Definition Of Hypnotherapy: How It Works, What It Is For And Techniques

The hypnotherapy is a type of complementary and alternative medicine in which the mind is used to help with a variety of problems, such as breaking bad habits or face stress . It is a form of psychotherapy that is used to create changes in a patient while they are in a state of sleep or unconsciousness, known as hypnosis. The therapy uses guided relaxation techniques from a trained hypnotist who invokes feelings of intense relaxation, focus, and / or concentration to achieve a heightened state of consciousness.

Therapy is commonly used as an aid to psychotherapy due to the relaxed nature brought on by the hypnotic state that allows people to explore painful and repressed feelings and emotions or memories that are often hidden from their conscious minds. This shift in consciousness can often lead patients to experience things differently outside of hypnosis, such as criticism at work or home, stage fright, or even pain.

How does hypnotherapy work?

Hypnotherapy is a tool or procedure that helps facilitate various types of medical or psychological therapies and treatments. Only healthcare providers trained and certified in clinical hypnosis can decide, together with their patient, whether hypnosis should be used in conjunction with other treatments. As with psychotherapy, the duration of hypnosis treatment varies, depending on the complexity of the problem.

The most powerful feature of the trance state is how it connects our conscious minds with our subconscious minds which are like our hard drive, where we store every experience, emotion and thought that we have ever had.

It can be used in two ways, as a suggestion or for patient analysis.

Suggestion therapy

The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. Therefore, hypnotherapy can help control or stop unwanted behaviors such as quitting smoking or nail biting, also change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain or increasing the instance of positive behavior, like self-motivation or confidence.

It is commonly beneficial to hypnotherapists in discovering the psychological root of a problem or symptom, such as social phobia , depression, or past trauma .


This approach, sometimes called regression therapy, is more exploratory and is related to discovering the root cause of a problem, disorder, or symptom.

A hypnotherapist will hypnotize a patient by placing them in a relaxed state and exploring a past event in their life to explore the person’s unconscious and subconscious memory . This method of hypnosis is not intended to directly cure or change a patient’s behavior, it is intended to locate a cause and treat it through psychotherapy.

What is hypnotherapy for?

Although hypnotherapy may seem strange, it is considered potentially effective in treating a variety of ailments, particularly phobias , addictions, and problem habits. Hypnosis can also be used to help patients cope with stress, quit smoking, and chronic pain, and some women even choose to use it to manage labor pain. In patients with trauma-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress , therapists may attempt to talk to clients about their traumatic memories under hypnosis.

Additionally, hypnosis is often used in a way that allows for deep self-exploration and the discovery of unconscious intentions, motivations, or events and experiences that result in undesirable symptoms for a person. It avoids conscious thought processes, allowing a person to gain a better understanding of a particular problem. People achieve different results as they do with other forms of therapy. However, it appears that some people are more receptive to this form of treatment than others and achieve greater benefits.

Why hire a hypnotherapist?

The science behind hypnotherapy has just begun to catch up with reports of its beneficial nature. The scientific community is beginning to talk about the potential benefits of hypnosis and what it could do for patients seeking a new treatment option, hypnosis could be a valuable weapon in combating a multitude of psychological, physical or behavioral problems.

Although considered by some to be unscientific, it is a legitimate and regulated form of therapy that can explore and use a person’s subconscious to better help them through psychotherapy, and it also acts as a method of therapy that helps alleviate a person from the symptoms and problems with which they are afflicted. It has been shown to be extremely effective in cases with patients suffering from pain and addiction.

What are the techniques used in hypnotherapy?

The first step in hypnosis, a hypnotic induction is the process a hypnotist uses to put the client into a state where they are more open to suggestion (known as a trance). There are many types of inductions.

Relaxation technique

Why do therapists ask to “get comfortable” and provide a comfortable couch to lie down on? It is more than a common courtesy. Relaxation is a common method used by therapists and hypnosis technique for beginners, if the client is relaxed, may fall into a trance, and the mind is open to suggestion, they are more likely to talk to you and be open to indirect suggestions. . Here are some common relaxation methods:

  • Controlled breathing
  • Tense the muscles.
  • Speak in a soft tone.

Handshake Technique

The father of hypnotherapy, he is famous for using this technique as a way to induce hypnotic trance. Handshakes are the most common form of greetings in our society but instead of shaking hands normally, the hypnotist would interrupt the pattern that our mind has established by grasping the wrist or pulling the subject forward and unbalancing, with the pattern interrupted, the subconscious mind is suddenly open to suggestion.

Eye signals

There are two spheres of the brain, the right handles the more “creative” side and the conscious side, and the left the “practical” and the subconscious. In any conversation we look for comments from the listener to see how they react to our statements, look at the eyes of the subject, are they looking to the right, accessing the conscious or to the left towards the subconscious? Are they obsessed with an object in the room? If they are accessing the subconscious, you can make a suggestion that they are not aware of.

Arm ‘levitation’ technique

With this classic Ericksonian technique, the client begins by closing their eyes, they are asked to notice the difference in feelings between their arms, the hypnotherapist makes suggestions about the sensations in each arm. For example, they might say that the arm feels heavy or light, hot or cold, in this way they go into a trance and can physically lift their arm, or they simply believe in their mind that they have raised the arm. Either way, the induction was successful.

Trance object

Have you ever found yourself staring at an interesting item or object in the room while someone is talking and you completely miss what they said? You may have been in a trance.

Any object of focus can be used to induce the trance. The most famous examples are the “power pendulum” or a “swinging pocket watch.”

Mental rehearsal

We can use the visualization process for another purpose: to mentally rehearse something. Once again, the mind will respond as if you were rehearsing, and so you could, for example, imagine playing golf, thus improving your actual performance.


Our mind sometimes learns to have unjustified feelings. The phobias are an excellent example: the brain creates a link between an object (a spider, for example) and fear. However, hypnotherapy can help the mind break this connection through a process called desensitization, often this involves imagining the object when it is calm and allowing the mind to gradually undo that destructive learning .

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.