Paul Friend Hypnotherapy
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Tel:    (01543) 406319

Mob:  (07530) 371497


The following extracts have appeared in a range of newspapers, magazines and books, starting with some early publications going up to the present day.

New articles are added from time to time, as and when more research that demonstrates the effectiveness of hypnotherapy is found.

1995 - Nigel Howard - The Natural Way - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

‘A number of recent scientific studies have shown that hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for IBS.  30 people with severe, long-term IBS were randomly selected to receive hypnotherapy, psychotherapy or nothing at all.  The psychotherapy patients showed a small but significant improvement in abdominal pain, distension and general well-being but not in bowel habit.  The hypnotherapy group showed a dramatic improvement in all features, including bowel habit.  When they were checked three months later this improvement was still present.  33 long-term IBS sufferers were treated with four 40-minute sessions of hypnotherapy over seven weeks.  20 improved, 11 of who lost almost all their symptoms.  Three months later they were still well.  Interestingly, this study also showed that hypnotherapy in groups of up to eight was as effective as individual therapy.’

25th July 1996 - The Daily Telegraph - Pain Control

‘A patient had a National Health Service hernia operation without anaesthetic, relying on hypnosis to withstand the pain.  Alex Lenkei, 49, a Hypnotherapist, had a colleague hypnotise him for the 30-minute operation at Kingston Hospital, south-west London, and watched surgeons cut into his abdomen.  ‘I was fully conscious throughout and felt fine’, he said.  ‘The surgeon hit a nerve twice which made me feel an instant pain but nothing excruciating.  My heart rate was steady throughout and there was not much bleeding’.  An anaesthetist was on hand in case he changed his mind in mid-surgery.  Mr Lenkei, from Surbiton, Surrey, had trained for the operation with 20-minute hypnosis sessions every day during which colleagues measured his sensitivity to pain by screwing clamps on to his arms to see if he could feel them.  Senior registrar surgeon Tom Hennigan, who repaired the hernia, admitted that he had thought hypnosis was ‘a load of rubbish’.  He said that in hernia operations where not enough local anaesthetic was supplied, patients complained of severe pain.  ‘To have it done with no anaesthetic at all would be torture’, he added.

5th February 1997 - The Daily Telegraph - Cardiac help

‘A hypnotist who answered the captain’s appeal for help treated an airline passenger in the early stages of a heart attack at 35,000ft.  Rose Orders, a newly qualified Hypnotherapist and nurse in a hospital cardiac ward, volunteered her services when no one answered the call for a doctor.  Mrs Orders said: ‘I was taken to a very ill-looking lady who was deeply in stress, anxiety and pain.  I felt her pulse, which was very erratic.  She was in a lot of distress.  I knew that if I did not do something quickly to relieve her from the symptoms she would have been heading for a cardiac arrest - I deal with cardiology every working day, and I know what the signs are.  ‘As there was no conventional means to help I decided to put her under hypnosis.  I was on my knees, supporting the lady's head.  She looked as if she was just sleeping.  When the plane landed, I brought her out of the trance so that the medics could deal with her immediately.  As soon as I brought her out of the hypnosis, the lady started experiencing her anxiety and pains again.  ‘Mrs Tye, who was returning from a two-week holiday in Barbados, said yesterday ‘I am certain she saved my life.  About one and a half hours into the flight, everything went very hazy.  I remember feeling shooting pains in my chest and down my legs and back.  I thought I was going to die.  ‘The last thing I remember is her soothing voice telling me to relax and count down from 10.  Then I was out cold.  It felt like it was only seconds before I heard the same voice telling me to wake up’.  A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation said yesterday: ‘Hypnotism could not restore a heartbeat, but it would help calm a sufferer of heart disease and prevent the onset of an attack.’

