Hypnotherapy: does it really 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 characterised by waking awareness, allowing patients to experience detached exterior 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. Researchers have looked into how hypnosis can be utilised, what illnesses it can treat, and how effective it is in comparison to other therapies.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis is usually considered an aid to psychotherapy (counselling or therapy), because the hypnotic state allows people to explore painful thoughts, feelings, and memories they might have hidden from their conscious minds. In addition, hypnosis enables people to perceive some things differently, such as blocking an awareness of pain.

Hypnosis can be used in two ways, as suggestion therapy or for patient analysis.

  • Suggestion therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviours, such as stopping smoking or nail biting. It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.
  • Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in their unconscious memory. Once the trauma is revealed, it can be addressed in psychotherapy.

What is Hypnotherapy Used For?

Hypnotherapy is used to treat a wide range of conditions, issues, and unwanted/unhealthy behaviours, such as:

  • Phobias
  • Addiction
  • Relationship/Family/Work Conflicts
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Cessation of Smoking
  • Grief and loss of a loved one
  • Weight Loss

What Are the Benefits of Hypnosis?

The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions.

The person most likely to benefit is the person who’s highly motivated to overcome an issue. Like any other treatment, hypnosis may be helpful for certain conditions or in certain people, but it can also be unhelpful.

Is hypnosis effective? 

Despite its long history of use, hypnotherapy still has its detractors in the medical field. It is, nevertheless, becoming a more widely regarded and recognized kind of treatment. The number of recognized and certified medical practitioners that use hypnotherapy in their practice is growing. 

The scientific evidence for hypnotherapy’s advantages is still limited, although it is growing. Some research have “promising” outcomes or “may be useful in” drawing conclusions. The most compelling evidence for using hypnosis to treat pain, IBS, and PTSD symptoms comes from studies on the subject. More research is needed, according to most medical groups and organisations, to draw valid conclusions about the usefulness of hypnotherapy.

Is hypnosis a risky treatment? 

When performed by a qualified therapist, hypnotherapy is a safe practice. Hypnosis is not the same as mind control or brainwashing. Your therapist can’t force you to do something you don’t want to do because it’s embarrassing.

What Are the Negative Effects of Hypnosis? 

Hypnosis may not be suitable for someone who is experiencing psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, or who is abusing drugs or alcohol. It should only be taken for pain relief after a doctor has examined the patient for any physical problems that may necessitate medical or surgical intervention. Hypnosis may also be less effective than other more standard therapies for psychiatric problems, such as medicine. 

Some therapists employ hypnosis to help people recall repressed memories they believe are linked to their mental illness. The quality and consistency of information recalled by a patient under hypnosis, on the other hand, is not always consistent. Furthermore, hypnosis carries the possibility of inducing false memories — which is rare.

For these reasons, hypnosis is no longer considered a common or mainstream part of most forms of psychotherapy. Also, the use of hypnosis for certain mental disorders in which patients may be highly susceptible to suggestion, such as dissociative disorders, remains especially controversial.

What to Look for in a Hypnotherapist

Look for a hypnotherapist who is a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. To be a member of either of these organisations, a hypnotherapist must have a doctorate level degree in medicine, dentistry, or psychology, or a master’s degree in nursing, social work, psychology, or marital/family therapy plus a specific number of hours of approved training in hypnotherapy. In some cases, accredited, doctoral-level practitioners of alternative health care, such as traditional Chinese medicine, may also be approved for membership. Of course, in addition to looking at qualifications, you should also find a hypnotherapist with whom you feel confident and comfortable in a therapeutic relationship.



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4 responses to “Hypnotherapy: does it really work?”

  1. While I’ve been certified in hypnosis for a while, I consider myself a “behavioral hypnotist.” The reason I like sharing this information is because in the United States, due to there not being an actual degree earned in hypnosis, only certification is offered. But, someone who has studied hypnosis can legally be referenced as a hypnotherapist. What does this mean in layman terms?

    What this means is that a “hypnotherapist” may not have the therapeutic or counseling degree one may consider them having because of the title being used. So if you’re not participating in hypnosis for a result that is just for entertainment, please pay a little more and make sure your hypnotherapist has at least an MD, if not a PhD, before entrusting them with your memories, your treatment, your future, and your life. It’s worth the extra money.

    What makes me so knowledgeable about what I’m sharing? I’m glad you’ve asked. As I’ve stated, I have the hypnosis training. What I am scheduled to start in September is my master’s in clinical and behavioral psychology for the purpose of working with military PTSD personnel.

    In consideration of the extreme wrong that may happen to the lives of these brave warriors, I shudder to think what could be happening to these who trust “hypnotherapists” without any medical training in the psyche.

    So, again, if you do employ a hypnotherapist, please be certain to verify credentials of the education attached to their profession.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas and experiences.
      I appreciate all professional hypnotherapists, whether they have credentials or not. I’m not sure how other people refer to them, but I would call them “dream catchers”, personally. They helped us in discovering or exploring what was hidden in our dreams or thoughts. But having clinical or psychological background would be a plus.

      I want to congratulate you for pursuing your master’s degree in clinical and behavioral hypnotherapy, especially for PTSD victims. I’ve dealt with political prisoners who had PTSD in the past. Dealing with military warriors would be a great experience for you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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