Question to a Client: What do you Think Hypnotherapy Actually is?

Answer: ”I have seen it on TV where people are made to do strange things. I have heard it can be used to help people with anxiety.”


Like many other people that I have asked over many years, this client accurately identified hypnosis as used as entertainment on television. However, it is important for us as hypnotherapists to address the statement “people are made to do strange things.”. Now I must admit there is evidence in the entertainment industry of post-hypnotic suggestions making people “cluck like a chicken” (Waller D 2016), after they hear a trigger, such as the hypnotist counting from 1 to 3. However, what is important that clients are made aware post-hypnotic suggestions, which is what this technically is, can be used to benefit them. A professional and ethical hypnotherapist is only ever going to be doing you good in a nice and pleasing way. In fact many clients will go away after hypnotherapy having enjoyed the experience.

Good Ethical Post-Hypnotic Suggestion Is a Good Technique

Good ways we can introduce post-hypnotic suggestion to new clients include telling clients of evidence that positive post-hypnotic suggestions can last from 1 to 8 months with intervening hypnotherapy treatments (Patton E 1930). So, this technique can positively benefit them now and well into their future. Additionally, Fultcher R (2014) says positive goals the client has given us when applied through suggestion in their own words are “…likely to remain active … because the suggestions … are … designed to work alongside [their] own beliefs and values.” So, we have lasting therapy here and can be enhanced when required to continue longer.

Evidence Tells Us Hypnotherapy Can Help With Anxiety

This client was also correct that hypnosis, when used as hypnotherapy can be used to help with anxiety. Orlick T et al (1987) tells of tournament fencers anxiety levels being affected positively before competitions by the use of post-hypnotic suggestion.  Also, Stanton H (2001) tells us of medical practitioners who’s anxiety levels were lowered during an examination by a confidence increasing hypnotherapy sessions. This is important to clients because the larger the evidence base we have to prove hypnosis and hypnotherapy works well for people, the more people will know we can help them. Also lets not forget with a growing evidence base we can truthfully tell this to people. Hypnotherapy is proven to work for many personal problems in life.



Waller D (2016) Their Worlds Your Words: The Hypnotherapists Guide to Effective Scripts and Sessions Ann Jaloba Publishing

Waterfield R (2004) Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition pp36

Patton E (1930) The duration of post-hypnotic suggestion [online] available at accessed 25/02/21

Fulcher R (2014) The Beginner’s Guide to Hypnotherapy Kindle Edition pp165

Orlick T et al (1987) The effects of post-hypnotic suggestion and relaxation with suggestion on competitive fencing anxiety and performance. [online] available at accessed 25/02/21

Stanton H (2001) Using Hypnotherapy to Overcome Examination Anxiety[online] available at accessed 25/02/21

Fulcher R (2014) The Beginner’s Guide to Hypnotherapy Kindle Edition pp168

Roet B (2000) Understanding Hypnosis: A practical guide to the health-giving benefits of hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition



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