5 Minutes with... Stephanie Betschart


Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a solution focused hypnotherapist and mind-body therapist, and I help people get back into the driving seat. People come to see me because they’re stuck in some way, or don’t feel like themselves:  Like the artist who wasn’t able to enjoy art anymore, the woman who felt lost when the kids left home, or the young adult struggling with moving away to uni.

Solution focused dialogue helps people to imagine how life would be without the current block or illness, and starts the process of moving forward into the future, rather than delving into the past for the cause. I believe we all have the ability to make changes to our lives and be resilient - we just need a hand sometimes, and that’s where I come in.

With hypnosis I can bypass the conscious mind, remove barriers, and embed the client’s vision, so their natural resources and abilities can start to come forward and help them to realise it. I use other tools too, like resilience training and mindfulness. And I give them homework!

I love my job.  I love to see people getting back to their own truth and growing from that healthy place.


What makes you different?

I’m a Buddhist. I was ordained into the Triratna order in 2009, at a mountain retreat in Spain, although I’ve actually been studying Buddhism and practising meditation for 22 years. I practise Qigong too, which coordinates body posture, breathing and meditation and I’m training to become a teacher.

Oh, and I’m French, so I occasionally have French clients. It’s a stretch out of my comfort zone, but I can do the session in French if needed!


If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

I know this is going to sound trite and boring, but I’d choose right now. To be really and fully present would be completely amazing and liberating, especially if I was sitting by a lake with some trees!

For us women, this is the best time in history. We have more rights now in Western Europe than we’ve ever had, although of course there’s still progress to be made. It would be great to go back to the Buddha’s time, hear him teach, and hang out with him, but I’d have to be a man to do that.


What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

To breathe from my lower abdomen. To be honest, at first, I thought it sounded a bit naff - certainly not an earth shattering revelation. But even though it may sound easy, if you don’t know how to breathe properly it affects both your physical and mental health. Back then I was a constant nervous wreck, partly because I used to breathe up in my chest. Now I feel much calmer, much more myself. Grounded, you might say.

I’ve since found out it’s because deep abdominal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which controls the ‘rest and restore’ function of the body. And that’s where we should be functioning from most of the time - unless we’re being chased by a tiger!


What’s your superpower?

My superpower’s silliness, and people in the know have confirmed that.  At work it manifests itself through lightness of touch and a good sense of humour. It helps my clients not take themselves too seriously. It’s helpful when I work with teenagers too, and I usually give them really silly homework; then it becomes fun for them to engage in their own growth. 

When I channel it in a more serious way, my silliness lets me be creative and even take more risks in my hypnosis and trance work. Then I can give my clients a space to explore those qualities in themselves.


What book would you recommend and why?

My favourite book is “the little prince” by Antoine de St Exupery. I grew up with it, and it’s a wonderful book full of wisdom and innocence and beauty. It’s bound to warm the heart and make you smile and wonder