Advanced search

Could anyone recommend a hypnobirthing course in NW London?

(28 Posts)
gemsept Mon 11-May-09 14:14:44

I've been looking into hypnobirthing courses on the internet, and really want to sign up to one. The websites I've looked at all have a lot of info, so it would be great to get a recommendation from someone that has tried one in my area. Thanks so much

georgiemum Mon 11-May-09 14:17:36

I do 1-2-1 courses in Central London (Marble Arch).

yoshimi Mon 11-May-09 15:32:07

HI- I'd recommend the courses held at Triyoga in Primrose Hill by Katharine Graves. She is fab and sorted out my postnatal insomnia too!

tigger15 Tue 12-May-09 21:52:15

Do you have a link for 1-2-1? I can't find it by googling.

georgiemum Wed 13-May-09 11:25:07

Sorry - I meant I teach HypnoBirthing to couples (not classes)!

FSB Fri 15-May-09 16:44:24

Hi Gem,

we went to classes in Queen's Park, NW6 which were great.

the website is

they are run once a month over two sundays (10am - 4.30pm)

childrenchildreneverywhere Sat 16-May-09 16:29:44

Re. the link above, HypnoBirthing practitioners are specifically requested to sign an agreement stating they will not teach over 2 full days as the results are not as good, the parents don't get as much support and it's much, much harder to take all of the information on board, the in class hypnosis is also much more effective over several weeks.

HypnoBirthing is ONLY permitted to be taught over 4 or 5 sessions as standard. The only time it can be taught over two full days is when it is not feasible to teach over 4 or 5 sessions (i.e: somebody is already 38wks when they start).

Marie Mongan (founder) is slowly in the process of de-registering any practitioner who still offers two day courses, so please think twice before booking in on one!

Here is a list of all in London:

GentleBirth Sun 17-May-09 06:43:32

In my experience of teaching Hypnobirthing and now GentleBirth the idea that a 2 day course doesn't get as good results doesn't hold water. Whether you teach a 5 day course or 15 day course it's only a foundation. As long as the parents are committed and do the practice at home my results have always been as good as my 5 day course - and my couples prefer having this choice available to them.

What I find interesting about the HB Institute is that we tell them that there's no 'one size fits all' birthing practices....and then tell couples this doesn't apply to their childbirth it our way or it's wrong - bit ironic don't you think!!

Mums - there are some great birth prepration courses out there, find the one that suits you and your partner the best whether thats 2 days or 5.

Wishing you all a wonderful birth!

childrenchildreneverywhere Sun 17-May-09 12:17:18

I'm afraid I beg to differ there, having experienced the training myself as a pregnant mum and now having taught over 300 couples I am of the firm belief that 2 day long courses are nowhere near as effective and this is a widely held belief amongst many practitioners and marie Mongan, who lets face it has developed the most popular birth with hypnosis course in the world so must know what she's talking about!

I absolutely agree though that you need to find a course and a practitioner you are completely at ease with. personally as a HypnoBirthing mum three times over AND a teacher I'd avoid 2 day courses like the plague though. grin. There are some wonderful practitioners on the list I posted who will be happy to teach you over the correct number of sessions.

gemsept Mon 18-May-09 22:01:19

Thanks for all your responses. Strange that Katherine Graves doesn't seem to be listed on the link

childrenchildreneverywhere Tue 19-May-09 21:26:32

I think you'll find that she is no longer a registered member of the HypnoBirthing institute then.

Marie Mongan de-registered practitioners who refused to teach the course properly, those who have been de-registered are no longer listed on the practitioner listing, so if she's not on there then that's probably why.

You have to ask WHY Marie Mongan would take such drastic steps if it REALLY didn't make any difference if the course was taught over two intensive days, she's a very smart lady!

gemsept Fri 22-May-09 09:33:33

Thanks so much for your advice, thats really helpful

KatharineGraves Fri 17-Jul-09 15:43:12

Since this thread has mentioned me, it would be good to add my contribution. In my opinion, Marie Mongan has devised the very best childbirth preparation method in Hypnobirthing. She has said that the reasons for teaching it over four or five evenings rather than two days are twofold:
1) She is concerned that the full course is taught and not a shortened version.
2) She feels it is important that there should be space in between to absorb the information and to practice.
Both these concerns are very valid.

Because I live in Wiltshire (the most sparsely populated county in England) and teach in London, Marie had given me permission to teach the course over two days as it is too far for me to travel to London to teach in the evening. This permission was on condition that I didn't mention this on my website, i.e. I could advertise the fact that I taught Hypnobirthing but not mention the dates of the course. This made life very difficult for me, partly because it seemed underhand, and partly because I wanted to have the facility for my mothers to book online and pay by credit card which made the reservation process much easier for them and is what people expect these days.

