Use of Clinical Hypnosis in Counseling by Soo Moon, MA LMFT

Therapists use a variety of tools in session with clients to help them achieve their goals. One of these tools is Clinical Hypnosis. Research has shown that Clinical Hypnosis can be highly effective in healing from depression, anxiety, physical pain, and an assortment of other ailments. At Parker Collins Family Mental Health we can provide healing for our clients with Clinical Hypnosis.

The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis describes hypnosis as a ‘state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention.1′ It is the use and manipulation of the mind/body connection to access the subconscious for healing. To do this, therapists provide guided imagery and suggestions to achieve deep relaxation, connect to subconscious parts of a client’s self, and strengthen access to internal resources to aid in healing.

We have all experienced being in a trance-like state. Humans move in and out of trance during much of their day. Human consciousness is continuous, not dualistic (e.g. awake and asleep). In hypnosis, we use formal induction techniques to deepen relaxation and connect to subconscious parts of a client’s self.

In order to better understand what hypnosis is, what it is not, and how it can be helpful to clients, we have created the following FAQ.

  1. Who can benefit from hypnosis?
  • Most people who are highly motivated to make a change in their lives can benefit from hypnosis. For example, with smoking cessation, clients who do 9/10th of the work to quit smoking might benefit from hypnosis to aid in quitting for good.
  • Hypnosis can be helpful to alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood dysregulation, grief, physical pain, auditory hallucination, etc. It can help with performance anxiety, fear of childbirth (many women currently use hypnobirthing techniques), and improvement in confidence/self-esteem.
  1. What are some misconceptions about hypnosis?
  • It is not used for humiliation/entertainment. Therapists are under ethical guidelines to not do harm to clients.
  • Hypnosis cannot be used to make clients do something against their will. While in a trance, clients will be able to hear everything the Therapist is saying and can choose which parts to ignore or follow.
  • Some hypnosis therapists specialize in helping clients connect to past lives or engage in past life regression. Therapists at Parker Collins do not provide this type of hypnosis. Rather, we focus on the clinical elements of healing from unwanted symptoms.
  • Clinical Hypnosis is not used to recover memories. While some clients might realize new memories after participating in hypnosis, not all memories can be verified to be true. Memories are always changing and we continuously rewrite our narratives. Therapists will work with a client to identify what new filler memory elements realized feel true.
  1. How many sessions does it take to get results?
  • Results vary depending on the level of trauma a client has experienced, their support system, internal resiliency, and motivation.
  • Most adults can gain small increments of change/benefit from each session. Commonly adults take eight to twelve sessions to achieve desired results.
  • Children often are able to benefit from fewer sessions of hypnosis. They might take only three to seven sessions to achieve desired results. One case documented a child who client stopped having auditory hallucinations after one session of clinical hypnosis.
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