22nd March 1997 - The Daily Telegraph - Surgery

‘What should one do if, as surgeon-in-charge of a Japanese Prisoner of War camp hospital in Singapore, one runs out of anaesthetic drugs - a situation that Captain Michael Woodruff, of the Australian Army medical corps, found himself in during the closing months of the last war.  His ‘hospital’ had no proper beds, mattresses or sheets, while the operating theatre was a wooden hut with a mud floor.  In these straitened circumstances, Mr Woodruff operated on patients with perforated ulcers, intestinal obstructions and acute appendicitis.  ‘By the beginning of 1945, we had no chloroform left and only a small amount of local anaesthetic’, he recalls.  ‘As the Japanese refused to provide any more, a Dutch colleague suggested I should try to operate without conventional anaesthesia after he had hypnotised the patients’.  Having induced a state of hypnosis, it was suggested that the patient would ‘feel no pain at the site of the operation’, and that ‘he would experience no post-operative pain and remember nothing of what had happened to him’.  Over the next few months - up until the Japanese surrender - several dozen surgical and dental procedures were conducted in this manner.  In the case of one man with a severe infection of the hand, the whole of the upper extremity was ‘rendered anaesthetic’.  An incision was made over the first finger and pus evacuated all the way to the tendon sheath.  ‘The operation lasted about 20 minutes, during which he did not appear to experience any pain, nor did he move his hand unless instructed to do so.’

22nd March 1997 - The Daily Telegraph - Self-hypnosis

‘According to Helmut Karle, formerly a psychologist at Guy's Hospital, teaching people the technique of self-hypnosis is quite straightforward.  Its benefits are well illustrated by the case of a five-year-old girl, Linda, who had eczema of such severity that not even steroids could prevent its exacerbation by her constant scratching.  ‘I began an induction of hypnosis’, Helmut Karle writes, ‘and soon she felt herself floating away to Fairyland.  The Fairy took her hand and led her to a beautiful patch of grass, trees and flowers in the middle of which was a pool of magic water.  I told Linda to put her hand in the water and notice how it was pleasantly cool - just right to soothe her itching away’.  When she came out of her hypnotic trance ‘she was quite definite in asserting that the water had stopped her itching completely.  I then taught her to take herself into the hypnotic state so she could travel to Fairyland for a while every day and use the magic water’.  In the following week Linda practised the self-hypnosis every day.  ‘Whenever she felt an urge to scratch, she simply put one hand over the itchy part and thought about the magic water’.  She rapidly stopped scratching and before long ‘her skin was astonishingly better’.  Astonishing, indeed, for hypnotherapy is probably the only treatment that will stop the itch-scratch cycle in those whose eczema does not resolve with optimal treatment.’

18th July 1998 - The Daily Telegraph - Fertility

‘Practitioners have had proven success in treating unexplained infertility, according to Wesson.  ‘They are able to reach a person's subconscious and access the mental or emotional blocks which may be preventing conception’.  Last week, Theresa Jones, 34, was reported as having tried hypnotism after fertility treatment failed.  Combining the two brought success: Mrs Jones is expecting twins in September.’

29th April 1999 - The Daily Telegraph - Anaesthetic and pain control

‘A woman was operated on without anaesthetic by using self-hypnosis to ignore the pain as a surgeon sawed through bones in her foot.  When the pain became intense, Bernadine Coady, 58, conjured up an image of waves breaking against a sea wall and receding.  She spent three minutes hypnotising herself before the surgeon, Ahmed Shair, began to cut through her skin, muscle, and bones and then lengthened her tendons.  The surgery, at the private Fitzwilliam Hospital was required to reconstruct the bones in Mrs Coady's left foot to enable her to walk without discomfort.  ‘I told myself that I was going to feel no pain at all.  I am going to make this without the use of anaesthetic.  I imagined my leg as an iron rod and that when I heard the instruments it was them knocking against the iron bar’, she said yesterday.  I said to myself that if I had any pain I was going to liken it to waves lashing against a sea wall.  Every time it happened, I thought it was the pain going away, like the tide.  ‘I knew I was going to feel tugging and tearing and hear the saw and it was that image I embedded in my sub-conscious.  I worked on the pain’.  Mrs Coady, from Wimblington, Cambs, who come from Belize to train as a nurse more than 30 years ago and gained a diploma at the British School of Hypnosis in 1994, had to put herself ‘under’ when her hypnotist cancelled at the last moment.  ‘I always thought that it was possible and I am proof that it is.  I think it could be used for any operation - even heart surgery.  If I ever need another operation, I won't be using anaesthetics’, she said.  Mr Shair, a surgeon with 20 years' experience, said the operation was normally extremely painful.  ‘I have never hesitated at the beginning of an operation when I am preparing to cut someone, but that day I did’, he said.  ‘I have heard of this sort of thing happening but never believed it.  The depth of her sleep varied during the operation.  When we sawed through the bone she took herself deeper into sleep.  She was in absolute control’.  The procedure had to be cleared with the hospital's authorities before it was allowed to go ahead.  An anaesthetist was standing by to provide a local anaesthetic if needed.  Mrs Coady was reluctant to have conventional surgery because she suffers from a sickle cell condition which means her blood can be starved of oxygen.  The operation normally requires an overnight stay because of the anaesthetic, but Mrs Coady was back home a few hours after it was completed.  Dr Ken Phillips, a Harley Street consultant psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, said pain suppression was one of the oldest recorded uses of hypnosis.  ‘This is not new - there was one surgeon in Africa at the end of the last century carrying out all sorts of operations using hypnosis.  As far as this woman is concerned she has moved into a different level of consciousness.  In her mind, she was somewhere else, in a safe place where the pain could not reach.’

