Hypnosis & What to Expect

Often, the first question I am asked is “How many sessions will it take?”  This is not an easy question to answer before I have had the opportunity to meet and assess your problem.  However, in general, short-term hypnotherapy usually usually runs anywhere between 6 to 8 sessions.  There are situations that require less time, but in general you can expect 6 to 8 sessions.  Now, I’ll want to describe what to expect during a hypnotic experience.

There is often a cloud of mystery around hypnosis.  Actually, hypnosis is an experience that occurs in our everyday lives.  For instance, hypnosis occurs naturally when your attention becomes focused and you become absorbed in an activity, such as daydreaming, reading a book, or watching a movie.

The experience of clinical hypnosis or hypnotherapy consists of an induction, deepening, and agreed-upon suggestions and ends with re-alerting the patient/client/subject.  Before ending the session, some time is set aside for processing and discussing the trance experience.

Dedicated practice between sessions by the patient or client plays a major part in the successful outcome of hypnosis.  Mp3 or CD recordings listened to between sessions act as a reinforcement of what occurs in the live session.  By listening to the recordings between sessions, you learn and build skill in self-hypnosis, allowing you to experience hypnosis without the aid of the therapist.  Self-hypnosis plays a central role in maintaining the overall results of the initial and subsequent sessions with the therapist.

A question sometimes asked is:  Can hypnosis be harmful?  The answer to the question is the most sure way of avoiding an unpleasant hypnotic experience is to make certain that the clinician you choose has the proper credentials and license for treating your condition, disorder, or problem.

Beware of lay hypnotists certified through hypnosis guilds and other hypnosis organizations which do not require higher standards and requirements for training and certification in clinical, medical, dental hypnosis.  These organizations do not require the kind of rigorous training needed for utilizing hypnosis and working with adults, adolescents, and children with emotional, physical, and psychological needs.

The highest of standards include a) higher levels of education including MD, PhD, Master’s degree, b) proof of an active license to practice in their state, and c) of face-to-face training, evaluations, and clinical evidence of having met the educational and clinical requirements of that particular training and teaching organization.

Two important things to consider in selecting a hypnotherapist:

  1. Look for a professional with a license to practice in your state to ensure that the person you choose is in fact licensed and qualified to treat your disorder or condition.
  2. Look for certification provided by membership in a reputable hypnosis organization, such as ASCH, SCEH, and ISH.