The practice of Hypnotherapy is shrouded in secrecy, misinterpretation and ignorance. The image is often portrayed in a poor and unprofessional light by stage and television entertainers who seek to use hypnosis as a tool to amuse an audience by ridiculing participants. The professional use of Hypnotherapy is far removed from such images.

This brief guide has been compiled in an attempt to provide you with a better understanding of what hypnotherapy is and how it is used in a professional and ethical way in order to help clients realise their desires. The common myths surrounding the subject have been dispelled and answers to some of the most frequent questions are given.


Hypnotherapy can be defined as the use of hypnosis to bring about an alteration in a client's habits or actions in order to lead to a better quality of life or produce a positive feeling of well being. The aim of Hypnotherapy is always to produce a benefit for the client.

The overriding objective is to provide access to the unconscious mind where suggestions are placed for the benefit of the client. Such suggestions will be readily received and take effect because the unconscious mind connects more closely to the body than the conscious mind - for instance you don't consciously think about breathing. Your unconscious mind regulates this and many more bodily processes automatically.

Hypnotherapy is a pleasurable and profoundly relaxing experience during which the client is not 'put to sleep' or into an unconscious state. The client is always in control of the therapy and will find that their willpower, self confidence and control will be increased as a result.


Electrical activity in the brain is different and quite distinct from that recorded for subjects who are :

  • Asleep
  • Unconscious
  • Fully awake
  • Under Hypnosis

So, accepting that such a thing exists, exactly what is it ? The short and honest answer is that we don't really know for certain. Perhaps the closest definition of Hypnosis is: A state of profound relaxation, which the client allows him / herself to enter and during which there is an altered state of conscious awareness.

The emphasis here is on "conscious awareness". Under Hypnosis, even deep hypnosis, the client is neither asleep nor unconscious and is always aware of their surroundings and what is happening at all times. It is a common misconception that a client can become "stuck" in Hypnosis never to return to the conscious world. This is a popular myth which has been propagated by misleading works of fiction.


The phenomena which comprise Hypnosis or the Hypnotic experience in which people can achieve unexplainable mental and physical gains has fascinated the world of medicine for centuries. Vague usage without boundaries has given rise to many fictional myths and mysteries, unfair criticisms, unfounded fears and a whole host of wrongful assumptions.

Hypnosis has been extensively researched, experimented, practised and explained by many eminent clinicians and scientists including Freud, Erickson and Hilgard. Such work is formally documented in reputable volumes of medicine, psychiatry, psychology and dentistry.

Practised throughout the world, there is little understanding of how Hypnosis works. However, simple suggestions deliberately offered during Hypnosis can and do lead to very real physical and mental changes which are beneficial for the client.

There is no question that hypnotherapy can achieve rapid results but all the phenomena can only happen in an atmosphere of trust and rapport between the therapist and the client. The skill of the therapist depends upon the creation of such an environment. Hypnosis is therefore an interactive process.

Hypnosis is employed in modern medicine today in the fields of post operative analgesia, control of acute and chronic pain, various surgical procedures such as Tooth extraction, Caesarean section, Dermabrasion, Rhinoplasty, Obstetric procedures, Suturing, Setting of Fractures and Burns Dressing. It is used in complementing or augmenting drug therapies in Asthma, Skin Disorders and chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Colitis, Peptic Ulcers etc. It is used in alleviating or curing many psychosomatic illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, habit disorders such as Smoking, Nail Biting, Over Eating, Bed Wetting and even in certain metabolic disorders. It has been successfully used to cure Tinnitus, Stammering and Migraine in Adults.

In the Psychiatric field it is used to treat Phobias, Anxieties, Lack of Confidence, Relationship problems etc. Hypnosis is widely used in dentistry to remove fear of dental procedures and to control bleeding - even in haemophiliacs.

The growing side of Hypnotherapy is now in the holistic management of cancer and other conditions such as MS by not only improving the quality of life but in slowing down the disease itself. It is remarkably effective in combatting the traumatic side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and other drugs used in the management of cancer. In the the behavioural field it is widely used and extremely effective in helping clients quit smoking, lose weight and improve sporting performance.


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