21st March 2019 | Blog

21 March 2019

Ruth Farrow, CNHC registered Hypnotherapist writes about participating in research...

I have been registered with CNHC as a Hypnotherapist for the past 9 years and have loved to read the articles in the monthly newsletter. Back in 2015, I read an article from Bristol University requesting that complementary therapy practitioners who already collect clinical data take part in a research study. The research was going to be used to highlight the effectiveness of their particular therapy.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to have my clinical data analysed and put to use, so I approached the Bristol research team about my work for the NHS at Meir Primary Care Centre, who had funded me through the NHS Innovation Fund to deliver hypnotherapy as a clinical tool. The practice received a £2000 grant and they wanted to pilot the use of complementary therapy to provide support for patients dealing with anxiety, stress and low-level depression.

As part of this project, I was working for the surgery one day a week, seeing patients with a range of symptoms including anxiety, sleep problems, migraines, weight issues and those dealing with bereavement. The success of the service was evaluated using patient data, which I collected for the surgery. I provided them with Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment (GAD-7) and Patient health Questionnaire (PHQ9) scores, as well as patient feedback forms.

The research team were delighted to take up my offer for the project to showcase the effectiveness of hypnotherapy. I had already completed the pilot service at NHS Meir, having introduced GAD-7 as the assessment methodology, so relevant ready patient data available for them. In the follow-on project, PHQ9 assessment was introduced alongside GAD-7, providing a further detailed data set.

The Bristol team were great. They kept me in the loop from the initial email to them explaining the line of work I was undertaking within the NHS, to the final study results.  There were initially some detailed documents to complete about who and why the clients were attending, which were either sent via email or discussed over the phone with the surgery manager.  In reality, I did not have to do much more than this other than to complete the process by providing my evaluation results, and they did the rest.

The results of the service at NHS Meir were consistently positive and due to the success of the clinic, two other surgeries requested the service and I began working three days a week. It then expanded even further, and the Stoke-on-Trent CCG decided to extend the funding so I could work four days a week to provide the service across three GP surgeries. Unfortunately, due to moving to another area of the country to take up a family caring role I had to leave the service, as I could not juggle both. I am now back in practice again in Nottinghamshire and have just started to work in partnership with a community charity based in Doncaster.

I believe it is very important to not only collect but also evaluate data for complementary therapies.

As practitioners, we readily see our client’s results, but it is essential to have valid clinical data in order to demonstrate impact to a wider audience. This will allow us to enable those within the medical sector and in the public realm to regard complementary therapies as a genuinely effective tool that delivers positive outcomes for overall health and mental wellbeing.