Written by Rory Z Fulcher
Hypnotherapy is the use of various therapy approaches alongside hypnosis, and it is now a more popular therapy option than ever before, because it is becoming more well-known and understood. Unlike some other therapies, hypnotherapy is often a relatively quick option, taking just a handful of sessions, where psychotherapy, counselling and other talking therapies can often last for months, or even years. This means hypnotherapy is a very attractive option for clients, as it helps to sort things out faster – as you’d expect from a ‘brief, strategic and solution-focused’ therapy.
But what can hypnotherapy actually help with? Well, when many people think of hypnotherapy, they conjure up an image much like this one:
Smoking cessation hypnotherapy
It’s true, that hypnotherapy is fantastic to help people quit smoking (and nowadays, vaping too). Hypnotherapy has received a lot of popularity in the media for decades, with how effective it can be to help people stop smoking. However, smoking cessation hypnotherapy is just the tip of the iceberg…
Weight management hypnotherapy
The next most common application of hypnotherapy is for weight management. There are thousands of hypnotherapists out there who only work with weight management clients, and for good reason; it gets results.
As well as ‘standard’ hypnotherapy sessions, some hypnotherapists offer ‘package deals’ that incorporate specific weight-management techniques, as well as ongoing support for those weight management clients who need it. Some therapists, myself included, also offer weight management MP3s and associated weight-loss products, such as my book, Hypno-Fasting, which incorporates intermittent fasting and hypnotherapy for a unique (and highly effective) weight management solution.
With weight management hypnotherapy, the therapist will help a client address both habits and emotional eating, so that as well as being able to recognise how to incorporate new behaviours, such as eating the right amount of food, and making healthier choices, the ‘mind game’ is also addressed. This allows clients to avoid slipping back into ‘yo-yo dieting’, by ensuring their new approach to weight management is sustainable, so it can be a long-term solution that fits seamlessly into their day-to-day lives.
Hypnotherapy for phobias
Fears and phobias can be addressed with hypnotherapy, sometimes in as little as one session. Many phobias are formed in our early years, and as such, a ‘regressive’ approach to treating phobias can often be useful. Within hypnotherapy, we are able to take clients, in their imagination, back to past events in order to either change a reaction to an event, or to distance the client from the memory of the event so that it no longer causes them issues in the present.
Common phobias that hypnotherapists help with include; fear of spiders, fear of dogs, fear of snakes, fear of flying, fear of driving, claustrophobia, needle and blood phobias, emetophobia (fear of vomiting), as well as many more less common phobias. Regardless of the ‘topic’ or focus of the phobia, a well-trained hypnotherapist will often be able to help to reduce, if not completely remove all phobia symptoms, using a range of different approaches to best suit the individual client. Phobia approaches in hypnotherapy include; regression, sub-modality shift, fast phobia cure, hypno-desensitisation, and many more.
Pain management hypnotherapy
Pain management is an area where hypnotherapy can make a significant difference in a person’s life. In fact, we have an online pain management course specifically relating to the many different ways that hypnotherapists can help clients to reduce their pain.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), ‘[clients] who are receptive to hypnotic suggestions, or highly hypnotizable, have found the greatest and most lasting relief from hypnosis techniques, but people with moderate suggestibility (the majority of people) also show improvement’. This means, that some hypnotherapy clients will get moderate pain relief with hypnotherapy, and others will experience significant pain relief, and in some cases, total removal of pain.
Hypnotherapy can work so well for pain management, that in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) advise patients to seek hypnotherapy for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition where pain is often a significant component, due to its efficacy at reducing pain and related IBS symptoms.
Other areas where pain management hypnotherapy approaches are frequently used include; headaches and migraines, dental pain, surgeries, joint and muscle pain, phantom limb pain, psychogenic (psychologically generated) pain and chronic pain conditions.
Anxiety and stress management hypnotherapy
For many clients, anxiety, stress, or both, will be a component of the issue that they would like to work on with a hypnotherapist. This applies to those types of hypnotherapy clients I’ve mentioned above, such as smoking cigarettes as a coping strategy when stressed, feeling anxious about being overweight when out in public, or even developing a lower tolerance for stress when experiencing chronic pain. However, it also applies to the vast majority of issues that all clients bring to the hypnotherapy office.
Sport performance hypnotherapy clients can suffer anxiety about their performances. Pregnant clients engaged in ‘hypno birthing’ often need help with the anxieties and stresses associated with the process of being pregnant, giving birth, and then learning how to live with their new addition. Sexual issues, sleep problems, addictions, confidence issues, trauma, memory issues and pretty much any other problem/condition that you might think of will include some element of stress or anxiety. A professionally qualified hypnotherapist is adept at helping clients overcome stress and anxiety, as well as helping them to deal more effectively with any other symptoms that they’re experiencing.
Other hypnotherapy applications
Though there are some hypnotherapists who are not trained to our own high standards, and who rely on ‘hypnotherapy scripts‘ and pre-defined approaches for specific conditions, a professional hypnotherapist does not work solely with ‘labels’. If a client with ‘stress’ comes for a hypnotherapy session, we do not simply get out a ‘stress management hypnotherapy script’ and read it at them. Instead, we first speak to the client about their problem, and about their desired goal. During this intake process, we learn more about the client’s problem, including their symptoms (behaviours, thoughts and emotions), as well as what they’ve tried before. We find out if they already have any coping strategies or internal resources that can be employed to help them in this situation, and we learn about their motivations and driving factors for change, and that’s just for starters…
With our bespoke and holistic approach to working with the client’s current experience, symptoms and goals, a hypnotherapist is able to effectively work with almost any issue that a client presents with, regardless of the ‘label’ of the problem. So, rather than asking ‘what can hypnotherapy help with?’, instead, a quicker question to answer might be ‘what can’t a hypnotherapist help with?’
If you’d like to learn more about what it takes to become a professional, solution-focused hypnotherapist, and how to create bespoke hypnotherapy sessions for clients without relying on scripts and other limitations, then take a look at our ‘Hypnotherapy 101’ course for a working introduction to the topic, or for information about how to become a fully qualified professional hypnotherapist, click here:
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on what hypnotherapy can help with, and if you have any more questions about this topic, or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher