Cognitive hypnotherapy for stress management

Russell davis cognitive hypnotherapyAs part of mental health awareness week, I’m delighted to welcome Russell Davis to Little Green blog. Russell uses Cognitive Hypnotherapy at his practice in Ealing, West London.

His extensive training, caring approach and experience will ensure you have the highest quality service. No issue is to big or small, so why not contact Russell to discuss ways in which you can enrich your life?

Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Some people may not have heard of cognitive hypnotherapy; can you tell us what it is?

Cognitive Hypnotherapy was created by the world renowned Trevor Silvester, Director of The Quest Institute.

It is a modern form of therapy that utilises theories from psychologies such as cognitive psychology and evolutionary psychology as well as neuroscience.

There are unique factors of Cognitive Hypnotherapy such as the utilisation of the cool fact that neuroscience is recognising our mind is more plastic than we first anticipated, so you can ‘reframe’ old memories in the light of new learnings removing any negative emotion associated with them.

Cognitive hypnotherapy is a 100% natural means of achieving the life you want.

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Some people find the idea of hypnotherapy scary; that they lose control when in trance. What do you think?

I believe trance is neither a weird nor special state – and you are in control. We all go in to trance a number of times a day, for example day dreaming or reading a book.

Have you ever been watching TV and not realised someone is talking to you?  That’s you being in a trance.  Our unconscious mind controls 90% of our behaviour so surely it makes sense to work at changing that rather than our conscious mind?

Coping with Stress

Many of us live in stressful times. How does stress effect us?

The brain responds to signals of stress by using the bodies natural ‘flight or fight’ response i.e. do I stay and fight the danger/source of stress or run from it?

The body prepares for ‘fight or flight’ by what is known as the stress response by shunting blood to the muscles to prepare them for action and providing the body more fuel through releasing glucose from stores which gives you get an adrenalin kick.

Although this is designed to prepare us for a short term stressful moment it can be both wearing and detrimental to our health when we experience it over longer periods of time due to life circumstances.

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How can we take control of how our body responds to stress?

Below are some tips for you to use on yourself. These can be done any time, anywhere, and are a great way to combat stress, re-energise or bring yourself out of a negative mood.

Don’t worry about trying to achieve all the steps, move on to the next one when you feel ready.   Each step will deepen your relaxation.

  • 1. Breathe slowly, deeply and evenly from your stomach.  Be aware the speed, the depth of each breath and the length of the pause between breaths.
  • 2. With every exhale, say a word to yourself that represents the way you want to feel. For example, say “calm” or “relaxed”.
  • 3. As you breathe, become aware of the sensations in different parts of your body, perhaps starting with your feet and moving up e.g. how does one arm feel in comparison to the other?
  • 4. Recall a relaxing memory from your past.  Vividly re-experience it, remembering the sights, sounds and smells around you.  Enjoy reliving the relaxing feeling.

That sounds great – how often should we do this?

Practise this for three to five minutes a couple of times a week, and enjoy the benefits it can bring you!

If you want to find out more about Russell and cognitive hypnotherapy, check out his website or give him a call!

What about you? Is there anything you would like to know about cognitive hypnotherapy? Leave your question in the comments below!


  1. Wendy on April 16, 2009 at 7:20 am

    Wonderful post!

    I just did ‘The Help Yourself’ section and feel very relaxed. It reminds me that I completely forgot to do my yoga today (no wonder I’ve been so tense!).

  2. Richard on April 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    There are unique factors of Cognitive Hypnotherapy such as the utilisation of the cool fact that neuroscience is recognising our mind is more plastic than we first anticipated, so you can ‘reframe’ old memories in the light of new learnings removing any negative emotion associated with them.

    As an NLP practitioner this rings true for me too. We put it another way that ‘constructive imagination and memories share the same neural pathways’ So just imagining a new positive outcome and rehearsing it ‘as if it was a past event’ can make dramatic changes in the way we perceive our negative histories. Within the therapeutic frame this is a powerful tool for change.

    You are right, the mind is very eleastic, but sometimes the rubber needs stretching again to get it used to change …

  3. Mrs Green on April 17, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Thank you for a fabulous article, Russell. I would like to ask you a couple of questions.

