Perspectives from a Psychiatrist - now offering Hypnotherapy... by Dr. Jo Bowen BA, MA, MDCH, MBBS, MRCPsych
I practiced in London as a psychiatrist for over a decade, proudly published papers in many peer review journals and really enjoyed my medical career as such. I even seriously contemplated taking a senior lecturer position, specialising in addiction medicine, one of my developing fields of interest. However after a career break with my young family I have to be honest. The prospect of re-entering the medical field seemed underwhelming. I have always supported the values of the NHS and a biopsychosocial model of working, but the current resource and trust levels leave me feeling that efficient person-centred management of mental health issues are increasingly tick box and even clinically questionable.
Enter hypnotherapy training. I have done quite an array of trainings in the psychotherapies and have always taken note of putative unconscious processes. I thought I would take the Medical Diploma of Clinical Hypnotherapy (with the London College of Clinical Hypnosis) as a way of exploring a progressive therapeutic direction over a year which also saw me train in EMDR (for trauma and stress management). Enter a way of using my medical skills in a different way.
Medical hypnotherapy, as I have found it, allows for a person to make significant changes to their outlook, their coping resources, any internal conflicts and recursive fears of fear. One of my first thank you cards was from a lady who worked with me on grief stemming from a long distant loss of a baby and the very next month she had conceived after being infertile for several years. Yes, I admit, only an association -not a cause- between my practice and the outcome, but a joyous one, to be sure. Such things really make you think anew. She felt that there was a strong cause, by the way.
A year on I find that my clients (not patients I remind myself now) can use my comprehensive clinical service in a different and hopefully a more responsive way. They like it that I have a medical background (they are of course a selective sample) and they like it that we formulate SMART goals. They really like it when I give them an appointment at a time to suit their needs- when they can most focus on their goals. They also like it when I have time to listen to them: their words, their body language and what they do not say but what they find they can symbolise. They bravely travel into the past, the future or somewhere else using a most powerful tool - imagination, together with a most powerful vehicle - the body.
This is mind body medicine at its best, I think. So I am happy to have begun a very fulfilling career as a medical hypnotherapist and conflict coach and hope to inspire others in the medical profession to take note of what hypnotherapy can achieve and to work to examine its neuroscientific and phenomenological efficacy in an enlightened way.
Jo runs The Exeter Stress Clinic - more information at www.jobowenhypnotherapy.co.uk