My name is Tom Grethen. I help people reach personal goals such as becoming a non-smoker, alleviating stress/anxiety and building self-confidence. Together, we examine and change current patterns of unhelpful thinking and behaviour by using relaxation, hypnosis, visualisation and suggestion along with some simple yet effective techniques that can help people reset their habitual patterns of thought and behaviour.
I have always had a keen interest in philosophy and psychology and everything to do with the mind, but my background is actually quite different. During the one and half decades I have spent as a secondary school and college teacher of sociology and English in Europe and Asia, I could observe in my students and colleagues how the stresses and strains of modern life can cause all sorts of problems like stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking. As a young adult I had also suffered from these issues, so I know from personal experience what that feels like. Back then I used to see a hypnotherapist to get help, and he was the one who first introduced notions such as holistic healing to me. For some years, however, I didn’t give that too much thought and kept on suffering to some degree, despite the obvious benefits I got at the time from the hypnosis sessions. It was only when I finally started learning and practising yoga, vipassana meditation and Reiki that I began to find relief. *
Incidentally, prior to successfully quitting smoking with the help of hypnotherapy, I was also a smoker for 20 years, quitting temporarily a number of times but then somehow taking the habit up again because I had not truly let go of my emotional attachment to it and not been able to to truly see myself as a non-smoker. So I am very familiar with the mechanisms of tobacco addiction and truly passionate about helping others cross the threshold to join me and many others in the realm of happy non-smokers who don’t look back. In this interview (Bangkok, 2011) you can read more about my smoking history, my passion for hypnotherapy, and my teaching background. The article below (2016) is about my hypnotherapy practice in Saigon, Vietnam.
Eventually, in 2008, I started to pursue my practical hypnotherapy training at the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy (UKCCH) in London, and I started practising in Bangkok, Thailand in 2011. The UKCCH’s is an accredited school that encourages the use of hypnosis within the framework of evidence-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques in order to help clients achieve mutually agreed and realistic goals. CBT is goal-oriented and solution-focused. What matters is ‘here and now’ rather than the remote past.
While some people might prefer to examine childhood issues or even past lives in order to get to the root causes of their present difficulties, that belongs to the realm of psychoanalysis and/or hypnoanalysis, and it is not what I do. It is a therapeutic approach based on the supposed benefit of emotional catharsis and arbitrary interpretation rather than evidence, and it typically requires a considerable number of sessions of ‘talk therapy’ before there is any relief as it can encourage people to identify with their ‘story’ and dwell on the past instead of constructively focusing on the present moment in order to find effective solutions that can help build a better future.
The key question of cognitive-behavioural therapy, on the other hand, is: What is stopping a person from changing their habits and overcoming their fears today? Whatever the origins of a current problem, the reasons why the problem has been maintained can be quite different. While I respect everyone’s views of life, healing and personal growth, my approach is based firmly on the present moment and on research-based techniques that are proven to work well for many people.
* Some meditation techniques (such as mindfulness) are in fact somewhat similar to techniques we use in cognitive therapy and can be powerful allies in the process of personal development. Reiki has over the years helped me grow and define my life’s purpose, and it now helps me focus my intent when doing change work with clients, facilitating the process by helping to clear energetic blockages, thereby potentially enhancing both the depth and the benefit of the hypnotic experience. Although, like with acupuncture, there is apparently ‘no scientific evidence’ that Reiki really does work, there also isn’t any evidence that it doesn’t, and I feel it would be extremely reductionist to reduce its empirically noticeable effects exclusively to suggestion / placebo. There are far deeper forces at work here than the eye can see, and I firmly believe that we must not underestimate the power of intent and unseen energetic transfer when it comes to doing any form of healing work. I suppose this is true for any form of human interaction.