Would you like to train in hypnotherapy to help clients to break bad habits? Many of our clients will visit a Solution-Focused Hypnotherapist to help them with this.
How do we define a habit?
A habit is some repetitive behaviour that may not be helpful to us. Examples include; nail biting, eating unhealthy food, not taking enough exercise, or drinking too much. Solution-focused hypnotherapy can really help with this. As we repeat unhealthy behaviours, we actually form neural pathways in the brain. The more we repeat the behaviour, the more we are encouraged to carry out that behaviour.
We also make associations in the brain, which strengthen neural pathways. For example we may always have a cake at 3:00pm with a cup of tea in the lounge. That connects the behaviour with a time and a place. If we take a cup of tea to the lounge at 3:00pm, our brain expects there to also be a cake! The brain has associated the cake with relaxation. This feels good, so again we are encouraged to repeat the behaviour.
How do we build new neural pathways in the brain?
One easy way to explain it, is to use a metaphor. It’s like being at the top of a ski slope looking at the route down the mountain.
There is a well-worn pathway down the mountain that is quick and easy to travel down and it gets you to the hotel at the bottom for a gorgeous hot chocolate. It has all the works that you absolutely love. However, these hot chocolates are making you put on weight and your salopettes are getting a bit tight. You hear that there is another cafe a few miles away that provides healthy, delicious alternatives. So you decide you want to try these instead.
But the route down to this new café is a bit less well defined, the snow is softer and it’s a bit over-grown so it’s harder to get down and takes longer.
But in time, with regular use, this new pathway gets easier and faster. In the meantime when we look back at the old route, it is not even visible. It has been covered with new snow, and perhaps overgrown with shrubbery underneath. It’s has become the slower route. Our new neural pathway has been developed and over-ridden the old path.
So how do we help our clients to break habits?
We can encourage clients to make the changes they want in their lives by encouraging them to recognise the patterns in their behaviour. To break habits, you need to break those associations. We use solution-focused psychotherapy to help the client identify small changes at first, and then leading to achievable steps towards where they want to be. We also offer psychoeducation to clients about how the brain works. This amazing ability of your brain to adapt and change is known as neuroplasticity Neuroscience – how the brain works.
Within Solution-Focused Hypnotherapy, the client is encouraged to think about what they could change to disrupt the association of unhelpful behaviours, and do something else instead. It may take time to develop new habits, but it will work in time with repetition and they will have found a different pathway down that mountain.