In this country, many Hypnobirthing teachers have found that teaching over two days in consecutive weekends is the most effective because mothers are less tired in the daytime (sometimes when you teach in the evening they are dropping off their chairs with tiredness, and almost always someone is delayed at work or late for some reason or another). It involves less travelling for couples, and it's easier to find two dates in your diary rather than four or five. It may be different in America which is where Marie lives and works.

Last year, because of the general feeling among Hypnobirthing teachers in the UK, I organised a letter to Marie which was signed by 60 practitioners (of the replies I received, only one UK teacher was against it)asking for permission to teach over two days and giving our reasons. We acknowledged her concerns, and it was a very courteous and carefully thought out letter. It was an attempt to open a dialogue on the subject because we felt it would be better for the mothers we taught.

Please be absolutely sure that none of us wanted to teach a shortened course, nor did we advocate teaching all the material in one weekend as there is so much to absorb in one sitting. We fully acknowledged the need for a space in between the two days.

After a long time, we received a peremptory reply from Marie, which appeared not to answer the points we had raised, and gave the ultimatum of re-signing the agreement to teach over 4 or 5 evenings or be struck off the list. This was the last I heard from her as, before I had time to reply, I was told by someone else that my name no longer appeared on the list. I have never been told by Marie Mongan that I have been suspended.

Many, if not most, of the UK hypnobirthing teachers in the UK teach a two day course, including some of the members of the advisory committee appointed by Marie as her representatives in the UK. They don't advertise this on their websites out of fear.

I prefer to be honest and up-front about what I do, and I think fear is a very bad principle from which to lead your life, particularly as the whole essence of Hypnobirthing is releasing the fear of childbirth.

To conclude, my experience is that Hypnobirthing works in whatever format it is taught. My personal preference is for the two day format because I think it's best for mothers. However I also teach it in the evening, and I have even taught it to a mother who gave birth two days later with almost no time to practice, and it worked perfectly well.

So, whatever you choose to do, I wish you a very calm and gentle birth and an absolutely adorable baby.

Best wishes


TrudyC Fri 17-Jul-09 16:12:11

I did the two day course with Katharine Graves at Triyoga in Primrose Hill and it was fantastic.

I STRONGLY disagree that doing the course over 4-5 days is necessary. I simply would not have been able to get home from work in time for an evening class, plus I would have been too knackered! And there is no way I could have found that much time on separate weekends.

I was not at all keen on hypnobirthing - funnily it was my husband who was keen - but I am now a complete convert. I had an eleven hour labour but slept thru 5 hours of it, then had a completely pain free birth. Yes - pain free. It was very intense and emotional but not painful. I cannot recommend hypnobirthing highly enough!

Katherine was fantastic and I credit her for my pain free birth. I know the other people in my class also thought she was brilliant and I have a number of friends who have since been to her classes on my recommendation. Check out the birth stories on her website

adomac Fri 17-Jul-09 18:51:50

As a Hypnotherapist who took my daughter (who is a mother) to a full 2 day course in Hypnobirthing run by Katharine Graves – Day One with one group and Day Two with a different group – as my daughter is interested in doing a course and running Hypnobirthing in her area and so wanted to see it in action, I cannot speak as a mother. However I can speak as a father and hypnotherapist; also with decades of instructing in a number of other subjects behind me; as we went on two days, I saw two different sets of people which gave a fair cross section of opinion. These ranged from professional couples to in one case a medical doctor couple, and nearly all had come upon recommendation from others who had attended Katharine's courses.

As therefore an objective onlooker I would like to make some points. Firstly I was highly impressed by the course and in some ways more importantly the atmosphere Katharine brought to it. Secondly everyone I spoke to was hugely enthusiastic and full of praise. Thirdly, one was a second time mother coming again after her excellent experience with her first baby. It strikes me that all those people could not be wrong. From someone who has both practised hypnotherapy and instructed on hundreds of courses on varying subjects, I was impressed with how the course was run in all aspects.

I only became involved in this particular thread for one reason: I purely by chance today did a Google search to find a local hypnobirther in Devon where I live and came across this site. When I saw what had been written, how inaccurate and illogical it was, and how unfair to Katharine Graves I felt I should comment on some of the remarks to establish balance.

Comment: "personally as a HypnoBirthing mum three times over AND a teacher I'd avoid 2 day courses like the plague though."

Response: "Avoid like the plague" is a disgraceful and insulting phrase designed to give the impression that such a course is dangerous. I would never use such language in civilised debate.


