Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic interaction between a therapist using clinical or conversational hypnosis and a client.

It can be understood as a form of psychotherapy in which counseling skills are used, contact or a therapeutic relationship is established, and problems and goals are defined.

What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis can be understood as a state in which the ability to respond to ideas is increased. Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for medical or psychological problems.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic interaction between a client and a therapist using clinical or conversational hypnosis. These are therapeutic procedures that are carried out while the person is in a hypnotic state. In most countries, it is understood as a form of psychotherapy and not as an independent therapeutic approach. Therefore, some professionals do not use the term hypnotherapy and instead call it therapeutic hypnosis.

When is hypnosis therapeutic?

When hypnosis is used and combined with therapeutic suggestions or procedures, it has therapeutic value. A hypnotist (stage hypnotist) can hypnotize a person but does not perform any therapy, in contrast, a hypnotherapist (practitioner of therapeutic hypnosis) incorporates therapeutic suggestions or procedures into the hypnosis process in order to effect change in the individual.

Who is a hypnotherapist?

A fully qualified hypnotherapist is a professionally trained psychotherapist, doctor, social worker, psychologist, or other health professional who uses hypnosis. Competent and ethical performance of activities requires knowledge of modern psychotherapy and clinical skills.

Who is not a hypnotherapist?

Some practitioners of hypnosis and hypnotherapy may refer to themselves as hypnosis practitioners, primarily to avoid violating regional and licensing laws regarding the use of the term therapist.

Who can practice therapeutic hypnosis, hypnotherapy?

Professionally trained therapists use therapeutic hypnosis to treat diseases or symptoms of diseases. A hypnosis practitioner who helps a client improve their career prospects or performance (coaches, "coaches") should not use procedures and approaches that could be classified as therapeutic - we can claim that they are useful and useful, but not therapeutic. A stage hypnotist is a practitioner of hypnosis, but not therapeutic hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is most often used for:

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Behavioral problems
  • chronic pain
  • Fears and phobias
  • Physical conditions such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • unwanted habits, addictions, vices
  • skin diseases and migraines
  • panic attacks
  • poor sleep
  • lack of self-confidence
  • burnout, perfectionism
  • self-esteem problems
  • poor self-esteem
  • Trauma and complex trauma

Hypnotherapy has been proven to be effective in:

  • mitigation and elimination of acute and chronic pain,
  • mitigating or neutralizing pain, stress and discomfort during medical and dental procedures,
  • lowering general anxiety,
  • release of muscle tension,
  • lowering the level of experiencing stress,
  • elimination of insomnia,
  • dealing with excess weight,
  • management of psychosomatic problems (tension headaches and migraines, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, and in the relief of various skin diseases

A general principle in the medical profession is, "If you are not qualified to treat a problem without hypnosis, then you are not qualified to treat it with hypnosis." Unfortunately, there are few meaningful regulations specific to the practice of hypnosis. Thus, people without academic degrees or proper clinical training can take a short course in hypnosis, usually learning formulaic approaches, and then start offering services as a "hypnotist" or "hypnotherapist". It is important that you work with someone who is well trained and licensed, a health professional (doctor, social worker, psychologist, psychotherapist) who uses hypnosis in their work, and not someone who is just a hypnotist.

Different types of hypnosis practitioners will use different hypnosis techniques, delivery styles, and therapeutic procedures and approaches based on their background, training, clients, and practice environment.

In itself, hypnosis as a process has no intrinsic therapeutic or beneficial value, but it does have a naturally relaxed physiological state, ie. the state of parasympathetic response produced by some types of relaxation hypnosis has intrinsic therapeutic and beneficial value in itself (similar to some meditative practices).

No, hypnosis itself is not dangerous. On the contrary, it is a relaxing and invigorating experience. However, like any tool, be it a hammer or medicine, it can be used incorrectly, which can have negative consequences. How? The first lesson you learn when studying hypnosis is that "whatever you focus on, you strengthen". So can a well-intentioned but uneducated doctor make you focus on things that are unimportant or even upsetting? Yes. Therefore, it is important to choose your therapist carefully and to be aware that you can reject any suggestion that you do not find helpful. You are in control!

Although personal approaches to applied hypnosis are generally more effective than impersonal approaches of recorded sessions, the value of recorded sessions is still high. Often used as a supplement to personal therapy, these sessions provide important opportunities to stay focused on your goals and actively do things that will help you achieve them.

No. Hypnosis is not a reliable tool for enhancing or restoring memory, as the entire mental health profession learned the hard way during the years of the so-called "memory wars," when therapists treated almost all symptoms as evidence of hidden memories of childhood abuse. Memory is a subjective process that can be intentionally or unintentionally distorted by persuasive suggestion. You don't need to be under hypnosis for this, as this is simply a vulnerability of human memory in general. Misinformation presented by someone credible, who has no apparent motive to deceive, can lead people to believe that things have happened to them that never actually happened to them. This can even happen in an extreme form, when memories of "past lives" are restored, which may seem real, but are clearly the product of suggestions that people who are inclined to believe in them accept without criticism.

I have a very simple answer to this question in the form of an opposite question: How long does a really good idea last?

The answer is a resounding no! This sad but persistent myth stems from the fact that most people encounter hypnosis recreationally rather than in a clinical setting. Stage hypnotists and television and film scriptwriters portray hypnosis as a form of "mind control," and that's how it may appear to the untrained eye. If there was a type of people called “hypnotists” who could control people, the world would be completely different. No, you do not lose control of yourself in hypnosis. If that were the case, it wouldn't be of much interest to clinicians like me, because no one ever seeks help by saying, "Please help me lose control of myself." What appeals to me about hypnosis is the way hypnosis consistently empowers people.

If hypnotherapy is so great, why isn't everyone using it?

For hypnosis professionals who are aware of the value of this tool, there is no more complicated question. Some of the obstacles to wider recognition and acceptance are well known:

  1. outdated, on myths underlying views of hypnosis that discourage people from learning about hypnosis;
  2. the often arbitrary opinion of clinicians that common human problems (such as anxiety and depression) are “diseases” to be treated biologically;
  3. lack of exposure to hypnosis during clinical training to learn about its strong empirical basis or therapeutic merit.