Hypnosis, as an altered state of consciousness, has been known by our ancestors for ages. And hypnotherapy has been used for over a century to treat various medical conditions. Yet the mysticism surrounding hypnosis and hypnotherapy continues to baffle the minds of people all over the world.
Is hypnosis real? And how effective is hypnotherapy in treating health conditions and improving your overall well-being?
Here’s what you need to know:
- What is Hypnotherapy?
- What Is Hypnotherapy Used For?
- How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
- Science-Based Hypnotherapy Benefits
- Potential Risks Related to Hypnotherapy
- Myths Around Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
- Average Cost of Hypnotherapy Session
Hypnotherapy definition lies in its compelling purpose — to heal our minds, bodies, and ultimately, our world, using a powerful state of hypnosis.
What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique that utilizes hypnosis to treat specific symptoms and health conditions. It’s also a personal growth tool to alter your perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors.
Hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypnos,” meaning “sleep.” But unlike sleep, which lacks full awareness, you are fully aware of what’s going on.
Paul McKenna, behavioral scientist and trainer of Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest, explains that hypnosis is a scientific set of techniques used by doctors, psychologists, and hypnotherapists.
This form of therapy is often paired with other psychological treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapies (CBT) to create a positive change in an individual.
What Is Hypnotherapy Used For?
Research has shown hypnotherapy is substantially effective in helping with:
- Treating mental conditions like anxiety, depression, stress, fears, panic attacks, sleep disorders, and PTSD.
- It can also help with obesity, addictions, chronic pain, and blood pressure.
- It can even alter your immune function to fight stress and reduce susceptibility to viral infections.
Additionally, according to some studies, the average client receiving cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy gets more significant improvement than the client receiving nonhypnotic treatment.
How Does Hypnotherapy Work?
If you have deeply rooted emotional wounds, hypnotherapy can help you heal them. In hypnosis, you can access subconscious regions of your mind and communicate with them directly — without the reasoning of your normal conscious thought.
During hypnosis, a trained hypnotherapist induces a hypnotic state of waking awareness and focused attention, using suggestions, verbal cues, repetition, and mental imagery.
Although this state is similar to trance, you’re conscious of what’s happening around you. But instead of focusing on the external world, you are detached from it and entirely engrossed in your inner experience.
You can be guided back to some important event of your childhood that caused a traumatic experience or seeded a limiting belief. Once memories of the event are accessed, you can re-assign a new meaning to them.
For example, you may have experienced not being picked up from school. In a hypnotherapy session, the hypnotherapist will hypnotize you and gently guide you back to that day. You will recall it as clearly as if it was happening to you for the first time.
You will be as old as you were back then, standing outside in the rain, waiting for your parents to pick you up, feeling what you were feeling at that time: “I feel abandoned. I feel like I’m not loved and not enough.”
These beliefs of being abandoned, unloved, and not enough were downloaded into your subconscious mind when you were a small child and now affect you as an adult.
So hypnotherapy allows you to assign a better meaning to that event and reprogram your subconscious mind with a new belief that you are loved and enough.
Some people are so hypnotized by their compelling stories that they can no longer see them as a story.— Paul McKenna, trainer of Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest
Different hypnotherapy techniques
You can use various types of hypnotherapy techniques to heal your subconscious mind and create the change you want. Let’s look at the six most prominent types of hypnosis:
1. Suggestion hypnosis
Also known as traditional hypnosis, it’s one of the most popular hypnotherapy techniques, based on suggestions and commands given to you when you’re in a hypnotic state.
These suggestions and commands are designed to affect your behavior, thoughts, or feelings about something on a subconscious level.
2. Ericksonian hypnosis
Named after Milton Erickson, it’s a type of hypnosis that uses metaphors, storytelling, and indirect suggestions. He believed that you are less likely to resist indirect suggestions, which can help you internalize them better. Since it accesses your unconscious mind, the change occurs more organically.
3. Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH)
This type of hypnotherapy uses various techniques and tools, such as imagination, conceptualization, and suggestion. Depending on your challenge, it can create a positive change in your thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
4. Regression hypnotherapy
Regression therapy is an intrusive technique. So it requires a highly trained hypnotherapist to help you gently revisit some past events that may be traumatic and painful.
It involves regression to your past to find the reason for your issue in the present. You are guided through your memories and past events to shed light on your current state.
5. Solution-focused hypnotherapy
This type of hypnotherapy is a collaborative process where your hypnotherapist acts as a facilitator to help you resolve your challenge. It’s based on goal-setting and finding a solution to a particular issue or problem rather than uncovering the root of it. In this technique, you evaluate your current situation and envision the future you want to create.
6. Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT)
This therapy is a contemporary therapeutic intervention based on hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT, and psychotherapy. It was developed by Marisa Peer over thirty years as a unique modality that offers fast and instant results.
After a single session, clients can let go of negative self-beliefs often hidden deep in their subconscious, enabling them to live their best lives.
Science-Based Hypnotherapy Benefits
Hypnotherapy is widely used as an effective tool to cope with daily stress, anxiety, and phobias, and even heal PTSD. It can also help with pain control.
