Ask The Hypnotherapist #7 - December 28th 2008
What sort of training is involved in becoming a clinical hypnotherapist?
Unfortunately hypnotherapy is not government regulated, meaning that someone can call themselves a clinical hypnotherapist with little, and even no training. There are also some courses that offer inadequate training, especially the distant learning hypnotherapy courses.
Thankfully the profession of clinical hypnotherapy does a pretty good job of regulating itself, and most of the established reputable bodies provide good training.
I trained at the London College Of Clinical Hypnotherapy, which seems to provide one of the best training for clinical hypnotherapists. To become a clinical hypnotherapist I had to pass the certificate, then the diploma courses. Both courses involved theory and practical, and we were tested on both in exam conditions. We would learn various theories, watch demonstrations of hypnotic procedures, and were observed practicing them on each other. A distant learning course could never be so thorough! My course was also accredited by the university of Greenwich. After this you then have the option of attending further training with master classes and the like.
Are there any scientific studies which prove that hypnotherapy works?
From my personal experience, and those of my colleagues, I have helped people with a wide variety of issues, and have been left almost as amazed as my clients at times! Despite this, one can always argue that any improvements are as a result of the placebo effect.
The Wolman Dictionary of Behavioral Science defines a placebo as “A substance with no medicinal properties which causes a patient to improve because of his belief in its efficacy.” Placebos have been scientifically shown to help with almost any mental and physical health issue. Going back to the definition of placebo, they work because of a “belief in its efficacy”. This could be a belief that a sugar pill will help with weight loss for example. The belief comes from suggestion, which is exactly how hypnosis works! Therefore it could be argued that the placebo effect proves that suggestion, and therefore hypnosis works in a variety of instances.
There are also many studies which also seem to indicate that hypnosis works.
EEG studies of hypnotized patients show a change in their patterns of thoughts when in trance. These studies also suggest that hypnosis removes the emotional experience of pain while allowing the sensory sensation to remain. Therefore you may notice you were touched, but not that it hurt.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, 41 (1), 35-41 109 shows an experiment where some 17-67 year olds were given a behavioral weight loss program, and some were also given hypnosis treatment alongside this. The ones who received both showed additional weight loss, and more effectively maintained these results after 2 years.
I’ve bought a few hypnosis downloads from your site in the past and I was very impressed with the quality. However your selection is not the biggest and I have a few other issues which I’d like to use hypnosis to deal with. What other sites would you recommend?
We are increasing our number of sessions, but prefer to work on quality rather than quantity. I would rather have 50 high quality sessions on my site than 500 mediocre ones. I would recommend you have a look at http://www.AllHypnosisDownloads.com. This site has basically cherry picked all the best hypnosis sessions from the best clinical hypnotherapists. That is how it is able to have such a high amount of top quality sessions. If you cannot find a quality session here that you are looking for, then one probably doesn’t exist!
Can hypnotherapy be used to control pain?
Hypnotherapy is very effective for pain control and has been shown to help in the effective management of many types of pain, including pain associated with childbirth (Weishaar, 1986), angioplasty (Weinstein & Au, 1991), leukemia (Silva, 1990), and even headaches (VanDyck, et al, 1991). However it must be used with some caution. Pain is there for a reason. It is our body’s way of telling us that something is not right. Simply removing a pain could cause us to ignore a medical problem that may get worse without intervention. Probably the biggest benefit hypnotherapy can give us is the ability to significantly reduce the need for painkillers in surgery and child birth situations. This is a real advantage, as pain killers have negative side effects, which can hamper recovery.
Is self hypnosis as effective as being hypnotized by someone else?
There is a bit of a saying amongst us hypnotherapists that ‘all hypnosis is self hypnosis’. What this means is that a clinical hypnotherapist is merely someone who is guiding us into a state of hypnosis – they are helping us to achieve that state of mind. So providing you have the skills, then theoretically the self hypnosis should be just as effective.
However some people, including experienced hypnotherapists, complain of struggling with self hypnosis as they distract themselves by thinking too much about the self therapy. Often therapists prefer to swap therapy with other hypnotherapist friends.
It’s a personal thing. Some people love it, and find it easy to do, whereas others struggle to achieve the same deep states of relaxation. I would recommend anyone new to hypnosis to experience a trance 2 or 3 times, either with a hypnotherapists, or with a recording, before attempting self hypnosis. That way you are better able to understand the state of mind you are seeking.