ChangE the way you respond now to the past, present and future

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Rita Lavis - Owner of Berkeley Practice

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My name is Rita Lavis, I am the founder of Berkeley Practice. I qualified as a general nurse in the mid 1980’s. I have had a broad and varied career as a nurse over the years. I worked as a nurse and a sister in the prestigious cardiology department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary before working within addiction services both in the community and residential services, both as a nurse and a therapist following my completion of the Diploma in counselling at Bristol University. Most recently my career was working in senior management within the healthcare industry. I can therefore empathise greatly with work related stress conditions. I trained as a Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapist in 2015 at the UK college of hypnosis and hypnotherapy in London. This approach marries in very nicely with my counselling. I work from home and offer either hypnotherapy or counselling. Naturally my counselling skills are utilised in my hypnotherapy sessions too. Through my broad experience of working with people in health care the importance of the well-being of both mind and body needs great consideration. My choice to move into the therapeutic field as an independent practitioner is testament to the importance I place on the wellness of the mind.

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Understanding that the way we respond to events is not
due to the event itself but the way we interpret that event

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What is Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy?

Chances are, when you think of hypnotherapy, you either imagine a swinging pocket watch or a hapless audience member being made to cluck like a chicken on stage in the name of entertainment. Neither of these preconceptions is true. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy combines cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis with theories based on modern neuroscience.

CBH is a collaborative process, not simply ‘done to you’. The object is to enable you to essentially become your own therapist over time learning self hypnosis and mindfulness thus leading to more helpful ways of thinking and behaving. Over the course of the sessions you will learn relaxation techniques which you can apply yourself and then hypnosis and self hypnosis to deepen the effects and heighten feelings of confidence. The client therapist collaboration is very important. Goal setting is an important part of the process it is important to be specific and have a time frame to work within.
The principle of CBH is when you are fully relaxed and in a hypnotic state this is when you are more susceptible to positive suggestion.  Therefore each treatment is bespoke for each client as we are all different and have our own unique ways of seeing our worlds even if it is unhelpful at times. When choosing my training it was imperative to me that the training I undertook was based on theory and evidence which it very much is. I studied at the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy in London. My accredited Hypnotherapy training is the only externally verified hypnotherapy training programme approved by The British Psychological Society Learning Centre. I am a registered Practitioner with the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR). I am fully insured for professional and public liability.  Hypnotherapy is recognised by the British Medical Association (BMA), the American Medical Association and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).  Hypnotherapy has proven to be a safe and effective alternative that can help with a wide range of problems in just a few hours of treatment.

If you would like to find out more details about hypnotherapy and if it can work for you please message me your details and we can arrange a free informal chat over the phone.



My style of counselling is known as person centered, I trained using the humanistic model at Bristol University. This model deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously rather than how a counsellor can interpret unconscious thoughts or ideas.

It is a non-authoritarian approach that allows you to take more of a lead in discussions so that, in the process, you will discover you own solutions.  I am there to offer compassion, to listen without judgement and to encourage, support and guide you without interrupting or interfering with your process of self-discovery. It works extremely well for anyone who would be would like to gain more self-confidence, a stronger sense of identity, and the ability to build healthy interpersonal relationships and to trust his or her own decisions could benefit from person-centered therapy.  It can also be very helpful for those who suffer from grief, depression or anxiety.  Counselling will give you an opportunity to think and talk about yourself and concerns that you often cannot do with family and friends.  I offer a safe, confidential space where you can talk about yourself and your life.  To listen with no judgment, helping you to make the changes that you would like to happen, working towards improving your life and well-being.
I am registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy and work within the BACP ethical framework.  Helpful information sheets are available on line which give a fuller explanation of what might be expected during therapy.

What CBH can do for you

CBH is an effective and diverse form of therapy and can be successfully applied to a number of different disorders and ailments. We have listed a few below to give you an idea of the diverse range of subjects that CBH can help with.

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Exam Stress

Hypnotherapy is a common method used for helping control exam nerves as it can help boost confidence and reduce feelings of anxiety. It can help you develop the ability to access the calm state of mind needed to sit an exam, or cope with a potentially overwhelming situation. The power of suggestion and visualisation techniques can encourage an individual to clear their racing mind and approach the exam with a cool, focused head. Hypnotherapy will help you recall studied information easily and correctly, as well as help restore your self-belief.


The act of smoking cigarettes itself is not a psychiatric condition.  However, difficulty in breaking the habit of smoking is sometimes loosely referred to as a “habit disorder”.  Independent studies have shown that hypnotherapy is one of the most successful methods of helping you to quit.  In fact you are five time more likely to break the habit with hypnosis than by willpower alone. Of all the talking therapies, hypnotherapy is the only one which will attempt to tackle smoking cessation.  However, the major key to a successful outcome is your motivation to stop.  If you can bring sufficient motivation to stop, I can provide the techniques to help you.  I offer a one off, two-hour smoking cessation session this includes a free follow up phone call within the first 30 days of treatment During that time, I will utilise a number of different techniques to enable you to be released from the grip of cigarettes.  Hypnosis will be only one part of our session together, as the pernicious grip of nicotine and its psychological hold on you needs attacking from several different angles.



