Browsing: Self Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy – Technique or Profession?

This article is derived from what seems to be the age old question as to whether hypnotherapy is technique or profession . This contravention affects the acceptance of hypnotherapy conducted by those without a formal qualification in another discipline, be it medicine, psychology, counseling or psychotherapy.

The hypothesis to be investigated was whether hypnotherapy has a theoretical basis along similar lines to counseling and psychotherapy models in that listening skills and the therapeutic alliance are utilized, either implicitly or explicitly.

One difficulty in arguing that hypnotherapy is a profession is the lack of common standards of training . Another difficulty is the lack of clinical training that generally comes with medical or psychological training. A way to augment this might be the incorporation of counseling skills in the clinical practice of hypnotherapy. This could be accomplished in either formal qualification or informal experience. This study looked at how much these factors already exist, and involved investigation, using questionnaire and interview, of three different therapy groups; qualified counsel / psychotherapist who use hypnosis as an adjunct, counselors / psychotherapists who use hypnosis as their prime therapy, and therapists with only hypnotherapy training.

Historically, hypnotherapy as a discipline has been hard to define as it has been claimed to be part of the medical, psychological, and complementary therapy fields. Parts of its practice fit in to each of these fields, but it does not fit entirely into any one of them.

Since 1954, the British Medical Association has recognized hypnosis as a valuable therapeutic modality, but many noted psychologists and psychiatrists have taken the position of hypnotherapy being solely a technique. (Waxman, 1989). Many also took the view that only physicians, psychologists and dentists should be allowed to practice hypnosis in any form (Erickson & Rossi, 1980).

In recent years, however, this view has begun to be questioned. In the United States, the Department of Labor granted an occupational design of hypnotherapist (Boyne 1989). In the United Kingdom, with the advent of the popularity of complementary therapies, hypnotherapy is recognized as one of the four discrete disciplines that have been studied to determine clinical efficiency (Mills & Budd, 2000).

The clinical application of hypnosis, hypnotherapy, is a directed process used in order to effect some form of behavioral change in a client. This change is achieved by first eliciting information from the client, and then devising a way of reflecting it back to the client in a way that the client will both understand and act upon (Hogan, 2000).

Vontress (1988) gives us this definition of counseling:
Counseling is a psychological interaction involving two or more individuals. One or more of the interactants is considered able to help the other person (s) live and function more effectively at the time of the involvement or in the future. Specifically, the goal of counseling is to assist the respondents directly or indirectly in adjusting to or otherwise negotiating environments that influence their own or someone else's psychological well-being. (Vontress 1988 pg7)

There seems to be little difference in the definitions given by Hogan and Vontress. The obvious difference being that hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a vehicle for behavioral change. If this is the case, the primary difference between counseling and hypnotherapy is the use that is made of trance states. That is to say that hypnosis is the vehicle for the counseling dynamic.
The Vontress definition does not analyze how the changes take place. The knowledge of most of the main counseling models would suggest that the use of skills, primatically creating the core conditions, or the therapeutic alliance, and active listening, are the basis of the process of change. If this is taken as a given, it can then be asked whether these conditions exist in the hypnotherapeutic relationship and affect the outcome of therapy. This raises the question of the level of understanding of this process among those practicing hypnotherapy.

For this study, a thorough review of literature relating to the theoretic basis of hypnotherapy was undertaken, but few references could be found which either confirm or deny the hypothesis that hypnotherapists utilize the therapeutic alliance and listening skills, or that their awareness, or not, of the therapeutic process was relevant to their work as therapists.
Many standard works on hypnotherapy refer to the need for rapport, but often do not define this, or give details of how it can be obtained. Many use the term hypnosis and almost ignore the “therapy” part, and simply list tools or scripts, without explaining the reasons why these are considered to “work”.

The first part of the study was a self-reporting questionnaire, sent to 300 hypnotherapists, 82 of which responded. This quantitative data wave information as to the qualifications of the respondents, their self-reported knowledge and use of counseling skills and the therapeutic alliance, and their primary mode of therapy.

Counseling skills seem to play a significant part in the professional practice of hypnotherapy. For the majority of those questioned, 85.4%, counseling skills play a role in their hypnotherapeutic practice. There was divergence in the responses of those who do not use counseling skills in their practices. In reply to the question as to what makes their work therapeutic most stated that hypnosis gives direct access to the unconscious mind and therefore can facilitate change, and so counseling is not necessary in this process. Some cite evidence of hypnosis being therapeutic back to Milton Erickson and as his work was the therapeutic so was their. Erickson stated that much of hypnosis is based on the development and maintenance of rapport (Erickson & Rossi 1980). Most counseling training emphasizes the importance of rapport and considers rapport building (or the creation of the core conditions) to be a counseling skill. It can be there assumed that although these practitioners use counseling skills, they are either unaware of this or unwilling to acknowledge it.

Despite being qualified in other areas, the questionnaire uncovers an interesting finding concerning how therapists identify themselves. If we take the 25 respondents who do not claim to have any other formal therapeutic qualifications away from these figures, this shows that 42 who hold other qualifications identify themselves as being primarily a hypnotherapist. This is interesting from a labeling position, as hypnotherapy has not always enjoyed favailability publicity and with many leading figures who claim that hypnotherapy was not a therapy but a series of techniques, still a major of those questioned identify themselves as hypnotherapists. These answers were used to formulate interview questions that were then put to a subset of the previous responses. This subset included a male and a female therapist from each of the three groups: qualified counselors / psychotherapist who use hypnosis as an adjunct, counsellors / psychotherapists who use hypnosis as their prime therapy, and therapists with only hypnotherapy training. The interview comprised 12 open questions designed to elicit information as to whether and how the therapist used counseling skills and their depth of understanding of the therapeutic alliance. Their answers were judged by a panel of five senior practitioners and the author, all of which held advanced degrees in counseling or psychotherapy.

The data appears to indicate that although the understanding of what hypnosis is remains fairly consistent through the three target groups, the depth of knowledge seems greater in the qualified counselor / psychotherapist categories as opposed to those who have only a training in hypnotherapy as their qualification. Additionally, the data indicates that the qualified counselors / psychotherapists have a greater understanding of the therapeutic process and how and because their form of treatment is successful compared to those with only training in hypnotherapy.

This study also finds that counseling skills appear to be used, at least to some extent, within the practice of hypnotherapy whatever the practitioner realizes this or not and so the importance of counseling skills within the context of the therapeutic process can not be ignored.
It would be logical to infer that if these skills are being used, then those that understand them- ie those with the qualifications in these areas, will use them more effectively. It was beyond the scope of this study to look at the efficiency of the practice of the different types of therapist.

This conclusion has various implications for individual therapists and the field as a whole. Therapists engaged in the professional practice of hypnotherapy may need to give quantitative data information as to the qualifications of the respondents, their self-reported knowledge and use of counseling skills and the therapeutic alliance, and their primary mode of therapy. These answers were used to formulate interview questions that were then put to a subset of the previous responses. The whole field may be affected in that professional societies may need to consider re-evaluating membership criteria, and these factors need to be taken into consideration during any process of statutory or voluntary regulation.

As discussed earlier in this paper, the reason for conducting the research was an interest in the question whether hypnotherapy is a profession or a technique. The results of the study would support the idea that hypnotherapy is a profession in its own right, not just a technique, and has a basis consistent with the basis of counseling. The findings of this report directly contradict Waxman's assertion, that the majority of non-medically / psychologically qualified hypnotherapists hold no formal therapeutic qualifications (Waxman 1989). It can be inferred by the numbers of hypnotherapists who use counseling skills, that counseling skills are a major component to the practice of hypnotherapy. This implies that practitioners have either engaged in independent study or studied for formal qualifications in counseling or psychotherapy, which again goes some way to validate the importance of counseling skills in the practice of hypnotherapy. Further, as shown in this paper, there are practitioners who are credentialed in other mental health fields who identify themselves as hypnotherapists as opposed to counselors or psychotherapists. The implications of this may be that as far as public is concerned the title hypnotherapist is easier to recognize than the plethora of counseling and psychotherapy titles currently in use. Alternately, these practitioners may not be interested in the biases of leading practitioners and prefer to determine their own identity.

It is held that these conclusions will help to form a more general consensus as to what hypnotherapy is and to lead to an eventual unification of standards in hypnotherapy. This information could have been useful to the future training of hypnotherapists as far as exploring different models of therapy and the need for accountability in the therapeutic relationship. Those who were qualified in either psychotherapy or counseling also seemed to have a better theoretic understanding of therapy as a concept and how hypnotherapy fits into the hierarchy of therapies.

Any readers who have been involved in similar studies of have relevant data would be welcome to make contact.


Boyne, G (1989) Transforming Therapy Glendale, Westwood

Erickson, M & Rossi, E (1980) The Collected Paper of Milton H Erickson Vol 1 New York, Irvington

Hogan, K (2000) Hypnotherapy Handbook Eagan, Network 3000

Mills, S & Budd, J (2000) “University of Exeter Professional Organization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the UK 2000: A report to the Department of Health” Exeter, Center for Complementary Health Studies

Vontress, C (1988) Social Class Influences on Counseling Denver, Love

Waxman, D (Ed) (1989) Hartland's Medical and Dental Hypnosis 3rd Edition London, Bailliere Tindall

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Is Hypnotherapy Real?

Hypnotherapy is not a new form of therapy – it has been around for years. The technique of hypnosis is usually attributed to Franz Anton Mesmer who, in the nineteenth century, experimented with what he called animal magnetism. He describes a state which today we call a hypnotic state. This is commonly known as a trance or a state of altered consciousness in which the conscious mind is more or less bypassed and the therapist addresses the subconscious mind directly. The subject is not really sleep in hypnosis as most people think. A trance is more or less like an intense state of relaxation and awareness. A trance is not difficult to induce. A therapist may have the subject stare at a spot on a wall or wave a pendulum or stopwatch back and forth in front of him and have him concentrate on it while talking to him in a monotone.

