What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is guided hypnosis, or a trance-like state of focus and concentration achieved with the help of a clinical hypnotherapist. This trance-like state is similar to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, music, or even one's own thoughts or meditations. In this state, clients can turn their attention completely inward to find and utilize the natural resources deep within themselves that can help them make changes or regain control in certain areas of their life.

When It's Used

Since hypnotherapy is an adjunct form of therapy, used along with other forms of psychological or medical treatment, there are many applications. Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety, phobias, substance abuse including tobacco, sexual dysfunction, undesirable spontaneous behaviors and bad habits. It can be used to help improve sleep, learning disorders, communication and relationship issues. Hypnotherapy can aid in pain management and help resolve medical conditions such as digestive disorders, skin issues and gastrointestinal side effects of pregnancy and chemotherapy. It can also be used by dentists to help patients control their fears or to treat teeth grinding and other oral conditions.

What to Expect

Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. Unlike some dramatic portrayals of hypnosis in movies, books, or on stage, you will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to act on them.

How It Works

Hypnosis is not a psychotherapeutic treatment or a form of psychotherapy, but rather a tool or procedure that helps facilitate various types of therapies and medical or psychological treatments. Only trained health care providers certified in clinical hypnosis can decide, with their patient, if hypnosis should be used along with other treatments. As with psychotherapy, the length of hypnosis treatment varies, depending on the complexity of the problem.

Hypnotherapy addresses a diverse array of issues:
  • Coping with major life situations: Sometimes certain events, such as a death in the family, loss of a job, a breakup or divorce, or a major illness, may lead you to self-harm, decompensated, self-medicate or worse. Therapy can help you to come to grips with these situations and learn how to deal with their implications.
  • Coping with past trauma: A person may have experienced acts of physical or sexual violence, or may have witnessed or even been involved with causing these. Therapy can help you to cope with the ongoing effects of these situations that are causing stress within different areas of your life, including your relationship with yourself, your significant other, friends, children and it can also help you cope with job related issues.
  • Self-care: Those of you with dysfunctional or abusive parenting often have not learned appropriate self-care, self-assertion and healthy coping. Hypnotherapy can help you to strengthen adult skills of living and develop healthier and more effective patterns of self-care, self-regulation and self-assertion.