David Newton, CPHT Chairman and Founder

David Newton & Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

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David Newton, Chairman and Founder of CPHT

David Newton

The Chairman and Founder of CPHT is David Newton, a Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist. He founded CPHT in 2002. Initially the course was based in Bristol, but since 2009 it has expanded to other areas and today the CPHT Hypnotherapy Diploma Course is being taught in multiple locations across the UK. David also founded in 2010 the Association for Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH), a CNHC Verifying Organisation and a member of UKCHO.

David Newton is undoubtedly one of the most successful hypnotherapists in the UK, having the experience of well in excess of 36,000 clinical hours in his career. The CPHT hypnotherapy course syllabus and philosophy remain based on his experience and expertise. Below he explains how his professional career led him to create Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

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The creation of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

“I began my working life in the Army. I graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1962. At school, I always said I would go on to study medicine. When the time came, however, somebody pointed out, quite rightly, that I was much better at rugby and cricket than maths and physics.

My Army career was very enjoyable and interesting. I count myself lucky to have had it and there is something more. To command a platoon or company successfully you have to get the best out of people and to achieve that you have to get the best out of yourself. I did not fully appreciate at the time that this was an invaluable experience for my later career as a hypnotherapist.

After a period in business and commerce, I was drawn back, as many of our students and graduates are at the same stage in their lives, to the idea of ‘helping people’. I looked around at various training options. I considered various forms of psychotherapy but chose hypnotherapy for pragmatic reasons. It was by far the quickest way to get going. In the 1980s most hypnotherapy courses were based on analytical processes. Thus, after fairly brief training I set up in practice as a full-time hypnotherapist.

The late 1980s and early 1990s were a difficult time for psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. The Freudian perceived wisdom was being challenged and the ‘false memory syndrome’ was becoming an ever-increasing scandal. I found the application of analysis challenging. The encouraged consulting room misery and the foraging for trauma and unhappiness did not suit my personality nor it seemed did it seem to suit all my clients. It did not help everybody. I was not able to cope with this especially as I had a worrying suspicion that sometimes it did more harm than good.

I was obviously helping some clients because my practice was flourishing. This may have been because of the beginnings and application of my enduring belief that, while there must be discipline, therapy should be enjoyable. I introduced lightness to my consulting room and even encouraged my clients to reflect on ‘happy memories’. I made the mistake of talking about it and attracted a good deal of criticism from my analytical peers.

By the mid-1990 I was aware of the Ericksonian, NLP and SFBT movements being imported from the USA. I attended seminars and courses in all these areas to learn more and, always, if I learned something new on Sunday I wanted to use it on Monday. I became very eclectic. In effect using a bit of this and a bit of that, including still some analytical processes.

The latter part of the 1990s was the period when my practice became what could be described as solution focused. Several things happened and were happening that sowed the seeds of what is now referred to as Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (SFH). I was seeing 40/50 clients each week so I was gaining a good deal of experience about ‘what worked’. I became aware of the ‘scientific revolution’ and in particular the work of Marcus Raichle. His discovery is that when we are in a trance state the brain is working hard to come up with solutions. I was particularly pleased with one of the very first research/neuroscientific programmes that said that the more enjoyable therapy was the more successful it was likely to be. There was also confirmation of Blaise Pascal’s assertion that ‘People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they themselves discovered than by those that have come to the minds of others’.

Working as a therapist in Bristol and London I was becoming quite well known and almost but not quite, became a ‘celebrity’ hypnotherapist. Importantly for my clinical development, I saw several leading sportsmen and sportswomen. With my sporting background it was an environment I was comfortable with and I learned a lot. In certain circumstances, one might see an athlete for many more sessions than in normal clinical work. One such athlete was Glenn Catley, the boxer, to whom I continue to be grateful. I suppose I saw Glenn a few hundred times. He became Super Middleweight Champion of the World. It was with Glenn that I learned the absolute value of repetitiveness. Reading stories, more often than not the same story, to my grandchildren reaffirmed this.

My wife and I founded The Clifton Practice in 1995. In 2002, the next momentous step, the first training course in hypnotherapy was launched. Six people trained with us and I am very proud to say that two of them are still practising very successfully at The Clifton Practice. I am also very proud of the fact that our lecturers in the Continual Professional Development (CPD) programme and the Supervisors in the supervision network, both probably the best of their kind in the UK, are exclusively CPHT graduates.

Early training at CPHT was hampered by the National Occupational Standards for hypnotherapy being very much out of date. I am pleased that we have been a part of at least bringing them into the 20th century! More importantly perhaps, largely due to our lobbying, training schools can now add their own individualism to the syllabus. This gave me the opportunity to take my consulting room philosophy and experience into the lecture room. We teach what works and we practise what works and we practise what works right from the onset of the course.

In 2009 the first of our Satellite schools opened in London, Manchester and Plymouth. Today they are present in many towns and cities across the UK. My only regret is that I cannot be lecturing everywhere but what I do know is that as a body CPHT lecturers are not only successful practitioners but gifted teachers. I am confident that all of them share my philosophy that we are in the business of helping people become confident, successful, and most of all, happy hypnotherapists. Most would say that we probably have the best record in the country for doing this.

I am quite certain that SFH will continue to be a dominant part of hypnotherapy in the 21st century. Certainly, it will continue to be the fastest growing.”

David Newton

Updated March 2023

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