When the topic of therapy is mentioned a clear stereotype pops into people’s minds. The calm, nodding therapist with pen in hand and head tilted compassionately to one side, and the patient lying on a day bed talking through their problems. However, the reality is that there are many different types of therapy and indeed therapist and the old stereotype no longer applies. Psychotherapy and hypnotherapy are both fascinating types of therapy and have been proven to help a wide range of issues, both separately and as complementary therapies. The main and most obvious difference between psychotherapy and hypnotherapy is that the former is conscious counselling and the latter, subconscious. However, the differences go far beyond that, as we discuss here.
Psychotherapy is often thought of as ‘talking therapy’, but there are various different types of therapy to suit the client’s specific needs, some that are heavily based on the client talking and some that offer a more guided experience. Psychotherapists typically work face-to-face with individuals, couples, groups and families, providing therapy to aid with psychological and emotional issues. The different therapy options work in very different ways and therefore it is essential that the correct therapy is chosen for each individual case. Similarly, the client-therapist relationship is of vital importance and therefore the right psychotherapist for the client needs to be chosen to enable them to feel comfortable, safe and respected. Once the therapy plan has been chosen, it will be personalised to suit the individual. The types of therapy available are extensive, but they include:
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies
- humanistic and integrative psychotherapies
- systemic therapies
- experiential constructivist therapies
The sessions usually last between 30 minutes to an hour, once a week, but some therapies and clients require more frequent visits. During these sessions, the psychotherapists aims to build trust with the client, developing a bond that significantly improves the chances of successful therapy, regardless of the type of therapy. This bond allows the individual to feel heard and respected, restoring self-esteem and strengthening them for the work to come. It also allows the therapist to better assess their needs, identify damaging behaviour and explore any underlying issues. Some therapies are completed after six weeks and others will continue over several years.
Psychotherapists often attend therapy themselves, to help them to deal with the emotional toll of the job, as it can be very draining to deal with other people’s problems without any outlet. Although this is not a job requirement, many find it extremely beneficial as it not only helps them personally, but also allows them to remain empathetic, experiencing the role of the psychotherapist from both sides, ultimately allowing them to develop their own practice further.
Only fully qualified therapists with the relevant experience will be added to an Accredited Register recognised by the Professional Standards Authority and it is strongly recommended that clients only use therapists on this register, giving them security and confidence in their choice. The qualifications required are an honours degree, preferably in psychology, nursing, medicine or social work, and a postgraduate qualification in psychotherapy. The professional development continues throughout the therapist’s career to ensure they stay up to date with the latest developments and practises.
Hypnotherapy has a great deal of similarities with psychotherapy and both types of therapist require full training and experience before they are added to an Accredited Register. Some people are more hesitant about trying hypnotherapy due to the misconceptions about the therapy, including the belief that you lose control and are completely vulnerable to someone else’s will. The reality is that it is more akin to the trance state you enter when meditating or losing yourself in a good book. This trance allows the therapist and the client to access the subconscious. It is because of this deep connection that hypnotherapy can often work much faster than psychotherapy, as the therapist has deep access that would take a long time to build up to with more traditional talking therapies and sometimes even after a long time it cannot be established without the use of strong medication.
Hypnotherapy is well known for its treatment of phobias and addiction, but it has been successfully used to treat pain relief, insomnia, stress and depression. However, there are some conditions that cannot be helped by hypnotherapy and require more traditional counselling, such as bi-polar disorder, psychosis or in some cases the fear of hypnosis itself. An increasingly popular approach is to combine the use of psychotherapy with hypnotherapy as complimentary treatments, or hypno-psychotherapy, which uses hypnosis to enhance the psychotherapy and treat severe psychological issues. However, both hypnotherapy and psychotherapy do not promise a cure. Their success depends entirely on the connection between client and therapist, the bond and trust created between them and the willingness to work on the issues at hand. Anyone who enters into therapy with a swift cure in mind is likely to walk away disappointed as it is a therapeutic process and not a quick fix scenario.
Both psychotherapists and hypnotherapists need to have particular skills and qualities to succeed in this career. These include a positive, empathetic and caring view of others, particularly the belief that people can change and develop, a sense of humour, self-awareness, non-judgemental attitude and the ability to establish a trusted rapport with people. Due to the extensive training and work experience needed to qualify for these roles, clients can feel confident in the ability of the therapist when choosing from an Accredited Register, which immediately establishes a small level of trust that both client and therapist can build on.
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a fully qualified hypnotherapist or psychotherapist or want to find out about hypnotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling courses, why not apply for one of Chrysalis Courses’ free brochures here.