What is Hypnotherapy? – An Introduction

Hypnotherapy is an evidence-based therapeutic practice that has become increasingly popular for its effectiveness in managing a range of psychological and physical issues.

In this introduction, we will explore what modern hypnotherapy entails, its mechanisms, its benefits, and practical applications.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a type of psychotherapy that utilizes natural abilities such as concentration, focused attention and imagination to alter experience. Rather than thinking of hypnosis as a special state, sometimes referred to as a 'trance' state it is more helpful to think of it as a process that the person seeking change is guided through by a trained therapist. During this process, individuals can more effectively hone in on specific thoughts, tasks resources, and perspectives.

The Historical Background of Hypnotherapy

Originally associated with Franz Mesmer in the 18th century, who introduced what he called "animal magnetism," hypnotherapy has evolved significantly over the centuries. The term "hypnosis" itself was introduced by James Braid in 1841, who initially misunderstood it as a form of sleep, only to shift his position later, suggesting it was about focussed attention on a specific idea. Today, hypnosis is recognized not as sleep like state, but as a focused and collaborative act of the imagination and has shed many of the mystical connotations it initially carried.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Modern hypnotherapy is often integrated with cognitive-behavioral techniques, emphasizing the role of mental processes and behaviors in human functioning. Hypnotherapy facilitates behavioral change and emotional well-being by focusing attention and applying imaginative strategies to break negative thought patterns and change automatic responses.

Techniques Used in Hypnotherapy

  • Relaxation: Enhancing a readiness to face things and do things differently.
  • Suggestion: Implementing therapeutic suggestions that align with the individual's goals.
  • Cognitive Reframing: Assisting individuals in reframing their thoughts and feelings.
  • Mindfulness: Promoting increased awareness and presence in the moment.

Benefits of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy is effectively used to manage chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is commonly used to help reduce anxiety, overcome phobias, and habits. As well as this it can be used to improve lifestyle habits, improve sleep, and enhance performance. Its integration with cognitive-behavioral techniques makes it a robust tool for promoting mental and physical health.

  • Mental Health: It is particularly effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress.
  • Chronic Pain Management: It helps manage pain by altering the psychological perception of pain.
  • Performance Enhancement: Hypnotherapy improves focus and performance in various areas, including sports and public speaking.

How Hypnotherapy Can Change Lives: Evidence and Case Studies

Hypnosis has been a topic of scientific inquiry for over a century. In the early 20th century, pioneers in the field like Sigmund Freud and Émile Coué used hypnosis in their clinical practices, while researchers such as Clark Hull and Milton Erickson sought to understand the psychological mechanisms underlying hypnosis.

Today, hypnosis remains a popular tool in clinical and therapeutic settings, and several peer-reviewed scientific journals are dedicated to the study of hypnosis and related topics. In this article, we  examine seven such journals: the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, the Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Contemporary Hypnosis, and the Journal of Mind Body Regulation.

How to Choose a Hypnotherapist

Selecting a competent hypnotherapist involves looking for credentials, such as certification from reputable hypnotherapy training programs, and ensuring they have a background in evidence-based techniques if that is your interest. It's also important to choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and safe. These days you should expect some transparency regarding their experience, such as an online presence, business reviews, testimonials, and the option for a no obligation chat before booking.
Here is a list of hypnotherapists that have completed Professional Hypnotherapy training with Jacquin Hypnosis Academy.


Hypnotherapy, from a modern standpoint, offers a scientifically supported method for enhancing mental health and well-being. It continues to gain acceptance as an effective form of therapy in the broader health and wellness fields.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is hypnotherapy safe? : Yes, when conducted by a trained and certified professional, hypnotherapy is a safe, non-invasive treatment without harmful side effects.

Q2: How many sessions are needed to see results? : Results can vary, but many individuals see benefits from hypnotherapy within a few sessions.

Q3: Can everyone use hypnotherapy? : Most people can use hypnotherapy effectively, although individual responsiveness can vary.