Anxiety is a gift from nature because it aids survival. None of us would live long if anxiety didn't stop us from taking foolhardy risks! However, like anything else, excessive anxiety can be problematic and become as disabling as any chronic physical illness. Excessive fears and worry, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviours and post traumatic reactions are all forms of out of control anxiety. If you suffer from one of these conditions, or if your days are blighted by continual low-grade anxiety, it can feel as if life your will never be normal again, as if something alien is in control.

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Phobia is an extreme, irrational fear of a specific object or situation. A phobia is classified as a type of anxiety disorder, since anxiety is the chief symptom experienced by the sufferer. Phobias are thought to be learned emotional responses.

Hypnotherapy has an excellent and proven record at successfully treating phobias, which is why many people seek it as an effective and well researched form of therapy.  Therapy for phobias will involve a process known as ‘systematic desensitisation’ which has a proven history of effectiveness in clinical studies.  When combined with hypnosis, positive and permanent results are brought about much more rapidly.

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While some sleeping problems will have an obvious cause, others may not. Hypnotherapy for insomnia can be helpful if you are unsure why you are having difficulties sleeping. Using various techniques, a hypnotherapist will tap into your subconscious to uncover what may have triggered the problem. Once the cause is found, a tailored treatment created by the hypnotherapist can begin. Sessions will help you to develop a routine. Practising a routine will improve your sleep hygiene and reduce evening stress.



Depressed or anxious people don't always respond well using forms of counselling or psychotherapy that encourages introspection or emotional arousal, as research shows this is often unintentionally harmful. As a Hypnotherapist I employ techniques from various therapies that have proven to be effective. These techniques coupled with the knowledge you shows the importance of vividly creating new expectations in the mind of the client to 'kick-start' them again.


Timing, Motivation, Commitment


I am a fully trained smoking cessation hypnotherapist.  I would like to tell you how Cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy (CBH) works successfully for those wanting to stop smoking. 

Firstly things to consider before you embark on the journey of becoming a non smoker:

  • Timing is of the essence.  If you are going through other major changes or suffered a bereavement, divorce, loss of job or trauma this would not be a good time to try to stop smoking.  It will be difficult to manage the necessary effort to quit smoking alongside other challenges.    
  • Motivation is paramount when intending to stop.  Simply being persuaded, nagged or cajoled by another person will not be enough.  Whilst it is important to have their support, you must really want to stop smoking for yourself.  Only you can make that conscious decision that now is the time to quit and you’re going to do it.
  • Commitment to the work is needed.  This process is a collaborative one.  You are not ‘done to’, there is no magical hypnotic trance that will turn you into a non-smoker.  The magic lies in your own self-belief and understanding your smoking habit and how to break the cycle with the help of hypnosis.  My goal and role are to support you so that you can draw on your own imagination, self-awareness and motivation and belief that it will work.

This belief is reinforced with the use of hypnosis.

CBH is different from some other forms of hypnotherapy.    We know that a habit built up over many years or even decades cannot disappear overnight.  You need time to recondition your thoughts and feelings.  The model I use is multi-component, it incorporates many elements of therapy that can be used for a bespoke treatment programme.  We are all unique and our reasons for continuing to do something that is extremely harmful to us varies greatly.  I ask that before the session you complete   self-monitoring forms for 4-5 days.  This helps identify smoking patterns and triggers for smoking. We will look at thoughts and behaviours relating to your smoking.  I will explain about the effect of nicotine on the body and mind often referred to as the “nicotine trick”.  Poor coping strategies can be replaced by mindfulness or “thought spotting” techniques to get you through those time when you would usually reach for a cigarette. The use of hypnotherapy will help with anxiety relating to fear of relapse and managing the occasional craving (they only last for around 10 seconds).  Hypnotherapy is excellent for boosting confidence too, it will give you that self-assurance that you can accomplish your goal of becoming a non-smoker.  ‘Habit reversal’, this is a behavioural intervention which will train you to become more aware of internal and external triggers which lead up to smoking a cigarette and learn how to counteract these with positive substitute behaviour.  I will teach you strategies to help you continue to be a non-smoker.  I will give you a recording for relaxation to take with you.  You will also have learnt the technique of self-hypnosis to put into your own resource tool box alongside a better understanding and confidence in yourself. 

Research comparing many different studies of hypnotherapy has shown that people who want to give up smoking are over five times more likely to break the habit with hypnosis than by will power alone.  Hypnotherapy in general is also proven to be more than twice as effective compared with nicotine gum.  The goal of becoming a non-smoker can be achieved in a two-hour session.  Additional support can be given if needed, generally this is not needed.  Anytime I can be of further assistance you are more than welcome to call or email me.

I have a vast toolbox of evidence-based techniques to fit all wishing to become a non- smoker.  All I ask is for your motivation and I will help you recognise that you have the ability to make this change which will improve and most definitely extend your life considerably.