Category Archives: Hypnotherapy

How many bodies do we have?

I first became a practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (“EFT”) in 2003. I later became an Advanced Practitioner and I’m now an EFT Master Practitioner, and also a practitioner of a related energy therapy, EmoTrance (“ET”, but now renamed by its originator Silvia Hartmann as EMO). Both of these therapies, and several related ones, are based on the theory that each of us has an energy body, whose “circulatory system” comprises the meridians also used in acupuncture. Energy therapies are designed to clear blockages in the energy body, or the body’s energy system, caused by a wide range of emotional (and physical) conditions.

Because of my scientific background I’ve had some difficulty in accepting the existence of an energy body, but nevertheless I’ve proved many times – with clients and on myself (to the astonishment of a certain medical consultant) – that EFT and ET are very effective indeed. On the whole, I don’t trouble myself too much with how they work, only that they do.

The concept of an energy body has other applications besides therapeutic ones. As I’m also interested in psychical research, I recently read Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience by Luis Minero. Mr Minero is the Education Director of the Brazil-based International Academy of Consciousness (“IAC”), which runs training courses for controlled out-of-body experiences (“OBEs”).

The founder of the IAC, Waldo Vieira, developed the new study of “Conscientology”. He wanted to avoid occult connotations, such as use of the old term “astral projection” for an OBE, so he invented his own terms. This has had the unfortunate side-effect of making IAC books very difficult to read (although Mr Minero’s book is clearer than some); IAC writers never seem to be able to use a short word when a long one will do.

The first chapter of the book, Fundamental Concepts, defines the four bodies that make up the whole body (the “holosoma”):

Soma (physical body)
Energosoma (energetic body)
Psychosoma (emotional body)
Mentalsoma (intellectual body)

Each of these is then discussed in some detail, but it’s the energosoma that concerns us here. It may also be referred to as the “holochakra” and it’s the etheric body of classical literature. It has two main functions. Firstly, it links the physical body (soma) with the astral body (psychosoma). While this is important for understanding and promoting OBEs, it’s not really relevant in the context of energy therapies. Secondly, and more importantly here, it vitalises the physical body. A healthy energosoma promotes general well-being, while numerous issues result from blockages and imbalances. It’s these that we can clear with energy therapies.

The next chapter, Bioenergy, is lengthy and complex, and it defines many new terms that I’m not going to attempt to explain here. It’s worth reading in full if you are interested in the subject. In this chapter, Mr Minero describes the energosoma as comprising all the body’s chakras and their energies. A chakra is a vortex, a processing centre or gateway for sending and receiving energy. Although most writers concentrate on the seven main chakras, there are apparently about 88,000 of them in all. Chakras feature prominently in some energy therapies, but not in EFT, which concentrates on meridians, or ET, in which energy simply flows freely.

The chapter includes exercises which will be useful to energy practitioners. I personally find the most important one, “VELO”, fairly easy, but that may be because I’m used to stimulating energy flows in my body. It involves rapid movement of energy flows up and down the body. VELO stands for “Voluntary Energetic Longitudinal Oscillation”, and it has a number of benefits including:

unblocking and balancing the energosoma;
identifying and diagnosing energy blocks;
preventing the onset of energetic blockages or problems; and
making us physically healthier.

In other words, the benefits of VELO are similar to those of EFT and ET, so it may well be worthwhile for energy practitioners to add this technique to their toolkits.

I said earlier that my scientific training has made it difficult for me to accept the bioenergy concept. When I first started using EFT, I regarded it as a form of hypnosis, and it can certainly work as a trance induction. Nevertheless, from the personal success I’ve had in feeling the energy flows, using EFT and ET and with exercises such as VELO, I’m now inclined to give the idea of an energy body rather more credence, particularly after reading Mr Minero’s book. Although it’s difficult to digest, the ideas put forward do mostly seem quite sensible.

The association founded by Silvia Hartmann with which I’ve taken all my energy therapy training how now been renamed as The Guild of Energists, reflecting Silvia’s emphasis on energy flows rather than the mechanical process upon which the original version of EFT was based. (Silvia’s version, as taught in her Master Practitioner course, is referred to as “Energy EFT”.) I’m personally not happy with the association’s name change, as I thought the old name was better suited to a professional body, but the Guild now includes many members who are not professional therapists. More at

Parts of your Mind

In my blog on “Advanced Past Life Therapy”, I mentioned that you can meet and talk to “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind. I’d like to discuss this in a bit more detail, because “parts therapy”, in one form or another, is something which I find very useful in my hypnotherapy practice.

