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What is Hypnotherapy?

Updated: Sep 15

What is hypnosis? Do I loose control when in trance? How do I know which hypnotherapist to choose? Can I be hypnotised? Just some of the questions I remember asking myself at the beginning of my hypnotherapy discovery journey.


Hypnotherapy Sydney
How does hypnotherapy work?

What is Hypnosis and do You Lose Control?


As with most of my clients, my introduction to hypnotherapy was purely accidental.

One day a friend of mine mentioned she went to see a hypnotherapist for an issue she was dealing with for some time. I immediately imagined a man swinging a pocket watch in front of my friend’s face and putting her into a kind of ‘coma’ state, during which she inevitably tells him all her bank details and passwords.


To put you at ease, none of this Hollywood action happened to my friend.


And now all these years later I can’t help but smile when people ask me to show them my special pocket watch. It is one of my favourite misconceptions where people confuse stage hypnosis with therapy hypnosis.


The biggest difference between the two is the intended outcome. Stage hypnosis is for entertainment with no lasting effects for participants. While hypnotherapy is first and foremost a therapy.


Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to create long lasting mindset shifts, that aid in a desired behaviour change. Be it improved confidence, focus and clarity, relaxation for sleep, habit-quitting or indeed any other personal goal. This is incredibly life affirming work, and a discipline I find very personally rewarding.



What is Trance and Can I be Hypnotised?


A question most frequently asked on my discovery calls. The answer is simple - yes, you can, IF you WANT to.


As hypnotherapists we are trained in a learned skill, but we are not magicians – so if you are determined not to be hypnotised or don’t want to be, then we cannot override your free will.


Remember the stage hypnosis I spoke about at the beginning? A stage hypnotist uses suggestibility testing to choose their volunteers – usually people they choose are the ones who most want to perform. In a therapy session, a professional hypnotherapist may use similar tests to identify the best suggestions and approach to use or avoid during a therapy session for trance induction. However, under hypnosis you will not be able to do anything, which goes against your personal values or beliefs.


You are not asleep either. Trance is a state of heightened awareness in which you are aware of everything that’s happening around you. The hypnotherapist does not take control. We simply make suggestions aligned with your goal for the therapy. Our mind is more receptive to suggestions when the brain is in a hypnotic state. If you don’t like a suggestion that you hear – you won’t take it on board, which is why your personal decision to make the change is so important for the success of your therapy treatment. You can see if your goals are within the remit of hypnotherapy treatment capabilities in my blog '10 Common Issues Hypnotherapy can Help with'.


How do I Choose the Best Hypnotherapist in Australia?


Clinical hypnotherapy is a combination of hypnosis and psychological treatment administered by a trained professional such as a Clinical Hypnotherapist.


Just like psychotherapy and counselling hypnotherapy is not regulated by an Australian government body. Instead the clinical use of hypnosis in Australia is guided by various State and National hypnosis associations, comprised mostly of professional clinicians, who work to ensure high industry standards.


A qualified hypnotherapy professional would have all of the following:

  • Membership with a recognised professional hypnotherapy association (e.g. AHA -Australian Hypnotherapists Association).

  • Therapist’s credentials (e.g. Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy)

  • Insurance (a practising hypnotherapist should be professionally insured)


A little tip, in Australia a hypnotherapist cannot become a member of Australian Hypnotherapists Association or Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists without a recognised Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy and a valid insurance.

If you are looking for more details about my services you can check my next article "10 Common Issues Hypnotherapy Can Help with"



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