opinions of People with IBS towards hypnotherapy

Opinions of People with IBS towards Hypnotherapy (SAPC 2017)

Opinions of people with IBS towards Hypnotherapy

Recently I presented at the Society for Academic Primary Care (SAPC) Conference at Warwick University (UK).  Below is a short video covering some of the main points and below that is the written out full length presentation.

 Full Text – presented to clinicians 

Science or Magic! … well if you were asked which one you represented I suspect you know what you would say? … not so much for me … I’m a hypnotherapist … and none of us control my own image … So what I want to know is which do people see me closer to the scientific world, with a body of knowledge which can be taught, is structured and replicable … or the magical world where the ability to heal is not explicable … not strictly learnable … but comes from something unknowable

And why does this question matter, why is this question important to primary care?

Back in 2008 Hypnotherapy was accepted into NICE guidelines as a treatment for refractory IBS, refractor IBS is IBS which hasn’t responded to primary treatment and has developed an ongoing profile of symptoms.

There was good reason for this inclusion

·         IBS is a substantial problem with prevalence rates around 10% internationally, we don’t know exactly how many of those people are classified as ‘refractory’ but it could be as many as 1/3rd.

·         IBS is expensive for the NHS, with approximate 0.1% spent within the NHS being on IBS, 50 million of which alone is accounted for by anti-spasmodic and laxatives, the rest being in other forms of medication to controls symptoms, but one of the biggest expenses being in GP time.

·         And although it’s not life threatening it does make people’s lives a misery. Its effects their attendance at work, their ability to work (so called presentism) and they usually are paying out of their own pocket for treatments and remedies, some studies suggest the this is roughly equal to the amount the NHS spend.

So there is good reason to integrate any effective tool, particularly if it provides and actual cure, rather than just a control.

But to the best we can tell, people with IBS are not interested Hypnotherapy for their condition, they are not seeking it out either in the public or private sector and we wondered why. One of the things we considered was the image of hypnotherapy and the hypnotherapist, may present a barrier, specifically we were interested in seeing if the perception of the hypnotherapists was more medical or more magical?


I am conducting 1-2-1, semi-structured, qualitative interviews with adults with refractory IBS to find out their opinions about hypnotherapy. These will be analysed using the framework method for indications of what the Sociologist Weber characterised as the Bureaucratic and Charismatic,

·         Bureaucratic meaning reliable, teachable, learnable

·         Charismatic meaning having power from within

So far the main finding has been that it’s very hard to recruit for this stuff, possibly there are too many elements –  IBS, refractory, hypnosis but the one interview which I have conducted has raised some interesting findings  

Firstly, the phrase ‘Cluck like a chicken’ was used, a phrase I’ve heard a lot as a hypnotherapist, another one was “funfair comedy magician thing” suggesting that the musical hall associations of hypnosis are strongly present. This points to a third image which is not science nor magic but frippery, entertainment … and who’s going to consider using hypnotherapy for their IBS if they perceive it as an entertainment.

However, this should be balanced against another observation the interviewee made

“But I’ve not heard of hypnotherapy for an actual medical reason, it’s always been for phobia or … maybe depression, that what I associate hypnotherapy with”

So the connection with mental health appears established in her mind but not with physical health, and although it’s very early days on this research perhaps this is the true barrier to usage, People just don’t think of hypnotherapy for physical problems. They don’t see the connection.

Factors which affect hypnotisability

How to become a hypnotherapists

How to become a hypnotherapist

So you want to know how to become a hypnotherapist ?  It’s an ambition which many people have but lots of people simply don’t know where to start.  In this blog we will go over the things you need to know.

