Self-hypnosis, also known as auto-hypnosis, can refer to a form of hypnosis that we can perform on ourselves, as well as the process of putting ourselves into a hypnotic state of deep relaxation and suggestion or trance.
It is used most commonly to help reinforce new, more positive habits, break unhealthy behaviour patterns, or to change your outlook. Self-hypnosis can be used alongside sessions with a qualified, experienced hypnotherapist to help reinforce new ideas and behaviours, or by yourself to try and facilitate change.
What’s the difference between hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy generally refers to the therapeutic use of hypnosis to help with a specific problem or issue. This could be helping you to give up smoking or alcohol, learn how to manage your anxiety levels, increase your confidence, or to get a better night’s sleep.
Hypnosis refers to the process of inducing a trance to help promote communication between your conscious and subconscious mind. This can be done with the help of a hypnotherapist (through hypnotherapy), or by yourself (self-hypnosis).
Whether you’re looking to decrease your stress and anxiety levels, improve bad habits, or overcome a specific problem or issue, self-hypnosis techniques could help you - as long as you’ve got an open mind, and are ready to change. There’s no right or wrong way to try self-hypnosis.
“Self-hypnosis is a highly effective way of bringing about change at your own convenience. It can be used anywhere, at any time.”
- Linda Mortimer, hypnotherapist.
How does self-hypnosis work?
In order to get the most out of self-hypnosis, as with all types of hypnosis, you need to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to make positive changes. As with all skills, it takes practice to see lasting, ongoing benefits.
Learning the basics can help you to pick up the techniques and steps needed to induce self-hypnosis. If you are working with a qualified, experienced hypnotherapist to help you with another problem or issue, they can often teach you self-hypnosis techniques. This can help you reinforce any new ideas or behaviours between your sessions, and to continue seeing positive benefits after your sessions come to an end.
As one hypnotherapist explains, “You may want to be hypnotised by a trained hypnotherapist in the first instance so you can get a feel for what hypnosis is like. Your hypnotherapist can then educate you about how to do the process yourself.
“Repetition is key. Make sure to complete your self-hypnosis session every day and develop a routine that works for you. Remember to be patient, because it takes time to learn any new skill.”
Many people report a feeling of instant calm and relaxation when practising self-hypnosis. Ensuring that you have a calm environment free of distractions (be that your phone or family interruptions) can help you to get started. For some, closing their eyes helps them to better concentrate and block out distractions, however, if this feels uncomfortable, you can leave your eyes open. There’s no right or wrong way to get started.
Focusing on how you would like to think or feel is key. Visualise where you would like to be, for example, accomplishing your goal to give up alcohol, or picturing how you will feel when you have managed to stand up and deliver your presentation. This helps put you in a state of mind where you can believe in yourself, opening the way up for you to manifest positivity in your life.
Using affirmations (simple, positive statements) can help to reinforce these new, positive thoughts and ideas. The more simple, genuine, and honest you can make these, the more likely they are to be successfully planted into your unconscious.
By consistently creating time in your regular routine to include self-hypnosis (even if it’s just for a few minutes), you can start to see real, lasting effects.
What can self-hypnosis be used for?
Self-hypnosis can help with a wide variety of issues. From helping lessen pain and stress whilst promoting relaxation during childbirth, to enhancing your memory, overcoming anxiety and more, self-hypnosis can be a tool to help support and strengthen ideas and new techniques learnt during hypnotherapy.
If you are looking to modify a certain behaviour, emotion, or attitude, enhance an existing or develop a new skill, or improve habits, self-hypnosis may be able to help.
As one hypnotherapist explains, “The most significant benefit of self-hypnosis is that it works! Most hypnotherapists use self-hypnosis regularly. It can be used to motivate, to increase performance, to empower and when diligently practised and done correctly can elicit the same results as those gained from a hypnosis session.”
To help you get started on your hypnosis journey we have curated some self-hypnosis tracks from our members for you to try.
In this self-hypnosis for IBS, hypnotherapist Helen Brooks (AKA The Tummy Whisperer) guides us through a relaxation and healing session.
Supporting with pain management, hypnotherapist Lin Debarr leads a session to help lower pain levels so you can relax more easily (please note that this recording may not be suitable if you have hydrophobia - fear of water).
In this empowering session, hypnotherapist Vicki Crane leads a self-hypnosis on confidence building.
Helping those with anxiety and particularly those feeling overwhelmed by the news cycle, this calming self-hypnosis from hypnotherapist Malminder Gill came from a live webinar we ran on coping with anxiety.
Helping you to cultivate a sense of inner strength to overcome anxiety, this track from hypnotherapist Juliet Hollingsworth will leave you feeling calm and in control.
Offering a session of calm and relaxation, hypnotherapist Natasha Crowe recorded this track for our podcast, I am. I have.
Helping you ease flying anxiety and fear of flying, hypnotherapist Sue Rowland leads this relaxing self-hypnosis session, listen before your flight.
Can self-hypnosis replace hypnotherapy?
While self-hypnosis can be a helpful tool, working with a qualified, experienced hypnotherapist offers a wide range of unique benefits that self-hypnosis alone cannot. A hypnotherapist will be able to talk with you before beginning a hypnotherapy session to help figure out any underlying issues. They can tailor sessions to suit your individual circumstances and needs, as well as to adapt any language and messaging for you.
Self-hypnosis can help to reinforce any ideas introduced during hypnotherapy sessions, however, without the guidance of a hypnotherapist, you may not fully be able to identify - and overcome - any deeper triggers or issues that may be contributing to your current problem behaviour or situation.