Hypnotherapy – What is it?

Put simply, hypnotherapy is a skill which utilizes the tool of hypnosis for the administration of many and various forms of psychotherapy. Or, put even more simply, hypnotherapy is a tool which utilizes hypnosis to help the mind, and therefore the body, feel well.

When we use the term ‘well’, we mean that the mind feels better balanced and is either more able to handle everyday living, as the problem you were experiencing has now gone away, or that the mind is now more focused, allowing you to achieve some goal that you thought was hitherto unlikely or impossible.

So that’s two mentions of the dreaded ‘H’ word – hypnosis (three mentions now) – in the first four lines, and some of you will no doubt be running for cover from the man who’s gonna be ‘messing with your mind’ (room for one more behind the sofa, mother?), while others stoically pooh-pooh the very idea as it’s all a load of bunkum.

Right? Wrong! – on both counts.

To really understand hypnotherapy and what it can do for you, you first of all need to understand about hypnosis, and become aware how this perfectly natural occurrence can be your newest best friend.

Let’s start by giving you a definition.
Hypnosis is a state of awareness dominated by the subconscious mind.

OK, further explanation.
The mind consists of the conscious and the subconscious, and you can think of them as a set of scales. During our waking hours, the conscious mind keeps us informed and aware of what is happening around us and is in the up position, while the subconscious mind is working in the background, so to speak, making sure that all our bodily functions such as breathing are carried out correctly, and is in the down position. But, whenever we concentrate on something to the exclusion of all else, our conscious mind takes time off and the subconscious mind takes over as the dominant force. The conscious mind goes into the down position and the subconscious mind goes into the up position, and this is the altered state of awareness which we call hypnosis.

It’s a perfectly natural occurrence, experienced hundreds of times every day by everyone, without us even being aware of it. For example, you go through it every night just before you fall asleep, and again every morning just before you wake up. It’s also a common phenomenon that a motorist when driving a familiar route will arrive at his or her destination, yet have no conscious recall about parts of the journey. This is because the familiarity of the journey caused his or her conscious mind to ‘switch off’ and he or she has been coasting along on the subconscious auto-pilot.

Regular Guy
So, you can see that hypnosis is just a ‘regular’ guy, like you and me – 100% natural and a good friend to have. And like most good friends, it enjoys nothing more than helping you by bringing you a sense of calmness and relaxation. Also, it doesn’t impose itself where it’s not wanted. However, it’s real strength comes when it joins with its partner ‘therapy’ to form that well known double act ‘hypnotherapy‘, because together they can bring you a shed-load of good things, from a simple confidence boost for such things as a driving test, exam or best man’s speech at a wedding, through quitting habits such as smoking or nail-biting, to the development of healthy, enjoyable and nutritional eating habits, and improvements that can be brought about in personal motivation, getting fit, improved concentration, business skills, goal achievement, language skills, study skills, stress management, sporting performance, sexual performance, public speaking, memory enhancement, creativity in all fields, tenacity…. in fact it can be used to improve or enhance almost all areas of human activity.

Good News
And the other good news is that hypnotherapy is 100% safe and totally natural and, unlike many other therapies, at no time involves any drugs or physical manipulation. It’s also very easy for the client, as all you have to do is sit back and relax while the therapist helps you to use the truly astounding power of your mind to produce beneficial change in your life.

So there you have it, a simple explanation of hypnotherapy. Nothing scary, was there?


There are unfortunately many misconceptions regarding hypnosis and hypnotherapy!

It is unfortunate that stage shows and television often portrait hypnosis in an extremely distorted, inaccurate and misleading manner. Hypnosis is often portrayed as being some kind of mysterious power the hypnotist has which gives the hypnotist some form of control over the person he has hypnotised and who is “asleep” and unaware of what is happening or what they are doing under the “control” of the hypnotist.

In reality, hypnosis is an ordinary, normal functional state which everyone experiences every day in one way or another. The hypnotic state can be described as being:

  • An altered state of consciousness (NOT an altered state of unconsciousness as the stage hypnotists would have you believe!);
  • With an enhanced focus of attention;
  • A degree of dissociation from the immediate environment resulting in a somewhat dreamlike state;
  • A shift to a greater or lesser degree from a more advanced, adult, logical level of functioning to a more primitive, emotional, instinctive level of functioning, and;
  • That can be experienced in either a state of deep relaxation or of extreme stress

The term “hypnotherapy” is actually also somewhat misleading and incorrect. As indicated above, hypnosis is an ordinary everyday state. In and of itself, it is not a “therapy” – it is more accurately a state of mind in which a wide range of therapies can be done, often more effectively that when in the conscious, logical state.

There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Because the hypnotic state can include a state of deep relaxation, it is interchangeable with meditation or mindfulness as a stress management technique;
  • The state of hypnosis appears to give access to some degree to the sub-conscious mind. Because psychological problems manifest at a sub-conscious and more primitive, emotional, instinctive level, rather than at an adult, logical, rational level, this characteristic of hypnosis can often be of great value in therapy;
  • Because the therapeutic hypnotic state involves both an experience of deep relaxation as well as some degree of regression to a more primitive, emotional, instinctive level of functioning, the client tends to be more receptive to suggestions given by the therapist and which might be resisted by the logical, rational mind. Just one example of this would be suggestions for pain control often given during preparation for hypno-birthing which would normally not be accepted at a conscious level. It is most important to note that for a suggestion given in hypnosis to be accepted at the sub-conscious level, the suggestion must be desirable and consistent with the value system of the client. It is not possible in hypnosis to get someone to do anything they do not want to do, or which would be in conflict with their personal norms and values.




Listen here – What is hypnosis?


And here – Why do the guys on the stage do what they do?