Benefits of hypnosis, reviewed.

Brain Working Recursive Therapy (BWRT): A New Treatment Approach

Brain Working Recursive Therapy: A New Therapy & Treatment Approach

Ready to overcome your fears and phobias? 

Brain working recursive therapy could help you break the cycle of negative thinking and reprogram your brain for lasting change.

First developed in the early 2000s by British psychotherapist Terence Watts, BWRT has gained increasing attention for its reported effectiveness in just one or two sessions.

What is Brain Working Recursive Therapy?

Brain working recursive therapy® is a type of recursive therapy that utilizes neuroscience concepts to alter ingrained neural pathways in the brain. It differs from traditional psychotherapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in its speed and proposed mechanism.

Proponents claim BWRT works faster by directly accessing the parts of the brain where emotional issues like anxiety, phobias, trauma and addictive behaviors originate. Watts developed the approach based on his belief that the brain does not differentiate between reality and vividly imagined events.

BWRT aims to rapidly override problematic habitual responses that no longer serve a person’s needs. Using techniques adapted from hypnosis and CBT, it focuses on the client imagining and “living” a new pattern of thinking and reacting.

Benefits of Brain Working Recursive Therapy

BWRT therapy is promoted as producing benefits such as:

  • Creating permanent change in a person’s automatic reactions after just one session
  • Bringing rapid relief from emotional problems like depression, panic, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Being effective for phobias and confidence issues where past therapies require repeated sessions over months
  • Helping change addictive behaviors such as smoking within 1-2 sessions
  • Providing quick improvement by working directly with the subconscious rather than through conscious thought

These reported rapid results make BWRT stand out from traditional talk therapies. However, more research is still needed on its efficacy and mechanisms. This type of therapy uses the client’s own individual thought processes to help change the way your brain reacts to unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviors by retraining neural pathways in the brain.

Behind BWRT – How Does Brain Working Recursive Therapy Work?

BWRT is based on the theory that the brain does not differentiate between vividly imagined experiences and real ones.

In a BWRT session, the client is guided into a relaxed, receptive state using hypnosis-like techniques. The therapist then has the client imagine himself reacting in a new, positive way to situations that previously triggered his problem reaction.

For example, someone with a dog phobia would visualize himself feeling calm and relaxed around dogs. The goal is for new neural pathways to form as the client repetitively imagines responding differently on an emotional level.

This is said to “overwrite” the outdated anxiety response, as the brain essentially practices the new reaction. Through this rehearsal, advocates claim clients can “rewire” automatic unconscious responses.

Who Can Benefit from Brain Working Recursive Therapy?

BWRT is proposed to help individuals experiencing a variety of conditions including:

  • Anxiety disorders like OCD, panic attacks or PTSD
  • Phobias such as fear of flying or animals
  • Addictions and substance dependence
  • Trauma from experiences like abuse or grief
  • Low self-esteem and confidence issues
  • Anger problems
  • Unhealthy relationship patterns

It aims to provide rapid relief by getting to the root emotional causes fueling unwanted behaviors, thoughts and feelings. BWRT may benefit those who encountered previous therapies that have not provided sufficient or permanent improvement.

The Process of Brain Working Recursive Therapy

The foundation of BWRT is creating new, neural pathways through repeatedly visualizing the desired reaction. A typical session may involve:

  • Identifying a specific situation that triggers the unwanted response, like having a panic attack on planes
  • Accessing the associated feelings and physical sensations, such as rapid heart rate
  • Imagining that situation vividly, in detail
  • With guidance, “rewiring” the brain by visualizing the desired response, like feeling calm on the plane
  • Building on this by layering in real-world details to deepen the new associations
  • Repeating this process many times to imprint the new circuitry
  • Future practice through self-hypnosis techniques

This intensive focus on re-conditioning the brain’s automatic reactions is the hallmark of a BWRT approach. Several variations on the technique exist, tailored to the individual client.

Common Techniques Used During a BWRT Session

While the specific process varies, BWRT sessions typically incorporate techniques like:

  • Hypnosis and trance – accessing a receptive mental state
  • Visualization – repeatedly picturing reacting positively
  • Future templates – imagining future situations turning out well
  • Pattern interrupts – stopping negative thought loops
  • Socratic dialogue – questioning self-sabotaging beliefs
  • Anchoring – linking positive feelings to cues for recall
  • Reframing – looking at situations with a new perspective

The therapist guides the client through exercises using these and other tools suited to the individual. The focus remains reconditioning emotional responses through imagination and suggestion.

What is the success rate of BWRT?

Although BWRT is a relatively new psychotherapy, it has shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For instance, a study was conducted to compare using traditional treatments for PTSD with using BWRT to treat PTSD. Consequently, it was concluded that BWRT has a positive future in the treatment of PTSD. However, it was also noted that the success rate of BWRT varies depending on the severity of the condition being treated and the individual patient.

Over the years, BWRT has gained attention from therapists and patients, but has yet to reach the popularity of traditional hypnosis methods.

The below bar graph visualizes the popularity by percentage ratings for each type of hypnotherapy:
Special note: **The rankings are based on an estimation of each style’s prevalence according to hypnotherapy training programs and utilization by practitioners**

hypnotherapy treatments by popularity

Traditional Hypnosis makes up the largest slice at 40%, while smaller niches like Spiritual Hypnotherapy have just 1%. Brain Working Recursive Therapy falls around the bottom of the pack with a 2% slice, indicating it has minimal popularity and usage compared to other hypnotherapy approaches.

Limitations and Risks of Brain Working Recursive Therapy

While considered safe when practiced by an experienced professional, BWRT does have some limitations:

  • It may not produce results as rapidly or fully as claimed, more research is needed.
  • Effects likely depend on the client’s suggestibility and openness to techniques.
  • Distressing emotions or memories could potentially resurface.
  • There are few BWRT practitioners, availability is limited.
  • It does not address wider life circumstances influencing problems.

BWRT is considered short-term relief rather than a “cure all”, thus ongoing support may still be needed. It is not recommended for severe, complex mental illness. As a newer approach, verification through controlled studies is still required.


Early accounts indicate brain working recursive therapy may offer a faster option for reprogramming unhelpful ingrained reactions compared to traditional talk therapy.

By tapping into the brain’s neuroplasticity, BWRT aims to “overwrite” unwanted emotional responses with more positive associations. More rigorous research is needed, but initial findings suggest BWRT could provide targeted, rapid relief for select issues that stem from subconscious conditioning.

With an experienced therapist, it may benefit some people seeking fairly quick improvement without extended treatment. For long-standing or complex mental illness, incorporating BWRT as part of a multifaceted approach may provide the most lasting gains.

Rylana Taylor

Hi, I'm Rylana Taylor, and I'm delighted to welcome you to Inner Pathway Hypnosis. As an author and hypnotherapy enthusiast, I specialize in helping individuals harness the transformative power of hypnosis. With a tagline of "Benefits of hypnosis, reviewed," this website aims to provide insightful information, analysis, and reviews of different hypnosis techniques and their efficacy in achieving various benchmarks. Whether it's weight loss, smoking cessation, anxiety relief, overcoming phobias, or pain management, I am here to guide you on your path towards positive change. Together, let's discover the incredible possibilities that hypnosis offers.