Category Archives: Uncategorized

How does the hypnotherapy community view the work of Michael Newton in past life regression?

Answer by Barry Cooper:

I seem to have developed something of a specialism in past life regression. I’ve conducted many sessions and my clients’ experiences vary enormously. My view is that it throws up information from the unconscious mind and can therefore have a beneficial and therapeutic effect. How the information gets into the unconscious mind remains for me an open question; I don’t need to know the answer to conduct a PLR session. As with hypnotherapy generally, it’s not important how it works, only that it does.

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Is Stage Hypnosis different from Hypnosis (in general) or Hypnotherapy?

Answer by Barry Cooper:

You'll probably get as many different answers to this as there are hypnotists and hypnotherapists to give them but my personal take is that the stage hypnosis "state" is quite different to that used by most hypnotherapists, with the probable exception of those also trained in stage hypnosis. I'm not, and I only generally work with clients in a deeply relaxed state.
It's well-established (by researchers such as Hilgard) that relaxation is not necessary for hypnotic trance. My feeling is that "trance" covers a number of "states" which are quite different from each other.

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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.

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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!

The ABC of ESP

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.


A technique you can learn to relax quickly and easily.


Below the Surface

Did you see the BBC Horizon documentary on “the unconscious mind” last week? I found it very disappointing. It just reinforced my negative opinion of experimental psychology: if we can’t measure it, it’s not scientific so we’ll ignore it.

The programme focused particularly on brain scans. Neuroscientists may have some idea of how the brain works but this tells you nothing about “the mind” in general or the unconscious mind (“UCM”) in particular. And how can you produce a documentary on “the unconscious” without even mentioning Freud or Jung?

To learn about the UCM we need to use introspection, excluded from academic psychology for over a hundred years. If you want to know how someone thinks – ask him. NLP provides us with a useful set of tools for this, including the study of representational systems (Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic) and “parts integration”, in which we can talk to and negotiate with “parts” of the UCM.

Parts in particular, and the UCM in general, don’t have a separate physical existence, either in the brain or elsewhere. They are, in effect, metaphors – a way of looking at and dealing with the mind which works as though it exists separately.

Let’s look in more detail at this metaphorical structure of the mind.

We can think of the mind as an iceberg, of which the conscious mind is only the tip; the vast majority of the mind, the UCM, is “below the surface”. (I’ll get to the Collective Unconscious later.) The main differences between the two “minds” are:

The Conscious

The Unconscious

Can only hold up to 9 “chunks” of information Holds everything else
Is aware of now Is the storehouse of all memories
Thinks Feels
Works logically and deliberately Works intuitively and automatically
Asks “why” Knows “why”
Tries to understand a problem Knows the solution
Controls voluntary movements Controls involuntary movements

So where do Freud and Jung come in? They were both pioneers in the study of the UCM, although they had rather different opinions on what it contains. For Freud, it was primarily the repressed part of the mind, full of forgotten traumatic memories which continue to influence our behaviour. Jung’s view was that the UCM’s content is much wider, including various aspects of the self, and, in the Collective Unconscious, inherited racial memories and especially “archetypes”.

When I studied psychology, many years ago, we had several lectures on Freud, but Jung was dismissed in one sentence as “a mystic”. Although I have had no formal training in his methods I have read enough of his work to accept at least some of his ideas, and in particular I have been trained in the use of “Archetypal Parts Imagery”, which in effect is a merger of Jung’s archetypes with the NLP parts integration technique. This is a particularly versatile tool which I’ve used to help many clients.

Even the Horizon documentary acknowledged the power of the UCM, although their understanding of it wasn’t the same as mine. Hypnotherapy, NLP and some Jung’s “Analytical Psychology” are based on the idea that we can, with help or training, gain access to the memories and other resources of the unconscious mind and to make use of them to improve our lives.

Look into my eyes…or possibly not.

A demonstration of the difference between a classical and an Ericksonian hypnotic induction.

Look into my eyes…