National Hypnotherapy Society | Getting to know Harbour Housing

This Autumn, The National Hypnotherapy Society has warmly welcomed a new Organisational Member into our midst: a charity known as Harbour Housing. So, who are they, and what do they do?

I spend part of my time reading about hypnotherapy and keeping up to date with the research, and I during this time have learned a great deal about the plethora of possibilities that hypnosis could help with. Another part of my job is to search for hypnotherapy being used in the world and to discover where it has been successful. I recently stumbled across an article talking about a charity called Harbour Housing, who provide safe homes and life support for people of no fixed abode in and around Cornwall. They have been running since 2009 and have supported countless people in their journey to get off the streets and rebuild their lives, winning a handful of awards in the process such as Charity of the Year by South West Awards. What’s more, is that a part of this success is achieved through hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy and homelessness are not a pairing that I had ever heard of before, so, I got in touch. We spoke on the phone, and very quickly I was able to learn that some really amazing things were happening at their charity. Hypnotherapy was a hit with their clients! We delved a little deeper and two main reasons for their success with hypnotherapy, in particular, had emerged: A client didn’t have to re-traumatise themselves by giving a detailed history of their background in order to make positive changes, and the sessions didn’t require a commitment to a certain length of time.

My curiosity was peaked, so before long I was braving the July heatwave and on a train to St Austell to meet some of the team at one of their sites. I was greeted by some very friendly faces who were eager to share with me all that they knew. We spoke in-depth about hypnotherapy and how it had been helping their clients in various ways: There were stories of people who had been able to reconnect with their families, face past trauma and stresses with greater success, and empower themselves to face their addictions to substances. Empowerment was a recurring theme in our discussion; many falsely believe that hypnotherapy puts you at the mercy of a pendulum-swinging person who could take control of your mind, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A hypnotherapist is there to help you look into yourself and be more open to suggestions that you have discussed with them before hypnosis. The power lies within you, and for people who can be at one of the lowest points in their lives, this tool of empowerment can be life changing.

Looking around the site, it was clear that a lot of love and care had been put into every part. There was a smallholding with animals that residents could assist in the care of, and a vet who would visit and treat clients’ four-legged family members with no charge. There were all manner of fruits and vegetables being grown on the site as well. The buildings themselves were put together with pride, with clean and tidy spaces throughout. The entire site had a tranquillity to it that made you want to linger just a little longer, even in the late July heat.

When it comes to hypnotherapy, its current lack of availability with the NHS, in general, has made it seem like a limited option that only the financially fortunate can afford. However, Harbour Housing has really shown us the power that hypnotherapy can give to those who are in real need of help. It leaves me wondering, what other charities or services could benefit from adding hypnotherapy to their toolkits for better mental health? If Harbour Housing is anything to go by, there are a lot of people out there who could really benefit from having easier access to some hypnotherapy.