The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

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BWRT - What is it?

An outline of the phenomenon that is BWRT®

BWRT® stands for BrainWorking Recursive Therapy® and is an entirely new concept in mental health care. So effective is it that many NHS psychologists are using it on a regular basis and my research partner, Mr Rafiq Lockhat (past vice-president of the South African Psychological Society (PSySSA)), uses it in his South African clinic to the exclusion of all other therapies. His clinic is based in a hospital in Cape Town and is government approved.


Although it has not yet been subject to full scientific trials (as at August 2016), it is currently undergoing clinical trials by NHS Clinical Psychologists working with diverse conditions such as post-cancer psychotherapy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, in addition to complex issues such as OCD, PTSD and eating disorders. The effectiveness and efficiency reported by therapists and patients are so far unanimously positive.


If it has a ‘downside’ it is that it ‘seems too good to be true’ – yet in this instance, it does exactly what is claimed, as the Clinical Psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors who use it will confirm.


BWRT® - what is it?

It is a new model of psychology and psychopathology that fits comfortably with current thinking on neuroscience. It is determinedly solution-focused and thus fulfills the major requirement of modern therapies. Perhaps the most important thing about it is that it is unique, entirely scientific, and works in a quite different way from slower therapies such as CBT, counselling, hypnotherapy or similar.


Free Will

In 1983, the scientist Benjamin Libet made a startling discovery – all decisions are made by the physical brain around 1/2 to 1/3 of a second before we become aware of them. This means that we do not have free will – this is not guesswork, not an assumption, but a scientifically proven fact. There’s nothing mysterious, spiritual, or ‘spooky’ about it and no assertion that everything in life is ‘pre-ordained’. The truth is actually far simpler than that; the physical brain instantly responds to input from the world and from our own senses, and assesses that input to see if there is a pattern that has been encountered before. This happens at collossal speed far below the level of conscious awareness and so it’s likely that what we consider to be the subconscious is just the physical brain process. There’s no value judgement being made, no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ course of action, just a pattern being matched. The process is no more selective than a computer keyboard - every key is as valid as every other key, and it’s only when what we have typed appears on the screen that a value judgement occurs as we assess whether what we have typed was what we wanted. The brain does not and cannot care, simply activating a pattern that has been activated before in response to similar stimuli. Emotional responses are much slower and appear far later, in the consciously aware part of the brain.


The Hypothesis

As a result of the way evolution works, any stimulus - think of it as data input - received by the brain has to traverse the same route that it has always done since the arrival of the first sentient animals on the planet. That is: oldest part of the brain first, the Reptilian Complex, then the rather newer Paleomammalian Complex - you can think of these as the ‘pattern recognition matrix’ and as far as can be discovered, there is no sense of self in either of those sections. Finally, it reaches the ‘modern human’ Neomammalian complex and subsequent conscious awareness - we realise that ‘something is going on’. Libet’s experiments showed this journey takes between 1/2 and 1/3 second, during which time it travels alon and around up to 50 metres of neural pathway and undergoes thousands upon thousands of tests that check for a continued match to any recognised pattern. Some of the neurons are as small as 1 mm long and the data input, which is travelling at around 200 mph or more, is tested up to 1000 times at each end of the neuron. For reference, the brain has around 85 bn neurons - some say 100 bn.


Some people cannot easily accept the absence of free will, insisting that they can easily change their mind about anything... and of course they can. But the decision to change their mind was formed by the brain up to 1/2 second before they are consciously aware of it. Every thought we become aware of has come from the brain’s continual monitoring process simply triggering a new ‘suitable’ response - and ‘suitable’ here merely means that it has been done before and resulted in survival. Have you ever said something like: “What on earth did I say that for?” or: “I simply cannot believe I did that!” The reason is simple - the non-reasoning part of the brain beat your conscious mind to the punch! Thoughts are slow and have to be considered. The brain has no such restriction. It just assess whether or not an input has a ‘registered response’ and if it has, attempts to activate it.


The Therapy

You might already be able to see that many ‘symptoms’ are the result of a behaviour or thought pattern ‘firing up’ that has been activated before. It might actually have been suitable or effective at one time but the fact that it isn’t now is of no consequence to the non-reasoning part of the brain. The instruction appears to be: If there’s already a pattern associated with the stimulus, activate it immediately before there’s any conscious interference. This now provides a clear and understandable answer to the old question of ‘Why does my subconscious do stuff I don’t want it to?’


BWRT® makes it possible, via a simple technique, to create a new response pattern to any stimulus so that the action the brain triggers is one that we want. The therapy is totally content-free, too, so the client doesn’t have to tell the therapist about deeply sensitive or intimate issues, making therapy far easier to conduct in a great many situations. There’s no tapping, touching, hand passes, or anything else that could possibly be thought of as ‘weird’. The other great thing about it is that we don’t need to find the Initial Sensitising Event, only the worst or strongest memory of the symptom that the client can consciously find. BWRT® doesn’t use reframes, rewind techniques, hypnosis, NLP, CBT, WSN, SD, EFT, BB4B, anything to do with eye movement, or anything else you will have already encountered. It’s unique, effective and fast. Other therapies seek to modify or remove negative emotional responses, while BWRT® works in such a way that the response simply doesn’t arise in the first place.


The title ‘BrainWorking Recursive Therapy®’ comes from the recursive looping process that we use first to focus thoughts, then to cement and strengthen the new behavioural response, and continual testing since 2011 shows that the changes we make appear to be permanent and there is no evidence of symptom substitution.  


The BWRT® technique itself is not given anywhere other than during the training, for a very good reason – the written word would not provide anywhere near as clear an understanding as the training can. For this reason we advise that it is of enormous importance to view the first lesson before reading the accompanying notes and indeed the first lesson notes are only provided once the first lesson is complete.


If, in training, you discover that BWRT® is the same as another therapy you can tell us about, then we will refund your training fees.


On completion of training (which includes a skill and knowledge assessment) you become eligible for listing as a Professional Practitioner on the database of the British BrainWorking Research Society at


If you have any questions about BWRT® please contact


Terence Watts  

Posted: Saturday 6th July 2019

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