What Is Hypnotherapy and How Does It Work?

Hypnotherapy is a complementary therapy that uses hypnosis to help with the treatment of certain symptoms or illnesses. Hypnotherapy works by establishing a hypnotic state characterized by waking awareness and allows people to experience detached outward attention while focusing on internal experiences.

It’s occasionally used to treat phobias and other anxiety disorders as part of a treatment regimen. It’s also used for a variety of other things, including pain relief, weight loss, and smoking cessation.

Formal research into the therapeutic uses of hypnosis began in the late 1700s, but it was not until much later that it gained scientific respectability. Modern studies have looked into how hypnosis may be employed, what conditions it can help with, and how effective it is in comparison to other treatments.


People are guided through a technique to establish a trance-like condition that helps them focus their minds, respond more quickly to ideas, and feel completely relaxed during hypnotherapy sessions. Hypnotherapy makes use of the hypnotic state’s increased awareness to help you focus more deeply on a problem. Hypnotherapy employs a variety of approaches, including:

Even if you have a bad habit or are worried about something, the hypnotherapist will help you picture yourself in a calm and relaxed state.

Your hypnotherapist may give you gentle suggestions for behavior modifications that will assist you in overcoming your problem. When you have a phobia, for example, you might be taught to think of yourself as a supportive counselor, so you learn to trust yourself and your ability to get through the situation.

Coping skills A cognitive-behavioral coping skill might be taught to you to help you deal with your fears and anxieties. These skills include guided imagery and the STOP! method.

Exploration of previous experiences: You might be asked to talk about how you felt when you first encountered the behavior or problem you’re trying to change, as well as how you felt when you first encountered the behavior or problem.

What Can Hypnotherapy Do For You?

There are a variety of reasons why someone would choose hypnosis. According to research, the following are some conceivable applications:

The syndrome of chronic pain

Symptoms of dementia

Chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting

Childbirth, dental procedures, and surgery can all cause pain.

Psoriasis and warts are examples of skin disorders.

Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (IBS)

Hypnotherapy can be used to treat anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Qualified doctors and psychologists can use it to help.

Hypnotherapy can also aid in the modification or reduction of troublesome habits. As a result, it’s commonly prescribed to help patients quit smoking, lose weight, and get better sleep.

Hypnotherapy’s Advantages

Hypnotherapy can have dramatic results for some people. In certain circumstances, folks may simply be in a good mood. The following are some of the advantages of hypnotherapy:

Some folks are completely conscious throughout the entire encounter. They remember everything that happened and can even have conversations while hypnotized. Others may be in such profound states of relaxation that they are oblivious to what is going on around them.

Focus: We are frequently distracted by our environment. It can be tough to totally concentrate on yourself while the television is on, your children are demanding your attention, or your partner wants to converse. Our conscious minds are overloaded as well. You might be worried about paying a bill, preparing tonight’s meal, or worrying about a future assignment. The goal of the treatment session is to get you to forget about your daily worries and focus solely on the topic at hand.

Relaxation: When you’re in a hypnotic state, you’re completely relaxed. Your conscious mind is quieted, allowing the unconscious mind to focus on your problem in great detail. You’re also calmer, which means you’re more open to confronting your difficulties or worries.

Most hypnotherapists use a series of calming messages, such as “you are safe” and “no one can hurt you,” to reassure their clients that they can address their problems objectively while in hypnosis without becoming terrified.


Hypnotherapy’s effectiveness and impact might vary depending on the individual and how the treatment is employed. Hypnotherapy has been found to be effective for a variety of purposes, including controlling

and reducing pain during dental treatments and childbirth.

Patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer experience less nausea and vomiting.

Reduction in the intensity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms4

It may help with stress and anxiety, but it should be used with first-line treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications.

published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in May 2021 indicated that hypnosis was just as effective as CBT for treating mild to moderate depression. The results showed that while CBT reduced the severity of symptoms by 38.5 percent, hypnosis reduced the severity of symptoms by 44.6 percent.

As more people learn about the benefits of hypnotherapy, it may become more popular as a way to treat a wide range of illnesses.

Consider the following:

While hypnotherapy is generally considered to be safe and well tolerated, it does include some dangers, including:

In rare situations, hypnotherapy might result in misleading or distorted memories.

As people go into hypnosis, people who are very easy to be influenced may lose some control of their own bodies and minds.

Anxiety, headaches, and dizziness are some of the possible side effects.

People who are suffering from psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions may not be candidates for hypnotherapy.

As a result, before deciding to attempt hypnosis, you should always see your doctor first. Also, only use hypnosis with the supervision and advice of a trained practitioner.

Common Misconceptions

Hypnotherapy is still contentious, with many mental health specialists questioning its efficacy. There are a lot of hypnotherapy myths and misconceptions that might influence how people perceive this therapeutic method.

Stage hypnosis is sometimes confused with hypnotherapy. Stage hypnotists are entertainers that have a keen ability to read people. They’re looking for extroverts who can put on a show for the crowd. It’s debatable whether or not their subjects are actually hypnotized, but they’re prepared to go along with the stage hypnotist’s sometimes bizarre ideas.

You will not forget what happened as a result of hypnotherapy. You will recall what happens during your hypnotic trance. You will not be asleep or unconscious, and you will be able to come out of it at any time.

You will not lose control as a result of hypnotherapy. You maintain control during hypnosis. Even under hypnosis, no one can force you to do anything against your choice. You’ll be focused on your task and may not notice what’s going on around you, but you’ll always be in charge of your own actions, behaviors, and statements.

Being hypnotizable does not imply a lack of intelligence. While some people believe they cannot be hypnotized, studies show that most people can be hypnotized to some extent. Only approximately 10% of people are difficult to hypnotize or are impossible to hypnotize. 8 Steps to Getting Started

There are various options for locating a qualified hypnotherapist. Finding a practitioner by word of mouth is always a good idea. Your mental health professional might be certified in hypnosis, or know someone who is. Inquire about the experiences of anyone you know who has gone through this form of therapy. Keep in mind, however, that some hypnotherapists specialize in specific conditions, so a therapist recommended by a friend might not be suited for you.

Despite the fact that hypnosis is still controversial in some areas, many professionals believe it can be effective. Consult your healthcare practitioner about this treatment choice. Before you go, double-check with your insurance company, as not all policies cover it.

The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists database can help you find a hypnotherapist in the United States, the United Kingdom, or other parts of Europe. This agency is in charge of hypnotherapist certification and ensures that the database is kept up to date.