“Experts agree that hypnosis is simply a natural altered state of mind where communication with the subconscious mind is facilitated.” – Hypnotherapy Academy of America

Overview of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy Imagery
Hypnotherapists often ask participants to envision a relaxing place like the beach.

Written with input from Eileen Carino, RN-BC, BS, MA, CH & Emmie Russo, MA, RT (R), CH

Hypnotherapy is using hypnosis, a condition in which participants are in a heightened sense of awareness (or trance-like state) which makes them more receptive to suggestions. Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious mind, the part of our mind that directs physiological processes, but is generally not under our control. Accessing this powerful part of our mind creates the potential for inspiring change, transformation, and healing. Hypnosis works based on the premise that our thoughts create our reality, and if we change our subconscious mind we can change our life.

While hypnotherapy is not intended to replace medical or psychiatric treatment, it is often used in conjunction with these modalities. In fact, hypnotherapy is widely-accepted as a valid treatment option by both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association. Likewise, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recommends the use of hypnotherapy for a variety of conditions from anxiety to pain relief.

Health Benefits of Hypnosis

  • Improved sleep (insomnia relief)
  • Alleviation of phobias and anxiety
  • Relief from headaches and pain
  • Improvement in digestive problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Assistance with habit control such as smoking cessation or weight management
  • Better outcomes when receiving chemotherapy or having surgery
  • Improvement in hot flashes

In general, hypnosis/hypnotherapy can also give a patient a greater sense of self-esteem and empowerment as it enables them to work through unpleasant experiences, often on their own once taught self-hypnosis techniques.

Hypnosis Myths

Many people are fearful or leery of hypnotherapy for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • I can’t be hypnotized –This is true only if you want it to be. Hypnosis does require an open mind because you can’t be hypnotized if you don’t want to be. However, if you are able to relax and follow directions you can and will be hypnotized.
  • I might lose control – You won’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do. Hypnosis accesses the subconscious portion of your mind, but it is still YOUR mind and your behavior will be indicative of that.
  • I might say something that I regret – If there is a secret that you would not be willing to share in the waking state, you won’t share that secret when you are hypnotized.

Hypnotherapy Resources

Alchemy Institute of Hypnosiswww.alchemyinstitute.com/ – based in California, the institute offers training and information on hypnosis.

Free Hypnotherapy Session – a relaxing 26 minute hypnotherapy session from Jennalee Tracy and the Chopra Centered Lifestyle newsletter.

Hypnosis – NCCIHwww.nccih.nih.gov/health/hypnosis– research-based information and resources on hypnotherapy/hypnosis from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Hypnosis Research Institute (CT) – www.hypnosisresearchinstitute.net – a CT training institute established by C.J. Mozzochi, Ph.D. offering certification from the National Guild of Hypnotists.

Hypnotherapy Academy of Americawww.hypnotherapyacademy.com – information and training on hypnotherapy.

“Hypnotherapy Certification Training Manual from A – Z”www.scribd.com/doc/83768255/Clinical-Hypnosis-Training-Manual-From-a-Z – the training manual of the The American School of Hypnosis.

National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH) –www.nbcch.com -the site offers information and resources on hypnotherapy and the certification process.

National Guild of Hypnotistshttp://ngh.net – a nonprofit organization of certified hypnotists.


Eileen Carino, RN-BC, BS, MA, CH – owner of Integrative Hypnosis of Connecticut

Emmie Russo, MA, RT(R), CH

University of Maryland Medical Center, “Hypnotherapy” www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/hypnotherapy-000353.htm#ixzz2ALuBJqHb [Page is no longer active]

Andrew Vickers and Catherine Zollman. “Hypnosis and relaxation therapies” – (BMJ. 1999 November 20; 319(7221): 1346–1349). www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1117083/

[Last Updated: 5/24/23]

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