Stephen Haig Brooks, (21 July 1951 in Cambridge, United Kingdom) is a British hypnotherapist and a pioneer[peacock term] in the development of indirect hypnosis. He introduced Ericksonian techniques to the UK and Europe.[citation needed]



Stage hypnosis


Animal magnetism
Franz Mesmer
History of hypnosis
James Braid

Key figures

Marques of Puységur
James Esdaile
John Elliotson
Jean-Martin Charcot
Ambroise-Auguste Liébeault
Hippolyte Bernheim
Pierre Janet
Sigmund Freud
Émile Coué
Morton Prince
Clark L. Hull
Andrew Salter
Theodore R. Sarbin
Milton H. Erickson
Stephen Brooks
Dave Elman
Ernest Hilgard
Martin Theodore Orne
André Muller Weitzenhoffer
Theodore Xenophon Barber
Nicholas Spanos
Irving Kirsch

Related topics

Hypnotic susceptibility
Post-hypnotic suggestion
Age regression in therapy
Neuro-linguistic programming
Hypnotherapy in the UK

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Brooks acquired his initial interest in hypnosis during a demonstration of hypnotic phenomena at a psychology lecture at the University of Cambridge in 1969. He had previously developed an interest in experimental psychology while at school after winning a book on the subject as a school prize. Experimental psychology and, especially, experimental hypnosis subsequently became an obsession of his, fueled by a belief that research into hypnosis - particularly its creative and ethical application in therapy - had not been fully explored or developed.[citation needed]

Lack of publications and available research into experimental and permissive hypnosis in the UK led to him becoming disillusioned with the traditional direct approach, which he considered far too authoritarian and disrespectful to hypnotic subjects. He felt that instead of empowering people, it disempowered them because it implied that the hypnotist had control over them.[1]

In the 1970s while browsing in his local county library, Brooks discovered a book entitled “The Practical Application of Medical and Dental Hypnosis” (Published 1961).[2][self-published source?] There were three authors, one of whom was Milton H. Erickson, who was largely unknown at the time except within clinical hypnosis circles in the USA. It was Erickson’s only publication in book form at the time, although some of his papers had been published separately in American journals.[citation needed]

Brooks acquired "Hypnotic Realities" (1976) by Ernest Rossi and armed with this,Template:Tone inline decided to concentrate on developing a career as a hypnotherapist. Alarmed by the standard of training provided by traditional hypnotherapy training schools, he felt confident enough to set up in private practice as an Ericksonian hypnotherapist based on what he had learned from the books of Erickson and Rossi.[citation needed]

He decided that, as the public were still fairly sceptical (or even afraid) of hypnosis, due mainly to how it was portrayed in the media and by stage hypnotists, he would not set up a permanent practice in one location. Instead, he would set up five different practices, one for each day of the week in different towns throughout the county of Essex, where he then lived. He set up practices in Chelmsford, Southend, Rayleigh, Brentwood and Harlow using hotels, government offices and training centres. As a result, he averaged nine clients a day for over twelve years.[citation needed]

During this time, he established contact with Erickson and received papers from him on a regular basis during the 1970s. He arranged to visit Phoenix where Erickson lived, for an informal meeting along with several other well known Ericksonian therapists including Rossi, Sidney Rosen, Carol Erickson and Frank Farelly, with all of whom Brooks would later train. Unfortunately, Erickson died on the day of the meeting. Other Erickson pupils with whom Brooks trained included Michael Yapko, Joe Lustig, Bill O’Hanlon, David Gordon and David Caloff.[citation needed]

In 1979 Brooks set up British Hypnosis Research (BHR)[3][self-published source?] as an association to research into Erickson’s techniques. The association was based in Cambridge and mainly attracted undergraduates from the local university as it was located in the university's Union Building (where in 1993 Brooks would give a talk about advances in hypnosis and meet with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to discuss the relationship between hypnosis and meditation).[citation needed]