The therapist will be saying things like “you are getting sleepier and sleepier, you are more and more relaxed, you can feel the tension draining from your body,” etc. as the subject goes into a trance. Once the subject is in the trance, the therapist will delivery the suggestions in the same monotone voice. The suggestions are designed to modify certain kinds of behavior the subject exhibits in the waking state, like smoking, diet, anxiety, etc. When the therapist finishes giving the suggestion he brings the subject out of the trance by telling him, in the same monotonic voice, that he is becoming aware of noises in the surroundings, he will “wake up” feeling relaxed and refreshed and then will tell him to open his eyes when he is ready.

The therapist will also usually tell the subject beforehand that he will remember everything that happens when he is “under” and will spend time talking to the subject to discuss any anxieties or fears he has about hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy done in this fashion with a therapist directing the session is referred to as hetero-suggestion. Auto-suggestion is known as self-hypnosis.

The effects of hypnotherapy are not immediate. The intention is to alter some undesirable aspect of behavior and this usually does not happen in one session. Hypnotherapy sessions must be reinforced. The patient will usually have to schedule four or five or more sessions depending on the problem. It is best to find a therapist that you can trust and to follow his instructions.

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What Is Hypnotherapy? – Information On How Hypnotherapy Can Help You

Hypnotherapy is a powerful and effective method of solving a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional problems. To understand fully how it can benefit you, we'll look at:

  • What hypnotherapy is
  • When you'd want to use it
  • Why you'd want to use it
  • How it works
  • Who to use it with

so that by the end of this article you'll know all you need to use hypnotherapy effectively in your life.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a process in which a hypnotherapist helps a client to solve problems using hypnosis. These problems could be emotional – such as the fear of heights, behavioral – such as smoking or overeating, or physical – such as chronic pain or tension.

A hypnotherapist is a person trained in hypnotherapy. The requirements to qualify as a hypnotherapist vary widely depending on where you live. You can find out more about the rules governing hypnotherapists where you live from the organizations listed at the end of this article.

The job of the hypnotherapist is to help the client solve a specific problem by hypnotizing them. This may happen just once, or the hypnotherapist and client may work together several times over a longer period. This process will give the client more control of their thoughts and feelings. As a result it will help them to change their behavior and solve the problem.

Hypnosis is a natural process by which a hypnotherapist can place a client in a particular state of consciousness called trance. In this state, the client is more open to suggestion and can more easily change how they think, feel and behave. Trance is generally experienced as a pleasant, relaxed state much like the moments directly before sleep.

Hypnotherapy is separate from stage hypnosis. Stage hypnosis uses hypnosis for entertainment. The stage hypnotist creates a show in which the power of hypnosis is used to encourage the participants to have in bizarre, amazing and entertaining ways.

Since one of the cornerstones of therapy is trust between the client and hypnotherapist, a reputable hypnotherapist will only engage the client in activities which are comfortable, appropriate and helpful.

When is hypnotherapy useful?

Hypnotherapy is useful when you have a specific personal problem you want to solve. The sort of problems that hypnotherapy can be applied to include:

Physical problems

Hypnotherapy can help with chronic pain and muscular tension. It is effective both for relaxing the body and altering the way the brain perceives pain to reduce it's intensity.

Emotional problems

These can include fear and anxiety; eg phobias, panic attacks, exam nerves etc., grief, anger, guilt, shame, low self-esteem and many more.

Behavioral problems

These can include smoking, overeating, drinking too much and various other kinds of addictive behavior. It is also possible to help with insomnia and disturbed sleep.

In general, hypnotherapy provides a useful complement to other kinds of medical care. You should look carefully as to whether your hypnotherapist is medically qualified and only take medical advice from qualified professionals.

Almost anyone with normal brain functions and no serious mental illnesses can be safely hypnotised. However, your chances of being hypnotised will vary depending on the hypnotherapist you work with. An experienced, professional hypnotherapist with what you feel secure and supported is most likely to succeed.

Why would I want to use hypnotherapy?

First of all, hypnotherapy is quick and effective. It often helps people to make changes in their lives that they had previously been unable to accomplish, such as stopping smoking or flying in an aeroplane.

Second, hypnotherapy can work where other things may have failed. Although there are a wide range of drugs and therapies that can help, none of them is effective in every case. Since hypnotherapy is different to any of these treatments, it is worth considering when other have failed.

Third, hypnotherapy is safe and there are no physical side effects. In the hands of an experienced, compassionate and ethical hypnotherapist, hypnotherapy is a very safe form of treatment with few or no risks.

How does hypnotherapy work?

Hypnotherapy works through the use of hypnosis. This is the process by which the hypnotherapist helps the client attain a particular state of consciousness called trance.

All of us experience altered states of consciousness such as sleeping or daydreaming every day. The trance state is different in that it has special properties. In an ordinary state, people are limited in their ability to respond to suggestions. They may find it hard to control their thoughts, feelings and behavior. In particular, it is difficult for them to control their unconscious mind – that part of the mind that controls automatic activity such as emotions and habits.

For example, when you got dressed today, you did not have to think about how to do it. You simply performed the task on a kind of autopilot using your unconscious mind. Sometimes that autopilot is very helpful, as when it drives you safely along the road. Sometimes it is unhelpful, as when you experience thoughts, feelings or behaviors you do not like but can not seem to stop.

In trance, a client's unconscious mind is open to the influence of the hypnotherapist and can thus be reprogrammed in the way the client desires. Naturally, this makes solving problems easy and rapid.

Who should I use hypnotherapy with?

The best approach is to contact an official organization in the country in which you live.

In the United Kingdom, you can use the General Hypnotherapy Register ( )

In the USA, you can use the National Guild of Hypnotists (

These organizations can put you in touch with their members in your area. You will also find others in the phonebook and on the Internet. In these cases, check with the hypnotherapist concerned regarding their qualifications and membership of professional bodies.

Once you have some contact details, approach each hypnotherapist on the list. Many will offer some kind of free initial consultation. Firstly, use your judgment to decide if the hypnotherapist is right for you. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you think they are the sort of person you would want to trust in helping you with personal problems?

Then, ask if they can supply any testiomonials and yet they have worked with your sort of problem before. Apply all the rigor and careful thought you would use if hiring a lawyer, doctor or any other sort of professional.

In Summary

Hypnotherapy is a very useful process for solving physical, emotional and behavioral problems. It is a safe, effective and often rapid method of improving your life. In the hands of a competent and ethical hypnotherapist, and alongside any necessary professional medical care, it can provide great benefits. For further information, contact the organizations listed above or visit the author's website.

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Introduction to Medical Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis has come a long way from being the strange and mysterious “mesmeric” phenomenon to a scientifically accepted therapeutic tool. Most people have a severe impression about hypnosis from the stage shows and cartoon strips like Mandrake the magician. Consequently, medical science had also been suspicious and wary of its effects for a long time.

Recent changes in health care have brought out an increased demand for empirically supported treatment options in medicine. There is a demand for the integration of hypnotic techniques in the treatment of a number of medical problems from various quarters. It is because important for physicians to learn the basics of medical hypnotherapy and add it into their therapeutic armamentarium. Although time consuming, used judiciously, it can reap rich benefits for the physician and patient alike.

The most important recent development in medical hypnosis is our realization that the power of hypnosis actually resides in the patient and not in the doctor!

The above simple statement has profound implications because it exemplifies existence of useful potential within each patient that can be put into positive use in the management of psychosomatic illnesses. The goal of modern medical hypnosis that is to help patients use this untapped subconscious potential to its full extend. This will indeed bring in a fresh and somewhat revolutionary shift from the physician focused, authoritarian methods of the past and the present.

Although the British Medical Association had recognized the importance of hypnosis as early as in 1891, it was not until 1955 that the BMA suggested teaching of the therapeutic use of hypnosis in medicine. Three years later, the American Medical Association followed suit.

An International Society of Hypnosis has been set up to coordinate and assess the standards and practices of professional hypnotism across the world. Hypnosis is currently indicated in several areas of health care as an adjunct to more conventional treatments. These include dentistry, general medicine, and psychology. Dermatology, or the study of skin diseases, is a branch that has specifically taken up and studied the effects of hypnosis in a number of skin conditions like warts, eczema and psoriasis.

The purpose of medical hypnosis is to reduce suffering, to promote healing, or to help the person alter a destructive behavior that may be affecting his / her health adversely.

The aim of this series of articles is to help the modern medical practitioners understand hypnosis better and offer it to their patients who may benefit from it as an adjunct to the modern medical therapies. Patients suffering from a variety of illnesses will also benefit in making an informed decision on the therapeutic alternatives available to them.

A few words to doctors: whether you use hypnotism in your practice or not, studying hypnotism will definitely make you a better individual and a much improved healer. Your therapeutic approach will change for the better. You will find your patients more receptive and compliant to your suggestions. It is not very difficult to master the hypnotherapy skills.

This series will discuss, mainly, the following topics:

  1. Introduction to Medical Hypnosis
  2. What is Hypnosis?
  3. Theories of Hypnosis
  4. Hypnosis: Myths and Reality
  5. A Brief History of Medical Hypnosis
  6. How Does Hypnosis Work?
  7. Hypnotic Sleep Vs Normal Sleep
  8. Uses of Hypnosis in Medicine
  9. Major Studies Conductive on Hypnotherapy So Far.
  10. The Eight Steps in Hypnotic Induction.
  11. Repertoire of Induction techniques
  12. Trance Management
  13. Implanting Post Hypnotic Suggestions
  14. Problems in Hypnotherapy
  15. Autohypnosis as tool in Medicine
  16. Guidelines on Practice of Medical Hypnosis for the Doctors
  17. Guidelines on Practice of Medical Hypnosis for the Patients

Next Chapter: What is Hypnosis?