Comment: "having experienced the training myself as a pregnant mum and now having taught over 300 couples I am of the firm belief that 2 day long courses are nowhere near as effective"

Response: Katharine has personally given birth to 4 children, has spent 5 years in HypnoBirthing practise, having trained under Marie Mongan both in the UK and again in Dublin in order to reinforce the initial training and has given courses to almost certainly greater numbers than any other hypnobirther in the UK, using both course lengths, 2 and 4 days, including to obstetricians and gynaecologists of both sexes and also midwives, with the consequent track record she has which can be read on her website. Furthermore, unless the above writer has conducted a sufficient number of two day courses to be able to do a proper comparison, she is in no position to comment. Presumably because in her own words she would “avoid like the plague” a two day course, she has never done one so cannot comment at all; therefore that remark lacks both substance and value. Katharine has done both and can comment on both from experience.


Comment: "HypnoBirthing is ONLY permitted to be taught over 4 or 5 sessions as standard. The only time it can be taught over two full days is when it is not feasible to teach over 4 or 5 sessions (i.e: somebody is already 38wks when they start)."

Response: This is only true of HypnoBirthing as controlled by Marie Mongan, without reference to subsequent field experience. In any event the remark defeats itself. Apparently it can only be taught over 4 or 5 sessions well before it becomes a vital component of birthing, but 2 days are fine if it is critical - at which time one would presume that the full course was more important than ever. That again is utterly without logic. If that is really the attitude to a course taken late in pregnancy, having already said that a 2 day course should be avoided like the plague, presumably because it is worse than useless, then it sounds to me as if allowing 2 days if pushed is more to do with getting the money than doing a proper course since by the aforementioned logic it can have no value. If on the other hand this is an admission that sufficient can be taught in two days to achieve the required end, then two days by definition will always be sufficient and the writer is hoist on her own petard. Actually the above remark proves that a 2 day course is indeed perfectly sufficient.


Comment: "I am of the firm belief that 2 day long courses are nowhere near as effective and this is a widely held belief amongst many practitioners and Marie Mongan, who lets face it has developed the most popular birth with hypnosis course in the world so must know what she's talking about!"

Response: Firstly this is simply an opinion and of no more value than any other opinion. Secondly, where does the data come from to say the belief is widely held amongst 'many' (which only necessarily means more than one) practitioners – Katharine has in fact refuted that remark in her response. It is also a complete non sequitur. Marie Mongan did not develop the most popular birth with hypnosis course in the world - she developed the first such integrated course which only means that she wrote it as she thought best at the time, not that she necessarily knew in a wider sense what she was talking about. Following the flawed logic of this statement, one should never adapt and improve any form of activity beyond that arrived at by the first practitioner since they must know what they were talking about. That is simply not true. Every skill improves with practice-based experience and the original is soon superseded by better methods. We would still be forcing a bottle of rum down people's throats as anaesthetic before performing surgery were that not the case. When my children were born 40 plus years ago childbirth was an entirely different experience to now – perhaps women should still go through the same process as then since clearly the doctors then practised before today's doctors and therefore knew best? The many hundreds of clients Katharine has provably helped to a wonderful birthing experience is all the proof needed that she is getting it right.

There is also a huge element of hypocrisy in Marie Mongan's actions in that she was perfectly happy for Katharine to give 2 day courses so long as she did not publicise the fact. Clearly therefore Marie Mongan felt that 2 days were indeed adequate. This also refutes the “avoid like the plague” remark since Marie Mogan approved it - if hidden. Katharine was too honest to operate in a furtive way and so this all came about.

Comment: “Marie Mongan de-registered practitioners who refused to teach the course properly, those who have been de-registered are no longer listed on the practitioner listing, so if she's not on there that's probably why.”

Response: Teaching any course properly is proven by results from practise and experience allied to client feedback. Clearly on those terms, given Katharine's success rate, she is teaching the course properly and to suggest otherwise is nonsense. Extended duration of a course is not necessarily what delivers the best results - what matters is how well information is (a) put across and (b) assimilated. The worse (a) is performed the longer (b) requires, which could be taken to point out that the worse the practitioner, the longer the time necessary for the course to be successfully put across. To denigrate a shorter time span without the relevant data to back up the statement is at best unsupportable and at worst dishonest. Katharine has not, as it happens, suggested that a 4 or 5 day course is a bad thing, and nobody else without absolute proof has any right to say a 2 day course is less effective. So let's have some objective thought and honesty instead of this opinionated emotionalism that applies no logic or balance whatsoever to the subject.


Comment: "You have to ask WHY Marie Mongan would take such drastic steps if it REALLY didn't make any difference if the course was taught over two intensive days, she's a very smart lady!"

