The idea of hypnosis or hypnotherapy has changed quite a bit in recent decades. Gone is the iconic image of a magician in a top hat and tails waving a gold watch in front a subject, telling them they’re “getting sleeeeepy, very, very sleepy.” Now, when many people think about a hypnotherapist, the image of a doctor in a professional setting is much more common. The practice of hypnotherapy is defined as guided hypnosis or a trance-like state of focus and concentration. This state is similar to being wholly absorbed in a book, movie, or even one’s thoughts during meditation. The person responsible for facilitating or guiding this practice is a licensed hypnotherapist.
Hypnotherapists are alternative medical professionals trained in the art and science of hypnosis to help clients work through various issues. They’re different from doctors and psychologists but often work in tandem with these two professions. The Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles describes the job of the hypnotherapist as one who “Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns.” More specifically, the hypnotherapist “Consults with client to determine nature of the problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine the degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client’s problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.” Essentially, your hypnotherapist acts as a coach guiding your mind to create lasting change. In the trance-like state of hypnosis, your hypnotherapist can help you turn your attention inward to find the natural resources deep within yourself that can help you make changes or regain control in various areas of your life.
Hypnotherapists are certified by one of a number of professional organizations and colleges such as the American Institute of Health Care Professionals, The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists, or the Hypnotherapy Academy. Training generally consists of in-class learning, training hours, a certification exam and varying education requirements. During instruction, students learn about the theory and history of hypnotherapy, proper technique, ethics, and how to help patients with specific issues such as addiction. Generally, certification programs require a minimum of 40-100 hours of hypnotherapy training, workshops, and related class time. They also include 20-30 hours of supervised individual training and at least two years of practical experience using hypnosis as part of a student’s practice. Students of this practice are either entirely dedicated hypnotherapy in their professional lives, or they use the method in tandem with another profession such as dentistry or psychology. Natural healing practitioners such as massage therapists, acupuncturists, and psychotherapists also use hypnotherapy to round out their offerings and provide multiple services to clients.
If you’re struggling with issues related to motivation, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety and you believe that the positive change lives within you, consider working with a hypnotherapist. They’re well trained, professional practitioners that are much evolved from the pocket-watch waving magicians of old.
By, Francis Killory, Hypnotherapist Seattle, offering Clinical Hypnotherapy, Hypnosis with Certified Medical Support. Hypnosis is a state of consciousness used by a licensed Hypnotherapist to perform Hypnotherapy and induce a hypnotic state.