- Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilises the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
The process itself aims to alter our state of consciousness in a way that relaxes the conscious part of the mind while simultaneously stimulating and focussing the subconscious part. This heightened state of awareness - reached using skilled relaxation techniques - allows the therapist to then make appropriate suggestions.
When might hypnotherapy be useful?
Hypnotherapy is widely endorsed as a treatment for habit breaking, stress related issues and for a range of long-term conditions, and in recent years has been gaining steam in the medical world after a recommendation from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised hypnotherapy as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
While more concrete evidence is needed to support the use of hypnosis in additional areas as an alternative to conventional medicine, many have found the process has been incredibly effective either when used in tandem with traditional treatment or when used independently after other avenues have been exhausted.
To explore the areas in which hypnotherapy might be helpful, please see our Hypnotherapy areas section.
Are there different types of hypnotherapy?
If you are considering hypnosis, it's important to understand the different types of hypnotherapy available to you, as certain techniques will be better suited to certain situations and circumstances.
Below is a brief overview of some of the most frequently used hypnotherapy types:
Traditional/suggestion hypnotherapy involves the therapist imparting a series of 'suggestions' to the subconscious mind with a view to positively influencing thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This form of hypnotherapy is often employed in situations where there is no root cause that needs addressing, and can also be used effectively on a short-term basis to foster change in a limited number of sessions.
A hypno-pscyhotherapist differs from a hypnotherapist in that they will have undertaken training in psychotherapy theory and practice.
This integrative approach utilises both techniques to help with deeper problems that may not be able to be addressed with hypnotherapy alone (for example trauma or abuse), allowing the therapist to use their training and skills in psychotherapy to provide a supportive and empathetic therapeutic relationship.
Analytical hypnotherapy draws upon concepts and techniques of psychotherapy (though the hypnotherapist might not be qualified in psychotherapy) in a bid to discover and address deeper, longer standing concerns. The aim of this form of hypnotherapy is to find and remove the root cause. For example, while suggestion hypnotherapy could potentially help to mask and reduce troubled sleep - analytical hypnotherapy seeks to establish the cause of the troubled sleep (e.g. relationship issues), before addressing it. In short, it aims to resolve problems as opposed to managing them.
In terms of treatment length analytical hypnotherapy lends itself to longer-term treatment and is an involved process often requiring significant commitment from the client.
Clinical hypnotherapy is where a person receives hypnotherapy from a qualified hypnotherapist with a healthcare background. In the UK, hypnotherapists are not required to have any specific training by law, but a clinical hypnotherapist is a licensed clinician who can use the practice to treat a range of medical and psychological conditions. Most health professionals who practice clinical hypnotherapy are registered with a professional body and are regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
Cognitive/behavioural hypnotherapy is a modern, scientific approach to therapy that combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and hypnosis to positively influence emotional, behavioural, cognitive and symptomatic change.
This branch of hypnosis differs significantly from the traditional schools of hypnotherapy - drawing influence from a range of theories such as positive psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology and NLP, and combining them so that they fall in line with the personal goals and values of the client. Drawing from this extensive range of techniques and disciplines is how therapists are able to create such a personal and tailored approach for the client - avoiding the 'one size fits all' approach.
The process itself sees the therapist accessing the mindset of clients, so that they can use techniques and language based on the client's unique model of the world. The process will also often incorporate an analytical approach, whereby unwanted thoughts and behaviours from the past are cleared away and then techniques to retrain the brain in the present are utilised to ensure the changes clients would like to make become fully realised.
Hypnotherapy and NLP
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) explores the relationship between language, behaviour and excellence. It is essentially a model used to identify and analyse the linguistic techniques used subconsciously by successful people, in order to produce a recipe for excellence.
An NLP practitioner will look at your attitude, language and your use of it, your understanding of relationships and how you build a rapport and the physical and emotional states that are best for accomplishing a task. Effective communication and perception of others and ourselves will also be key focuses and all will be examined so that strategies for improving understanding, motivation, learning and remembering can be formed.
