Neuroscience within Solution Focused Hypnotherapy


Solution focused hypnotherapy is not just about trance and hypnosis, the solution focused part of the therapy forms a partnership with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that identifies their goals and taking steps to reach them.


The biggest impact of solution focused hypnotherapy occurs when there is a shift in a person’s thinking (“ah ha” moments). Shifts in how we perceive the world occur because what we experience changes through the questions that are asked. The miracle question, scaling and what’s been good are used in therapy sessions to encourage these new perceptions and through neuroscience research how these shifts are manifested in the brain.


Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system including the brain, the spinal cord and networks of sensory nerve cells, or neurons, throughout the body. Neuroscience advances the understanding of human thought, emotion and behaviour.


Experiences drive our behaviour: In the past it was thought that we were born with brains that were hard-wired and predetermined, but in fact the brain is soft wired and can be rewired through experiences. Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe the process in which many of the structures of the brain can be modified by experiences, almost a rewiring of the brain.


According to David Rock, a leading neuroscientist, a quiet mind allows the weak connections of non-conscious processing to rise to awareness. This explains why in your quiet time, or moments of rest, all sorts of forgotten tasks, thoughts or new innovative ideas arise. They were probably in your mind all along but in the background. Think of how many great ideas you’ve gotten while in the shower or bed!


Taking a break: We’ve all probably had a sneaking suspicion that the unconscious brain is more powerful than the conscious brain. In a recent study, neuroscientist David Creswell explored what happens in the brain when people tackle problems that are too big for their conscious mind to solve. He found that people who were distracted for just a few minutes did better on a complex problem-solving task than people who continued to put in conscious effort. So, if you were to take a break, your unconscious will still keep working on solving the problem.


Stress management: According to a study at Yale University, stress can actually result in brain shrinkage and loss of the important connections (synapses) in the brain.


Exercise: Several studies have shown that aerobic exercise increases neurogenesis (the generation of new neurons in the hippocampus), which is good for certain types of memory. It also increases neurochemicals that promote growth, differentiation, survival and repair of brain cells, and enhances several neurotransmitters that play a key role in mental health and mood.


Sleep: The sleeping brain is busy processing and transforming information and at times is more active than when you are awake. High quality sleep changes your neurochemistry in a way that helps you process information, enhances your memory and makes you more creative. Matthew Walker, a world class sleep scientist, argues that sleep is more important for our health than diet or exercise. R.E.M sleep, (Rapid eye movement) allows our emotional memories to become intellectual, where we have control over those thoughts. Through metaphorically replaying the events of the past (dreaming), we inspire creativity and promote problem solving. Hypnotic trance replicates R.E.M in a clinical setting, hence the reason solution focused hypnotherapy promotes solution finding and problem solving.


So hopefully this has given you a little more understanding on why, as a solution focused hypnotherapist, we use the field of neuroscience to provide a better understanding on the inner workings of the brain.


If you would like to find out more about how solution focused hypnotherapy can help you, please contact me for your FREE initial consultation at my hypnotherapy clinic in Halifax, West Yorkshire.