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Boost Self Confidence Through Hypnotherapy

What is self confidence and how do you get it? The compact oxford english dictionary is simple in its definition: “a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment”. A positive sense of self confidence is more than just believing in you. Self confidence means that you have a respect for yourself and your abilities that allows you to take risks in life and put one foot in front of the other daily. You can build your self esteem with hypnotherapy, and by reading self improvement articles and books.

What Exactly Is Self Confidence?

For many, self confidence and self esteem are troublesome adversaries that people feel the need to overcome. Maybe you are one of them. You may wake up everyday convinced that you are going to fail. You may think about your last big test that you did not do as well on as you would have liked. Alternately, you may think of the time you broke the copier at work. Many of us base our current state of worth and ability on how we have performed in the past. The problem is that we focus on what we have done poorly in the past, not what we have done well.

However, a lack of self confidence can do more harm than just draining you of your can-do attitude. With low self asteem, you may find yourself giving in to bad habits. You may have trouble losing weight, and you may build phobias around your life and much more. Thus, changing your level of self confidence will help you in all of the aspects of your life.

What To Do?

So how do you fix it? How do you build your self confidence to a level that makes you wake up everyday ready to tackle the world? There are many ways including counseling, self-help books etc. One newer way is through self confidence boosting hypnotherapy. As the name suggests, hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a therapeutical tool to help you refresh and re-work the attributions you have about yourself. The goal is to rid your mind of the bad, negative thoughts that you have about your abilities, and thoughts that have been constructed from the negative.

What Is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of being for a person. It involves a constrained focus and a state of deep relaxation. The focus occurs with the ideas presented by the hypnotist. The goal is to change the state of consciousness so that the left-hand methodical side of the brain is tamed while the creative right-side is brought forward. The goal is to draw out the subconscious to a place where deep rooted behavior can be changed.

Let a hypnotist help you boost your confidence today!

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Ethical Guidelines For Hypnotherapy

The study of ethics concerns moral choices, generally in the areas of relationships, agreements between parties, intentions, and possible outcomes. In practice this starts as the observation of the moral choices people make and the reasons given for these choices. Ethical thinking is then responsible for producing theories about what is or should be, the basis for moral choice. In the case of a practicing hypno-psychotherapist the main place for ethical consideration concerns questions of what expectations clients can have – basically the laws which govern the therapist, and the rights of the client.

During the following discussion of the ethical guidelines which are key for an ethical hypno-psychotherapeutic practice we must absorb that the laws of the county take precedence. However, it is important that professional bodies take responsibility for their members and provide them with boundaries within which they can legally and safely practice and which ensure the safety, physically and psychologically, of their clients.

Broadly speaking the key ethical guidelines involved in the practice of hypno-psychotherapy can be divided into two areas, one, how the therapist should conduct their practice, and two, how the therapist should have towards the client. This classification holds when considering a variety of professional bodies including the NCHP (the “College”), The International Society of Professional Hypnosis (ISPH), The National Guild of Hypnotists' Code of Ethics and Standards (NGH), and The National Board of Professional and Ethical Standards – Hypnosis Education and Certification (NBPES). We will concentrate on the guidelines outlined by the NCHP primarily, but where other bodies have additional guidelines that will be mentioned, particularly in the second part of the paper.

The NCHP's code of ethics consist of 17 points and two clauses which outline the consequences of breaking the ethical code. The consequences of not keeping to the ethical guidelines are not important for discussing the ethical issue and so will not be considered further.

The spirit of all of this material is contained within the College's statement as follows;

“All therapists are expected to approach their work with the specific aims of alleviating suffering and promoting the well-being of their clients. Therapists should, therefore, endeavor to use those abilities and skills commensurate with their trained competency, to the clients' best advantage, without prejudice and with due recognition of the value and dignity of every human being. “(NCHP, 2001).

Clearly then the intent of the guidelines is primarily to assist the client, however, it is also clear that therapists are being protected by the incentive that they work within their area (s) of competence.

Rather than reproduce verbatim the College's guidelines, using the aforementioned categories (practice / client) an outline of these guidelines will be presented. It should be borne in mind that the boundary between the two categories is not always clear and that this is a distinction of convenience.

The rights of the client are protected in points 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11. They require that therapists only use treatments that they are familiar with, they maintain confidentiality, contact third parties as necessary and with the client's permission, maintain appropriate personal boundaries (in all spheres), and ensure that clients are consulted if they are to be involved in research and if so, their anonymity is maintained. In none of these is there a specific requirement for not causing harm to the client in the process of alleviating suffering.

The NGH specifically state that, “Frightening, shocking, obscene, sexually suggestive, degrading or humiliating suggestions shall never be used with a hypnotized client”, and the ISPH state, “Suggestions shall be avoided, whether given post-hypnotically or otherwise, which are of a deterioration or embarrassing nature. “This is a potentially interesting area of ​​difference because in essence it would allow a therapist working within the College's guidelines to use” harmful “interventions if they fall within the therapist's area of ​​competency and if they are extremely led to the client's well being and lack of suffering. Other than this final point, the College guidelines appear to guarantee the client, as far as is reasonably possible, protection from unwanted, overt outcomes that could come about once hypno-psychotherapy has been approved to.

Two areas of potential concern, where it may be argued there are loop-holes, are in points 5 and 10. Point 5 is concerned with confidentiality and disclosure and specifically states, “It should be borne in mind that therapists have a responsibility to the community at large, as well as to individual clients. “Where does the boundary lie which separates responsibility for the client and responsibility for the community? If in regression a client reveals that they have been a victim of a serious crime and that they can identify the perpetrator should the therapist try to convince the client to contact the police? If the client reveals that s / he was the perpetrator of a serious crime should the therapist contact the police? Should the therapist inform the client in either of these cases if it appears that the client has completely repressed the information?

These concerns may influence a therapist's decisions regarding what their own limits of confidentiality are and in turn this may alter their ability to practice.

Point 10 concerns the maintenance of clients' anonymity and welfare when material based on cases is going to be published. In principle anonymity can be maintained by substituting the individual's name. However some of the details of a case might be enough for the person's identity to be guessed at (recent media cases involving accused of rape against John Leslie, and certain premiership footballers, and the case of Dr. David Kelly are evidence of this). This means that some of the interesting areas of the case may have to remain unpublished as they would too closely identify the individual client. The dilemma then is how we can guarantee that the quality of published work is maintained without accidently identifying the clients involved.

The ethical practice of the hypno-psychotherapy is outlined by the College in points 1, 3, 4, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. They cover the professionalism of the therapist, disclosure of their qualifications, and terms, conditions and methods of practice, the necessity for continued professional development, constitutions on advertising and using hypnosis as entertainment, and guidelines on requirements concerned with complaints against the therapist or a colleague.

Basically they are concerned with ensuring that therapists are suitably qualified to engage in work, that they will maintain their skills and that their business is carried out in a manner which will not bring disrepute upon the therapist, the College or the practice of hypno-psychotherapy . One interesting difference between the College and the ISPH is that the ISPH would refer to most therapists trained by the College as “Hypnoticians”, that is they are not trained medical doctors, psychiatrists or clinical psychologists. Why this is important is that according to ISPH guidelines hypnotechnicians are not allowed to perform all therapeutical interventions;

“Age regression is not to be instituted by the 'hypnotechnician'. The society regards age regression as a tool of the psychotherapist and not the hypnotechnician because of the potential of arousing traumatic past experiences which the technician is not competent to handle. Age regression by a hypnotechnician may only be admitted at the direction of and in the actual, physical presence of an MD, psychiatrist clinical or psychologist. “(ISPH, 2003).

Apart from this difference the College and the other bodies mentioned earlier are in agreement concerning the ethical issues concerned with the practice of hypno-psychotherapy.
The previous outline of the ethical requirements has highlighted some areas where there is the possibility of some concern regarding these issues and the following discussion will focus on two. First, concerning the discomfort of a client while in the process of change and second concerning the ethics of the practice of regression.

As stated in the College's guidelines, therapists are explicitly expected to “alleviate suffering” and promote “the well-being of their clients”. At the first glance this might seem to suggest that the process of hypno-psychotherapy should be without suffering or loss of well-being, although by the very nature of abreaction this is not going to be possible in all cases.

In some ways we may think of abreaction as an unfortunate consequence of alleviating suffering, in that the therapist is not always seeking to cause it, although it may be necessary for successful treatment. Of more concern is where it may be necessary to purposefully produce suffering and loss of well-being in a client in order to achieve a beneficial outcome, one that the client requests.

For example, a well known technique used with sex offenders, based on behaviorist principles, is aversion therapy (Marshall, Anderson, & Fernandez, 1999). This requires that the offender imagines a scene in which they are about to offend, and then they are either asked to imagine an aversive exit (for example, whilst about to approach a child outside a school, a pedophile would be asked to imagine feeling a hand on their shoulder and turning to see a policeman) or are presented with an aversive stimulus (an electric shock, aversive smell etc.). The idea being that these aversive outputs became paired with the offending behavior and so that behavior is reduced. Similarly, humiliation has been used to change the behavior of exhibitionists.

In principle these same approaches could have been used in hypnosis, with post-hypnotic suggestions etc. The ultimate goal is to alleviate the suffering which arises thoughts and fantasies might be causing the client and thus reduce the risk to the community. The College does not specifically address this issue although we can assume that they do not intend clients to have to suffer, but other bodies do address it. The NGH specifically state that, “Frightening, shocking, obscene, sexually suggestive, degrading or humiliating suggestions will never be used with a hypnotized client.”

