I often get asked why I call myself an evidence-based practitioner. In the field of psychotherapy, there are so many techniques and schools of thought, and although hypnotherapy can be considered “the mother of all psychotherapies”, what is my focus? There are so many different types of hypnotherapy practitioners out there. On what basis do I choose the treatments and methodology?
I believe that, generally speaking, the therapeutic techniques that I choose should conform to some basic guidelines/rules. First and foremost of these would be that the technique should fit into my conception of a ¨client centered¨ practice. In choosing the technique, I focus on certain questions: does the technique have any evidence supporting its efficacy? If there are no studies directly supporting the technique, does it at least have a theoretical base that may explain why it works?
It is my belief that it is very important to be able to explain the nature of the condition to the client and that they understand the mechanisms by which the issues are created and maintained, thus also the ways that we be will using this particular technique to help them. In being able to cognize and understand the theoretical aspect, the client can see for themselves if the therapy is indeed a help to them. They work with me and by themselves, knowing that we have made a treatment plan based on the most plausible reasons for their issue.
Also in having a client-centered approach, I think that it is paramount that the basic ideals and philosophy underlying the technique and they way it is employed, be aligned with my own personal values at the moment. My personal experience of the power of belief is such that I am fully aware that if I, as the therapist, do not believe in the basis of the technique or its ethics, it will not be as effective for the client and will undermine my own self-efficacy. To quote Marcus Aurelius: “Never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”
This goes equally then, for the client. If the way of working is in alignment with their personal beliefs and values, then the entire process will be much more clear because there will be much less resistance to new ideas or processes. In addition, if they see my strong belief in the technique or protocol that then creates an expectancy of belief that can have a positive “snowball effect” on the rest of our interactions and the positive therapeutic outcome as a whole. I do my best to be as congruent as possible and the results reflect this.I have found that this way of working is in line with my own beliefs and values. Clarity, honesty and congruence help build the therapeutic relationship and this is very important to me.