In 1985, Brooks developed the first ever Ericksonian Hypnosis course in Europe. The success[peacock term] of this course enabled Brooks to create a one year professional Diploma training at weekends. He realised that to be accepted by the medical profession the course needed to have strong academic elements and (ideally) be taught by doctors, as this was the norm. At this time, interest in Erickson’s work was growing and so Brooks invited four of Ericksonian-inclined clinicians to teach along side him on the first BHR Ericksonian Hypnosis Diploma course. The trainers were Dr Tony Bastic, author of a book about intuition, Dr Elvider Adamson-Mecado, a psychologist at St George's Hospital in Tooting, London, Dr Tony Wabba, a psychologist and anaesthetist at Eastbourn General Hospital and Frank Franklin a psychotherapist and one of the first people to train in NLP with its originators, Bandler and Grinder in Santa Cruz, California. Brooks thus had assembled an appropriate "medical" team of trainers. St George's Hospital was chosen as a suitable venue for the courses. Rossi and many of the experts with whom Brooks had previously trained also served as BHR trainers, so as to provide students with the most advanced techniques available.[4][self-published source?]

The only providers of clinical hypnosis training courses in the UK at that time were the British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis (BSMDH) and the British Society of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (BSECH), the former catering to doctors and dentists and the latter to psychologists. Brooks believed that training in hypnotherapy should be made available to those outside the medical field and that Ericksonian techniques should be given a wider exposure. BSECH eventually accepted Erickson’s approach as valid and one of Brooks’s own students, psychologist Phyllis Alden, a graduate from his Diploma course at St George's, was made Honorary Secretary of BSCEH.[5][dead link]

By the mid-1990s, Brooks was running training courses in over twenty hospitals and universities throughout the UK and abroad. As recognition of the efficacy of his methods increased, health professionals such as doctors, nurses, counsellors, occupational therapists and social workers were all able to study conversational hypnosis in a therapeutic context and thereby enhance their relationship with patients and clients.[citation needed]

In 1990 Brooks was asked by the British Library Sound Archive to record an example of contemporary hypnotherapy. Together with the University of Sussex he made a studio video recording of a hypnotherapy session with a patient. He based the video on an earlier studio recording of Erickson made by Joe Lustig. The video of Brooks’s session quickly became popular with hypnosis training organisations and has been used extensively on hypnosis courses ever since. In 2009 it was re-mastered for DVD and Brooks added a commentary to explain his method in detail. French subtitles were subsequently provided, translated by Deborah Bacon-Dilts (wife of Robert Dilts).[citation needed]

While many BHR graduates incorporated Brooks’s hypnosis skills into their NHS work, others left the NHS to set up in private practice and others set up well known training organisations. Notable graduates[6][dead link][self-published source?] include Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell who created a master's degree based on their Human Givens therapeutic approach, Igor Ledochowski[7][self-published source?] who has published books and set up courses in conversational hypnosis, Adam Eason who set up Adam Eason Personal Development, Mark Tyrell who set up the Uncommon Therapy organisation, Kerin Webb who runs EOS Hypnosis courses and is author of “The Language Pattern Bible” in which Brooks is acknowledged many times throughout,[8] NLP trainer Ian McDermott who runs International Teaching Seminars, Peter and Mary Lawrence who set up the British Institute of Hypnotherapy, NLP trainer Andrew Austin, author of the book “The Rainbow Machine”, Hugh Willbourn author of books with British stage hypnotist Paul McKenna and many others.[citation needed]

During the 1990s Brooks had over twenty hypnotherapy trainers and supervisors working for him and students would be supervised while working with actual patients at the hospitals after each training weekend. At that time his Diploma Courses were based at St Ann’s Hospital, London and in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham with other shorter courses running elsewhere in the country. Brooks decided that his original role as a hypnotherapist and trainer had evolved into that of a businessman, something that had happened to him rather than being intended. He therefore decided to downsize the organisation and spent a period of self discovery and personal development meditating in the jungles of northern Thailand for several years.[citation needed]

In 2006 Brooks created a one year online degree level hypnosis course using the same online training platform as the UK’s Open University (except that Brooks's course was free). By this time Brooks was living as a Buddhist in Thailand and flying over to the UK for a few weeks each year to teach his Practitioner Diploma Course (now at Roehampton University, London). The online course grew steadily and in 2011 has over 4000 students.[9][self-published source?] It is based on the theory and principles of Ericksonian hypnosis, so it does not qualify students to actually practise as therapists as it is not a Practitioner Course, but it does give students academic training in the theory and principles of Brooks’s techniques.[citation needed]


External links

  • [1] British Hypnosis Research
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