Clinical & Medical Hypnosis

A working definition of hypnosis

Hypnosis is a state of relaxed inner absorption, gentle concentration, and directed focus in which the unconscious mind is more accessible as an ally and a resource.  The unconscious mind is a limitless reservoir which people can learn to tap with the aid of suggestions from a trained and licensed therapist.

Research supports the view that this hypnotic communication and these suggestions effectively change aspects of a person’s physiological and neurological function.(1)  But that is not possible to do against a person’s will.  It is also not useful unless the practitioner has some formal training in treating the problem in question.

Myths about hypnosis

  • Fear of Loss of Control:   People often fear that being hypnotized will make them lose control or surrender their will.  But hypnotherapy is not stage hypnotism, which is all about fanfare, entertainment, and shock value. Stage acts have nothing to do with legitimate hypnotherapy, which provides you with a way to access your inner strengths and solve personal problems in the context of a safe therapy relationship.
  • Fear of Loss of Consciousness:  A small percentage of subjects who go into very deep levels of trance may have spontaneous amnesia. However, this can be avoided when working with an experienced therapist.  You benefit by remembering everything that occurs in a given hypnotic session!

In legitimate hypnosis, the patient is not under the control of the hypnotist.  Hypnosis is not an external force imposed on people, but something we all do for ourselves.  A hypnotherapist simply serves as a facilitator in therapy.

Outside of therapy, we hypnotize ourselves all the time!  Ever look out the window during a boring lecture and “get lost” in the scenery?  Ever drive down the highway thinking of other things and arrive at your destination sooner than you expected?  Ever tell yourself you were going to fail at something… and then succeed at failing?

When is hypnosis most beneficial?

The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis states that hypnosis is optimally effective when the patient is highly motivated to overcome a problem and when the hypnotherapist is well trained in both hypnosis and in general considerations relating to the treatment of the particular problem.

It is important to keep in mind that hypnosis is like any other therapeutic modality:  it is of major benefit to some patients with some problems, and it is helpful with many other patients, but it is not the only clinical method in my repertoire.  I use hypnosis along with other interventions to facilitate safe mind-body therapy.  The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis has named me an approved consultant in hypnosis.  The Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis has also certified me and has named me a Fellow.  The most important thing to remember here is that I have an advanced degree, am board certified, and am licensed in the State of Colorado.

Whose website is this?


(1)    Rossi, E (2002). The Psychobiology of Gene Expression: Neuroscience and Neurogenesis in Therapeutic Hypnosis and the Healing Arts. NY: W. W. Norton Professional Books.

Comments on this entry are closed.