Why being a solution focused hypnotherapist the key to my success

The class of CPHT Kent 2018

Let me tell you my story. Way back in 2012 I qualified with a diploma in hypnotherapy and counselling skills, from an unregulated school of hypnotherapy, run by someone who claimed to have had a successful hypnotherapy practice.

I would be lying if I said I hadn’t loved the course, it was fascinating and I learned all sorts of exciting, but sometimes nerve-wracking therapeutic interventions. I learn’t a little psychology, some basic counselling skills, how to cope with severe abreactions (that’s snot and tears to you and me). However, I was consistently worried about what the right intervention would be to treat the client and wondered how effective the treatment was long-term, but was told that was normal, not to worry and I would figure it out as I got more experience.

Consequently, despite working very hard and continuing training whenever I could, it took me over two years to really get my practice to a point where it could support me and my daughter, and during that time I was stressed, exhausted and constantly wondering if it wouldn’t just be easier to get a job.  You see, my course missed out something that every therapist must have – a repeatable process for treating a client.  All I had when I graduated were lots of interventions and a certificate.

It all felt a bit ‘smoke and mirrors’ and, what annoyed me most, was that I couldn’t explain, in anything other than vague metaphorical terms, exactly what was happening in my client’s minds to make the difference…even when the results were brilliant!

One day, I was complaining about it to hypnotherapist colleague and  friend, Gary Johannes, who seemed to get near miraculous results and a stream of gushing testimonials from clients, saying how he had been instrumental in helping them change their lives forever.  I don’t know what came over me, but I uttered the now infamous (in CPHT St Albans at least) words “You do the worst hypnosis but you get the best results!”

I actually cringe when I read that, but at the same time I knew nothing different; I was taught that the hypnotist held the power and had to be exceptionally skilled, being able to ‘make’ their ‘subjects’ perform all sorts of phenomena and I had to ‘prove’ hypnosis worked.  My friend on the other hand seemed to simply read a few language patterns (in my arrogance I questioned whether it was even hypnosis) and miracles occurred.  Of course what I didn’t know about was the rock solid, results driven, scientifically supported therapy that encased this gentle, therapeutic trance that supports the brain in finding the best solutions.

Gary forgave my rudeness, because he knew why and how he got those results and proceeded to tell me about the brain and exactly how he helped his clients get over anxiety, depression, trauma, addictions and more, with a thing called Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.  I was skeptical, but kept thinking about his testimonials which had inspired me so much.

A year or so later, as I was still working very hard and reading a lot, Gary was asked by CPHT Principal David Newton if he would like to start a CPHT training school in Peterborough.  I jumped at the chance to enrol on the first CPHT Peterborough course, particularly as I would be trained by someone I admired greatly. I very quickly began to see how empowering the therapy was for clients, but also how energising it was for me, both of which were completely new concepts. In my original training I was used to my clients going through boxes and boxes of tissues and me struggling to find a good work life balance.

Suddenly, as I began to switch my practice over to the solution focused approach, working with clients no longer seemed like work, it became a vocation, something that gave me a spring in my step and had me telling anyone who would listen about this amazing therapy that could help resolve the past without delving into it.

But that’s not the end of the story.  As my practice grew I continued to see friends, colleagues and some of the people who trained at that first school either retrain or simply stop doing therapy altogether.  It made me sad and angry, particularly as some of them were amazing therapists who had spent their time and money to then abandon something they were good at, which should have been a successful career vocation.

I wanted to help them.  At first I mentored other therapists but quickly realised I could only help them so much, because I was just helping them fix exactly the same problems I had encountered at the start.  I knew the problem was not them, but the way they worked. There was only one thing for it – start a CPHT in Kent.  So we did. Gary and I launched CPHT Kent in January 2018.

Our first class graduated in October and I’m loving the stories they are already telling me about how they are enjoying building their practices.  It is exciting to watch because it is important work they are doing. For me, the better prepared they are, the better supported they are, the better trained they are, the more people they help.  Mission accomplished.

Kent was such a success that we decided to launch CPHT St Albans in 2019, which brings my story up to date…but are you ready for the next chapter of your story to begin?


This post was written by Ali Hollands.  Ali is a multi-award winning clinical hypnotherapist with Inspired To Change in Maidstone.  Ali gained her first hypnotherapy diploma in 2012 and extended her training with a diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy in 2015 with Gary Johannes, head of CPHT Peterborough, Kent, St Albans, Essex, Northampton and Birmingham.

Ali is a practicing Solution Focused Hypnotherapist and senior lecturer for CPHT St Albans, Kent and Essex. As well as this she is writing a book about how to set up in business and in practice, for newly qualified hypnotherapists.  Ali’s passion is in improving performance and enjoyment of life, for her clients and students.  Ali believes that life and work should be fun and fascinating and you can follow Ali on Instagram  and Facebook