30th April 1999 - The Guardian - Rachmaninov

‘….one of the most famous episodes in Rachmaninov's life.  The legend goes that after the disastrous premiere of his first symphony in 1897, he fell into a deep depression in which he could not compose.  A course of hypnotherapy from one Dr Dahl eventually cured him and he dedicated his most celebrated work, the Second Piano Concerto, to the doctor.’

16th November 1999 - The Daily Telegraph - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

‘Around 15 million people in Britain suffer irritable bowel syndrome at some stage in their lives.  For most, there is not much hope of permanent relief, since traditional medicine has little to offer.  Prof. Jonathan Brostoff, an international authority on food allergy and intolerance based at the Middlesex Hospital in central London, says ‘The situation in this country is totally unsatisfactory.  Once diagnosed with IBS, the majority of patients are left to find books on the subject and carry out DIY treatment’.  Wendy Greenless, a 35-year-old housewife and mother of two from Derby, agrees.  ‘My IBS started when I was 28, after years of constipation.  My gut goes into spasm and feels as though someone has put a vice around it.  Then I get terrible diarrhoea’.  I started getting panic attacks because I thought I would not be able to get to a loo quickly when I was out and might have an accident.  I got so down that, eventually, my doctor put me on anti-depressants to help me cope.  Then someone at the IBS Network suggested that directive hypnotherapy could work.  It has helped me to relax and take my mind off my problems.  Experts say that anxiety makes it worse and that if you're happy in your mind you are in your gut, too.  It is the only thing that has ever really helped.’

30th November 1999 - The Daily Telegraph - Pain control

‘The two most sensitive parts of the body are the mouth and the genitals, from whose tissues literally millions of sensory nerve fibres convey to the brain our experience of direct physical intimate contact with the external world and our fellow humans.  The mouth and genitals, besides being the most sensitive parts of our anatomy, are also the main site of unexplained ‘pain syndrome’.  The sensory impulses to the brain become garbled, and instead of conveying the delights of physical contact, they become a constant source of misery and discomfort.  The pain may be localised in the lips, the teeth or the tongue; the vulva, testes or prostate - or it may be diffuse.  It can be weak or strong, constant or intermittent, burning, itching, shooting or stabbing, but its unifying characteristic is that the tissues from which it arises appear normal.  There is no identifiable cause.  It is, of course, only natural to believe there must be an explanation, and if only the right specialists could be found who knew the right test to do, then the cause of the pain could be found and the right treatment could be started.  Thus, depending on the site of the pain, the opinion of any number of specialists - dentists, neurologists, dermatologists, gynaecologists - will be sought.  In a few instances, a remediable source will be found, but for everyone else, the regrettable verdict is that the pain is idiopathic (of unknown cause) and neuropathic (arising from the nerves), which is almost as dismal as it sounds - but not quite.  In a recent book, Dr Charlotte Feinmann, a pain specialist, emphasises how medication, once started, needs to be continued for ‘at least’ six months and ‘for years in some cases’.  There are several different types of anti-depressant which increase the level of different types of neurotransmitter.  So if the first drug prescribed does not work, which, according to Dr Feinmann, occurs ‘quite frequently’, there is always the option of trying an alternative.  We tend to think of pain as a sensation caused by a specific stimulus, as when your thumb gets in the way of a hammer or you burn your fingers on the stove.  This activates nerve fibres, which shoot up to the brain with the unequivocal message that some form of aversive action needs to be taken.  Hypnosis and relaxation can be particularly helpful by correcting the negative thoughts that exacerbate pain - beliefs such as ‘if only the doctors understood how bad the pain is, they would try harder to treat me’, or ‘it can't be possible to have pain this bad unless there is something seriously wrong’.  Thus there is a lot more to treating these inscrutable conditions than simply prescribing drugs; it is necessary to draw on everything that is known about the pain, which includes an appreciation of its complex psychological aspects and how they can be influenced.’