Many hypnotherapists train in NLP in order to help themselves communicate more effectively with their clients, and also to help their clients communicate more effectively with themselves.
If you'd like to find out more about NLP, please see our full fact-sheet here.
Time Line Therapy™
Developed by NLP practitioner, Tad James, Time Line Therapy™ is a hypnotic approach that derives from NLP. It is based on the concept that our unconscious mind stores memories in a linear pattern - like a time line - which is essentially a mental photo album of our life. Time Line therapists use a variety of techniques to unconsciously help clients release negative emotions and limiting beliefs linked to past experiences in order to facilitate long-term transformation and better mind-body health. Time Line Therapy™ is considered particularly useful for helping people to overcome symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety, and tends to achieve quick results.
Solution focused hypnotherapy
Solution focused hypnotherapy looks at what the client would like to achieve, rather than the reason why they booked the appointment. It focuses on the present and the future instead of the past, which is why it can provide a positive effect in such a short space of time.
The hypnotherapist may ask how the client’s life would improve if they fix the problem, and specifically what would have changed. This provides a specific goal for the client to aim for while making the solution clear.
This approach can help with confidence problems, anxiety, depression, traumatic experiences and minor phobias such as water, spiders and flying.
Does everyone respond to hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis has the capacity to work for the majority of individuals but some are more susceptible to suggestions than others. The most important thing to remember is that you must be fully committed to the process and feel that you can place your trust in your hypnotherapist. It's also important to keep an open mind, as any scepticism may subconsciously dampen your susceptibility.
Are hypnotherapists regulated?
As it stands hypnotherapists are not currently regulated in the UK, meaning that there are no laws in position which outline the level of training and experience required in order to practice. Our verification process however, ensures that we only list hypnotherapists who have provided proof of a relevant qualification and insurance cover, or proof of membership with an industry professional body.
Once a hypnotherapist has been through our verification process, we will display the policy seal that you can see pictured to the left - as an indication of their professionalism.
For more information on regulation and our verification process, please see our Hypnotherapy Directory policy.
What is a professional body?
There are various professional bodies (also known as member organisations) in existence that have taken on the role of self-regulation within the hypnotherapy industry. While hypnotherapists are under no legal obligation to join a professional body, membership does mean they have met certain requirements set by their professional body and must abide by a code of ethics and complaints procedure.
If you are wary about visiting a hypnotherapist, we would recommend choosing one that belongs to a professional body. It's simple to find a hypnotherapist who belongs to a professional body - just visit our Advanced search, enter your location and tick the 'Member of a professional body' box before hitting 'Search'.
For further information, please see our professional bodies page.
What is registration/accreditation with a professional body?
Being registered/accredited with a professional body means that a hypnotherapist has achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved and recognised by their professional body.
If a hypnotherapist has achieved this status, we'll display the badge pictured above on their profile page.
What training, qualifications and experience should hypnotherapists have?
There are currently no guidelines in place stipulating the training and qualifications a hypnotherapist must have in order to practice. However, industry guidelines recommend that individuals should have completed at least an appropriate diploma or have completed a course that involved a minimum of 450 learning hours, of which 120 must have been face to face.
How do I know which hypnotherapist to choose?
Hypnotherapy Directory lists thousands of hypnotherapists nationwide, so we understand that with all of the choice available it might be difficult to decide what you want and who you'd like to go and see.
If you'd like some pointers on what to look out for during your search, take a look at our Not sure where to start page, which provides a useful birds eye view of the website for those who haven't quite found their way around just yet.
What will happen in a hypnotherapy session?
Many hypnotherapists now offer an initial consultation, generally lasting around one hour and usually involving several elements:
- A discussion about your requirements and goals.