Conversely they also state, “Members shall use hypnosis with clients to motivate them to eliminate negative or unwanted habits, facilitate the learning process etc.” (NGH, 2002). Thus, in certain areas where hypnosis may prove useful it appears that there is a contradiction – it is the therapist's role to motivate the client to change unwanted habits (or more generally, behaviors), yet the tools which have proved useful in order to do These are not available because of the discomfort they may cause the client. The ethical issue revolves around two points, firstly, the relationship with the client and secondly the relationship with society. Should the rights of the individual outweigh the potential benefits of the many? That is, should our concern for the client be greater than our concern for potential victims? The dilemma occurs because we have to make a choice between two conflicting claims and results.

This was recognized by the ethical principle of Intuitionism (Moore, 1903) where an action can be defined as 'right' if it leads to a 'good' output; the problem being then which exit is more 'good'. Indeed, it is more complex because such work could not be performed without the client's consent, so what is the therapist's position if the client demands that s / he receives treatment which might be “frightening, shocking, obscene, sexually suggestive, degrading or humiliating “? Should they agree to this, and if so, what if another client were to make other demands, such as demanding that their lack of self-esteem would have alleviated if the therapist were to engage in sexual activity with them? (See note 1).

To resolve this issue would require a longer lengthier consideration than is possible here, however one approach may be to restrict the interpretation of ethical guidelines (eg, “a therapist may not under any circumstances engage in sexual activity with a client, present or past” ), and, where necessary, make them case specific. For example, the above issue concerned treatment of sexual offenders could be deal with if the use of negative material were permitted in specific cases. This is in line with Aristotle's ideas of “efficient cause” and “final cause”.

Understanding the final cause, or outcome, will guide us in knowing how to achieve it (via the efficient cause) and it is the meaning and purpose of the final cause which determinates if it is ethically 'good'. Where it has been proven to have absolutely positive outcomes, and where the client consents, such interventions could have been asserted as being appropriate and there are likely to be few other areas of intervention where such imagery might be useful and appropriate. A statement such as, “Negative imagery may be used by a therapist trained in treating sexual offenders, where it can be clearly shown to be the best form of treatment and with the written consent of the client, the client either suffering from, or having acted upon inappropriate sexual fantasies “might be a useful first draft. Naturally, before this was adopted it would have to be shown that such interventions do indeed produce the desired results.

The second area where they may be some concern is in the use of regression. The concerns about the effects of regression requiring a competent therapist have been mentioned, but there are two other areas of interest.

Firstly, the ethics of regression itself and secondly the assumption that the effects will be short lived, that they will occur during therapy.
As described above, therapists are ethically required to engage in practices which do not cause harm to the client, although it has been argued that in certain situations, if the outcome warrants it, this restriction may be lifted. The ethical problem with regression (See note 2) is that neither the therapist nor the client knows what might be awaiting the client when s / he is regressing. The latter issue is important because it leads to a problem with informed consent.

How can the client reasonably be expected consented to something when they do not know what the outcome might be? Of concern to the harm issue is that the therapist does not know if the client's past will be traumatic (and potentially fratting, humiliating, sexually suggestive etc.), does not know how it is exposed to this might influence the client's later decisions and actions and Finally, whether the retrieved information will be something which the therapist is qualified to deal with.

Although it is always possible to refer a client to a more qualified therapist this does not remove the ethical responsibilities of the original therapist. The dilemma is similar in this case as it was in the previous one, the important difference being that in the former the decision to use negative imagery is informed by empirical evidence, knowledge of the client, and used with consent, whereas here the occurrence of negative memories (and their nature and quality) can not be predicted, and true informed consent can not be given.

Of secondary importance is what the therapist should do if retrieved memories are of an illegal nature, whether the client is the victim or the perpetrator, but this could be addressed to some extent in the therapists description of their code of conduct for confidentiality. The problem with this particular set of ethical issues is that it is not possible to produce appropriate guidelines. It is meaningless to demand that therapists do not ignore negative and potentially harmful memories in clients because there is no way in which this can be achieved. All that can be done is that therapists can be suitably trained to ensure that they can manage these occurrences.

However, there are circumances where this might not be possible. For example, feelings of humiliation, anger, sadness etc. may be reasonably deal with in the therapeutic session, but long term emotional consequences can not be unnecessarily so easily handled. If a client has retrieved a painful memory of having mistreated someone this can alter the way they have towards this person, or their feeling about themselves as an individual.

In several cases this might lead to suicidal ideation and attempts at suicide. Where a client recovers a memory of having been mistreated by an individual they may decide to exact revenge, something which will be out of the therapists hands. If the client does not share these particular aspects of their thinking with the therapist, either because they do not wish to, or because they occur when the session has finished, or if s / he does share them but the therapist does not have a suitable experience , it is clear that the therapist no longer has control of these unintended consequences of regression.

These secondary, or unintended effects, have been discussed by some philosophers. For example, St. Thomas Aquinas (trans. 1964) argued that everything is governed by a “natural law”, where everything has its proper end. By this argument one is only liable for the immediate consequences of one's actions, not unintended effects, and this is known as the Law of Double Effect. Unfortunately this argument does not really help with the ethical responsibilities of a therapist working through regression and certainly is not a suitable resolution to the dilemma. Simply washing our hands of later consequences is probably not the intention of any of the governing bodies of hypno-psychotherapy.

So how can we resolve this dilemma? Logical positivism suggests that moral statements are meaningless because they are neither tautologies nor are they empirical statements of fact. They are thus expressions of preference and emotion (Thompson, 2003). In this situation it may be the best that we can hope for, providing statements of preference, based on emotion.

It is not possible to cover every eventuality, but it is possible to provide preferred guidelines which also outlines courses of action should the output of regression prove negative for the client. Careful training of therapists, ensuring that each therapist has a support network, including contact with the body experts at the therapist's training college can go some way in preparing therapists for worst case scenarios. We must also have some understanding of where the therapist's ethical responsibility ends. Should therapists be responsible (whether ethically, emotionally or legally) for their client's behavior a week after a therapy has ended? Hypno-psychotherapists may have to consult with other professional bodies (the British Medical Association, the British Psychological Society, the Law Society etc.) in order to inform decisions relating to this matter.

This brief outline of ethical guidelines and ethical issues in hypno-psychotherapy demonstrates the difficulties in trying to produce legislation for interventions which affect other individuals. It is not restricted to the practice of hypno-psychotherapy, but occurs in medicine and mental health among others. In some case it might be possible to produce guidelines which allow for the ethical treatment of clients, and which provide safety for the therapists, in some, as in the second case discussed, it may not be possible. Either way we must consider ethical guidelines as a template for the practice of hypno-psychotherapy and never forget that counter examples and exceptions will arise, at which point it is the therapists responsibility to discuss the matter with their supervisor and other qualified therapists.

Note 1

(The NGH states as one of its general principals, “The rights and desires of the client shall always be respected” but therapists are warned against “moral impropriity or sexual misconduct with a client” and the College warns “therapists are required to maintain appropriate boundaries with their clients and to take care not to exploit their clients, current or past … “, thus the therapist is required to consider issues of vulnerability and morality rather than the ethical guidelines being absolute in this case.)

Note 2

Throughout this paper the assumption is being made that recovered memories are true representations of past events. The debate concerning recovered memories raises another set of important ethical issues which require a separate discussion.


St Thomas Aquinas general editor: Thomas Gilby Summa Theologiae – Latin and English (1964). London: Blackfriars in conjunction with Eyre & Spottiswoode.

Aristotle translated and edited by Roger Crisp. Nicomachean ethics. (2000). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marshall, WL, Anderson, D. & Fernandez, Y (1999). Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Sexual Offenders. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Moore, GE (1903). Principia Ethica. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (NCHP) (2001). Code of Ethics and Practice. []

The International Society of Professional Hypnosis (ISPH) (1978) Code of ethics and standards. []

The National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) (2004) Code of Ethics and Standards
The National Board of Professional and Ethical Standards –

Hypnosis Education and Certification (NBPES) (2004). The National Board of Professional and Ethical Standards – Code Of Ethical Standards.
code% 20of% 20ethics.htm

Thompson, M. (2003). Ethics. London: Hodder Headline Inc.

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Consultation Guidelines For Hypnotherapy

The initial consultation may well be the most serious aspect of hypno-psychotherapy, if not all therapies. Everything from the interpersonal dynamic to the eventual success of the intervention has a basis in this meeting between the client and the therapist. Indeed, the client's decision to remain engaged with the therapeutic process will be determined by factors from this early stage. After this, it is not possible, or even desirable, to proscribe the process. As a dynamic, evolving interaction, dependent on the individuals involved and the course the therapy is to take, until the consultation begins to take shape it is unhelpful to try to impede too much structure upon it. This view is expressed by the NCHP, as evidenced by the following;

It is, therefore, not possible, or even desirable, to suggest a blueprint which all should follow. (NCHPa)

With this in mind the following discussion will be concerned with one individual's approach and focus primarily on those features that this author believes are most decisive in fulfilling the aims of a consultation. If it is not wise or helpful to be prescriptive then we can possibly understand Feltham's (1997) comment,

“the best we can aim for is practitioners who are honest, conscientious, flexible and experienced enough to offer each client suitably individualized counseling.”

The goal of the consultation is to provide direction for informing therapeutic intervention. At the most basic level there are certain physical factors that are likely to play a role in a successful consultation. For example, a room that is suitably furnished and offers quiet, comfort and provides confidentiality. The exact details will be dependent on the therapist's style, budget etc and the desires of the client (eg, temperature, lighting, distance between client and therapist etc).

