What is hypnotherapy?

For well over a hundred years hypnotherapy has been recognised by the medical profession as being an effective therapy for dealing with a wide range of conditions, phobias, anxieties, negative thoughts and unwanted habits.

The body which accredited my training – National Council for Hypnotherapy – provides a helpful definition of hypnotherapy:

HYPNOTHERAPY is the application of hypnotic techniques in such a way as to bring about therapeutic changes. An external influence – the Therapist – assists in activating the inner resources of a person – the Client – in order to achieve realistic goals.

The problems that HYPNOTHERAPY is best placed to help fall into the following broad classes:

Thoughts and ideas

People can suffer from thoughts of low self-esteem, or obsessive thoughts about someone or something. They may not be able, for example, to get out of their minds the idea that they are suffering from an illness, despite medical reassurance, or that a partner is unfaithful. HYPNOTHERAPY can help the client to change such ideas.


People often experience an irrational fear of a variety of insects, animals, objects or situations and HYPNOTHERAPY is particularly renowned for its effectiveness in assisting sufferers to overcome these distressing and inhibiting conditions.


People can suffer from a wide variety of distressing feelings such as panic attacks, anxiety, jealousy, guilt, anger or inadequacy. Whatever the problem feeling, HYPNOTHERAPY can deal with it more specifically than can a drug – and without harmful side effects.


People can find themselves in the grip of many habits that they seem unable to control, from something like nail-biting or smoking to more deep-seated compulsions.
HYPNOTHERAPY, using hypnotic techniques, can help to remove habits with precision and again, a total freedom from side effects.

There is a wide variety of issues and conditions which are generally accepted as being helped by hypnotherapy – here are the most common:

  • Smoking
  • Weight control
  • Nail biting
  • Enuresis
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Sexual problems
  • Sporting performance
  • Nerves (exams, tests etc.)
  • Confidence
  • Self-esteem
  • Gambling
  • Sleep problems
  • Public speaking
  • Letting Go
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias
  • Headaches
  • Flying
What does it feel like to be hypnotised?

Everyone is different and report different reactions. However, generally clients tell me that they feel:

‘A feeling of absolute relaxation’

‘Very very lazy, awake but not really’

‘It’s like being asleep but still awake’

‘Beforehand I thought I was going to disappear somewhere as if I’d been put in a spell … it was nothing like that. It was much more along the lines of an extended day dream’

‘I was awake all the time, I could hear everything, but I just didn’t want to think about anything or do anything’

‘I was extremely relaxed, just listening to a far-away voice’

‘I knew I could open my eyes if I wanted to, I just genuinely did not want to’

‘I became so still and lazy, it was like I was made of wax’

‘I was in a trance for about forty minutes but it felt like five’

‘It was really pleasurable – I’d recommend it’

There are two important messages I’d like you to note:

  • It’s nothing like you see in stage shows or on television – they are rather dubious forms of entertainment with a high degree of ‘showmanship’ at their heart;
  • You will enjoy the experience, it’s relaxing, peaceful and a chance for you to unwind and recharge your batteries.
Will I go under?

The term ‘under’ is very unhelpful. There is no question of going ‘under’. The term suggests that you will be ‘out of it’ or ‘out of control’. You will be aware of what is happening to you throughout the session. You will simply be so relaxed you won’t be bothered to do anything other than enjoy the peace, calm and tranquillity of the experience.

You will certainly not be ‘under’ my control – you will be quite able to terminate the session at any point you like – and if you want to end it I’d rather you did.

Will I be able to drive afterwards?

Absolutely yes. If anything, you will be energised by the experience.

Is hypnotherapy accepted as a legitimate form of therapy by the medical profession?

​Hypnotherapy has been recognised as an effective form of therapy by the medical world for well over a hundred years. In 1892 the British Medical Association (BMA) commissioned a special committee of eleven doctors ‘to investigate the nature of the phenomenon of hypnotism, its value as a therapeutic agent, and the propriety of using it’.

The committee’s report was received and published by the BMA, opening with a clear recognition of the phenomenon of hypnotic trance:

‘The Committee, having completed such investigation of hypnotism as time permitted, have to report that they have satisfied themselves of the genuineness of the hypnotic state.’ (BMA, 1892).

In 1955 a further sub-committee of the BMA reported … ‘The Subcommittee is satisfied after consideration of the available evidence that hypnotism is of value and may be the treatment of choice in some cases of so-called psycho-somatic disorder and psychoneurosis. It may also be of value for revealing unrecognised motives and conflicts in such conditions. As a treatment, in the opinion of the Subcommittee it has proved its ability to remove symptoms and to alter morbid habits of thought and behaviour.’

Clinical hypnotherapy is generally regarded as an effective and cost-effective complementary therapy by doctors and commissioners of health services throughout the UK. Many GPs will refer their patients to hypnotherapists to complement the treatment they are offering or as an alternative when their own prescribed treatment has not worked.

Will I lose control?

Absolutely not! You will stay in control throughout the whole process.

You will, however, be happy to just relax and enjoy the experience – the notion of control will not even occur to you.

Can hypnotherapy help everyone?

Not everyone is helped by hypnotherapy, just as no medicine or drug is a universal cure.

The important issue to remember is that hypnotherapy will be at its most effective if you the client are open to its effectiveness, are ready to put in a real effort to make changes to your life, and, you and I are ready to work as a team to get what you want – and we will be, I’m sure.

Can everyone be hypnotised?

Everyone can be hypnotised. Not everyone can be hypnotised by the same person.

The successful induction of a trance state depends on the rapport built up between the therapist and the client.

How will I know if it has worked?

After a session you will go about your life and I would expect you to notice subtle changes, perhaps with more confidence, or without the usual anxiety, compulsion or undermining beliefs.

Over a series of sessions you will know for sure that you have changed – that you are much more happy with yourself and your life.

Can I have my money back if it doesn’t work?

I don’t offer guarantees. I am sure that hypnotherapy works and I am very confident that we can address your issues and make the changes you want.

I am certain that if we put our energies and commitment to make a difference together you are even more likely to get the results you want.