What Is Hypnosis and How Can It Be Used In Therapy

If you’ve ever driven to work and wondered how you got there because you were thinking about a million other things, then you’ve experienced hypnosis. You’ve also experienced hypnosis if you’ve entered the ?zone,? a place where writers, athletes and artists experience when they are only devoted to their art and nothing else comes in the way of their task.� Hypnosis is simply the ability to access specific everyday trance states of both the dissociated (the divided, thinking about a million other things) and the associated (the flow state, the ?zone?) of the mind. With hypnosis, therapists can help clients understand the power of their mind so they can break through barriers and reach their full potential.

How Can Hypnosis Help?

We need to imagine that the brain is divided into two parts: the cortex, which is the thinking, rational part and the limbic system, which handles emotional part. Phobias stem from the limbic system from incorrectly associating a trigger to a fear response.

Hypnosis is used in therapy to treat these phobias and fears, but it won’t automatically get rid of these phobias. Not all people respond to hypnosis, but the good news is that people who suffer from phobias are more likely to take to hypnosis. Hypnotherapy deals with phobias by replacing the triggering agent with a positive attribute; so for instance, if you’re afraid of flying, through hypnotherapy, you’ll associate flying with confidence and security.

Hypnosis can also help therapy clients who suffer from stress, anxiety, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many others.

How Do You Start?

The therapist will begin the session by asking the client to go into their future and notice the details of what others are wearing. This exercise activates the unconscious mind. He will also ask the client to describe sensory experiences (touch, taste, smell, sight and sound) and also check in with how they feel inside. Then, the therapist will ask the client to take in a deep breath and focus on the words he will say. The reason the therapist asks the client to imagine the future is that every time you go out into the future you bring back the pleasant experiences you found there back into the present. So it follows that the more detailed and rich your experiences in the future are, the more your unconscious mind will find sensory rich experiences in the present.

The Power of Auto Suggestion

In order to carry out the therapist’s work, you will need to craft affirmations that will link from your cortex to your limbic system. These statements need to be crafted with goal-oriented language, they need to be in the present tense, and they need to use statements of faith. It’s a good idea to use the words ?now,? ?because,? and ?don’t.?

Some examples:

I now consciously decide how to use my time.
I am happily responsible for my life.
I am mentally designing a healthier body today.
Don’t pay attention to your email.
I imagine that people love me more everyday because I am a worthy person.

As you are doing this work lie down, loosen your clothing, close your eyes and focus on each of your statements. Just think about the words and images you create, and don’t try to make anything happen because if you do, you’ll ruin the effect.

Using hypnosis in therapy shows the client how they can go from an anxious state to a more relaxed one through the power of words. If they keep up their sessions, they will start to see the effects of hypnosis and they may then want to try some of the techniques on their own. Hypnosis helps clients help themselves and it helps them see everything more clearly while putting them in front of their fears and phobias.


Nancy Travers is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She specializes in all types of relationships; We all want them, We all need them; How to get em and Keep them. Nancy’s office is located at 2212 Dupont Dr., Suite I, Irvine, Ca. 92612.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 949-510- 9423 or contact us.
copyright a division of Counseling Corner, Inc.
As seen in The Blade magazine June 2005.

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