypnotherapy is a relatively safe intervention.  Many hypnotists will argue that hypnosis is an entirely normal process, no more dangerous than falling asleep. However, there is the issue of how hypnosis is induced and what is done once a client is in hypnosis.

What are the general contraindications for the use of hypnosis ?

Most hypnotherapists agree that it is unwise to work with people who are in states of psychosis. This means that they have a problem which causes them to be out of touch with reality. Psychosis may include hallucinations, grandiose beliefs, paranoia.

There is discussion around people with epilepsy which occurs when they fall asleep. The process of hypnosis may be related to the state change from being awake to asleep. As a rule with people with epilepsy which is triggered by falling asleep I recommend extreme caution, ask about their medication and how stable they are on their medication, inform them of the facts and when it doubt refer to your professional body .

What are the specific contraindications for the use of hypnotherapy ?

The most common contraindications which come up in therapy are for a particular type of client with a particular type of technique. For example;

  • Eye tiring inductions should not be used with people with eye pain, strain or  glaucoma.
  • Arm based techniques (limb heaviness, arm levitation) should not be used with people arm pain, strain or joint problems.
  • Body focused techniques ( muscle relaxation, body scan inductions) should be avoided with people who have conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and panic attacks where there is a tendency to monitor the body for  symptoms.

These are but a few examples, and others will be flagged up in technique specific videos. The rule of thumb is think about what you are doing, use your common sense and when in doubt play it safe!


What are contraindications

Author – Matt Krouwel is a  hypnotherapist in Birmingham (UK). He is also the course leader for the West Midlands  School of Clinical Hypnotherapy  





Factors which affect hypnotisability

What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?


The difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy are commonly confused concept. This is especially true when hew to the subject , so here is difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy ?


Hypnosis is a state in which the hypnotic subject is focused on an idea, thought or physical space. This focus is sufficient that they have a reduced awareness and become more open to suggestion. There are three main uses for hypnosis.

  1. Hypnosis is used for entertainment, as with stage hypnosis. In stage hypnosis usually only the most responsive subjects are used. This shows off the power of hypnosis to its full extent. However, it is not innately beneficial to the subject.
  2. Hypnosis is also used to recover memory in legal cases. this practice is called Forensic hypnosis.  The quality of the memories recovered are treated with great suspicion by the legal world. The reason for this suspicion is that memory can easily be altered, even by accident. This creates what is known as a false memory.
  3. For therapeutic benefit, also known as hypnotherapy.

hypnotherapy is the use of the powerful state of hypnosis to create beneficial change. Typically, this may involve suggestions or imagery which will help the subject to achieve their desired change. Hypnotherapy is used around the world to help people ;

  • Break habits and change behaviours.
  • Reduce nerves anxiety.
  • Cope with physical and emotional pain.
  • Improve their performance.
  • Many other issues and problems.

The important thing to remember is that hypnotherapy is used specifically with the intention of helping the subject in some way.



difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy


Author – Matt Krouwel is a  hypnotherapist in Birmingham (UK). He is also the course leader for the West Midlands  School of Clinical Hypnotherapy  


What are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

What are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

So you need a quick guide for the trainee hypnotherapist on what are the conscious and the unconscious mind?

In short the conscious mind can be said to be everything which we are currently aware of. The unconscious is everything that makes us who we are that we are not aware of. This could include  such things as memory but it could also extend to our awareness of our physical self.



A common way of explaining the relationship between the conscious and the unconscious is the metaphor of the iceberg.

As most people know, when you see the tip of the iceberg you are only seeing 10% of what is there. The rest is below the surface. It is often argued that the conscious mind is like the tip of the iceberg, it shows but is only a small proportion of what is actually there.

Memory is a good example of both the conscious and the unconscious mind. A memory will often be stored in out long term memory (unconscious) but can be transferred into our awareness and thus become conscious.

Unconscious assumptions can effect the way we do things. A lot of psychological therapies rely on the concept of bring unconscious events (memories) or learnings from those events (cognitions) into conscious awareness so they can be challenged and altered. Hypnotherapy also looks to implant, through the medium of verbal suggestion and imagery, new unconscious beliefs about the world.

The concept of the pre-conscious.

The pre-conscious is a useful concept. The preconscious is the transference from unconscious to conscious awareness. This may be familiar from when you have had the feeling that you know something but are not quite there yet. This feeling usually indicates that something is in the preconscious and can be brought to conscious awareness, often by ignoring it and allowing the process of transfer to occur naturally.

Quick summary – What are the conscious and the unconscious mind

The conscious mind is everything that you are currently aware of , be that thoughts, feelings or memories.

The unconscious is everything which you are not currently aware of which is you (psychologically) and you (physically).


What are the conscious and the unconscious mindAuthor – Matt Krouwel is a  hypnotherapist in Birmingham (UK). He is also the course leader for the West Midlands  School of Clinical Hypnotherapy  


Factors which affect hypnotisability

How to become a certified hypnotherapist – Top 5 things to consider

How to become a certified hypnotherapist

So you want to know how to become a certified hypnotherapist? This Blog will tell you everything you need to know to go from the desire to  become a hypnotherapist right up to being able to see clients. 

