What is clinical hypnosis (hypnotherapy) - Coaching & Hypnosis Sanctuary

What is clinical hypnosis (hypnotherapy)

Apr 4, 2023 | Hypnotherapy

When talking about clinical hypnosis, some people use the term ‘hypnotherapy’. The name e ‘hypnotherapy’ is misleading though – hypnosis is not really a therapy in its own right. Hypnosis is better thought of as a ‘tool’ – it is a way of using hypnosis to achieve certain goals. In the same way that a mechanic will have an understanding of engineering, good hypnotherapists will have had training in models of human emotion and behaviour. If you want to have therapy involving hypnosis you should make sure that your therapist has had training in at least one model therapy such as CBT or psychodynamic psychotherapy before they completed additional training in hypnotherapy.

Quite often hypnosis is practised by psychologists, medical doctors, and dentists.

There are many different models of therapy. It is useful to ask what models your therapist has training in.


What happens in a hypnotherapy session?

This very much depends on the therapist; the patient and the problem being worked on. It would be normal for the therapist to guide the patient into a state of hypnosis with ‘hypnotic induction’.

This may involve any of the following: instructions for relaxation, pleasant imagery, counting down or suggestions for relaxation and deepening. Once hypnotised there are many options, which may differ considerably depending upon the therapeutic orientation of the therapist.


Direct suggestion to alter a sensation.

In some cases, a therapist might give a suggestion (e.g., ‘as you focus on being in that pleasant place you can allow the intensity of that sensation (sensation/pain/nausea) to reduce).


Revisiting the origins of a problem.

Hypnotic techniques can be used to explore the origins of a problem. According to some psychological models cause of current distress can be unresolved emotion related to past events – but to which the client may have forgotten. One common way of uncovering the original event this is to use an ‘affect bridge’ technique. In this technique the client identifies a time in the present when they felt a certain emotion (e.g., shame) and might be invited to ‘allow your mind to find another significant event from your past when you felt the same way’.


Will I remember what happens in a hypnotherapy session?

In the same way that hypnosis on its own doesn’t affect memory, hypnotherapy will not affect memory either. Memory is typically affected if a suggestion is given for forgetting (e.g., if hypnotist gives a suggestion such as ‘you will not remember anything from this session when you wake up’)