The study of human development and sexuality is, of course, an integral part of the NCHP Diploma in Hypno-psychotherapy, but the UKCP have determined that in order to meet the criteria for registration, each individual needs to have studied this via a discrete module.
This course, therefore, is designed to meet this need. Only qualified hypno-psychotherapists are eligible to take the course, and so, although it is in many ways preferable for such courses to be face to face, we have developed this on-line version for pragmatic reasons. It will help you to take another step towards registration with UKCP.
An on-line course such as this has many benefits:
It combines freedom to choose when and how to study, with an element of structure
so that however you are best motivated, the system will work for you.
It avoids the costs of travel and accommodation (and room rental and expenses for us,
hence your costs are kept down).
It provides an opportunity for collaborative learning, unlike traditional distance learning
courses which can be lonely undertakings
We have found in similar situations that the element of separation from other students can
help individuals to open up more, and risk more in their interactions than may be the case
face to face.
If this is your first experience of on-line training with NCHP, please take a few moments to ensure you are au-fait with the requirements and processes that you will need in order to successfully complete the course. These details were sent to you before you registered, but now you have the opportunity to view the sites etc to get to know your way around.
There are four distinct parts to this course:
At the bottom of each page you will find links to other web pages (including assessment as in 4 above) that might be of interest.
Weeks One and Two
Sex, Gender and Identity
Margaret Mead (1935) Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
Money, John, and Patricia Tucker (1975). Sexual Signatures on Being a Man or a Woman
Pinker, Steven (2002) The Blank Slate
Video lecture for this section:
This introductory section will define and clarify what we mean by the concepts of sex, gender, sexuality, human nature and psychosocial development, placing their development in its historical context.
Philosophers have pondered the essential nature of human identity in men and women and its connections with love with since the time of the Ancient Greeks and Plato’s famous Symposium. But modern scientific thinking about what it means to be a human individual begins with David Hume and the Enlightenment. His Treatise of Human Nature, published in 1739, puts forward an ‘associationist’ model of psychological functioning which dominates the intellectual landscape until the rise of cognitive psychology in the 1960’s. For Hume, we are no more and no less than the sum of our memories – tabula rasa on which our life events are inscribed. Our thoughts and desires are installed by our experiences of the cultures in which we are raised, and the diversity of human personality is to be explained by biographical and societal differences rather than natural predispositions. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, we adapt to our environment through remembering the sources of these feelings and repeating or avoiding them as appropriate.
We can see this thinking in the utilitarian foundations of classical market economics – which views homo economicus as essentially rational, working to maximise the satisfaction of individual wants and desires, in Pavlovian accounts of conditioning and in early sociological and anthropological research which focuses on the variety of ways of life to be found across human cultures. From the 19th century onwards, as Western societies race towards industrialisation and secular democratic forms of government, social scientists become particularly interested in traditional societies and distinctions between traditional and modern modes of thinking and ways of life. It is in this context that a new orthodoxy emerges about human identity and what it means to be a woman or a man.
Pre-industrial societies are dominated by religion and agriculture – both of which dictate a sexual division of labour, with clearly defined roles for men and women. In the words of the medieval priest, John Ball, ‘when Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’ Within this world view, human nature is dictated by the Divine Order, and masculine and feminine minds are simply reflections of the differences between male and female bodies. Men are naturally aggressive, designed for hunting and the hard toil of agricultural labour, whilst women are innately receptive and caring – as befits their roles as home makers and child rearers.
So when anthropologists came across traditional societies which seemed organised along rather divergent principles – societies in which sexuality was expressed more openly, and in which conventional ideas of gender appropriate behaviour were confounded by ‘women warriors’ and gentler, more domestically oriented men, there was huge interest.
Margaret Mead’s Coming of Age in Samoa, published in 1928, and her subsequentSex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935) revealed the ethnocentrism of previous thinking, and allied increasingly influential feminist theorising with the Standard Social Science Model. In both Britain and America, women had just won the vote, beginning the struggle for greater opportunity and equality which was to be one of the most important features of the 20th century. Margaret Mead was amongst the first of the newly emancipated to take advantage of the new possibilities opened up to women in education and employment. A doctoral student at Columbia, one of America’s most prestigious universities, subsequently a professor at the New School in New York’s bohemian Greenwich Village, and later married to Gregory Bateson – one of the founders of systemic therapy, Mead had a tremendously influential career. Her detailed ethnographic studies of three different tribal communities in Borneo and New Guinea became anthropological classics, read by undergraduates around the work and the subject of academic debates which continue to this day.