However, obvious considerations are furniture that is adaptable to a range of positions and for a range of people, which offers a clear view of the client, a room that is welcoming and so forth. Ideally the consultation and treatment would be connected in two different rooms so that the client associates one location specifically with the hypnotic process.

The next level for consideration is the initial contact between the therapist and client. Here the knowledge and use of basic counseling and communication skills are paramount. The client must feel that s / he is dealing with a professional who is genuinely interested in and accepting their their situation. Thus, greetings (including checking the client's name and any other identificatory information the therapist already has), timeliness and other aspects, which signal respect and focus, must be incorporated into the first moments when the clients make their initial appraisal.

Throughout the process it is important to maintain these high standards, not only because it facilitates open and honest exchanges with the client, but also good communication skills help to engender rapport. Communication skills are for the most part considered to be natural, however recent work within medicine and dentistry has begun to highlight the importance of developing an awareness of what makes communication work (see Lloyd, 1996; Fielding, 1995). The skills that are considered important for clinicians to develop and be flexible with for fruitful consultations are;

i) Clarity of language

ii) Audibility & enunciation

iii) Eye contact

iv) Non-verbal behavior

v) Empathy

vi) Methods of questioning

vii) Sensitivity of questions

viii) Greeting and identity check

ix) Introduction of self and role

x) Respect of patient's views

xi) Clarification and summarizing

xii) Checking understanding and closing

During the hypno-therapeutic consultation the therapist would do well to have had practice in these skills and not rely on their belief that as they are a caring individual, that will naturally make them a good communicator. The NCHP suggest that it is necessary to 'like' the client (NCHPb). There are certain issues with this, for example, a therapist who may be more likely to be seen to be collaborating with a client's unhelpful thoughts or behaviors, or there may be complex issues surrounding transference during therapy. Equally it might make certain aspects of therapy more difficult to undergo if one's relationship with a client is based on liking them, rather than respect for them.

It is certainly true that one can like a person without endorsing their beliefs and behavior however it does make the relationship relationship potentially more complicated than necessary. Traux and Carkhuff (1967) suggest that rather than liking the client it is important to communicate empathic understanding, unconventional positive regarding and to be 'with' the client.

Although the previously previously described issues are important, they are basic to most successful human interaction, ie, a suitable location and interpersonal skills. Without an awareness of these factors it is unlawful that a therapist will progress with a client to the consultation proper. It is the next step where the therapist's particular skills come to the fore.

The consultation process is concerned with two primary aims; knowing the person and informing the person. The latter is somewhat less involved and aims to ensure that the client has a clear understanding of the therapist, the nature of hypnosis, and the guidelines within which both are framed. Clients need to know that they are dealing with a trained individual, and how that person will work with them.

This means that they should know the therapist's qualifications (and perhaps even a method of checking them, such as telephone number or web address) and their particular philosophy or approach to therapy. Some clients may have experience of preferred or disliked therapies. The client also needs to be clear about the nature of hypnosis, what it is and what it is not, issues relating to loss of control, revealing secrets, not coming out of a trance etc. It might be useful to send such information to clients when they make their consultation appointment and then review it during the first face-to-face meeting.

Such an approach also allows for more detail to be provided than might be suitable during the first consultation, for example some history of hypnotism, information regarding the therapist's background and training etc.). Clients should have made aware of issues surrounding confidentiality, what the limits are, and how they will be protected. The order of presentation of this material is important as people tend to remember the things that have been presented with at the beginning and ends of a session, so the description of hypnosis might best present last so that the prospective client has a good recall of the details of hypnosis while considering whether to come back. It is important to ensure that the client does fully understand this information and again good communication skills will facilitate the process of checking whether this is the case.

Regarding confidentiality, it is my opinion that no sources of information should be contacted (eg, GPs) without the client's written consent, and no information passed on to others unless (a) the client gives written consent, (b) a court requires it , or (c) information divulged by the client suggests that s / he is planning to harm her / his self or another. At times this might mean that some clients will have to be referred on, or not accepted for treatment if they deny access to information that the therapist believes is necessary, or they can not accept the guidelines for releasing information.

Assuming that the therapist is now in the company of a furnished, comfortable, informed and engaged client it will be possible to begin to get to know the client. It is important that the therapist remembers that there is both a 'client' and a 'concern', and that the two can not be separated, nor should they be confused. My preferred approach to this stage of a consultation could be termed “unstructured structure”. In essence this means that there are certain key elements that must be covered in the consultation, but the exact order and manner in which this will be achieved is determined by the flow of the consultation. It also means that the specifics of the questions are for the purposes of this paper, by definition, vague because they must tie in stylistically and temporally with the client.

Most important is the client's reason for coming for therapy – and it must involve some description of

i) The concern

ii) The motivation for change

iii) Why now

The way in which the client describes these three factors provides much detail. For example, the description of a presenting concern, and the language used to describe it, gives an indication of how the person understands and relates to the issue. Epicetus, the stoic philosopher, stated that people are disturbed not by things but by the views that they take of them and this view is embodied in cognitive approaches (eg, Beck, 1964).

Although one might not wish to use cognitive therapies, or one may not be trained in them, all the therapeutic philosophies share this central concept at some level, whether conscious or unconscious, it is how we respond to our world that determinates our control of ourselves within it. The concepts and terms the client uses may point towards a familiarity with certain therapies, including hypnosis, and these may suggest routes for the therapist so that s / he can use the client's familiarity with these concepts in therapy. That is, the therapist can use the client's already existing 'working model'.

The use of language is central to hypnotherapy because we must find methods that can be easily assimilated by clients, which they can understand and respond to. Communicating at the same 'level' as the client naturally works in will greatly assist this. Responses to motivation for change and 'why now' provides not only extra language information but also insight into how much responsibility the client is taking for change. A person who wants to cease smoking for their own health will be a qualitatively different experience to a client who partner is badgering them to give up.

Language use and level of responsibility are important because they interact with my philosophical orientation, which is broadly Gestalt. It does not rule out or demand any particular tool, method or philosophical orientation, as these must be determined by the needs and experiences of the client. It does see the therapeutic process as collaborative so that the client appreciates the importance of their active involvement. By being collaborative, therapy will be a transparent, shared process, with a shared agenda and analysis of progress through feedback which the client typically takes more and more responsibility for through learning self-hypnosis and the use of tapes (where appropriate), and by taking on certain homework tasks eg, keeping a diary, experimenting with ideas etc.

Having covered these three primary areas it is important to develop a deeper understanding of the client and their concern. This is part of what Palmer and McMahon (1997) have outlined as being the common elements in all assessments.

i) what is the problem

ii) is therapy suitable

iii) is the client suitable (are there contraindications)

iv) what underlies the problem

v) transcultural and gender issues (eg, differences in verbal and non-verbal behavior and the recognition that one's own social / cultural biases (eg, Ridley, 1995) may influence therapeutic decisions etc.).

In essence we are assessing the fit between a therapeutical framework and a client or presenting problem (eg, Ruddell & Curwen, 1997). These questions can not be addressed until the therapist understands the client, unless the present problem is one that the therapist does not feel competent or inclined to address.

Often people are not fully aware of the range of factors which can influence their desire to change and those which can be obstacles to change. These factors can be internal or external. It is also useful to contextualise the client, so that the therapist can begin to understand what boundies there may be in the person's life that could assist or detract from therapy.

For example, it is important to be sensitive to any disclosures the client may make regard previous experiences with therapy, early problems that may or may not be what the client sees as a central part of their current concern (eg, being a victim of physical or sexual abuse, time with mental health issues etc.). Further this extends the exploration of how the person thinks of themselves and their world. Part it is important to overlook aspects of the client's personality as there is evidence that compatibility on a variety of personality characteristics is important for the therapeutic relationship (eg, Parloff et al., 1978).

Areas that should be covered here are family and work life, any past, present or continuing problems or difficulties (other than the present problem), contacts with other forms of services, and evidence of successes. The issue of contact with previous services contains medical and mental health information so that the therapist is aware of either contraindications for hypnotherapy (eg, psychotic episodes) or issues that may make certain inadvisable employment (eg, asthma). It also includes hypnosis, in case the client has previous experience of hypnosis, whether successful or not. The therapist may be able to discover induction methods that the client is comfortable with, or prefers to avoid, their visualization capability, IMR etc. If the client has no previous experience then the therapist knows to include specific questions (eg, favorite 'safe place' etc) and even visualization exercises.

The final area, successes, is important because the therapist may need access to positive material if the client has issues with self-esteem or if s / he plans to link success with the presenting problem with previous successes. It is also useful for the client to know that that are seen as a person with a range of qualities, rather than with a list of defeats, ailments and issues.

Having covered the specific material related to the presenting problem and hypnosis, and the more general areas relating to the individual's other relevant life experience (and having paid close attention to non-verbal behavior, language etc) the next step is to focus back to the presenting problem. The therapist needs to know what the anticipating factors are for the thoughts / behavior that the client wants to change. Armed with the biographical knowledge, the therapist can supplement the client's descriptions with specific questions relating to events and situations that the client has previously described (eg, family, work, past failures, past experiences). This provides useful target areas for change. Additionally the therapist needs to explore the consequences that the client sees as coming from their thoughts / behavior, both positive and negative as this can inform issues related to a client's switches to change, or extra motivations to succeed.

This approach, precipitating factors, behaviors and consequences is found in many therapeutics approaches and is known as ABC (Activating event, Belief (Behavior), Consequence, eg, Ellis, 1977).

