Types of hypnotherapy

There are so many different types of hypnotherapy and various initials after therapists’ names – how do you decide who to contact?

There are three basic types of hypnotherapy.

If you have been looking into the possibility of having treatment, you will have noticed many different types of hypnotherapy available (for example; curative, clinical, evidenced-based, cognitive, eclectic) as well as those which diversify into or include other therapies (NLP, EFT, CBT or counselling for example).

When someone says they are an engineer, you know to ask more; to find out whether they may be a mechanical engineer, electrical, genetic or domestic engineer – all very different jobs, each requiring a different skill set. The same applies to hypnotherapists. We may all use a version of hypnosis, but we utilise the tool in various ways, to differing degrees and with different aims or purposes.

In an attempt to help you to decide which kind of hypnotherapy interests you, so you can channel your investigation more easily, I have divided the most common therapeutic directions into what I see to be three main categories – the What, the When and the Why:


Treatment that focuses on:

  • what you are feeling – the symptom you currently experience
  • what you want to change
  • what ways these feelings can be managed or dealt with as and when they arise.


Treatment that focuses on:

  • when the symptom or condition started
  • when was the first time you experienced these feelings
  • when they cause most difficulty for you and ways of managing these situations.


Treatment that focuses on:

  • why situations cause you to react differently from most other people
  • why you reacted to past events by carrying the experience with you
  • why life event(s) have left these effects within you
  • why feelings, situations, memories or events continue to affect your life.

Cognitive or suggestion-based hypnotherapy, along with those that deal more with the conscious, analytical, thinking mind can provide quick results with the ‘what‘ – the focus being more on speed of change rather than lasting effects.

Therapy which deals more on a subconscious level (often termed clinical or analytical hypnotherapy) is used to deal with the ‘Initial Sensitising Event’ or trigger incident (the ‘when‘), perhaps helping a person to come to terms with past traumas or experiences to understand or deal with the effects of life events.

When a person knows what triggers a symptom or knows their thought patterns or behaviour are unhelpful but are still unable to change them, or when it is necessary to deal with the ‘why‘, to find out why a person reacted to their life events by developing a symptom or condition, then my preference is to use LCH (often referred to as curative hypnotherapy). As this is the least common direction, perhaps an example may help to highlight the differences.

Differences explained

Let’s imagine a person attends treatment suffering with negative thoughts. Such a way of thinking can have serious impact on their confidence, self-esteem, self-assurance and can eventually lead to depression, anhedonia, crippling anxiety or social phobia. While some clients will respond well to the use of affirmations and positive self-talk, others find this exacerbates the negativity. Logically, they know that the only reason they are having to use these positive messages is because there is a problem there, so such affirmations only serve to reinforce the fact that things are not as they should be. So, not that helpful!

Talking through the times in their life when they have experienced particular feelings or negative emotion can enable them to put those particular events to rest. Time-machines, sadly, are hard to find so going back to ‘un-happen’ the past is not an option! Some hypnotherapists may use visualisation to enable a person to revisit, review or ‘reframe’ those memories in one way or another. But the problem is still there is some form to some degree.

LCH, by contrast, focuses on identifying and reinterpreting the incorrect Core Beliefs which caused the individual to react to those situations so strongly, and so enables the effects of all the dozens or perhaps hundreds of reinforcing events to be automatically and swiftly neutralised.

Subsequent to that correction/reinterpretation, a person does not have to work to think positively, does not need to spend time altering their outlook or challenging their viewpoint – one does not need to correct something that is not wrong!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Birmingham, West Midlands, B14 4JT
Written by Helen Lesser, Curative Hypnotherapy
Birmingham, West Midlands, B14 4JT

I have been in practice in South Birmingham for over 40 years, using hypnosis to help people fulfil their potential and achieve the contented, rewarding life they deserve. While many people believe that hypnotherapy is limited to those who wish to stop smoking or seek help for weight problems, depre...

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