Exploring the 14 Major Types of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis is a powerful therapeutic technique that can help people overcome issues, achieve goals, and promote mind-body health and wellbeing. However, there are many different types of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, each with their own methods and applications.
This comprehensive guide will provide an in-depth look at the most common hypnotic approaches used today.
Introduction to Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy
First, what exactly is hypnosis? Hypnosis is a state of concentrated focus and heightened suggestibility in which a person’s subconscious mind becomes more accessible. This allows the mind to be more open to new ideas, perspectives and positive behavioral changes.
A hypnotist or hypnotherapist guides the client into this relaxed, receptive “trance state” using relaxation and visualization techniques. Therapeutic suggestions can then be introduced to help the client overcome challenges, embed new habits, gain empowering perspectives, and access inner wisdom.
The power of hypnosis lies in tapping into the subconscious mind where automatic behaviors and deep beliefs reside. Compared to the conscious mind which thinks critically, the subconscious responds very well to imagery, metaphor and indirect suggestion when in a trance state.
Hypnotherapy refers to the use of hypnosis for therapeutic outcomes such as improving mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It provides a means of reprogramming maladaptive patterns subconsciously.
Different Types of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Approaches
There are numerous forms of hypnotherapy using different techniques. The most common types of hypnosis include the following:
Traditional hypnosis represents the most popular types of hypnosis and uses direct suggestion during a hypnotic trance to promote change. The hypnotherapist uses clear, concise hypnotic suggestions and imagery tailored to the desired outcome. This is effective for goals like building confidence, changing habits and overcoming fears.
A typical traditional hypnosis session involves relaxation followed by repetitive suggestions for the desired change. Post-hypnotic suggestions anchor the new pattern for use after the trance state.
Ericksonian hypnosis was developed by renowned psychiatrist Milton Erickson. Rather than direct suggestion, it uses indirect metaphor, storytelling and mental confusion to influence the unconscious mind and bypass resistance.
Ericksonian hypnotherapists observe details and language patterns to tailor their hypnotic approach. This therapy focuses on uncovering and activating inner wisdom and resources within each client.
Cognitive hypnotherapy combines hypnosis with techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Hypnosis accesses the subconscious while CBT challenges irrational conscious thoughts. This integrated approach modifies deeply held automatic beliefs.
Cognitive hypnotherapy helps clients replace dysfunctional thought patterns with more realistic, adaptive thoughts through a blend of trance work focused on the subconscious and CBT methods targeting the conscious mind.
Clinical hypnosis refers to the use of hypnosis for diagnosing and treating clinical disorders and conditions, often within a medical setting or by licensed health professionals. It can help manage symptoms and side effects, control pain, and complement medical treatments.
Extensive clinical research validates the effectiveness of hypnosis for issues ranging from anxiety and phobias to chronic pain and PTSD. Professional training ensures clinical protocols are rigorously followed.
Stage hypnosis provides entertainment by hypnotizing groups of volunteers in theaters and stage shows. Participants are guided into a hypnotic state and given imaginative suggestions prompting amusing behaviors.
Stage hypnosis focuses more on performance than therapy. However, it can help demonstrate the power of suggestion and plant seeds for breaking limiting beliefs.
Self-hypnosis allows a person to hypnotize themselves using guided recordings or written scripts. This fosters independence since a therapist is not required for every session.
Self-hypnosis utilizes the same principles of trance, suggestion and imagination. With practice, many people become skilled at entering relaxing hypnotic states on their own. This provides a convenient way to reinforce subconscious changes.
As mentioned earlier, suggestion hypnotherapy involves direct hypnotic suggestions and imagery to produce therapeutic change. The hypnotherapist provides clear, concise suggestions tailored to the client’s goals. This is one of the most widely used hypnotherapy approaches.
Suggestion hypnosis is commonly applied for habit control, managing anxiety, building confidence, changing limiting beliefs and improving everyday performance challenges. Response varies based on receptivity.
Solution-focused hypnotherapy guides clients in imagining and envisioning solutions to their problems. Rather than exploring the complex roots of issues, this approach focuses directly on outcomes. The steps to reach goals are framed positively.
Solution-focused hypnotherapy utilizes the creative potential of the subconscious mind to construct possibilities and paths forward. This can manifest change more rapidly.
Cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy integrates hypnosis with CBT techniques. CBT challenges dysfunctional thought patterns while hypnosis accesses the subconscious roots of those patterns. This blended approach modifies deeply ingrained negative thought processes.
Cognitive-behavioral hypnotherapy helps transform conscious and subconscious beliefs through a combination of trance work focused on the subconscious mind and cognitive exercises targeting conscious thoughts and behaviors.