1st January 2000 - The Guardian - New year resolutions to change your life?

‘Thought-based techniques such as creative visualisation, neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are all gaining scientific credence for their effectiveness in helping to change negative habits.’

28th April 2000 - The Guardian - Surgery

‘Hypnosis can reduce the pain of surgery and save time in the operating theatre, according to a study published today.  A trial of 241 volunteers found that hypnotised patients experienced less discomfort during invasive treatment than those given traditional care.  The findings, reported in the Lancet, adds to the growing body of evidence that alternative relaxation techniques can reduce the need for painkilling drugs.  A team of doctors led by Elvira Lang of Harvard Medical School in Boston studied the effects of hypnosis on patients with blood or kidney disorders undergoing treatment involving catheters.  One third of the patients were given guidance on self-hypnosis during the operation by a trained professional while another third were attended to by a medic who offered encouragement, sympathy and reassurance.  The rest were given no extra support during the procedures.  All the patients had access to an intravenous painkiller which they could administer with the press of a button.  They were also asked to rate their pain and anxiety on a sliding scale every 15 minutes.  At the start, all types of patient reported similar levels of pain and anxiety.  As time passed, levels of pain increased in the control patients, but not in those given hypnosis.  The middle group, who had the ‘structured attention’, reported a smaller rise in pain.  Dr Lang said ‘Patients in the standard group had significantly higher drug use than those in the attention group and in the hypnosis group’.  The hypnotised patients used around half the level of painkillers and anti-anxiety medicine during the procedures.  Hypnotism appeared to save around 17 minutes of theatre time per patient, the study found.  Dr Lang said the alternative treatment had a clear positive benefit.  She said ‘Whether less anxiety lessened the pain or vice versa, or whether anxiety and pain experience responded individually or interactively to the non-pharmacological intervention, remains unclear.’

5th June 2000 - The Guardian

‘Complementary medicine received a boost yesterday after a medical charity announced it is switching its focus to alternative therapies in its efforts to beat arthritis, after spending 60 years backing conventional drug-based research.

Until now, the Arthritis Research Campaign, the fifth largest medical charity in the UK, has only funded work into mainstream drug-based research.  But the organisation said the huge rise in the number of arthritis patients who seek relief from chronic pain through alternative medicine had prompted it to reconsider its position.  One in three people had tried complementary therapies, and 66% of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers used diet supplements, hypnotherapy or homeopathy to help alleviate their pain.’

27th August 2000 - The Observer

‘Dear Barefoot Doctor, can you suggest any techniques which I could use to break myself out of what has been diagnosed as 'post-viral fatigue syndrome'?  Swollen glands, aching limbs, tiredness - the last time I was in this condition, it lasted on and off for five months before abating.’

‘From my practice, it appears that what's usually described as post-viral fatigue is in fact severe depletion of energy in the liver, kidneys and often spleen, which then affects the heart and lungs and causes total fatigue.  As with ME, cranio-sacral therapy is often surprisingly effective in mobilising your body's defences, probably because it's so gentle and unobtrusive and therefore able to penetrate more easily than acupuncture.  Up to 10 sessions might be necessary.  Yoga is also highly effective in helping you break out of constricting physical patterns and is especially useful for getting to precise spots, like the throat, for purposes of increasing circulation.  To overcome any psycho-emotional inertia arising from the physical condition, try a quick blast of hypnotherapy - one session usually does the trick.’