Training to become a hypnotherapist

A hypnotherapists is only as good as their training. Here are 5 of the top things to be on the look out for when choosing a training course.

  1. How much classroom time? – Hypnotherapy is a practical skill and requires supervised classroom time to  practice. Most courses won’t allow you to pass with anything less than 100+ hours of contact time.  Anything less than this should make you suspicious.
  2. Is there any 1-2-1 or small group time? – Small groups and 1-2-1’s can be essential in preventing your learning needs from becoming lost. A good course will offer this, often with external tutors.
  3. What accreditation does the course have? – In the UK you should be looking for a statement of formal academic level (usually 3 or 4).  Be careful; terms such as ‘Certificate’ can be deceptive as they may mean an in-house qualifications with no external validation.
  4. Is the course associated with a professional body? – Professional bodies exist to maintain standards after you have qualified. They deal with ongoing issues of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), ethics and legislative changes  and professional conduct. If there isn’t a professional body associated with the training course then be very wary. Even if there is, some of these are attached to one school only and have little real value.   In the UK Professional bodies should also be accredited with the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNCH).
  5. Insurance? – Most professional bodies will be able to direct you to an insurer, such as www.holisticinsurance.co.uk. Insurance is important to protect you professionally.   Although it is not often mentioned on websites a training provider should be able to tell you a little about insurance for the industry.


how to become a certified hypnotherapist


Matt Krouwel is the course leader for the West Midlands School of Clinical Hypnotherapy and has 14 years experience as a hypnotherapy teacher both in the UK and abroad . He also researches hypnotherapy for Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at the University of Birmingham.

Factors which affect hypnotisability

Some lessons in hypnosis for CAMMRA

Lessons in hypnosis for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Midlands Research Alliance (CAMMRA)

Today I’m off to the annual CAMMRA conference to give some hypnosis lessons and talk about the general public’s attitude towards hypnotherapy.

I had the privilege to be an invited guest at last years conference and this year I’m back to present. If last year is anything to go by I can expect a varied and open minded audience of complimentary and alternative therapists (CAM),  academics and medical researchers for my hypnosis lessons.

The main thrust of my talk is around the research I’ve been conducting into public attitudes and opinions regarding hypnosis. Sadly I’m currently unable to blog on this particular topic at the moment due to an agreement with the journal which is looking to publish it, but once it’s out I will let everyone know my findings.

Find out more about hypnosis lessons

Hope you have a great day!

hypnosis lessons

Author – Matt Krouwel is a Birmingham based Clinical hypnotist and course leader for the West Midlands School of Clinical Hypnosis


2016 a good year for pain!

2016 has only been here for a few weeks and the evidence for hypnotherapy as a tool to aid with pain abounds.

First we have to thank Kendrick et al for reviewing 25 randomised control trials (RTC’s) of hypnotic pain control for acute procedural pain. They found that hypnosis is at least as good as other psychological or behavioural pain control approaches and was especially good;

  • When sessions could be done in advance of the procedure.
  • For minor surgical procedures.

A meta-analysis of Iranian hypnosis studies (Sayehmiri, ) further confirms its efficacy with evidence from studies totalling 332 patients being combined.

Additionally we have new research from Ardigo et al into chronic pain in the elder, in which 3 x 30 minute hypnotherapeutic pain control sessions out performed an equivalent amount of massage as an analgesic for 53 geriatric patients (27 received hypno, 27 massage). Notably it appears that the hypnosis group benefited from pain reduction for longer.

We also have Del Casale et al publishing a meta-analysis of hypnosis neuro-imaging studies… which is nice and I’m sure people with better neuroanatomy than me will love it.

A big ‘Well done!’ to all those who are moving the evidence base forward in 2016!

Matt Krouwel DBSCH

West Midlands School of Clinical Hypnotherapy

Matt Krouwel – Hypnotherapy


Ardigo, S., Herrmann, F. R., Moret, V., Déramé, L., Giannelli, S., Gold, G., & Pautex, S. (2016). Hypnosis can reduce pain in hospitalized older patients: a randomized controlled study. BMC geriatrics, 16(1), 1.

Del Casale, A., Ferracuti, S., Rapinesi, C., De Rossi, P., Angeletti, G., Sani, G., … & Girardi, P. (2016). Hypnosis and pain perception: An Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE) meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Journal of Physiology-Paris.

Kendrick, C., Sliwinski, J., Yu, Y., Johnson, A., Fisher, W., Kekecs, Z., & Elkins, G. (2016). Hypnosis for Acute Procedural Pain: A Critical Review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 64(1), 75-115.

Sayehmiri, K. (2016). Determining the Effectiveness of Hypnosis in the Treatment of Pain and Enhancing Mental Performance in Iran Using Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Epidemiologic Research.