- Gathering personal information such as sleeping patterns, lifestyle information, medical symptoms or medication, any treatments involving other healthcare providers.
- An explanation of how the hypnotherapy process will work.
- Practical details such as cost, cancellation policy, how many sessions might be needed.
In the subsequent session the practical application of clinical hypnosis can then begin. While delivery will differ from therapist to therapist and each will explain how the process will work, the following popular session structure may give you an idea of what to expect:
- A welcome chat to encourage comfort and relaxation.
- Induction - the hypnotherapist will then lead you into a state of deep physical and mental relaxation.
- Once deeply relaxed, the hypnotherapist can then begin 'change work' using techniques and approaches discussed and agreed to help you towards your goals.
- Once the 'change work' is complete, the hypnotherapist will begin the transition to wakefulness, in which you are gradually brought out of your trance.
- Time for any questions you may have and a summary of the session and any progress made thus far.
How regularly will I see my hypnotherapist?
How regularly you see your hypnotherapist will be something you will decide on together. Initially, you may decide you wish to meet on a weekly basis, but depending on improvements and how you feel, you may choose to then see them more or less frequently.
How many sessions of hypnotherapy will I need?
The duration of therapy will really be dependant on your circumstances and the reason for which you are seeking hypnosis. If you are seeking hypnosis for a one off service such as smoking cessation for example, many hypnotherapists will deliver hypnotherapy in a single session of up to two hours. Other issues however, may better suit a longer-term approach with regular weekly sessions. Your hypnotherapist will let you know how many sessions they feel you might need when you start therapy, and will be flexible when it comes to decreasing or extending the number of sessions to correlate with your progress and needs.
How long will hypnotherapy sessions last?
Again this is really dependant on both your hypnotherapist and your circumstances. One off services such as smoking cessation or gastric band hypnotherapy can last around two hours, while a general hypnotherapy session will usually take 50 - 60 minutes.
How much does hypnotherapy cost?
Services such as smoking cessation and gastric band hypnotherapy may come at a slighter higher premium because they are often provided as a one-off service. When it comes to general private hypnotherapy sessions - the NHS have estimated a cost of between £50 and £90, though do be mindful that this will differ from practitioner to practitioner.
Can I get hypnotherapy on the NHS?
Access to hypnotherapy on the NHS is incredibly limited and while you can discuss the option with your healthcare provider, it is not widely available and the majority of practitioners work privately.
Can I get free hypnotherapy?
While some select charities may provide free hypnotherapy, it is not widely available on the NHS and most hypnotherapists do work privately and will charge.
Some practitioners however, will offer low cost sessions/concessionary rates for students or those on a low income so do check with practitioners to see if pro bono rates are available.
Practitioners on Hypnotherapy Directory will list details of discounts and special rates on their profiles in their fees section.
Is hypnotherapy for children safe?
Hypnotherapy for children and young people is considered highly effective and is completely safe. Children tend to respond very well to hypnosis as they are naturally quite imaginative and use their subconscious minds a great deal more than adults do. Hypnotherapy can help to address a number of issues commonly experienced in childhood, including exam nerves, sleep problems, bed-wetting, fears, eating disorders and low self-esteem.
Do hypnotherapists offer any seminars, workshops or events?
In addition to one-to-one sessions, many hypnotherapists do also offer additional services in the form of seminars, workshops and events.
If you're considering hypnotherapy or if you have a general interest in the subject, our event finder lists workshops, qualifications and seminars covering a broad range of topics that are held up and down the county by our hypnotherapists and practices.
To find our what's going on near you, see our event finder today.
If you have a question we haven't covered in our FAQs, feel free to get in touch and we'll be happy to help.
Experiencing a healthy apprehension before doing something is a feeling most people deal with from time to time,...
I've been scared of flying since I was young and I really wanted to find out if hypnotherapy would work. I was...
I saw a hypnotherapist last year. I had an irrational fear of dogs which was worsening and affecting my daily...