What is Hypnotherapy? Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy used to create change in a patient while in a state of sleep, or unconsciousness, known as hypnosis. The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypnos” which simply means, “sleep.” The therapy itself uses guided relaxation techniques from a trained hypnotist that invoke feelings of intense relaxation, concentration, and/or focus to achieve a heightened state of awareness or trance-like state.

The therapy is commonly used as an aid to psychotherapy due to the relaxed nature brought on by the hypnotic state that allows people to explore painful and suppressed feelings and emotions or memories that are often hidden from their conscious minds. This change in consciousness can often lead patients to experience things differently outside of hypnosis, such as criticism at work or home, stage fright, or even pain.

Being under hypnosis is said to allow a person to be more open to both suggestion and discussion when the patient trusts the hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy has been used to treat a wide range of conditions or unwanted behavior, such as:

  • Phobias
  • Sleep disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Grief and loss of loved ones
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight loss
  • Those who have psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations, should speak to a qualified hypnotherapist to determine whether or not this therapy is right for them.

Methods Used in Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is commonly used in one of two ways: suggestion therapy and analysis.

Suggestion therapy relies on the patient’s ability to respond to suggestions from the hypnotherapist while in this trance-like state. This method is commonly used to control or stop unwanted behaviors such as smoking, gambling, nail biting, or over-eating. It has also been shown particularly useful in treating pain, or increasing the instance of positive behavior such as self-motivation or confidence.

This method of hypnotherapy is commonly beneficial to hypnotherapists in discovering the psychological root of a problem or symptom, such as social anxiety, depression, or past trauma. These types of trauma are often hidden in unconscious memory and forgotten on a conscious level. Using hypnotherapy for analysis has proven particularly effective at digging into the subconscious memory to attempt to retrieve suppressed memories or early developmental trauma that could result in a wide range of psychological conditions or problematic behavior.

The analysis method of hypnotherapy, sometimes referred to as regression therapy, is more exploratory and related to uncovering the root of an issue, disorder or symptom. A hypnotherapist will hypnotize a patient by putting them into a relaxed state and exploring a past event in their life in order to explore the person’s subconscious and unconscious memory.

This method of hypnosis is not meant to cure or directly change a patient’s behavior. It’s meant to locate a cause and treat it through psychotherapy.

Why Hire a Hypnotherapist?

The science behind hypnotherapy is just now beginning to catch up to reports of its beneficial nature. The scientific community is beginning to rave about the potential benefits of hypnosis and what it could do for patients who are looking for a new treatment option. Hypnosis could prove to be a valuable weapon in fighting a multitude of psychological, physical, or behavioral issues.

Hypnotherapy, while thought of by some as something non-scientific, is a regulated, legitimate form of therapy that can both explore and use a person’s subconscious to better help them through psychotherapy, and also act as a method of therapy that helps relieve a person of symptoms and problems they are afflicted with. Hypnotherapy has proven to be extremely effective in cases with patients suffering from pain and addiction.

When used in combination with other forms of therapy, hypnosis has been proven to be quite valuable in combating a whole host of psychological issues such as anxiety, stress and depression, as well as behavioral problems such as smoking, weight loss, or nail biting.

Hypnosis can also help a patient to develop a deeper understanding of self. Whether a victim of past trauma, or someone struggling with depression who doesn’t quite understand the cause, hypnosis might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.

What to Look for When Finding a Hypnotherapist

Hypnotherapists, their methods, and the rates in which they achieve success vary by case. Hypnotherapy is a trust-based exercise that demands a great deal of immersion on the part of the patient. The best course of action would typically be to interview several candidates and see which one you feel most connected to. Allow yourself to be receptive to their thoughts, ideas, and descriptions as they attempt to explain what they do and how it can help you.