Let’s look at five benefits of hypnotherapy, backed up by science:
1. Sleep disorders
A systematic review of 24 papers reported that hypnosis could help you with these sleep disorders:
- If you have insomnia, hypnosis can relax you to fall asleep more easily.
- As a sleepwalker, you can use hypnosis to train yourself to wake up when you feel your feet hit the floor to avoid sleepwalking adventures.
- To sleep a little better, self-hypnosis can increase the amount of time you sleep and the amount of time you spend in deep sleep to wake up rested and refreshed.
A 2019 meta-analysis has shown that hypnosis is effective in treating anxiety. If your anxiety stems from a chronic health condition such as heart disease, it can ease it by encouraging your body to activate its natural relaxation response. In the same way, it can help cope with a phobia.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
According to this 2003 study, hypnosis can treat IBS. It helps improve symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. It can also help with secondary symptoms like nausea, fatigue, backache, and urinary problems.
4. Chronic pain
If you suffer from migraines, lower back pain, and pain related to arthritis, hypnosis can effectively help you cope with that. A 2017 study revealed that patients who received hypnosis reported less pain, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort following surgery.
It can also train you to gain self-control over it for long periods.
Studies have shown that hypnotherapy is generally as successful as other smoking-cession treatments. You can quit the smoking habit with the help of hypnosis if you genuinely want to. Instead of focusing on quitting itself, hypnosis helps reprogram your subconscious mind towards the replacement action. It could be going for a walk or chewing a piece of gum.
Another way is to train your mind to associate this harmful habit with undesirable sensations like a disgusting taste in your mouth.
6. Weight loss
A 1995 meta-analysis of 18 studies has shown that hypnotherapy is most helpful when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, diet, and exercise routine.
When you are in an altered state of mind, you are more susceptible to suggestions. So you can use suggestions for behavior change to start eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Potential Risks Related to Hypnotherapy
Adverse reactions to hypnosis are rare if conducted by a trained therapist or health care professional.
If it’s NOT conducted by a trained specialist, hypnosis can bring back memories and traumatic events linked to your mental condition and create false memories, which can aggravate it.
However, there are several potential side effects:
- Anxiety or distress
Generally, hypnotherapy is considered a safe alternative medical treatment for people with no severe mental illnesses such as hallucinations, delusions, drug and alcohol misuse, and schizophrenia.
Myths Around Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
There are numerous myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy among people, primarily based on popular TV shows, series, and movies with hypnotism scenes. Although we know that they are created for entertainment, some still believe them to be true.
Let’s debunk the most common myths about this therapeutic method.
Myth 1: You must be weak-minded to be hypnotized
In reality, people with good concentration and a strong sense of creativity can be subjects of hypnotherapy. On the contrary, if you can’t maintain focus and use your imagination, you will most likely fall asleep during the session.
Myth 2: Hypnotized people can’t maintain their free will
During a hypnotherapy session, you maintain full awareness and control over the trance-like state. In other words, your free will remains intact, and you can pull yourself out at any moment.
Myth 3: You can reveal something deeply secretive about yourself
You can discover something you’ve forgotten or never consciously knew and then reveal only what you are ready to learn about yourself. You are conscious and aware of what’s happening and can’t be forced to share anything against your will.
Myth 4: Hypnotherapy is not a mystical practice and hypnotherapists have “special powers”
Hypnotherapy is a clinical practice world-widely used to treat mental, physical, and emotional issues. Its effectiveness has been proven by many scientific studies over the years.
A hypnotherapist is a person who has been trained and practiced the art and science of hypnosis. Any well-educated individual can learn to facilitate this process with proper training.
It’s true that there are gifted hypnotherapists who can tap into the client’s subconscious mind quickly and help them transform instantly within a single session.
Average Cost of Hypnotherapy Session
So, how much is a hypnotherapy session? The average cost ranges from $50 to $250 per session, depending on these factors: type of hypnotherapy, location, online or offline session, and experience of the hypnotherapist. Typically, you will need several sessions to experience results.
Here are rough estimations based on the prices of local US professionals (per session):
- Average cost: $120
- Minimum cost: $75
- Maximum cost: $ 200
Depending on the type of hypnotherapy (for 3-5 sessions):
- Quit smoking: $250-$500
- Weight loss: $350-$500
Transform Your Life and Help Others Transform Theirs
According to Paul, though you can’t control some things that may happen to you, you can control how you think and feel.
With hypnotherapy, you have so much power to heal your body and mind: successfully quit smoking, lose weight, overcome insomnia, eliminate stress, attract more abundance, and even increase self-confidence.
On top of that, you can help others thrive in their lives, effectively coping with daily stress and challenges.
If you aspire to help yourself and others create positive changes in their lives, join Mindvalley’s Certified Hypnotherapist Program with Paul Mckenna. In this 4-month program, you will learn:
- Foundations of hypnotherapy
- Diagnostics and change work
- Applications of hypnotherapy
- Dealing with phobias
- Achieving peak performance
- Stage hypnotism
- And setting up a hypnotherapy business
In addition, you will have live Q&A call every week with Paul and live hypnotherapy practice labs in groups.