What then were her findings? Simply put, they were that among the Arapesh, both men and women were peaceful in temperament and neither men nor women made war. Among the Mundugumor, the opposite was true: both men and women were warlike in temperament. The Tchambuli were different from both. The men ‘primped’ and spent their time decorating themselves while the women worked and were the practical ones – the opposite of how it seemed in early 20th century America.
Mead’s work argued that sex and gender identity were quite distinct. Sex was a matter of biology, whilst gender was a function of socialisation – and could therefore vary tremendously between human societies. Men and women were innately little different. It was cultural experience that played a much more significant role, conditioning individual males and females into socially appropriate gender behaviour. It was a short step from this position to the argument that sexuality too was largely ‘socially constructed’. The social science orthodoxy for most of the 20th century was that, en masse, men and women were essentially bisexual, and that a combination of parenting, peer pressure and the ‘mass institutions of socialisation’ – education and the media produced individuals who experienced themselves as heterosexual. This inspired a view of those who didn’t fit into this model as deviant – whether this was to be condemned as a perversion, forgiven as a tragic personal failing, or celebrated as an act of rebellion. No accident then that is within this frame of reference that we can find fundamentalist Christian denunciations of homosexuality as a sinful ‘lifestyle choice’, allegedly psychodynamic attempts to cure it through reparative therapy, and militant liberationist sloganizing that ‘Every woman can be a lesbian’.
So when in 1966, John Money, a psychologist and sexologist at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, advised the anxious parents of David Reimer that their accidentally castrated little boy could be successfully raised as a girl, his prescription for the boys ‘gender reassignment’ was a logical extension of the prevailing orthodoxy. David had been left without a penis after a botched circumcision at six months old. Money saw him as a toddler, nearly a year later, and recommended that David have his testicles removed and be given appropriate hormone treatment at puberty so that he could grow up as a happy if infertile girl, rather than a traumatised boy without a penis. David was renamed Brenda, and treated as a girl from then on. Since few 14 month infants have any conscious idea of gender roles, it was expected that the treatment would be largely successful. And Money wrote a number of subsequent papers on the ‘John/Joan case’, claiming that this was indeed the outcome – that Brenda had developed in to a happy and relatively normal girl.
We now know that sadly this wasn’t true – despite generations of social science students having being taught the opposite. In 1997, Milton Diamond, another sexologist, published a book about the case – explicitly refuting Money’s claims. Brenda had not been a model of compliant femininity at all. S/he never identified as a normal girl and his behaviour and self concept were predominantly masculine – despite social and parental labelling as a girl. By the age of 13 his sex and gender roles were so misaligned that his parents decided to tell him the tragic truth about his accident and subsequent upbringing, and David reclaimed his masculinity, having surgery to remove his breasts, treatment with male hormones and several surgical attempts to reconstruct his penis through phalloplasty. Money’s celebrated experimental success was revealed as an utter failure..
The intellectual climate has changed dramatically in the last twenty years, perhaps partly as a consequence of the overwhelming successes of both feminism and the gay civil rights movement. It no longer seems so necessary to assert that women and men are exactly the same in order to demand equal treatment in social, political and economic life – nor does the idea that sexuality is essentially a matter of free choice seem to have the same kind of purchase. But it is also the case that scientific and intellectual discussions have undergone a huge shift – which brings us to our final thinker in this introduction – the cognitive scientist and evolutionary psychologist, Dr Steven Pinker.
Pinker’s work is salient for therapists because, like us, he is focussed on the relationships between language and the self. Pinker follows Noam Chomsky, perhaps the most important linguistic researcher of the last fifty years, whose work is concerned with identifying the ‘deep structures’ that underscore all human languages. Prior to Chomsky, scientific understanding of language generally assumed that vocabulary and syntax were generally acquired through a process of conditioning, by which particular sounds become associated with specific objects through repetition. Language was to be conceptualised as ‘linguistic behaviour’ and understood as a kind of reflex, a matter of stimulus and response. Once it was recognised that other great apes didn’t have the same kinds of vocal chords as human beings – and therefore couldn’t be expected to actually verbalise no matter how much conditioning they were subjected to, scientists made a number of now famous attempts to teach chimps sign language. ‘Washo’ and ‘Nim Chimpsky’ were the names of chimps raised from infancy as if they were were non verbal human babies and encouraged to develop sign language – using a mixture of visual symbols, tokens and bodily gestures. The recent documentary, Project Nim, provides a fascinating account of this work.
