What is Hypnotherapy?


Hypnotherapy is a form of deep relaxation that brings individuals into a trance-like state of consciousness. In this state, the patient becomes calm, focused and responsive to suggestion. Under the guidance of a trained therapist, the patient is able to explore ideas or experiences that they may not otherwise be able to access.


Hypnotherapy comes in different forms. In some forms, hypnotherapy works by accessing memories from the past, separating events from the behaviors that have been learned in response to them, and replacing unhealthy behaviors with adaptive ones.


Hypnotherapy can be used to change behaviors or perceptions (such as stopping smoking or sensitivity to pain). It can also be used to access the underlying cause of a problem, such as remembering a traumatic event that has been repressed in unconscious memory.


Most hypnotherapy sessions last about one hour. While some individuals are highly receptive to hypnosis and may respond in as little as one or two sessions, others may require 10 or more sessions.




Hypnotherapy has been used in a variety of settings, including hospitals, drug rehab programs and outpatient clinics. Research suggests that hypnotherapy may have the following benefits:


  • Enhanced self-awareness and self-regulation
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and pain
  • Improved recovery time and immune function
  • Reduced dependence on medication

In order to help process any painful feelings or memories that may surface, hypnotherapy is often used in conjunction with other forms of therapy.


Introduced in the 1700s by Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer, it wasn’t until the 1900s that hypnotherapy became recognized as a valid treatment by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the National Institutes of Health.

Since then, hypnotherapy has been used to treat a number of disorders, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Pain
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders