The following cases are only a few examples of the diverse range of issues that hypnotherapy can help you with.

The names have been changed but the facts are from actual cases dealt with by Derek Norval.

Roger's Depression


Roger’s partner made the original enquiry; which was about smoking cessation. When Roger attended (with his partner) he appeared to be very pale and was uncommunicative. When posed a question he would precede his single-word replies with a sigh. In the pre-treatment discussion, Roger revealed that he was taking  antidepressantsprescribed by his GP for depression.

In his early fifties he had been depressed for as long as he could remember. He had not had gainful employment for some years, as a teenager he had served an apprenticeship in the automotive trade and had qualified as a craftsman. For many years he had earned his living practising his trade in a factory. At one stage he became self-employed in the same trade.

In a one-to-one consultation Derek Norval advised him that he would benefit from a programme designed to help him reduce his depression, rather than simply stopping smoking.


Roger attended a series of eight sessions. The first few were weekly and the remainder were fortnightly.

Treatment consisted of a range of NLP and hypnotherapy strategies, firstly seeking the cause, then rebuilding the client’s self-esteem.


As a result of the sessions, Roger finally decided “I realise now that I have wasted the first fifty years of my life being depressed, and I’m not going to waste the next fifty!”

From that point on, Roger began to take a more constructive attitude to life and even began to seek work in the form of one-off pieces of handyman work for householders.

Steve, Lifelong Smoker

Steve was forty and he had been smoking regularly since his early teens.


Steve was determined to stop smoking and had tried many times. He had tried

‘cold turkey’

gradual cutting down

substitutes – chewing gum, matchsticks, pieces of fruit

Nicotine Replacement Therapy


Steve presented at the Centre declaring we were his last resort! (We often are!).

Consulations at the Centre

The first step for the therapist was to ensure that Steve had attended of his own volition.

This is essential because the hypnotherapist does not ‘take over’ the patient’s mind and it is impossible to achieve anything the patient is not willing to cooperate with.  Patients will sometimes attend with the idea of going through the motions in order to stop a third party constantly nagging them about their habit. If this seems to be the case they are declined and advised to not waste their money on further sessions.

The process begins with conscious confirmation of the person’s reasons for wanting to give up;  some extra reasons may be mentioned by the therapist at this stage.

Trance State

The next stage was the induction of deep relaxation (traditionally referred to as a ‘trance’).

For the induction, the therapist used a one-way dialogue of suggestion and instruction, concentrating on the reasons Steve had stated for wanting to become a non-smoker. The benefits of giving up and the perils of continuing were both emphasised. As well as emphasising the very real health risks caused by smoking, a description of the ugly side of smoking was given including how horrible it tastes, the harmful chemicals added to tobacco, the social unpopularity due to smelly breath, clothing, hair, home, etc.

A Better Life

The next stage, still in the deeply relaxed state, was to describe to Steve how his life will be as a non-smoker and how natural and easy it is not to smoke.  The absence of craving was built in, and being tolerant of those who continue to smoke was also suggested.

Post-session advice

The final stage was the encouragement to return to full alertness during which state  Steve was assured that he did well and was advised not to give the analytical part of his mind an opportunity to meddle! He was advised to just wait and see what happens.

One session, and an optional free reinforcement session.

In cases where the patient started smoking at an early age and no later than nineteen, there is a possibility that a single session will enable them to become a permanent non-smoker.   Some of the clients who stop after the first session have difficulty believing it can actually be as easy as it has been so far and they attend for further sessions to reinforce their willpower.  Some people who have returned to smoking don’t return for the second session because, for reasons known only to themselves,  they don’t want it to work. Some others believe that if it was unsuccessful the first time, it cannot succeed on another occasion). All smokers would do well to remember the maxim “Never give up giving up!”


Three weeks later, the Centre received an enthusiastic telephone call from Steve –

‘Just thought I would let you know that I haven’t smoked since that session! I can’t even stand the smell of the things! I’ve given all my smoker mates at work your details so you will probably get some calls’.

The therapist congratulated Steve on his achievement because the successful outcome of the treatment definitely depended on both the patient and the therapist.

Tom's Driving Problems

Tom is 30-years old and earns his living as a full-time van driver. He drives large commercial van around an extensive region of the UK.


Three months ago, Tom collected a private vehicle he had purchased from another part of the country.  On the journey home the steering was stiff and a bit difficult to control but, using his skill and experience, Tom was able to keep safe, proper control of it and arrived  home safely.

When he examined the vehicle two days later, he was astonished at just how bad the steering mechanism was. Had he realised, at the outset, that it was in such a dangerous condition,  he would never have taken it on the road.


Three months later, he quite sensibly presented to his GP with symptoms he found  difficult to describe. When driving round right hand bends on motorways, his head felt ‘muzzy’; not dizzy or light-headed, but a ‘head full of cotton wool’ feeling.  He had expected it to be temporary and for it to cure itself, but it persisted.  He was prescribed medication to help him relax. He found them helpful in a general way but the specific M-way problem stubbornly remained.


When Tom arrived at the Bromsgrove Hypnotherapy Centre he saw it as a last resort.  He described the above symptoms and said they were caused by the unroadworthy vehicle incident described above. What he could not understand was why he still had the problem months after.  It was now a serious problem for a person who drove for a living; he had eventually got into the habit of slowing to 40mph approaching bends on motorways and was annoying and possibly endangering other motorists who did not expect such a slow speed from an ordinary vehicle.

By the time he attended his first appointment at the Centre he had abandoned motorways altogether and was using alternative routes.  The alternative routes were very much slower and he was being taken to task by his boss about his poor productivity.

Treatment at the Centre

Using Deep Relaxation techniques, the therapist helped Tom to identify a much earlier incident that Tom had no conscious recollection of.  In his late teenage years he had had a near-accident on a motorbike on a right hand bend on a dual carriageway.  He skidded, but managed to retain control.


Then the breakthrough came when another incident from childhood appeared. Out playing with two younger friends, the other two decided to climb on a high wall; Tom was reluctant to join in but was eventually ‘jeered’ into it.  One of the younger ones fell off and was physically injured. Later, the injured boy’s parents, supported by Tom’s own  parents,  remonstrated with him for taking such a stupid risk, and said ‘as the oldest, you should not have encouraged them. Our son could have been killed!’ He felt the accusation was unjust but his protests fell on deaf ears.  This small incident, typical of normal boyhood, formed a nucleus in his subconscious on which was built a subconscious ‘program’ of risk aversion designed to keep him safe.  Once such ‘programs’ have been built and established it is not always possible to deconstruct them simply by  employing  conscious determination; the biggest obstacle to doing so being the total lack of conscious awareness that the program even exists.


Using skill, experience and patience, the therapist was able to enable Tom to encourage the ‘parts of his mind’ to cooperate with each other and dismantle the inappropriate subconscious ‘program’.

Tom began to rebuild his confidence and agreed to be discharged,  knowing that his confidence would go from strength to strength. There has been no report of any recurrence of the original, or any similar, problem.  The whole programme required five sessions.

Lauren's Compulsive re-reading


Lauren is in her late twenties.  For several years she has been supervising a team within an accounts department.

Lauren  recently decided to fulfil an ambition and attend university to study for a degree and has been awarded a place on an economics course.

Her enthusiasm was tinged with a level of anxiety brought about by her compulsion to read and re-read information. As Lauren put it –

I can’t stop myself re-reading everything.  I re-read stuff, not just once, not just a couple of times, but over, and over, and over, again. It’s not that I can’t concentrate, and it’s not that I haven’t understood the material; it’s just some sort of compulsion that I can’t seem to control! It’s just so stupid! And, if I can’t sort it by the time I start my course, I’m never going to be able to keep up the pace and complete my assignment”.

Lauren displayed some signs of tension as she spoke; fleeting eye contact, intertwined constantly moving fingers, tense body.


Despite Lauren’s assertion that she may not be suitable for hypnotherapy because

I never, ever relax”, she eventually became as good at relaxing as any other patient. It took several sessions to identify the original cause of her current problem. It dated back to the age of three when she had been severely reprimanded by her mother for making a ‘stupid’ mistake.  Ninety-nine  infants out of one hundred faced with the same situation would tend to throw it off. The hundredth, for some indefinable reason, takes it in very deeply and starts to form a protective ‘program’ to protect them from having to suffer that discomfort ever again.  And thus began Lauren’s subconscious belief that mistakes can never be allowed, will not be tolerated, and must never, therefore, be made.  This led to inevitable subconscious reinforcements as it is simply not possible to live a mistake-free life.  The result was, that even though Lauren is now a mature, intelligent woman who knows that new learning is not usually possible without going through the process of getting things wrong on the way to competence, she is still being driven by that subconscious ‘program’, hence the re-reading.


Towards the end of Lauren’s treatment programme, the therapist gave her an academic passage to read with the instruction to scan-read it once while remaining relaxed and without trying to learn it; simply to read it out of interest,. She was then asked oral questions about the article so she could test her own understanding of the information. Lauren was then instructed to scan-read it a second time to check the information against the answers she had given.  This activity served her as rough and ready evidence of her ability to read information only once and trust her subconscious mind to understand it and critically analyse it, knowing that she could re-read it once more and leave it at that. Another change Lauren had to make was to come to terms that the reality in today’s world is that, in the workplace we can mostly only perform ‘good enough’, not do all things perfectly, all of the time.


Lauren is now diligently pursuing her studies and is also relaxed enough to enjoy the important social side of her university education.

Sue's return to work after rearing her children


Sue not been in a workplace for 12 years. She had spent those years supporting her children and had earned money by becoming a registered child-minder, looking after other children in addition to her own.  When Sue eventually decided to return to working in a conventional workplace, she realised that she had lost a lot of her confidence during the years she had spent at home in the company of young children.

“I’ve been invited to go for an interview” she said, “and apparently the interview will be conducted by a pane and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, I even have to make a presentation! I’m dreading it! I’m now beginning to feel very anxious about working with other people again”.


Attending the Bromsgrove Hypnotherapy Centre for a number of sessions, Sue was helped in a number of ways.  She was given valuable hints about how to be at her best in an interview, ideas for the construction and delivery of her all-important presentation (including advice on controlling her nervousness and anxiety during the process).  Finally, her confidence issues were treated with both NLP and hypnotherapy.


Sue reported that she actually enjoyed her interview and presentation!

She has been in post for over a year and has gone from strength to strength. Her family are very proud of her.  Sue says she still successfully uses the techniques she was taught at the centre when she has any potentially stressful task to fulfil.