    I’ve heard of cognitive behaviour therapy and I’ve heard of hypnotherapy. Is cognitive hypnotherapy a combination of the two or something completely different?

    Also, we talked in this interview about stress; what other conditions is cognitive hypnotherapy most used for?

    @Wendy: Hi Wendy, I’m glad you enjoyed doing the relaxation exercise. I did it last night before bed and it felt great.
    I hope you managed to do your yoga – do you do yoga daily? How long for?

    @Richard: I love the way you explain things in your last line, Richard. And I hope that this gives people hope that they really can change their lives for the better. So many of us believe things are set in stone, but it seems, from what you way that this is not the case.

    That should give us all something to celebrate!

  4. Russell Davis on April 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for comments on the article and I am glad you like the exercise. The more you do it the more effective it becomes! NLP was born out of modeling hypnotherapists so there are a lot of synergies and in fact I use a lot of NLP techniques as well.

    Good question Mrs Green! I shall try and keep it brief! It is essentially quite different but utilises a couple of theories from cognitive psychology. I shall give some examples of the similarities and differences.

    From cognitive psychology and neuroscience it takes the theory that the mind operates like computer software, a number of programmes running at the same time processing information. These programmes are developed from our genes and nurture. They follow a process or pattern when dealing with problems (called the Problem Pattern). This understanding is used to tackle the process the problem follows as it is lived out, not just the cause of the problem.

    From cognitive psychology it also takes the theory that people’s emotions and behaviours are influenced by their perception of events, not the event itself. Although cognitive therapy works on the premise that emotion is a consequence of thoughts, Cognitive Hypnotherapy believes that thoughts are the consequence of emotions.

    A cognitive therapist will look to change the clients automatic thoughts in response to a situation at the conscious thought level rather than unconscious with Cognitive Hypnotherapy. Changing an automatic thought in response to a situation at the conscious level can be very hard work for the client, take a long time (e.g. curing a phobia can take up to 10 sessions compared to one or two with Cognitive Hypnotherapy) and as a result can lead to a high drop-out rate.

    I hope that gives a flavour of the similarities and differences!

  5. Mrs Green on April 25, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Thanks for coming back and answering all the questions, Russell. I’ve still be remembering to do the little exercise when I get a few minutes and you’re right – it gets more powerful and easier to do with practise.

    This part “cognitive therapy works on the premise that emotion is a consequence of thoughts, Cognitive Hypnotherapy believes that thoughts are the consequence of emotions.”

    Now that is fascinating. I had CBT for about a year and I found it extremely helpful, however, there were situations where I simply could not accept that the way I felt was the result of a thought. on many occasions, yes, it was true – I was worrying about something; however tiny and when I looked for it, I found it.

    But at other times, it used to drive me to distraction looking for this elusive thought that had triggered an unpleasant emotion and I was quite sure it wasn’t there at times! and that my wheel of thought / emotion was turning in the opposite direction to the beliefs of the therapy.

    Perhaps it was!

    Like you said too – it takes a lot of consistent work to achieve changing thoughts. It works great if you get it, but I can understand why there is a high drop out rate. I got totally exhausted by it all at times.

    that was great – thank you for explaining things more.

  6. […] Little Green Blog » Coping with stress using cognitive hypnotherapy […]

  7. Meredith on June 16, 2009 at 4:55 am

    I’m feeling less stressed already 🙂 Seriously, you gave some good tips and I especially like the one about hypnotherapy. It has saved my life.

  8. Mrs Green on June 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    @Meredith: Hello Meredith; often the simple tools in our lives are the most effective. The key is to use them frequently and prevent the stress in the first place. Glad it was helpful. Russell will be contributing more articles to the site in the future 🙂

  9. […] Little Green Blog » Coping with stress using cognitive hypnotherapy […]

  10. London hypnotherapist on January 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I’m feeling less stressed already 🙂 Seriously…..

    Good for you! 🙂 Continue the hypnotherapy and I’m sure you will have a stress free life.. 🙂