Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
What is hypnosis?
Hypnosis is a treatment intervention that involves inducing the client into a relaxed, suggestible state and then offering post-hypnotic suggestions for relief of symptoms. It uses the hypnotic trance—the simple shifting back and forth between the conscious and subconscious mind, a natural process that occurs every day—in order to create this relaxed, suggestible state.
What is the hypnotic trance?
Many people think of hypnosis as inducing sleep. That’s actually not the case. Hypnosis (and hypnotherapy) induce the “trance state.” It is actually a natural state of mind that many of us encounter in everyday life on a regular basis. If you’ve ever been engrossed in a book, movie, or performance, then you have likely experienced the trance state.
The only thing that distinguishes a naturally occurring trance state from the hypnotic trance state is that hypnotherapists induce the latter and are able to control the trance state to create understanding and healing.
How is the hypnotic trance induced?
Therapists use different types of hypnotic induction to get people into a trance state. The most well known and effective techniques to induce trance state is eye fixation, asking clients to stare at a spot on the ceiling or an object, or their thumb as it moves slowly backward and forward.
We also teach several deepening techniques at The Wellness Institute. Most of these well established tools rely on creating deep relaxation.
How is the hypnotic trance used in hypnotherapy?
The hypnotic trance state creates a deep sense of relaxation and allows the client to let go. During this process, the hypnotherapist is able to uncover subconscious motivations, access repressed memories, perform regression therapy, and/or use the power of suggestion to “re-map” the mind’s responses to stimuli.
For more information on the hypnotic trance and how it is used in hypnotherapy, read 10 Specific Therapeutic Advantages fo the Hypnotic Trance State [Jung].
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the practice of psychotherapy with a client who is in the hypnotic altered state of consciousness. Hypnotherapy is a powerful way to access the source of distress, like depression and anxiety, and for people to reconnect with dissociated emotions and disowned parts of themselves. Hypnotherapy helps therapists and client get closer to the source of a client’s issues by opening the doorway to their subconscious mind.
What is Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy?
At The Wellness Institute, we teach a highly effective treatment model that addresses body, mind, and spirit called Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy. Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy leads clients down their own profoundly exciting road to self-discovery.
To learn more about Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, click here to read The Ultimate Guide to Hypnotherapy Techniques.
What are the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?
While hypnosis and hypnotherapy are in the same “family,” they are very different from each other. The core difference is that hypnotherapy is an internationally-recognized therapy technique for treating mental and psychosomatic issues. It uses hypnosis to break through to the subconscious to better understand the foundation of the issues a client is facing.
For a more detailed explanation of the differences between hypnosis and hypnotherapy, read our article What is the Difference Between Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy?
How long has hypnosis been practiced?
Hypnosis is one of the world's oldest sciences. Amazingly, ancient hieroglyphics show that the Egyptians were using hypnosis as early as 3,000 B.C. There is evidence the Greeks and the Mayans understood it and used it as well. Like other sciences, hypnotism has had its experimenters, its pioneers, its lucky guessers, and its experts.
While hypnosis has had a place in society for thousands of years, it has also carved out a place as a legitimate modern medical practice, where it is called hypnotherapy. As early as 1892, the British Medical Association verified the efficacy of hypnotherapy.
Does hypnotherapy work?
Yes, hypnotherapy works. Professional organizations have consistently reported on the value of hypnotherapy. The British Medical Association has been formally studying and verifying it since 1892.
In the 1950s, both the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association confirmed the efficacy of hypnotherapy as official policy. They claimed: “For the past hundred years there has been an abundance of evidence that psychological and physiological changes could be produced by hypnotism which were worth study on their own account, and also that such changes might be of great service in the treatment of patients.”
In 2001, the British Psychological Society reported that: “Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.”
In addition, the members of our own graduate community report incredible benefits for their clients and themselves. We captured 23 of their stories in an ebook, which you can read here for free.
How does hypnotherapy work?