December 2000 - Runner’s world

‘A recent study found that adults with broken ankles who tried using hypnotherapy healed faster and felt less pain than those who didn’t try it.’

18th February 2002 - The Independent - Hypnotism is for real, scientists say after brain-scan study of volunteers.

Hypnotism produces physical changes in the brain, according to a study showing that the favourite stage act of 19th- century magicians has a genuine scientific basis and could play an important role as a painkiller in medicine.  Scientists who hypnotised a group of volunteers have shown that the state induces a change in blood flow to the brain that cannot be explained by the power of suggestion.  Hypnotism, they concluded, is for real.  The research by scientists from the universities of Harvard and Stanford has demonstrated beyond doubt that some people are highly susceptible to hypnosis and that when they are hypnotised they use their brain subconsciously in a way not previously thought possible.  David Spiegel, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Stanford's school of medicine, said clinical trials showed that hypnotised people, especially children, could cope more easily with extreme pain.  ‘Every doctor ought to be taught the simple techniques of hypnosis’, he told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston yesterday.  ‘It's thought to be something that takes away control from a patient, but it's actually something that enhances their own self control.  So you can teach people how to manage their anxiety, how to manage their pain and they are grateful for it’.  The study involved scanning the brains of eight hypnotised volunteers who were first screened to see how susceptible they were to hypnosis.  About half the population could be hypnotised to a moderate extent, and about 10 per cent were ‘highly hypnotisable’, the scientists found.  The subjects were made to look at a grid of patterns that could be turned from black and white into colour.  When hypnotised, they were asked to imagine colours when there were none, and black and white when there were colours.  A brain scanner was used to measure blood flow to certain regions of the subject's brain, such as the fusiform gyrus, which is involved in processing the visual information relating to coloured images.  Professor Spiegel said ‘What we found is that, as we predicted, when the highly hypnotisables thought they were seeing colour but were seeing black and white, there was an increase in the blood flow in the fusiform gyrus.  ‘And when they thought they were seeing black and white but were really seeing in colour, there was a decrease in blood flow.  So believing was seeing.  ‘In fact when they believed they were looking at colour, the part of their brain that processes colour vision showed increased blood flow and when they believed they were looking at black and white it showed decreased blood flow’.  The findings cannot be explained by the simple ‘power of persuasion’ that some sceptics have used to discredit hypnosis, Professor Spiegel said.  ‘They [the volunteers] are not just telling you what you want to hear, they are actually able to change the way the brain perceives information and that has tremendous therapeutic potential.  This is scientific evidence that something unusual happens in the brain that doesn't happen ordinarily when people are hypnotised.  There's been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance, that people are just telling you what you think you want to hear’.  Professor Spiegel has used hypnosis on adults and children having painful medical procedures.  One such operation on children involves inserting a catheter into the bladder, which has to be done without anaesthetics because it requires the co-operation of the patient.  ‘It's a horrible procedure.  We're now doing a randomised trial comparing teaching the kids self-hypnosis - I have them imagining they are going to Disneyland - versus doing just standard care’, he said.  ‘We're finding so far similar results to what we've seen in adults.  There is less crying, less pain as the doctors are inserting the catheter and the procedure takes 20 minutes less.

20th November 2009 - Mail Online - Two hours of hypnosis ended my insomnia nightmare.  Article by Lorraine Fisher.

My shopping basket had enough sleeping aids to tranquillise a hippopotamus.  Kalms and Nytol tablets, alongside pillow mist - infused with soothing essential oils of geranium, rose and thyme - and candles labelled 'Relax' and 'Peace' to burn before bedtime.

The woman at the counter gave me a sympathetic smile but I was too exhausted to respond.  I was desperate for a decent night's sleep.

My insomnia - a condition that affects nearly a third of Britons at some point - had such an innocuous beginning.  A trivial argument with a friend in August 2006 had left me furious and unable to sleep as I replayed the conversation over and over in my head.