Response: The world is littered with people who come up with an idea and become so besotted by their own success that they believe there is no other or better way to do it than theirs, despite evidence to the contrary. Galileo suffered from the same syndrome in the Church. The project becomes in a very real sense their 'baby' and they cannot bear any changes. Add to that the arrogance that develops from success leading to a refusal to listen to others and you have the perfect combination to deliver an unthinking, closed-minded person - not the ideal individual to follow. As for saying "she's a very smart lady", that is simply an utter irrelevance; what matters is not how intelligent a person is but how receptive to outside thought and preparedness to learn and consequently amend they are, from cradle to grave. Albert Einstein was possibly as intelligent a person as Mongan, yet he constantly amended his work as new data became available - not least the amendments required to the Quantum Physics Theory, in terms of local and hidden variables. But perhaps Marie Mongan intuitively knows more about her subject than Einstein did after rigorous research.

I think not.

I would never have written in this vein, but the open attack upon what Katharine does and the suggestion that readers should avoid her course like the plague is so disgraceful (and indeed possibly actionable under the Restriction of Trade Act), not to mention illogically presented, that my sense of fairness made me butt in.

I might add that I have never heard Katharine criticise Marie Mongan, her method or any other practitioner of HypnoBirthing. What a shame not all practitioners are so reasonable and civilised.

PurpleWalnut Sat 18-Jul-09 12:54:01

Having taught NCT Antenatal Classes for a period of about ten years some years ago, I mainly offered eight evening sessions. Latterly, there was increasing demand for weekend workshops and I have taught plenty of those too. I appreciate that teaching HypnoBirthing is not the same but the point about format of course is, I feel, valid. While group members became closer and often developed close friendships in the evening courses, those who came to weekend workshops were content with their experience too and gained much form the material covered and the chance to discuss options when alert and not too tired.

I suspect that 4 or 5 evenings is ideal for HypnoBirthing to be assimilated, but suspect that more couples may be attracted to weekend day sessions. I do not feel this is a bad choice. At least they are fresh and ready to consider the material, rather than physically and possibly mentally fatigued after a full and busy day.

I started to make enquires about HypnoBirthing having attended the births of several women who used it as part of my work as a midwife. I was much impressed by the benefits for mother baby and father. I decided to undertake the Practitioner training and have completed this. During this time, I observed Katharine Graves teach a 2 weekend day course. I felt her teaching was professional, appropriate, clear and accessible. The couples on the course were effusive in the praise and some continued to email me afterwards about the positive effects her course had made on them and their experience of pregnancy and birth.

I do not appreciate being part of an organisation which lacks internal democracy for its practitioners, nor as an adult and a professional practitioner in another field do I feel it is appropriate to be micromanaged. I also think the main point is not what is best for Marie Mongan or Katharine Graves, but what is best for class members. Pregnancy and evening concentration do not mix well. Nor is it ideal for partners to rush home from work, perhaps missing an evening meal to attend an evening course, though some will do this out of love. I often saw yawning mothers and flustered, hungry, uncomfortable fathers in my NCT days and feel class members should make the decision about format and times for themselves not have it imposed upon them. Why does there have to be a “one size fits all”? Why can we not have options?

Susie101 Sat 18-Jul-09 19:34:11

I attended Katharine's course in March. Both my partner and I found it to be excellent - really informative about so many aspects of birth. Katharine very kindly came to our house when I was in labour and I went on to have a wonderful home birth using the techniques I learned. I needed no pain relief, relying only on the birth pool and my breathing.

In terms of the debate about five evenings or two days, having done the two day course all we can say is that we felt it was very comprehensive and gave us what we needed.

I would strongly recommend Katharine to others.

TylerElsie2 Mon 20-Jul-09 12:48:56

I have 2 children, my first was a natural birth with gas and air, i DID NOT have any hypnobirthing skills and found the whole process completly out of my control and comfort zone.
Researching for a better way to birth i found and contacted Katharine, a decision that has changed my life in many ways. The birth of my 2nd child was an amazing experience and all involved were deeply affected by the hynobirthing birthing experience made possible by Katharine Graves teachings.
I think the discussion that you are all deep into seems to have lost sight of what really matters -
does Hynobirthing help mothers to birth confidently and happily? YES
Does it work over a 5 night course? YES, Does it work over a 2 day course? YES.