When therapists treat their patients with traditional methods, they spend much of their time simply trying to get past mental blockages to understand the subconscious reasons for their patients’ issues. However, hypnotherapy uses the hypnotic trance as a method for accessing the subconscious. Accessing the subconscious allows therapists to better understand the core reasons that someone’s issues may be manifesting.
Think of a the therapist as an archaeologist. Using traditional talk therapy, therapists must slowly remove the crust with toothbrushes, finally reaching the skeletons below after much painstaking work. Hypnotherapy allows you to tunnel directly down to the subconscious.
For a more in-depth explanation read our article on how hypnotherapy works.
What are the benefits of hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy has repeatedly and consistently helped patients with anxiety, depression, PTSD, obesity, addictions, or countless other issues heal faster. When combined with methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), valuable healing work can begin as quickly as one or two sessions.
How is hypnotherapy different from traditional methods?
The core difference between hypnotherapy and other methods is depth and speed. Using hypnotherapy techniques like relaxation, guided imagery, and the trance state, therapists are able to access the subconscious more quickly than traditional methods. Traditional methods may take weeks, months, or years to uncover the subconscious reasons behind issues that are manifesting in clients. With hypnotherapy, these reasons can be found in as little as one session.
Read our article for more examples of the speed and depth of hypnotherapy.
Does a hypnotized person lose control?
No. Hypnosis is nothing but a state of relaxed deep focus. A hypnotized person always has control and can always hear what's going on. It is a natural state that you enter at least twice a day (while waking up and while falling asleep!) and probably much more often than that.
While undergoing hypnotherapy, clients have the ability to communicate with their therapist and express any requests they may have. Experienced hypnotherapists are constantly verifying the comfort level of those in the trance.
What can be treated with hypnotherapy?
The exciting thing about hypnotherapy is that it has and can be used to treat a wide variety of human illnesses, diseases, addictions, diagnoses, and complaints. We can think of more than 50 issues off the top of our heads, ranging from depression and PTSD to migraines and smoking. We have written extensively about the issues that can be treated with hypnotherapy. Read all of our articles that discuss how hypnotherapy helps treat specific issues.
Here are some articles about how hypnotherapy can treat:
- Performance anxiety
- Weight problems
- Anxiety and stress
Why does hypnotherapy work so well?
The subconscious mind is where we store everything that has ever happened in our lives. Therefore, it is much more efficient to do therapy while in the subconscious state, using hypnotherapy to access these moments in our lives that have impacted us. This results in greater awareness around one’s issues. With this awareness comes the ability to recognize the cause of behaviours that one desires to change.
Have any major psychologists contributed to the field of hypnotherapy?
Our particular modality of hypnotherapy, Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, is built on the findings of psychotherapists over the last century. Their findings form the core of our approach to hypnotherapy.
Below are the list of primary psychoanalysts and what we have incorporated into our program:
- The psychosocial stages of ego development (Erikson, Mahler, Vaillant).
- The psychobiology of state-dependent “body memories” (Rossi, Cheek, Lowen).
- The development of ego states (Hartmann, Assigioli, Berne, Kohut, Watkins).
- The incorporation of Gestalt techniques (Fritz Perls).
- The intrapsychic interaction of complexes, shadow and persona (Jung).
- The influences of pre- and perinatal imprinted trauma (Grof, Janov, Emerson).
- The imperative for “ego strengthening” and “ego surrender” (Fromm, Welwood).
- The neuropsychology of trauma and PTSD (Schore, van der Kolk, Porges).
- The transpersonal realms of experience (Jung, Maslow, Assigioli, Grof, Goleman).
- The wisdom of the body (Levine, van der Kolk, Rothschild).
Is hypnotherapy covered by insurance?
Most insurance companies will cover 50 to 80 percent of the cost of individual therapy if treated by licensed professionals. Additionally, Medicare covers hypnotherapy in many cases. In other cases, professional therapists will incorporate hypnotherapy techniques into their more traditional techniques (such as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy), which makes it easier to get insurance coverage.