Now, some hypnotherapists and psychologists will tell you that there’s no such thing as the “unconscious mind”. They may well be right; certainly there’s no specific area of the brain where it lives.* But, nevertheless, the mind behaves as though it has an unconscious region, and whether it’s real, a metaphor or a convenient fiction doesn’t matter – parts therapies work.

Whole Master’s degree courses exist on the subject of “consciousness”, so I’m not going to get bogged down here in theories of the conscious and unconscious minds. I’m just going to give you this simple diagram, my take on Freud’s Iceberg Model, incorporating Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious:


Your personal unconscious contains “parts” which are unique to you. A simple technique which I often use is “Parts Integration”; we find (for example) the “part” which is responsible for a negative behaviour, then the “part” which wants to change, and then we encourage the two parts to talk to each other and come up with an agreed strategy. This doesn’t have to be done under hypnosis, but I find that a light “trance” – just deep relaxation – helps the process along.

Archetypes belong in the Collective Unconscious; they are common to all mankind. According to Jung, principal ones include the shadow, the wise old man, the child and the mother, but there are many more. Three that I find particularly useful to work with come from hypnotherapist Terence Watts: the Warrior, the Settler and the Nomad. We can bring in all three, consider which is responsible for a behaviour, or which would be most helpful, and ask them to speak to us or to each other.

Which, if any, part of your unconscious mind houses spirit guides, angels and characters from your past lives is anybody’s guess. Again, it really doesn’t matter. As I said in my earlier blog: These “entities” may or may not be “real”; perhaps they exist independently or maybe they are simply “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind, but this isn’t important from a therapeutic point of view. We can treat them as real and benefit from their guidance.

*Some experts regard the “unconscious” as nothing more than automatic brain processes, but in my opinion those are something else which should not be confused with “the unconscious mind”.

How do you Think?

An article on the BBC website ( ) highlights new research at Exeter University on what the researchers call “aphantasia” – the inability to see mental pictures in one’s head. Prof. Adam Zeman suggests that this could affect 1/50 of the population.

This doesn’t surprise me at all, as I have this “affliction” in a mild form myself; I can see pictures, but they aren’t at all clear. But the article has reminded me of another observation which I made, years ago, which I often mention to clients who don’t visualise well.

I think in language – “Internal Dialogue” – in perfectly grammatical English sentences. I always assumed that everyone else thought this way too, until I asked a Chinese friend brought up in England what language he thought in. He didn’t understand the question, because he didn’t think in language at all; he thought in pictures and symbols. (In retrospect, this may have been connected with the way that Chinese is written.) I’ve asked this question to others many times since, and received a variety of answers.

One of the first things you learn when you study NLP is the concept of “representational systems”. The main ones are V (visual), A (auditory) and K (kinaesthetic – touch and feeling). NLP textbooks say that we all use a mix of these systems, although presumably anyone with total aphantasia will have no V system. Generally speaking, though, we will always have a “preferred” rep system which is better developed than the others; mine is A, so I have a preference, for example, for music and writing (and proofreading!) over the visual arts – I’m hopeless at drawing and painting. I also find it hard to remember faces.

As well as the preferred rep system, we also have a “lead” rep system that we use to retrieve information from memory. If I ask you to think about your last holiday, for example, what is the first thing that comes to mind? When I first came across this concept, I was surprised to discover that my lead rep system is V; the first thing that comes to mind when I think about my last holiday is definitely a picture – although of course it’s not a clear one.

When I took my first NLP Practitioner training, I struggled with some of the exercises, as the trainers’ preferred rep system was clearly V. I still have a problem with a few highly visual NLP techniques, such as Time Line, Swish and the “Fast Phobia Cure”, so I tend to avoid using them with my clients; as a general rule, I prefer to use techniques (in NLP and other therapies) which I have tested on myself.

If you’d like to know more about representational systems, have a look at this article on my website, which was an early attempt of mine at a piece of writing using language appropriate to each of the three main systems. (NLP textbooks also say that we tend mainly to use the language of our preferred rep system.)

Now a Graduate Member of the BPS

Almost exactly 42 years after graduating in Psychology, I have joined the British Psychological Society as a Graduate Member – MBPsS. I’m looking forward to updating and widening my knowledge of the subject, which seems to have developed in positive directions since my degree course.

What is “Advanced Past Life Therapy”?

If you’ve been paying attention to my website at , or to my Facebook page, you may have noticed that I recently added the Advanced Diploma in Past Life Therapy to my qualifications – almost exactly ten years after my first past life regression certificate. What’s Advanced about it, and how has it benefited my practice?

