Cognitive hypnotherapy is different from what people often imagine hypnotherapy to be like.

It draws on leading-edge research in neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, positive psychology, cognitive theory and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). 

Therapy sessions are interactive and include a somatic element. Trauma is stored in the body, so to ignore its wisdom would be to leave out an essential component in the healing process.



Research suggests that about 90% of our behaviour is automatic. In other words we’re on a kind of behavioural autopilot – or everyday trance – for large parts of our day.

Many of these everyday trance states are useful. Thanks to them, we don’t have to start from first principles every time we tie our shoelaces or drive our cars.
Instead our unconscious learning takes over, so that we can listen to the radio and think about our upcoming meeting as we go about our daily routines.

But these everyday trance states are also the reason why it can be so difficult to change problem behaviours.

Consciously we may know there’s no need to be anxious about giving a presentation to a group of friendly colleagues, for instance, but unfortunately our conscious minds aren’t running the show in this situation.


I work on the basis that every behaviour has a positive intention. Even though shaking like a leaf and feeling sick with adrenaline before a big presentation may not feel useful, your unconscious truly believes that these symptoms are saving you from a worse evil (giving the presentation). The harder you push against these negative trance states, the more they push back.


So what’s going on? The answer is that occasionally – and especially when we’re young – our brains make processing errors. Somehow, your brain has equated standing up to give a talk with certain destruction. No wonder it does everything in its power to stop you from doing it!


Often we don’t even remember the initial events that triggered these programming errors and set in motion the consequent negative behavioural patterns. We only know that we’re stuck with unhelpful behaviour patterns that are getting in the way of our lives.


Cognitive hypnotherapy updates our unconscious programming with our conscious mind’s understanding of reality, leaving you fully in control.



Because everyone’s unconscious programmes have developed differently, cognitive hypnotherapy treatment doesn’t use labels or diagnoses.


Whereas a traditional hypnotherapist might decide you have anxiety and offer you their anxiety script, in cognitive hypnotherapy we look at the elements of your individual problem and devise a plan to take you towards your solution state.


You might say that cognitive hypnotherapy helps you wake up from negative trances, or that we de-hypnotise you, giving you back control of your life.


Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy (QCH) launched a unique research project in 2011. Using a team of QCH therapists, clients with anxiety and depression were assessed using the same outcome measures currently used to assess the effectiveness of talking therapies within the NHS.

The pilot study was published in the Mental Health Review Journal in 2015.

It recorded that, using 118 cases measuring the effectiveness of Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy for the treatment of depression and anxiety, 71% considered themselves recovered after an average of 4 sessions. This compared to an average of 42% for other approaches using the same measures (like CBT).

To our knowledge, this is the only hypnotherapy approach to have been validated in this way.