How to become a hypnotherapist – Training

The first thing you will need to do is get some training, and this is usually the biggest challenge because you will need to find a reputable institution … the question is how? So here is what you need to check

  1. Do they provide an externally validated qualification. This should be simple but unfortunately many schools pretend to have a such a qualification but upon checking into it you find out that actually it is just a qualification which is validated by an awarding body which the organisation themselves have set up. This can be hard to spot at first glance, but take a look and sometimes it becomes obvious. In the UK the best way is to go directly to an awarding body such as the National Council for Hypnotherapy who award qualification but don’t actually run them ( see NCH Accreditied schools for a list of externally validated schools)
  2. How much face-to-face contact will you get? Anything less than 100 hours face to face time and you should just move on. If it is an online or distance course just forget it, hypnotherapy is a practical skill and although you can learn a lot of theory over skype you still need to learn what to do with real people, in the same room.
  3. Can you get there? Getting to a course can be problematic but be wary of going to a course you are not confident in just because it is close, this could be saving hassle and expense at the cost of actually learning.
  4. Cost however is a different subject. The hypnotherapy training market is highly competitive which benefits the student as they may get high quality training at an affordable price.

How to become a hypnotherapist – legal

As a hypnotherapist you are going to need a few things before you practice

  1. Insurance – Public liability & professional indemnity.  These usually come as a package, which a reputable training course will direct you to. Normally they are quite inexpensive, usually coming in at less than £100.00 per year for a hypnotherapists trained by a recognised institution.
  2. Know your Data protection – again most reputable training centres will cover this as part of training. Remember, as a therapist you will be handling and storing sensitive data and as such should follow the relevant guidance.  Go to Gov. data protection act  for more info.
  3. Be especially aware of your safeguarding responsibilities if you plan to work with children. Go to Safeguaring of the young

How to become a hypnotherapist  – Setting up a practice

Ok so you are trained, you have the skills, your insured and know what your legal responsibilities are, you probably want some clients now? Ok you will need

  1. A room – for most people renting a room in a therapy centre can be a great way to start. The over heads may be high but actually for the first little while you are still learning and being surrounded by other therapist’s in different disciplines can help you to get ideas and a little support. many people practice form their home office, and if you have a quiet room, preferably with a lot of natural light this can be fine, but first consider how the room you are using will appear to clients. when starting out be wary of renting an expensive office, get to know the business a bit first as an office can be a substantial over head.
  2. A phone number – Preferably one dedicated to your hypnotherapy business as this will allow you to answer it as a business and you will always know that it is a business call when it comes in. Get a diversion service so that this can be redirected to your mobile when you are away.
  3. Some clients – this is the most important a trickiest bit. Put together a marketing plan and be prepared to work.

You will need a website, and some way of promoting it. You may also want to join one of the directories which promotes hypnotherapy, probably the best of which in the UK is  hypnotherapy directory .

  • You may also wish to use Facebook paid services, google ads, linked in and develop an SEO strategy for the long term.
  • Public talks at local events, groups, meetups are a rich source of clients as people will often come up to you at the end as ask if you can treat such and such a condition, so be available and have your diary with you.
  • Paper adverts have become a lot less popular in recent years but many people use local free directories, my experience is that the more local the publication is the more likely people are to look at it and see your advert.

Eventually you will build up a lot of word of mouth business from former clients who talk about how good you are to their friends, you will still have to market your services but the number of clients you get for the time and money you invest will get much better.


Factors which affect hypnotisability

West Midland School of Clinical Hypnotherapy 2017 online prospectus

Welcome to the West Midland School of Clinical Hypnotherapy 2017 online prospectus

At WMSCH we teach the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s (NCH) externally validated Diploma in Hypnotherapy. This is a nationally recognised qualification, being at academic level four. The course is assessed by essays and through assessment of practical work.

In the prospectus we give a day by day breakdown of the course content, for other information simply go to WMSCH or The qualification , Who teaches the course , Where is the course? How much does it cost?