At 4am I crept into the lounge and put on the TV.  Eventually the noise of the programmes drowned out the conversation going on in my head and I fell asleep.

That should have been the end of it, but it wasn't.  For the next night, and every night after, the same thing happened.  I'd go to bed at 11pm and find myself getting angry or upset at things that had gone on during the day.  By 4am I'd be on the sofa, watching TV and drifting off.

Throughout 2007, I existed on three or four hours' sleep a night.  I was moody, irritable and constantly close to tears.

I bought all sorts of miracle cures including homeopathic pills and tapes of soothing music. I had long baths, exercised more and cut down on alcohol, as experts advised.  Nothing worked.

By January this year I was worse than ever.  I dropped off to sleep quickly but woke between one and three in the morning.  It was unbearable.

Even giving up my stressful job on a newspaper in May didn't help, and by July I was begging my GP for sleeping tablets.  As he wrote a prescription for a powerful tranquilliser, I asked him about hypnotherapy - something I'd seen on the internet.

Hypnosis is a trance-like mental state induced by verbal suggestions that aim to get the patient into a state of deep relaxation.  The suggestions can be made by a therapist or be self-induced.

Hypnosis is recognised by the British Medical Association and has been used successfully as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, as an alternative to chemical anaesthesia, and to treat skin conditions.

And many therapists claim to be able to treat insomnia.

So, would it help me?  'It works for some patients,' my GP said, shaking his head.  'But I wouldn't ... '

The tranquillisers did work and I enjoyed nights of blissful sleep.  But as soon as I skipped a dose, the insomnia returned.  I realised if my mind was stopping me sleeping, it was my mind that had to be treated.

So a few days later I was at Philip Batchelor's practice in Greenwich - the closest to my London home - agreeing to be put into a hypnotic trance.

The long-held popular view is that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness and that the hypnotherapist is able to access all those thoughts and feelings that we are not aware of but affect our lives.

However, experts now believe hypnosis is a wakeful state in which the attention becomes focused, causing a diminished awareness of the surrounding environment and a heightened state of suggestibility.

Batchelor claims 80 per cent of his patients need between one and three sessions to help them sleep again.  Of the rest, half need more than three sessions and the others don't respond.

'The effects are permanent,' he says.  'If clients do return because their sleep pattern has become disturbed once again, then it is normally because something new has happened to cause that.'

Personally, I was willing to try anything.  Batchelor asked me to follow a crystal pendant he waved in front of my eyes.  Next he asked me to lie down and his gentle voice calmed me.

As he coaxed me to breathe more deeply and told me to relax each part of my body in turn, I began to go into a trance.  All I heard were odd phrases telling me how relaxed I was.

Then, from being in a blissful state where I was so relaxed that I could hardly move, the moment I heard Batchelor say 'In a minute, I'll bring you round', I was fully alert as he counted down from three.

A slightly dizzy, light-headed feeling remained for about ten minutes after I sat up and I needed a big glass of water to quench my raging thirst.

After the hour- long session, which cost £65, I left with a CD to play at home to reinforce the treatment until my next visit five days later.  Batchelor warned that I might need two or three sessions.

The night after the second session I woke up - but at 7am with sunlight pouring through the curtains.  I felt elated.  It's a fluke, I thought, until the same thing happened the next night, and every night after that.

Whether you can receive hypnotherapy on the NHS depends on your local Primary Care Trust.  Chelmsford GP Les Brann prescribes it for his patients but he warns it won't work for everyone.

'With naturally short sleepers, no amount of therapy is going to make any difference,' he says.  'And waking early in the morning is often a sign of depression, so the GP would need to ensure there wasn't an underlying reason such as that.

'The people I would refer are those who normally sleep well but are going through a bad spell for a reason such as a bereavement or divorce.'

Four months on and I am still sleeping well.  Insomnia was ruining my working life and relationships but now I feel able to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  I am calmer, happier and just annoyed that the cynic in me stopped me going to hypnotherapy sooner.

Oh, and I've thrown out all those herbal remedies.