2021 has been a year of adaptation. We have struggled with and found creative solutions to many of the challenges that faced us, including the way we manufacture and distribute vaccinations, work from home, provide online education and offer support to patients and clients through tele-medicine and tele-therapy.
We can perhaps allow ourselves a moment to breathe this Christmas.
Covid is a physical illness but its’ impact on global mental health has brought together innovative thinkers who are determined to create systems which will ensure that populations are kept not just physically safe, but mentally well too. Solutions include psychedelic treatment for depression, mental health seminars at work and for the public, venture capital investment into mental healthcare technology and an extensive role for virtual therapy.
A Glimpse of Mental Healthcare
2022 is the year where we expect to find people placing an importance on personal growth, emotional resilience and familial mental health. There is much talk about self-care on the internet and a growing recognition that people will need support as they send their children back to school, struggle with the increase in depression, anxiety and teenage suicide, return to the workplace and adjust to the changing life-scape.
One of the nicest feedback that we get from our students is the way that clinical hypnosis reconnects them to their sense of self. The last 18 months have chipped away at our confidence. The classroom provides community, a sense of connection with people who have similar values, and simple skills that are often tremendously life changing.
Clinical hypnotherapy is a gentle therapy that accesses the unconscious mind and uses the person’s own resources to restore emotional and psychological well-being. People attend clinical hypnosis courses for a great many reasons but nearly everyone leaves with a sense of completion; and a growing number of our graduates are joining therapy centres and making clinical hypnotherapy a full time or part-time career change.
LSCCH launched a virtual therapy centre offering support to our graduates in the UK, Malaysia and Singapore. It has been exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Virtual therapy is of course not a new concept but for many therapists March 2020 was the first time that they had worked this way.
Research supports the efficacy of virtual therapy and our therapists are currently using the platform to support frontline responders, people in quarantine, provide corporate training, helping people when travel restrictions prevent in person therapy and to offer help to clients in crisis outside the normal clinic hours.
The virtual landscape means that it is easier to network with colleagues at home and abroad. Classrooms have become increasingly international, creating the opportunity for culturally diverse learning spaces. And this year we have organised two international conferences designed to build collegiality between professional societies and therapists across the globe.
Kindess in a Time of Trouble
We have been touched many times by the acts of kindness by our students and colleagues. Altruism is the desire to make something better and many of our students felt compelled by the consequences of the pandemic to invest in careers that could make a difference. One student described how when alone and hyperventilating during lockdown, a therapist had checked in daily teaching simple techniques such as self-hypnosis and listening to their fears. This simple gesture offered without charge touched the student profoundly and has led them to make the decision to pay it forward by changing their career.
Across the different regions therapists have given help without charge. A group of LSCCH therapists and students in the UK and Asia are collaborating to offer support to refugees. Other students use their training hours to offer free virtual therapy to people, whilst others have offered support to front-liners. One doctor described just listening to the free audio download we provide kept them sane during the height of the pandemic.
A common theme in the classrooms comes from students who want to help someone close to them or to make a difference in the future. We are proud of our community and of our students.
A Future in Clinical Hypnosis
Mental health and emotional challenges will remain part of our lives even as the covid-19 virus fades. Learning how to become more centered, emotionally resilient, to manage one’s stress and share these skills with others will have an increasing value both for everyday living and, also as a future profession.
Many students described that joining a community of like-minded people was an added bonus on the courses. Classroom learning is important and the clinical mentoring provides an important context to develop compentencies. But the support and solidarity brings an element of fun, and the sharing and friendships made in the classroom are often enduring and lifelong.
One student encouraged by her classroom colleagues took the skills to her work and offered free sessions during the lunch break. People started talking about improved sleep, feelings of well-being and coping more effectively and the company decided to implement mental well-being sessions as a routine part of returning to work post lockdown.
LCCH Asia and LSCCH have made a commitment to all students wanting to invest effort in making a difference to the community or to invest in new careers to provide the best support for these future journeys. We have launched clinical placement schemes and clinical mentoring to help support our future therapists. The LSCCH virtual therapy centre is another commitment to help our graduates become successful in careers that will offer support to the people that we care about.