Day 1  – Saturday 16 Sept 2017

  • Introductions
  • Terminology (unconscious, contraindication, Patient/client)
  • What is hypnosis?
  • What is Induction / deepening / awakening.
  • Depth of trance
  • Safe practice & consent
  • Progressive Relaxation induction
  • Awakening
  • Use of voice
  • Use of breathing

Day 2  – Sunday 17th September 2017

  • Ethical Hypnosis
  • Suggestibility Tests
  • Eye fixation inductions
  • Favourite place of relaxation
  • Manipulation of distractions
  • introduction to Direct & indirect hypnosis
  • Indirect eye-fixation

Day 3 – Saturday 14th October 2017

  • Factors influencing inductions (including ‘resistance’ to inductions)
  • Fractionation inductions
  • Limb catalepsy & Iimb heaviness
  • 10-1 deepener
  • Confusion inductions
  • Nowww… deepener

Day 4  – Sunday 15th October 2017

  • Hand levitation induction
  • Eye tiring inductions
  • Ericksonian Hypnosis
  • Ericksonian language
  • Interspersal deepening & Early learning set
  • Triggered hypnosis

Day 5 – Saturday 18th November 2017

  • Overviews of therapy
  • Locus of Control
  • Building Rapport
  • Active listening
  • Intro to NLP
  • Meta model
  • Eye accessing cues
  • Mirroring, pacing and leading

Day 6- Sunday 19th November 2017

  • Ethical Therapy & Code of conduct
  • Suggestion Formation
  • Taking a case history
  • Habit breaking
  • Therapy Contract
  • Becoming a Non-smoker

Day 7 – Saturday 16th December 2017

  • Behavioural therapy overview & Cognitive Behavioural therapy
  • Aversion therapy
  • Desensitisation
  • Flooding
  • Abreaction & catharsis

Day 8 – Sunday 17th December 2017

  • Self-hypnosis
  • Ego strengthening (verbal & Metaphorical)
  • Garden of the Mind
  • Insomnia

Day 9 – Saturday 13th January 2018

  • Metaphors, parables & visualisations
  • Use of Modalities within metaphors
  • Old wise Person
  • Library of recourses
  • Pseud-orientation in time
  • Solution focused therapy & the miracle question

Day 10 – Sunday 14th January 2018

  • Psychosis & Neurosis
  • Planning therapy
  • Self-integration dissociation
  • Anchoring
  • Modifying thoughts  and self-help tools

Day 11 – Saturday 10th February 2018

  • Introduction to dissociation
  • Parts therapy
  • Stage dissociation
  • Dissociation through objects )

Day 12 – Sunday 11th February 2018

  • Weight control
  • Body image
  • Binge eating
  • hypnosis in performance & sports

Day 13 – Saturday 3rd March 2018

  • Pain control
  • IBS
  • Headaches
  • Hand / glove analgesia

Day 14 – Sunday 4th March 2018

  • Mind-body connections
  • The stress response
  • Symptom manipulation tools
  • Control room of the mind
  • Skin conditions

Day 15 – Saturday 31st March 2018

  • Psychosexual problems
  • Hypertension
  • Erythrophobia
  • Psycho-neuro-immunology
  • Chronic illness
  • Healing visualisations

Day 16 – Sunday 1st April 2018

  • Anxiety
  • positive anxiety replacement
  • Stammering & Stuttering
  • Confidence
  • Assertiveness training

Day 17 – Saturday 5th May 2018

  • Psycho-analysis & psychodynamics
  • Cheverals pendulum
  • IMR’s
  • IMR therapy
  • Timeline work
  • Inner child

Day 18 – Sunday 6th May 2018

  • Transference, Counter transference
  • Psychodrama tools
  • The jigsaw puzzle
  • The Mask
  • Working with fundamental emotions – Anger, jealousy, Shame & Guilt

Day 19 – Saturday 2nd June 2018

  • Hypnosis, hypnotherapy & Children
  • Hypnosis & Obstetrics
  • Working with Infertility & IVF
  • Dystonia
  • Tinnitus

Day 20 – Sunday 3rd June 2018

  • Regression – overview
  • Age Regression
  • Esoteric or past life regression
  • Mild & Moderate depression
  • Hill and cloud metaphors

Day 21Saturday 7th July 2018 – revision & tying up loose ends

Day 22Sunday 8th July 2018 – Assessed practical’s & case history written papers.


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

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.