Whilst it was possible to teach chimps quite an extensive vocabulary, enabling simple conversations to be held with Washo and Nim, the overall results were disappointing. Try as hard as they can, non human apes don’t seem to be able to acquire any idea of grammar. A chimp can’t make the kind of distinctions that we expect of an normal human three year old – between statements like ‘Washo want apple’ and ‘Apple want Washo’. In Chomsky’s terms they lack a cognitive capacity for deep structure – and it is this which ultimately marks us out from them, rather than differences in the structure of our vocal chords and voice boxes. The human brain comes equipped with an innate ‘language acquisition device’ – or what Pinker calls a ‘language instinct’, so that whilst the particular language we speak is a matter of nurture, the fact that we can articulate and understand language in general is a part of our nature – of what it means to be a human being.
This is a long way from the blank slate idea that, as we have seen, underlay much of the common sense assumptions of most social scientists and psychologists in the 19th and 20th centuries. Much more of the way that we think and behave is part of our nature – conferred by our genes through the complex process of evolution – than has been often been recognised. And this is extremely significant for therapists. Take for example, the explanation and treatment of autistic spectrum ‘disorders’.
In the 1950’s, the influential psychoanalyst Bruno Bettelheim argued that autism was caused by deficiencies in parenting practices. The ‘refridgerator mother’, cold and unable to bond and interact with the young infant, was held responsible for the subsequent development of the autistic personality, locked out of human contact and unable to empathise or form meaningful attachments. Therapeutic work focussed on attempting to repair and compensate for this early emotional damage – and was generally without much success.
Without intending any harm, this perspective did tremendous damage. It made mothers feel terribly guilty and inadequate, and it precluded people with autism, which we now recognise to be an inherited learning and communication disability, to make improvements in their social functioning and therefore live richer and more worthwhile lives.
Similar criticisms can be made of the countless and almost entirely fruitless attempts to modify the sexual orientation of homosexuals through aversion or reparative therapy. Rather than helping people accept and integrate their divergent sexual orientations, and educating the wider public to have a greater tolerance and understanding of sexual minorities, therapists added to the suffering of their clients by making them feel guilty and hopeless as well as lesbian or gay.
So how we understand the development of human nature is important, and inevitably informs our work. Having recognised our past professional errors, inadequacies and mistakes, in the subsequent sections of this module we will look at the very real insights into offered by psychologists and therapists into these questions in more recent years.
Go to week seven & eight
We have been training professionals for 40 consecutive years (Longer than any other organisation in the UK). Many of the top therapists and trainers in the UK began their career at the National College.
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The National College is the only UK training organisation which is authorised the offer the European Certificate of Clinical Hypnosis through the European Association for Hypno-Psychotherapy. We are also one of only two European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institutes with the European Association for Psychotherapy We should really be the International College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy as we have graduates all over the world. We are an outward thinking organisation which looks out to the world for opportunities. Our Principal is the International Officer of UKCP and its representative to the Board of the EAP. We will continue to engage to ensure that our graduates have a future in a post-Brexit Europe.
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We train small groups of students, which we believe is important so that you get individual attention. Some schools have as many as 50 students in a class! We are also not limited to training in one location. We currently run courses in London, Manchester, Oxford and East Midlands (Leicester) in the UK and the Gold Coast (Australia) and Phoenix Arizona (USA)
Past students are welcome to re-attend any stage of their training FREE OF CHARGE (subject to available space) in the ten years following their primary training. This is just one of the ways we support our students. We believe that we are the only school of our type to offer this opportunity free of charge.
National College Hypnosis Training and Hypnotherapy Training courses adhere to the National Occupational Standards for Hypnotherapy (the Principal and Managing Director were members of the working group who wrote these), and incorporate and Professional Occupational Standards produced by UKCP.
We do not take just anyone onto our courses. You will be interviewed to ensure that you are suitable for this profession of working with vulnerable people, and, very importantly, to ensure that the National College is right for you. If we feel that another course would be better for you (and this does happen), we will tell you, and advise you of who to approach.
Therapy is an "individual" process: we will encourage you to find your own way to be the best therapist you can be.
Our course also includes business/practice management. So often hypnotherapists and psychotherapists fall at the first hurdle because, while they may be wonderful at what they do, they don't know how to get the clients. The National College has a great depth of knowledge and experience in this area that you can draw on. All our tutors around the country are willing to share with you what works and what doesn't so that you can learn from our successes, and our mistakes!
Our complete Diploma Course is a genuine, validated post graduate programme (ADHP recipients are eligible for direct entry to the MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice at Bath Spa University with 90 Credits APL.