What is Hypnotherapy

Let’s start with what hypnosis IS NOT…

Hypnosis is NOT mind control.

Hypnosis is NOT sleep in the general sense of sleep, but is rather a heightened sense of awareness.

So what is Hypnotherapy? 

Hypnotherapy is the combination of hypnosis with therapeutic treatment – a technique within which the subconscious mind that is utilised to achieve a therapeutic end.

A trance quietens the activity of the conscious mind (which is the critical, judgemental mind) thereby allowing the subconscious mind to open up and receive suggestions which positively influences the mind more easily. A typical approach of hypnotherapy is for the hypnotist to deliver verbal suggestions while the subject is in the state of trance. This differs from positive affirmations and talk therapy, which do not necessarily use trance to quieten the mind and reduce the critical faculty.

What happens in our everyday life is that the subconscious mind takes direction and suggestion from the conscious mind only but under hypnosis, since the conscious mind is thus quietened or “asleep”, the subconscious mind then assumes that a suggestion or directive it receives has been processed and accepted by the conscious mind so it may then be acted upon. It’s a fact that any suggestion which is accepted by the subconscious mind must eventually manifest itself in some form of action. Ultimately, the core of suggestive hypnotherapy is to get the subconscious mind to accept the therapist’s suggestions without the conscious mind rejecting it.

In the case of suggestion therapy, the treatment can be augmented by repetition. Many hypnotherapists like to prepare audio versions that a client can use in the comfort of their own homes.


As a hypnotherapist, it’s important to find the cause of the symptom, which builds up,  similar to the steam in a pot – and this is known as a repressed memory. A presenting problem may be caused by a repressed memory from childhood trauma etc. This internal stress, or repression could manifest itself as an excessive consumption of cigarettes or a fear of heights, or a bad stutter, or even asthma attacks, etc. Normally when a repressed memory is released the external symptom will disappear.   

The technique used to uncover repressed memories is called hypnoanalysis. In hypnoanalysis the therapist induces the client into a trance or hypnotic state and then encourages the client to describe what they are thinking.  The first session proceeds along the lines of free association and is often referred to as “shaking the tree”. In the case were the subject displays the manifestations of free-floating anxiety then, in the hypnotic state, the cause of that anxiety or repressed memory, is not far from thought. 

By getting the client to describe his thoughts and mental images the repressed memory will, after several sessions, be brought to the surface and released with the appropriate abreaction. This is the classic technique of psychoanalysis. When this happens, the client is freed of the repression, understands their situation, and should no longer exhibit the anxiety symptoms.

Hypnotherapy is considered to be a short-term approach where beneficial change, if it is to occur, becomes apparent within a few sessions.  In actual practice, most Hypnotherapists usually combine hypnotic procedures with other appropriate counselling and therapeutic techniques.

How do you know if you were hypnotised?

Statistics suggest that 90% of clients undergoing hypnosis for the first time deny they were ever hypnotised. The reason they give for their denial is that they were completely aware of everything that was said and done during the therapy session. This is true due to the fact that when under hypnosis, a person is not actually “asleep” but acutely aware. Yet on a subconscious level, change does occur.

Here’s a short list of some of the conditions clinical hypnotherapy can treat:

  • Anxiety & stress
  • Fears & Phobias
  • Substance abuse (including tobacco, alcohol, sexual dysfunction, undesirable spontaneous behaviours, and bad habits such as nail biting etc.)
  • Insomnia
  • Learning disorders
  • Communication & relationship issues
  • Pain management
  • It can help resolve medical conditions such as digestive disorders, skin issues, and gastrointestinal side effects of pregnancy and chemotherapy
  • It can help patients going to the dentist to control their fears or to treat teeth grinding and other oral conditions