Working together in therapy

wet   Andrew and Adele Pickles.  (120223M7c)
wet Andrew and Adele Pickles. (120223M7c)

Hypnotherapist Adele Pickles believes that most people have the wrong idea about her job.

For many, thoughts conjured up are of something similar to a Derren Brown TV show.

But a visit to the Thorner home of Adele and her husband Andrew Pickles immediately puts those images to the back of the mind.

The walls of their beautifully-decorated living room immediately makes visitors feel more relaxed.

Adele, 62, a former school teacher, has been working as a clinical hypnotherapist for 10 years alongside husband Andrew, also 62, who works separately as a neurolinguistic psychotherapist.

Hypnotherapy, a combination of hypnosis and therapeutic techniques, works by targeting the area where the subconscious mind and patterns of behaviour are laid down, Adele says.

Neurolinguistic therapy, which has been around since the 1970s, aims to conquer problems by exploring the relationship between how we think, how we communicate and our emotions.

Andrew and Adele, who are both fully-qualified therapists and members of accredited bodies, operate their sessions from their living room.

“We find it a more inviting and comfortable environment for our clients,” Adele says.

Talking about their unusual career paths, the couple explained that they had always wanted to work as therapists.

Adele said: “Therapy has been a shared interest of ours for a long time.

“I have always been interested in psychology, meditation and anything to do with the mind.”

Andrew, similarly, has wanted to be a pschycotherapist since he was a child.

He has treated patients from teenagers to pensioners and past clients even include former soldiers from Afghanistan and Vietnam suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Like Andrew, Adele says the range of clients she sees for a hypnotherapy is vast.

“We get such a huge variety of people, from those who want to lose weight, to students with exams nerves, people with sleep problems, victims of abuse and people with anger issues, but by far the most common is anxiety and depression related issues.”

Adele says hypnotism is often portrayed badly in the media and added: “There is definitely a misconception about hypnotherapy.

“People see stage hypnosis and TV shows such as Derren Brown.

“People can be a little bit afraid that they will lose control.

“With hypnotherapy the client is always in control. I can’t make anybody do anything they don’t want to do.”

At the house, clients usually have a session lasting around an hour and a half, though flexibility is often allowed.

Although neither treatment is available on the NHS, Adele and Andrew say they are often referred to privately through doctors referrals.

“We get a lot of clients who are on waiting lists for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy on the NHS,” Adele adds.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, a short-term psychological treatment based on the idea that negative thinking and behaviour can trigger problems such as depression or panic attacks is currently available on the NHS, though there are often long waiting lists for treatment.

Describing a typical hypnotherapy session, Adele says: “I use a range of techniques from relaxation, to ego strengthening, and we talk through problems and what they want to achieve.

“It is essentially reprogramming the mind.”

Success rates for hypnotherapy among her clients is high, and Adele believes the treatment works much quicker than other therapies, needing on average only around three sessions.

She said: “One lady who had a fear of flying rang me from Paris airport, another lady had been smoking since she was 16 and stopped after her sessions with me, she was in her early 60s and had smoked all her life.

“Often people know they have a problem but don’t necessarily know how to turn that around.”

Adele, who gained her diploma at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis and is a member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and Andrew, who is a member of the Neurolinguistic Pschycotherapy and Counselling Association, advise people to make sure to make sure they find a reputable therapist if they decide upon treatment.

Andrew said: “What we would say to people who want this treatment is to make sure the person you see is accredited.

“The industry isn’t as yet regulated and anybody can set up as a hypnotherapist, which is worrying.”