Part of ABC is looking at underlying beliefs and thinking errors (eg, catastrophic thinking, dichotomous thinking) which, as the quote from Epicetus suggested, is believed to be the central area for developing problems that a client might wish to change. The reason why these two themes are important is that they identify where hypnotherapy might be useful and how it would be best targeted. For example, if a client comes in claiming to be shy, and they have the underlying belief that they are unlovable that would suggest one course of action, whereas a similar client with a similar issue, but with the thinking error that to overcome their shyness they needed to be assertive and superior at all times would suggest another. The manifestation of the issue under concern can not be the depth at which the therapist ceases their exploration.

Once the therapist has their satisfaction gained enough information so that they can form a picture of the client, albeit at a later date, it may be advisable, time permitting, to give the client the opportunity to experience relaxation or mild hypnosis. Particularly in prospective clients who have a fear of the process this might be the aspect that decides if they will engage in therapy.

With the knowledge gained during the consultation the therapist will know whether imagery can be used, and if so what images should be used or avoided. No therapy should be attempted at this stage. It is important for the client to get a 'feel' for the therapist and to know if they are comfortable with the methods used, the voice etc. On completion of this (if undergone) the issue of the contact should be raised. Initially the contract should offer a 48-hour period during which the client needs to decide if they want to continue with therapy, with the current therapist, under the framework that the therapist works within.

Also, the client will know the costs and recommended number of visits and can make an informed choice regarding financial commitment, payments, failure to attend etc. The contract should re-iterate the confidentiality clauses, and detail what the client is agreeing to, and cancellation policies etc and provide the client with contact details.

The above description makes it very clear that a detailed consultation will be both time consuming and result in the exchange of much information. Sometimes it is not the explicit information alone which is important but reactions, comments, etc and these tiny details do need to be remembered. How should the therapist do this? There are a number of approaches.

Firstly the therapist may decide to rely on memory, and with practice it is possible to develop the ability to use specific points in a consultation to 'hang' other information from, so oneembers a narrative which can later be written down. The alternative is to either take notes or to record the consultation. In the former case there is the issue of attentiveness – is it possible to fully attend to a client and accurately note down all the detail and nuances of a consultation? In the latter there are issues of privacy – how comfortable are clients with the idea that their words are being recorded, even with the knowledge that these records will be erased later?

Possibly of all the issues within consultation this is the thorniest. As with other aspects it is probably best to be flexible, and know when one can not rely on memory alone, and know when one must attend absolutely to the client and so some mechanical means of recording is required. Although clients may be uncomfortable with being recorded it is likely that they will be less upset with that than with a therapist whose head is always in a note pad, or who has remembered some important detail of the life story that the client offered at consultation.

Consultation is neither a science nor an art, but a mixture which must be performed on a social tightrope, where the demands of balance co-exist with the cognitive demands of accuracy in an evolving dynamic. In some sense we know what it is, but essentially we need to know how to do it. However, the complexity, which makes it so engaging, also makes it difficult to define. Perhaps a paraphrased and adopted version of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is at work here; if you can do a good consultation then you can not know how to describe it, if you know how to describe it you probably can not do it.


Beck, AT (1964). Thinking and depression: II. Theory and therapy. Archives of Genreal Psychiatry, 10, 561-571.

Ellis, A. (1977). The basic clinical theory of rational-emotional therapy, in A. Ellis and R. Grieger (Eds.), Handbook of Rational-Emotive Therapy. New York: Springer.

Fielding, R. (1995). Clinical communication skills. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Lloyd, M. (1996). Communication skills for medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

NCHPa (1996). Treatment Schedules. National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Nelson: UK. p. 1

NCHPb (1996). Treatment Schedules. National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, Nelson: UK. p. 4
Palmer, S. and McMahon, G (1997) (Eds). Client Assessment. London: Sage.

Parloff, MB, Waskow, IE, and Wolfe, BE (1978). Research on therapist variables in relation to process and outcome, in SL Garfield and AE Bergin (Eds.), Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change. “Ed Ed., New York: Wiley, pp. 233-282.

Ridley, CR (1995). Overcoming unintentional racism in counseling and therapy: A practitioner's guide to intentional intervention. Thousand Oaks, CA .: Sage.

Ruddell, P. and Curwen, B. (1997). What type of help? In S. Palmer and G. McMahon (1997) (Eds). Client Assessment. London: Sage.

Traux, CB and Carkhuff, RR (1967). Towards effective counseling and psychotherapy: Training and practice. Chicagoe: Aldine.

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Hypnotherapy and How it Can Help

Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis to unlock the capacity of the unconscious mind to bring about the therapeutic changes by modifying deeply-held assumptions, fears and misconceptions.

The issues that prompt people to turn to hypnotherapy for assistance include:

· Phobias

· Pain management

· Panic attacks

· Performance enhancement

· Habits – eg smoking

· Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

· Stress management

· Performance anxiety

· Insomnia

· Confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness

What Hypnosis Is

Hypnosis is a natural state of mind, enhanced by deep mental and physical relaxation. Without knowing it everyone drifts into and out of mild hypnotic states daily. These periods of time are commonly referred to as “day-dreams” or “running on autopilot”.

Hypnosis has nothing to do with being sleep or unconscious in any way. You are able to hear and remember everything, and will know exactly what's going on.

People often worry that, under hypnosis, they can be made to do things they would not ordinarily agree to. This is incorrect: you remain in control all the time and can not be made to do things that you really object to.

Participants in entertainment and stage hypnosis shows are fully aware that they will be asked to act in silly ways, and they implicitly agree to this at some level of their mind.


Hypnotherapy is simply the process of using hypnosis to 'unlock' or access the unconscious mind, and to bring about the therapeutic changes by modifying deeply-held assumptions, fears and misconceptions within it.

There are two forms of hypnotherapy:

· Suggest Hypnotherapy or Clinical Hypnotherapy

The hypnotherapist guides the client into a relaxed state and enlists the power of the client's own imagination using a wide range of techniques from story-telling, metaphor or symbolism to the use of direct suggestions for beneficial change.

· Analytical Hypnotherapy or Hypnoanalysis

This therapy is rather more intense and requires several sessions. It involves an in-depth analysis of the individual's inner fears, blocked and unresolved feelings and repressed memories and is transported out in a quiet and gentle way allowing the memories and emotion to flow and release anger, fear and hurt of the past.

If you would like to find out more about Counseling and Psychotherapy please take a look at our website:

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Is Hypnotherapy The Answer For Anger Issues

When it comes to anger, we all have one thing in common – when we become angry we all feel justified in our response. However for many of us, even after we realize we're overacting or to blame, we still are not able to control our anger. When something sets us off, by the time we've realized what's happening, we've got caught up in the angry and all too often aggressive state of body and mind and simply do not know how to stop.

Anger is best defined as an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation, to intension fury and rage. It is a naturally natural and potentially productive human emotion; a response to a threat that inspires powerful, often aggressive feelings reactions, which allow us to fight back and defend ourselves. As such, in the days of prehistoric man, experiencing anger was critical to our survival.

However in more modern times, we usually feel anger when we are being hurt; our boundaries are being violated; our needs are being ignored; Egypt, during numerable other scenarios where our expectations are not being met. In these situations we express anger as a means to regain control of the situation and in that regard; it is a perfectly natural state.

Most people experience a healthy dose of anger many times during their lives. However anger becomes a problem when it is experienced too frequently, too intensely, or for long periods of time.

And when we experience anger that's too frequent, too intense or too long lasting, there are harmful effects on our health – because anger involves the activation of many physical arousal systems, anger causes a very real strain on your body. Recent scientific studies have found that recurrent anger contributes to a number of serious illnesses, including heart disease and hypertension.

For those of us who realize we're hurting and pushing away the people in our lives, damaging our family, social and work relationships, not to mention our health, there is a plethora of self-help material out there on the web.

But do they work? Well that's something that you're going to have decide for yourself. But here's the point, the primary source of anger related issues is the sub or unconscious mind. Anger is not a conscious response – if you could consciously decide to stop getting angry, would not you simply decide to do so?

The reality is that this would be a little like asking your conscious mind to forget how to ride a bike. You could not you, even if you tried? And that's the point, while all these self-help strategies may have some merit, they do not deal with the real source of the issue, they do not access the unconscious mind, the reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that sit outside of our conscious awareness and influence all of our behaviors and experiences.

Through hypnosis, we can access the unconscious mind and harness its extreme power to reprogram habitual patterns of behavior, such as responding angrily to everyday situations.

Hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind and creates an alternative state of consciousness in which attention is focused away from the present reality. Rather like day dreaming, attention can then be focussed towards particular images, thoughts, perceptions, feelings, motivations and behaviors which will help change our habitual responses and learnt behaviors.

Our body already has natural mechanisms to handle stress and regulate emotions such as anger, but occasionally they need help in operating properly. Hypnosis helps you do just that – it enlists the help of your unconscious mind in making the necessary long term changes for you to be free of anger, allowing you to be altogether more relaxed and in control in all situations in which you used to lose control.

As a practicing hypnotherapist, I have helped many clients to manage anger related issues, thereby transforming the quality of their lives. If you are suffering and want to manage your anger that is affecting your life, I strongly recommend you seek the services of a qualified hypnotherapist near you.

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Hypnotherapy and The Alchemy of Healing

Paradigms of Disease Formation

A culture's approach to treating disease is based largely upon the belief system through which that culture regards the origin and meaning of illness. Whatever that belief system (or “paradigm”) is, there are some diseases that respond extremely well to the treatments dictated by the existing paradigm, and others which appear to defy the existing treatments, and then call that that society to create a new definition of the origins and purpose of disease. For example, pre-civilized native cultures frequently regarded illnesses as the curses of dark spirits, or the result of breaking some social taboo. The treatments based upon this model, including exorcism rituals, direct communication with spirits, aggrieved ancients, and the angry Gods, were often insufficient (sometimes in conjunction with healing herbs that are the foundation of most modern medicines) to heal the diseases and infections usually interviewed by the tribe. This paradigm breaks down, however, in the face of the mass infectious diseases (ie smallpox) of western civilization.

