CNHC registered hypnotherapist Caroline Dyson is the founder, director and lead clinical hypnotherapist for the Hypnotherapy in Schools Programme (HISP). The programme uses clinical hypnotherapy in educational settings to support the learning and general wellbeing of pupils and staff.
HISP started in Coventry in early 2011 with a pilot project in a secondary school looking at using hypnotherapy to help pupils with exam anxiety. The results were so encouraging that the authority fully incorporated hypnotherapy as one of the many approaches that schools/colleges could choose to use with their pupils.
Caroline, who has a background in teaching and local authority Behaviour Support Services, commented: “I set up the programme to try and make hypnotherapy accessible to a wide range of pupils and not just those whose parents could afford private sessions. I also wanted to help hypnotherapy become more ‘mainstream’ and accepted as an approach for children/young people, in line with other therapies such as counselling.”
The programme developed and expanded so that just four years later, over 20 different schools (primary, secondary and special schools) have all chosen to use hypnotherapy, with many using it on a regular weekly basis.
Caroline explained: “Some settings use hypnotherapy for individual pupils with specific issues such as anxiety/panic attacks, self-esteem/confidence, phobias, sleeping difficulties or pain control. Some use it on a group basis, for examples, for pupils experiencing significant anxiety around taking exams or assessments”.
An evaluation held in December 2014 indicates that 74% of pupils achieved or exceeded at least one of their targets while 93% of pupils achieved at least ¾ progression towards one or more of their targets. Some pupils were able to significantly reduce medication (with proper medical advice) or pass exams they had previously been too anxious to even attend.
HISP is now being used by schools in other authorities and Caroline is training CNHC registered hypnotherapists to become HISP Practitioners so that this approach can be used across the country.
Caroline commented: “CNHC registration is important to me as it ensures that a good standard of training must have been achieved and saves me checking each individual hypnotherapy training school/college course content and requirements.”