Regression hypnotherapy guides subjects into past memories to identify early experiences influencing current difficulties. By remembering and reframing traumatic events under hypnosis, the associated negative emotions can be resolved.
Regression hypnotherapy provides a means of understanding and releasing repressed memories and related symptoms from the past. However, false memories may potentially be created. Ethical guidelines are strictly followed.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
NLP incorporates hypnotic language patterns, body language observation skills and methods for understanding subjective mental maps. While not pure hypnotherapy, NLP and hypnotherapy share some key principles around using language to influence the unconscious mind.
NLP employs specific techniques hypnotherapists may use such as the “Milton model” language patterns to deliver indirect therapeutic hypnotic suggestions and metaphors.
Additional Forms of Hypnotherapy
While the major types cover most hypnotherapy applications, there are some less mainstream forms including the following:
Primers refer to using hypnosis at the outset of psychotherapy treatment in order to enhance the patient’s responsiveness to therapy. They are brief hypnotic trances designed to increase absorption and decrease resistances.
Priming hypnosis helps bypass critical thinking so that clients are more open and receptive to the therapist’s interventions. This facilitates greater engagement in the therapeutic process. Primers allow clients to gain fuller benefit from subsequent therapy sessions.
Depth hypnosis aims to induce very deep hypnotic trances well beyond the level used in most hypnotherapy. It may incorporate elements found in mindfulness and meditation.
Practitioners of depth hypnosis believe that the profound states of focus and absorption achieved allows transformative experiences leading to significant behavioral changes, insight and growth. However, depth hypnosis requires highly advanced hypnotherapy skills to avoid risks.
Parts therapy draws on the concept that the human mind comprises various sub-personalities or “parts” with distinct perspectives and motives. Parts therapy uses hypnosis to identify and achieve integration between conflicting parts of the self.
Differing parts may represent inner conflicts – for example, between wanting to assert versus appease. Hypnotic dialogues between the parts or mapping the “family of parts” creates cohesion and resolution. The parts therapy process is believed to lead to transformed psychological functioning.
For professionally trained hypnotherapists, the main hypnotherapy associations include:
- American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH)
- Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH)
- American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (AAPH)
Membership ensures proper accredited education in clinical hypnosis and ethical practice guidelines.
Unique Features of the Major Types of Hypnosis
While all hypnotherapy uses trance and suggestion, the various types of hypnosis differ significantly in their language patterns, goals and techniques:
|Types of Hypnosis||Unique Features|
|Traditional||Direct suggestion and imagery|
|Ericksonian||Indirect metaphor and storytelling|
|Cognitive||Reframing thoughts and beliefs|
|Clinical||Treating diagnosed psychological disorders|
|Stage||Entertainment through group hypnosis|
|Self||Self-guided trance without a therapist|
|Suggestion||Tailored, therapist-provided suggestions|
|Solution-focused||Imagining and envisioning solutions|
|Cognitive-behavioral||Blend of hypnosis and CBT|
|Regression||Accessing memories from the past|
Understanding the Wide Range of Hypnosis Techniques
Given the diversity of hypnotherapy approaches, many techniques are employed to induce trance states and deliver hypnotic suggestions, including:
- Progressive relaxation – Tensing and relaxing muscle groups
- Eye fixation – Fixating on an object for trance induction
- Mental imagery – Visualizing meaningful images
- Metaphor – Figurative stories that reframe perceptions
- Age regression – Revisiting memories from the past
- Future pacing – Imagining achieving future goals
- Amnesia – Forgetting insignificant facts or details
- Storytelling – Long narratives for absorbing messages
- Direct suggestion – Explicit hypnotic recommendations
- Indirect suggestion – Implicit hypnotic messages
A skilled hypnotherapist artfully weaves these techniques together in a customized way to facilitate transformational experiences tailored to each client.
In conclusion, many types of hypnosis and hypnotherapy exist to address a wide range of goals and conditions. The main approaches include traditional, direct suggestion hypnosis, Ericksonian indirect metaphorical hypnosis, cognitive hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, and variations that integrate methods from cognitive-behavioral therapy and neuro-linguistic programming.
Regression hypnosis explores the past while solution-focused hypnosis envisions the future. Clinical hypnosis meets diagnostic criteria while stage hypnosis provides entertainment.
Awareness of the major hypnotherapy types and techniques allows clients and practitioners alike to select approaches best suited to their needs and objectives. With training and skill, these flexible tools can guide profound transformation empowering people to overcome limiting patterns and access new potentials for healing and growth.