Modern allopathic medicine has its own paradigm of disease, based largely upon the treatment of these same diseases. This paradigm suggests that disease is the result of the “invasion” of the body by viruses, bacteria, and other parasitic organisms. This paradigm allows for highly successful treatment of infectious diseases, but it provides very little help for a new generation of disease processes (including most commonly, cancer, but also multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases), which do not fit into the common paradigm.

Oriental medicine, which paradigm of disease is that the patient suffers from an imbalance of energies in the body, or a blockage of such energies within the etheric pathways called “meridians” shows a remarkable agility in treating those very diseases for which the modern allopathic physicist can do so little.

Naturopathic medicine has its own paradigm of disease, in which disease processes are regarded as the result of toxins and stress accumulating in the body and causing a breakdown of the bodily systems. Naturally, fasting, nutritional supplementation, herbs, and lifestyle changes are the recommended treatments.

It's my belief that it is a mistake to assume that any one paradigm of illness is “correct” or “scientific” and others are “false” or “superstition”. All of the systems of healing have proven their worth over years (sometimes centuries) of successful application, thus proving that each paradigm of healing holds some measure of the truth.

The Hypnotist's Paradigm

The question then becomes: What is the hypnotherapists belief system about disease, and what techniques, based upon that belief system, can help hypnotherapists to activate the healing power of the subconscious mind, as an adjunct to medical treatment?

Hypnotists assume that the operations of every part of the body, including digestive processes, respiration, and the activities of the immune system are under the direct control of the subconscious mind. We can there before make the assumption that a client's disease process is to some created, controlled, and ultimately eliminated, through the power of the subconscious mind. This reflects not only to the so-called “psychosomatic” illnesses, but to all disease processes, including bacterial and viral conditions.

Illustrations of such a mind / body connection fill the literature. Changes in attitude and feeling have been reported by thousands of sufferers from AIDS, cancer, polio, etc. to have had comprehensive effects on their physical condition. The fact is scientific research accepts that at least 35% of patients experience a “placebo effect” … that is, a completely ineffective substance, when presented as a healing medicine, stimulates the patient's subconscious mind to improve or eliminate the condition. Some research in fact indicates that this so-called “placebo effect” may affect up to 60% of research subjects … a success rate comparable to that of the most effective modern medicines. The “placebo effect” is nothing less than the power of post-hypnotic suggestion!

The Alchemist's Paradigm

The Alchemical Hypnotherapist takes the “subconscious creation” paradigm of disease one step further: we suggest that the client's subconscious mind creates a particular disease process in order to serve a unique purpose for the client's internal world. Thus healing world consists of finding a new, healthy way of getting this purpose served or this need met. Once this goal is attained, the immune system can be mobilized to eliminate the disease and restore the internal balance of the body. While this work is no substitute for appropriate medical treatment, we can vastly increase the immune system's ability to create healing, by eliminating the subconscious processes of disease formation.

So how do we access these subconscious motivations for disease and eliminate them? First, we need to point out to all our clients that their conscious mind is not and has never been the source of disease. It is both bad psychology and bad medicine to say to an ill person: “I wonder how you created this disease?” The origins of the disease lie well benefit the patient's conscious intentions and control, and can not be accessed by laying a guilty trip upon the already suffering patient. Rather, what I say to them is this: “It's possible that subconscious patterns of feeling and belief may be contributing to the disease you are suffering. to accelerate the healing process, in conjunction with appropriate medical treatment. ” So we lay the groundwork for healthy, guilt-free explorations.

The Alchemist's Methods

The next essential step is to in fact a hypnotic trance in order to access these subconscious motivations. The client's subconscious disease-maintaining patterns are not easy to access, because of deep pain and denial. Therefore, I recommend a gentle, long induction in which we speak very softly and gently to the client. It may take a number of weekly sessions to access the deepest, most frightening, and most important motivations.

One can utilize trance to enter the affected body part as if it were a room, and then address the contents of the room as the metabolic content of the disease process.
William Reich's research in the 1930's suggested that the unexpressed pain and trauma of our past is stored in the musculature and connective tissue of our bodies, creating tension, blocks in circulation and extremely pain and disease. Such memories can be stored in my experience in internal organs as well. By entering this “room of the illness” in hypnosis, we may be able to identify both the external persons who are connected to this stored pain and the specific memories in which the pain originated. We can then utilize emotional release and child rescue processes to alter the memories stored in the body and thus release the pain and tension contained therein.

The memories unlocked through this process are likely to be very traumatic in the case of serious diseases. One should not attempt this kind of unconsciousness without a thorough background in regression therapy, emotional release, and inner child healing.

For example, a client enters a fibroid tumor in her uterus and discovers there a fetus that she aborted years before. After she expresses her grief and remorse about the abortion to this child and receives the child's forgiveness, the tumor disappears. Another client discovers in his chronically swollen knee a memory of childhood abuse. He needs to rescue his inner child from that abuse, including expression all of the feelings that remains unexpressed, and that stored in his body, from the incident. This will help him release the trauma stored in the knee.

Another technique involves talking to the “disease entity” as if it were a person or an animal and finding out in what way it is serving the client. For example, the client's hypnotic search for the cancer entity turns up a green monster that says: “I'm here to make you leave this miserable marriage … one way or the other!” Now the choice is no longer perceived as surgery vs. radiation, but more importantly as divorce / marriage counseling vs. death. This technique allows us to directly access the purpose which the disease is serving at a subconscious level for the client.

A related technique involves asking in the inner landscape of the client: “What part (s) of the client have hired this disease?” (“Or want this disease?”) We may, for example, discover that the client's inner critic is penalizing them for carnal “sins” with allergic reactions, or that an inner romantic has “hired” multiple sclerosis because it does not want to live a lonely, loveless life any longer. The hypnotherapist who has a background in sub-personality work (sometimes called “voice dialogue”, “psycho-synthesis” or “parts therapy”) can help clients through this labyrinth of self-destructive behavior by helping these parts of the client to get their needs met in other ways. For example, the critic can sometimes be persuaded that the client can achieve more to atone for his “sins” by loving others selflessly than he can by suffering allergies. Or the inner romantic can be persuaded to join other parts of the client in actively pursuing a lover rather than suffering a disease. While sub-personality work is sufficient complex as to be beyond the range of this article, it remains a powerful and significant aspect of the healing process. It is often essential to discover and remove the “secondary gain” that often stops or slows recovery from illness.

A number of regressive strategies may be used to address the emotional causes of illness. One of them is asking the client to go back to the time that the disease entity was first “hired” at the subconscious level. This allows us to explore whatever incident triggered the sunset of the disease process. It is important not to confuse the time the disease is hired with the onset of symptoms or the arrival at a diagnosis, as these things may occur a year or more after the disease process begins. The initial trigger event could have been a major loss, a divorce, a period of unemployment, or any other major life change.

A different regressiveive strategy will take us deeper into this initial pain by asking when these feelings first began. This allows us to explore childhood and past life accidents, which set the stage in the subconscious mind for the client's extreme reaction to this trigger event. For example: the client's loss of a beloved wife may subconsciously re-stimulate the loss of the mother's love in infancy and thus elicit a terminal illness as the result of a reactivated death wish from childhood.

One of the most powerful strategies for the advanced client is the exploration of karmic deeds, crimes we have committed against others in the past, which follow us to the present life seeking retribution. This karma may directly affect the client's present health challenge. The instructions I give to the client are these: “Let's go back to a time long ago when you did something that created this pain and suffering for yourself …” This process not only allows us to identify the reason for this suffering at the spiritual level, but allows us to establish an atonement which eliminates the need for further karmic retribution in the form of an illness. This process is especially valuable for clients who have a spiritual orientation to their therapy.

Another of the Alchemical strategies is to assist clients in contacting an inner healer. This resource state within the inner world is available to the client twenty four hours a day in addressing both the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual origins of the illness. The inner healer also provides daily meditations of healing which can be anchored directly through hypnotic suggestion to the pain and symptoms of the illness.

These are some of the many techniques used by the Alchemical Hypnotherapists to discover the underlying purpose of disease processes and help create alternative ways to meet that purpose. So we not only help restore the body's health, but help our clients to experience that great empowerment that comes when one has discovered the meaning of an illness, learned its lesson for us, and consciously and lovingly released it.

It would be a mistake to assume that the subconscious motivation model of disease and treatment modalities outlined in this article represents the only legalimate paradigm of disease, or even necessarily the best. As a health care professional, we are both ethically and legally required to refer our clients to both mainstream physicians and other alternative practitioners so that the illness can be addressed from as many perspectives as possible. Neverheless, as hypnotherapists we offer an invaluable perspective to all other health professions by addressing the clients illness from the perspective of subconscious motivations … the perspective of the soul.

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95% Of Attempts To Perform Self Hypnosis Fail Because Of A Few Basic Mistakes

Self Hypnosis is very easy. However, most people fail to perform it simply because it never happens. They wait patiently and practice for some time regularly only to be disappointed in the end. Why?

One of the main reasons why people performing self hypnosis for the first few times never meet with success is because they expect it to happen. They wait for the magic to happen.

This is a very big mistake. You would know it if you have ever tried to “watch” when you go to sleep; it becomes very frustrating because you never go to sleep at all! Watching prevents you from sleeping. This is because sleeping, just like hypnosis, requires you to lose concentration rather than focusing.