So surely in todays modern society, which is always strapped for time- passing the word and teachings of a Recognised and Highly thought of Hynobirthing Teacher onto parents who want to learn is the key.
Ask Katharines students, myself included if they were grateful, empowerd and calm after attending Katharines sessions ( in any format) and you will recieve a resounding YES!

hypnobirthmum Fri 24-Jul-09 13:58:55

I did my hypnobirthing course with Katharine Graves over 2 days in 2007, in preparation for the birth of my first child.

Working with Katharine helped me achieve the most wonderful experience of my life - my son's birth was quick (2h 45m), relaxed and comfortable. Both my partner and I were blown away by the effect of the course and have since recommended hypnobirthing and Katharine to everyone pregnant we meet!

For me the 2 day course was perfect - I liked the approach of two long sessions and feel that the 4-5 evening sessions would break it up too much (for me anyway). Also, I'm pregnant again now and evenings are out with a toddler to look after and feeling totally exhausted by 7pm! I've already booked my refresh course with Katharine - during the day!

I am quite shocked to read how the suggestion of 2 day courses was rejected by Marie Mongan, especially in light of the Hypnobirth teachings that pregnant women and their families should be able to choose the style of their care, and be listened to with respect and without judgement. I see our Hypnobirth training as a major part of the care I received during pregnancy.

Caro123 Wed 12-Aug-09 06:48:21

I recently did one of Katherine Graves's 2-day courses and I personally wouldn't recommend it.

We spent 2 full days on uncomfortable chairs in a stuffy room mainly being talked at by Katherine - not particularly comfortable when you are 7 months pregnant.

Both my husband and I were expecting to leave the course having been taught methods of self-hypnosis so that we knew exactly what to practice at home. Instead we had a few guided visualisations led by Katherine (only one of which was provided on CD to take away), and one short demonstration session where we got a chance to practice on each other.

The course felt unstructured and overall was lacking in what I felt Katherine was qualified to teach (self-hypnosis) and had way too much emphasis on things she is far from qualified to advise on (choosing homeopathy over vaccines, for example, which she spent a good 30 minutes on, making several couples very angry).

Having read the book again since the course, there are several elements of self-hypnosis that were not covered in the course (eg deepening prompts, quick relaxation techniques), which should have been included in place of all the nonsense she talked about vaccines.

Overall I would highly recommend hypnobirthing, but not this particular course.

KatharineGraves Thu 13-Aug-09 21:53:59

I was sad to read Caro123's posting because, if anyone has ever told me they have thought something was lacking in the course they have attended with me, I have always spent time with them privately until they feel satisfied and have been fully supported. Unfortunately I was not given the opportunity in this case, but I would be very happy to do so if she would like to contact me and we can arrange a convenient time.


JBUSA Fri 14-Aug-09 19:05:07

The reason the HypnoBirthing course is required to be taught in 4-5 session is because that is what has been PROVEN to work for the majority of people who take this type of training. Cramming self-hypnosis training into 2 days is a HUGE disservice to the parents.

JBUSA Fri 14-Aug-09 19:26:36

The whole point is that 'HypnoBirthing, the Mongan Method', was created by and is the intellectual property of Marie Mongan. Since she owns the rights to this program, she has the right to decide how it should be taught, and by whom - period. If someone wants to teach this specific program, then they are required to adhere to the terms and conditions of the HypnoBirthing Insitute. It is SO very unethical for people to attend this training with the intention of taking the course materials, modifying them, and calling them their own. If someone wants to teach their own program, then they should be ethical and original enough to create their own materials, rather than modifying the materials someone else created.

The reason that this program is required to be taught over a 4-5 week period is because that is what has been PROVEN effective for the majority of parents.

ActionCat Sat 15-Aug-09 11:55:32

I have recently done a hypnobirthing course which was done over 5 weeks with one 2 1/2 session per week. I did have the choice of doing a weekend course through another practitioner, however the timings weren't right for me. I was initially disappointed as I am usually a fan of intensive courses because you tend to be much more focused during them.

However, in this instance, I am really pleased I did a course that was spread out as it gives you time for everything to sink in and time to practice the techniques between the sessions. The key to the techniques is practice!

This meant that during the next session, we could talk about any difficulties we had come across in our practice and work on the techniques in class. It also meant that, in each session, we could go through most of the relaxation techniques and deepening exercises in class, without feeling like it was a bit overload as it was all spread out.

I ca see why marie Mongan wants the course to be taught over a 4.5 week period!

GentleBirth Sun 16-Aug-09 09:11:05

At the end of the day it is about the parents choices...not ours.

We are teaching adults - not children and adopting the attitude of 'we know what's best for you' is not empowering couples to make decisions that are best for them.

To Mums reading this thread - take your time and find a class and teacher that suits you.

There are lots of great options available and any time spent preparing for your baby's birth is time very well spent.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now