How effective is hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis has received a lot of negative publicity over recent decades.  The entertainment industry has led many to believe that hypnosis is all about making a fool of yourself; being brainwashed or losing control.  They make the hypnotist seem all powerful at the expense of the participants dignity.  However hypnotherapy is completely different.

Whilst it still relies on the same basic principles and techniques, hypnotherapy is focused on helping people to overcome various issues in their lives.  But even in this healing environment, the debate rages on about how effective hypnotherapy is.  Can it really help people or is it simply a placebo?

From my vast experience in hypnotherapy, I have seen first hand that hypnosis can be very effective at treating a wide variety of issues, however there are conditions which need to be met.

  1. The cause of the issue either needs to be a pure habit (e.g. something is done only because that is what has always been done) or the cause has been identified and has been consciously acknowledged and dealt with through counselling / psychotherapy.
  2. The client must not have anything unresolved which may be continuing to affect them.
  3. The client needs to want to change
  4. The client has no medical conditions preventing the change
  5. The client is able to relax comfortably
  6. The client is able to hear and understand English

All these points are very important.  If one of them is not met, it can result in treatment failure.

I have personally encountered clients in the past who did not meet all these criteria and have seen how difficult it is to treat them effectively.  Often, we have to switch to a psychotherapy / counselling route to begin with so both the client and I can gain a  better understanding and awareness to the issues involved.

In my opinion, if a client meets all 6 criteria above and if the hypnotherapist is suitably trained, qualified and competent, hypnosis is highly effective.

As a word of warning though, currently there are very few laws and legislations governing who can call themselves a hypnotherapist.  In theory, you could just read a book on it and set yourself up in business with no proper training or experience.  Although these people cannot harm you with their hypnosis, they are often nothing more than con artists, taking your money and damaging the reputation of genuine hypnotherapists.  A properly qualified therapist will be able to prove their qualifications and will be a member of several societies.  A reputable hypnotherapist will also often provide free or discounted initial consultations and certain guarantees, e.g. a free top up session, money back if you can't go into hypnosis, etc.  So for the best chance of success, make sure you go with a properly qualified therapist.