Firstly, the basic techniques I’ve been using for ten years, although usually successful, do have a few limitations, so I’m making some minor changes to them which should give your unconscious mind a little more flexibility. I’m also increasing my standard past life sessions from “about one hour” to “up to 90 minutes”, as an hour was always tight. Generally this should allow for exploration of more than one past life, but of course that’s always going to be up to each client’s experience – and every experience is different.

Secondly, I shall be offering some new related forms of experience; here a few of the main ones:

Soul Retrieval

Broadly speaking, a soul retrieval exercise is indicated whenever a client suggests that something has been “lost” or is “missing” from their life, or perhaps the client will refer to a “broken heart”. It is also indicated where a client has suffered a severe trauma, such as a violent death, in a past life which may well have led to soul fragmentation – something left behind. In soul retrieval we find the missing element and restore it.


Life Between Lives (Spiritual Regression)

What happens after you die and before you enter the next life? This seems to vary enormously between individuals – I’ve heard many different stories from my clients – but if you want to explore this I can help you.

Future Life Progression

This is not as exciting as it may sound. I’m not a fortune-teller and I can’t tell you what will happen in your future. Whatever you may experience in FLP is only one of many possibilities based on your present life; any changes in your behaviour made in the present will affect that future. The mere fact that the future has been predicted by the progression will also change it. Any negative future that comes up is simply a warning that changes should be made now.

Time may be thought of as “the fourth dimension”, so that by taking ourselves out of the familiar three-dimensional universe we can perceive the whole of our past, present and future mapped out – but this does not imply that the future is fixed. A better analogy for explanation is that of the “multiverse”: there is an infinite number of possible futures, and any that we visit now are just probabilities based on our present circumstances. Any changes we make to our behaviour will affect which futures we enter.


You can meet and talk to your spirit guide, angels or characters from your past lives if you wish. These “entities” may or may not be “real”; perhaps they exist independently or maybe they are simply “archetypes” or “parts” of your unconscious mind, but this isn’t important from a therapeutic point of view. We can treat them as real and benefit from their guidance.

Cord Cutting

When two individuals interact and exchange energy, a bond forms between them which can be seen (psychically, symbolically or metaphorically) as a cord connecting the two of them together. If the attachment is having a negative impact on the your life, being unable to let go of a past relationship for example, it is essential that you should sever and destroy the cord in order to move on.

Future Choice Meditation

This technique may be useful in cases where you have to make one of two distinct choices about your future, such as a career or perhaps a partner. FCM is intended primarily for spiritually-inclined clients who believe in karma and life plans and wish to know which is the right path for them. It is designed for use after past lives have been explored and any blocks have been dealt with.

Finally, I should make it clear that one related form of therapy that I am not specifically offering, at least at the moment, is Spirit Release. This is a complex technique which should in general only be attempted by someone with detailed specialist training. If an entity clearly manifests during a session, I have enough knowledge of the subject to be able to negotiate with it, but I would only regard this as a “first aid” treatment and would advise the client to see a fully-trained spirit release therapist as soon as possible.

This article could have stretched to several pages. If you need any further explanation of anything I’ve mentioned, please ask.

“But they’ll look very silly along the way”

This is the final comment in the Radio Times’s description of a new ITV “game show”, starting on Saturday 14 March, called You’re Back in the Room. The synopsis is “A comedy game show based on hypnosis: five members of the public take on straightforward tasks, made harder by the hurdles that hypnotist Keith Barry plants in their minds.”

I rarely watch anything on ITV, and I never watch game shows, but this one – based on the descriptions and trailers I’ve seen – reaches new depths. Although I don’t perform as a hypnotist, only as a magician, I’m not opposed to stage hypnosis in general as long as it’s reasonably tasteful. This new TV show looks and sounds about as tasteless as it’s possible to get.

It’s emphasised in the FAQs on my website, but I want it to be made very clear again, that no responsible hypnotherapist, myself included, would make any suggestions to clients that would make them act in a foolish way. Hypnotherapy is just that: therapy employing hypnosis. Hypnotherapists use their skills (not “powers”!) for therapeutic purposes only, not for entertainment – their own or anyone else’s. We help clients to remove “hurdles” – we don’t plant them.

What’s a good hypnotheraputic strategy?

Answer by Barry Cooper:

I use a wide range of techniques, but perhaps the most versatile is “parts” work. There are several versions of this, but they all involve calling up parts of the unconscious mind and getting them to negotiate with each other. The unconscious mind, if it “really” exists at all, doesn’t “really” have parts – but it behaves as though it does. So, for example, a smoker may have a part of his UCM that wants to quit, and another part that wants to continue. Getting those parts to talk to each other can be very effective.

View Answer on Quora

Doing It In Public

According to The Sun, which I don’t read, the singer Adele has been having hypnotherapy to “cure her stage fright”. While I would never use the word ‘cure’ in connection with hypnotherapy, as it’s not a medical treatment, it can certainly be very effective in dealing with stage fright and any similar ‘performance anxiety’.

In fact, a lack of confidence in, or even a fear of, public speaking is one of the most common problems that clients bring to me. Although I have dealt with stage fright it’s usually related to speaking in front of a class at college or colleagues at work. This is something that I can generally help with easily, effectively and quickly – often one session is enough. My focus is on teaching clients self-help techniques; obviously it depends on the individual circumstances – there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach for any client – but it’s usually a combination of self-hypnosis, NLP and one of the meridian therapies. You can read more about these on my website and in other blogs.

As it happens, I have a particular interest in all kinds of performance anxiety, as I’m an experienced speaker and performer myself. As well as giving talks on hypnotherapy and related subjects I’ve acted, given after-dinner speeches and performed as an amateur magician (unsurprisingly, I specialised in magic of the mind). So I’m well placed to give clients tips on performing in public as well as helping them develop confidence and deal with their fears.

Please get in touch if you feel I can help You!

Enjoy your Summer!

Welcome to the British summer. The sun is shining (well, it is as I’m writing this, anyway), days are long and all’s right with the world – except, perhaps, for a few minor niggles.

How do you feel about wasps, spiders, other insects or creepy-crawlies? Do they make you run screaming from the room or garden?

Are you going on holiday? Are you anxious about flying or travelling in general?

Hypnotherapy, NLP, EFT and other techniques can help you deal with all these fears.

Are you due to sit an exam retake in the autumn? Revision and study can be boosted enormously by the help of memory techniques and concentration focusing methods. Also, knowledge of these is in itself a great help towards exam nerves, but rapid relaxation techniques will help too.

Have a look around my website for more details on the ways in which you can be helped to enjoy your summer!

What does hypnosis feel like?

That rather depends on who is doing the hypnotising! My own personal theory is that there is more than one kind of hypnosis; your experience during a stage show would be quite different from the way that you would feel in my consulting room.

Most stage hypnotists, and some hypnotherapists, use “instant” hypnotic inductions. These are designed to rapidly interrupt the thought processes of the conscious mind, usually by shock or surprise. You may have seen Derren Brown on television using a version of the “handshake interrupt”, which is a good example of this type of induction. I can’t tell you what this kind of hypnosis feels like, because I’ve never experienced it (except while I was training, and the students who tried it on me weren’t very good at it) and I don’t use it with my hypnotherapy clients. There are other, gentler ways to bypass the conscious mind and access the unconscious.

My preferred induction techniques are based around deep relaxation. Some hypnotherapists look down on this, believing that it wastes valuable therapy time, so I should point out immediately that my combination of techniques is much faster than the classic “progressive relaxation”, which can take up to half an hour. I do use something similar but it doesn’t take nearly as long – usually 5-10 minutes. I use these techniques because:

  • they work;
  • most of my clients have some sort of stress or anxiety and therefore benefit from deep relaxation; and
  • I like my clients to feel better when they leave my consulting room than when they came in!

Where clients’ issues are specifically related to stress or anxiety I teach them how to use self-hypnosis – a shortened, faster version of my induction technique which they can take away and use for themselves to relax easily, quickly and deeply. Like everything else this takes practice; the more you use self-hypnosis the easier it becomes.

So, to modify my original question: what does my type of hypnosis feel like? Everyone experiences it differently. For some, it may not feel any different to the normal “waking” state, but normally it’s similar to that feeling of deep calm that you experience just before falling asleep at night or just before waking in the morning. Your body should feel deeply relaxed and may also feel heavy. You remain aware of what’s going on in the room and outside, but feel that it’s not important. You stay fully in control and will be able to come out of hypnosis at any time you choose. For most of my clients the experience is so pleasurable that they may not want to “return” – but they always do, of course. (Perhaps I should point out here that you can’t get “stuck” in hypnosis; a hypnotic “trance” will simply morph into a natural, normal sleep if it isn’t terminated earlier.)

If you’d like to get a taster of what my kind of hypnosis feels like, I’ve posted a video on YouTube (link at ) with a cut-down extra-fast technique which I’ve used successfully as a one-to-one demonstration in networking meetings. It’s not the same as the method I use in the consulting room, or the one I teach for self-hypnosis, because I believe that these are too powerful to be released on YouTube – they need to be applied or taught one-to-one. Feedback from my clients is an important part of the full induction process.