Another reason why the trance state never happens is because you do not practice enough.

Keep in mind that very few people manage to enter the trance state in the very first attempt. Most people fail to enter for the first few attempts, but then suddenly one day the magic happens and they find themselves in a very pleasant state. However, until that day they kept on trying. Most experts would advise you to perform or at least attempt to perform self hypnosis at least twice a day: half an hour session in the morning after bath and half an hour in the evening just before bed.

Most people try to perform self hypnosis without first learning how to relax properly.

Relaxation is a very important groundwork for performing self hypnosis. Deep relaxation can help you to get into trance state very easily. Before learning to perform self hypnosis it is advisable to first learn how to relax deeply. A simple method is to tense the muscles of the limbs for a few seconds, then relax by imagining that you are letting go of the tension with every breath.

You can not expect anything that requires hard work to give results unless you are motivated enough.

Of course, those who have performed self hypnosis for a few times can perform one more time even without motivation. However, if you are performing for the first time it is extremely important to have a strong motivation. When you attempt self hypnosis for the first time, it is advisable to have a very strong motivation, the desire to excel academically for example.

If you say you can not enter trance then you probably will not.

This is a mistake made by many people. If you predict that the magical trance state will not happen, then the prediction will fulfill itself. There is no doubt about it. Of course it is human nature to become discouraged after a few failures, that's why losers continue to lose and winners continue to win. One way around it is to read success stories, ones with success after repeated failures.

For tips on how to perform self hypnosis easily and how to speak to your subconscious mind without much difficulty visit my Blog [http://hypnosis–]

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Making Your Choice on Hypnosis Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis hypnotherapy is a great debate that has been around for almost as long as the concept of hypnosis has. Those who choose hypnotherapy over regular hypnosis may end up paying more for the service, however, the therapy might last longer and in the end, the results may be more fulfilling. Before one jumps to any conclusions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy, both concepts must be fully understood.

The hypnosis hypnotherapy debate must begin somewhere and the most logical place to start would be with the very fundamental aspects of understanding each concept. First, one must define it. Hypnosis is when one is placed in a relaxed state that allows the mind to open up to suggestions more readily.

Who exactly is giving the suggestions depends on whether one is undergoing regular therapy or hypnotherapy. With the regular therapy, a hypnotist who may or may not have formal training is usually giving directions. For therapy purposes, this may become a little tricky.

The debate heats up when one begins to discuss the clinical hypnotherapy element. Hypnotherapy is when therapy is performed on a larger therapeutic scale. Hypnotherapy hypnosis is administered by someone who has extensive training and is a qualified professional who has spent many years learning and honing their craft.

Those who become hypnotherapists have undergone rigorous training and they are usually accepted in the same league as doctors and nurses. They also have a code of ethics that they must follow. This is the main difference in the debate; who actually performs the this type of therapy and what education do they have?

Hypnosis hypnotherapy debts may have been raging for a long time, but the choice is up to the patient. It is the patients choice to choose a hypnotist who is more educated on the subject or not.

In the long run, a hypnotist will more than likely charge more for their time compared to one who took a quick class for a couple of weeks to learn how to hypnotize people. However, a clinical hypnotherapist will more than likely be a better choice in the long run and the results will be more effective.

One thing to remember is that one's freewill, will never be manipulated by the debts or by the act of hypnosis itself.

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Are You Aware of the Hypnotherapy Online Presence?

Hypnotherapy online presence is a great website for those who are looking for an accredited place to become a certified hypnotherapist. Hypnotherapy online presence is actually a website for a school, the Hypnotherapy Training Institute.

According to this website, those who work for HTI have worked very hard over several decades to help mold and develop the field of hypnotherapy. the range, depth and recognition of our profession. ”

They state that they are one of the oldest hypnotherapy institutions around and they also give a person an in depth look at the courses available to their students. These courses are not only from California, but also from around the world.

One thing that hypnotherapy website states about their institute is that they are one of the best and few that offer true accreditation. In order for a person to practice hypnosis, they must be taught by an accredited institution. HTI is just that. They are accredited by the American Council for Hypnotist Examiners.

The ACHE is the only certification organization that requires the schools that are approved, have the necessary state license. Hypnotherapy is one website that is devoted entirely to a school that is accredited to certify those who wish to learn how to hypnotize and exercise it for a living.

Hypnotherapy com does lead a person to believe that the courses being offered are for everyone, not just those from California. Granted they are, but the courses can not be taken via correspondence.

If one is to become a graduate of HTI, then they must attend the twins and pay big bucks. However, the rewards are remarkable and this is one of the highest rated schools in reference to hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy com is a site in that many are surprised to find while searching for hypnotherapy. Many would expect to find a bunch of useless information coming from a person who looks like they may have smoked one too many. However, hypnotherapy com is a very legitimate site about a very prestigious, accredited learning institute.

Since the late seventies, this institute has been on the front of hypnotherapy study. Everyday new graduates are becoming new leaders in this ever growing and changing community. For those who want to become a licensed therapist, this website is a great place to start the journey.

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How to Perform Self Hypnosis

Self hypnosis has become a technique that millions of people have utilized to help them fall sleep faster faster. Not only will self hypnosis help a person fall sleep, but it will also help that individual stay in a deep sleep. If this method of therapy is used correctly, then anyone can learn to fall sleep and stay sleep for the whole night.

In order for a person to self-use hypnotherapy in order to fall sleep, the first step is to lie flat on one's back with the hands resting at their sides. This position will allow a person to feel more open to sleeping. Beginning with the toes, simply make your way up to the head, all the while clenching and relaxing the muscles.

For example, when starting with the toes, clench the entire foot, hold for a few seconds and then release. If one repeats this at small intervals and with different muscle groups, then one will begin to feel their body relax.

While using self hypnosis for assisting in the process of falling asleep, one thing to remember is to breathe. Just as breathing techniques are used in yoga to help one center, the same premise is used during hypnotherapy for self-use.

After a person regulates their breathing, they should then begin to take deeper breaths while keeping the mind and body completely relaxed. Many want to keep their eyes closed during this phase, but a person should do what is comfortable and open them if necessary.

After the mind and body are relaxed, individuals should then imagine themselves at the top of a building. After this, they should imagine them in an elevator that is beginning to descend downward. As the floors pass by, one should begin to count them. For example: one, I am becoming sleepy, two, I am even sleepier, and so on and so forth.

At the end of the descent, a person should tell them that they are so sleepy and relaxed that they need to go to sleep. If this suggestion of self hypnosis is applied every night, then the process will become easier with each passing night.

If one uses self hypnosis correctly, then many good results can be achieved. A person will fall sleep quickly and stay asleep easily as opposed to just laying in bed, waiting for something to happen.

Laying in bed can actually be more tiring than the act of self hypnosis. In the end, no one wants to be over tired the next day. Sleep should be a healing process and not a hurting one.

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How to Stop Anxiety Attacks With Self-Hypnosis

Did you know that you can stop anxiety attacks with self-hypnosis? I'm not talking about swinging a pocket watch in front of your eyes and repeating “I am getting sleepier and sleepier …” During a panic attack, your rational mind is under siege and difficult to access. But because hypnotherapy works on your subconscious mind, you can use it to calm yourself with a simple physical trigger.

Not everyone is a good candidate for hypnotherapy. Fortunately, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on a hypnotherapist to see if this technique will work for you. You can try this simple self-hypnosis script anytime to help you stop anxiety attacks.

1. Get comfortable

First get as comfortable as possible, but not so much so that you'll fall sleep. Try lying on the floor arms at your side or sitting in a straight backed chair with your hands in your lap. If you have time, close your eyes and focus on relaxing each part of your body one by one starting with your head and working down to your toes.

2. Start the journey

Hypnotherapy helps to stop anxiety by creating an experience of deep calm you can return to any time with a simple trigger. Begin by picturing the most relaxing place you can imagine. It may be a warm beach or a babbling forest stream. Whatever your scene, make sure your whole body and mind can feel at ease there.

Now comes the most important part of using hypnotherapy to stop anxiety. Here you begin descending step-by-step into your scene and experience of relaxation. The most effective way is to record yourself narrating this decent so you can listen to it at this time. With a little bit of focus, however, you can also do this part in your mind. Be sure to take your time and do not rush through any of the steps.

3. Count down

Begin by picturing yourself in a peaceful garden. The experience can be as viable as you like since it will help prepare yourself for the journey to the truly special place you visualized earlier. Then imagine a set on ten steps leading down from the garden to your special place. Take each step slowly counting each one as you go. With every step tell yourself that you are getting more and more relaxed. The key to using hypnotherapy to stop anxiety is to take your time and let your body and mind settle into the calm and peace you are creating.

4. Create a trigger

By now you've reached the tenth garden step and walked at your perfect paradise. You are completely safe here and can return whenever you want. Take some time to hear, see and feel the deep peace of this place whether it's the wind in the trees or the water lapping on the beach. Then put it into words. “I am peaceful, happy and perfectly in control of my life. Use your own words if you need to. Then, when you're ready, pinch the fold of skin between your thumb and first finger on your right hand. If you're pregnant, pinch your thumb instead. Then repeat, “I am peaceful, happy and perfectly in control of my life. I easily cope with everything that happens. I can relax at will simply by pinching my right hand and thinking of this place.”

5. Come back

When you're ready, imagine yourself returning to the steps with the awareness that you can come back here any time you want. Count slowly from ten down to zero as you climb the steps and let the sounds of the everyday world return to you. When you finish counting you should feel calm and relaxed. Now, the next time you want to stop anxiety or a panic attack, just pinch the fold of skin between your thumb and first finger on your right hand and you'll return to the calm and peace of the special place you've created for yourself.

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