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(Originally posted on 13/5/2017)

If you speak to the majority of my clients that have experienced hypnosis within my sessions the answer would be a resounding


Hypnotherapy works!

Even clients who have thought during the session that the hypnosis element was a total waste of time, have the following week(s) contacted me to state how many changes they keep noticing.  

The funny thing is, I am bound to say this.  I do back up these statements with the occasional testimonial/review from clients, and now I shall do similarly with a little science.  I’m a scientist and an evidence-based practitioner so it makes perfect sense for me to demonstrate that.

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Hypnosis is a valid subject for scientific study and research and a proven therapeutic medium.  

BPS (2001)

The use of the word ‘proven’ is an unusual one as many people debate the notion that anything can be proven – only that it can be demonstrated to be effective at that particular time, and place.

In a balanced review of the literature, the BPS explore hypnosis and discuss what it has shown to be effective in, and what it has not.

What they declare hypnotic interventions are effective for include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Acute pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches & Migraines
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other Gastro-intestinal complaints
  • Asthma
  • Warts, and other skin complaints such as eczema, psoriasis, and urticaria.
  • Smoking Cessation

I have been successfully using hypnosis to help people with chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and IBS for the past two years and love seeing the relief in the clients’ faces when they experience relief for the first time in a long time.

The BPS also state that it’s likely that both children and adults can benefit from hypnotherapeutic interventions.  

This is a 2001 article from the BPS and hypnosis has come on leaps and bounds since then.  


(article: ​

In this 2011 article the author talks about how stage and tv hypnotists have damaged the reputation of the professional hypnotherapist.  I do think to some extent this is true, and as a psychologist I do find myself defending the method to my clients, explaining what hypnosis is, and what it is not.  

The article discusses how hypnosis can be used to help cancer patients recover post-operatively by experiencing less pain, nausea, fatigue, and discomfort, requiring less analgesia (pain relief).  There was a net financial saving post-operatively compared to those who did not undergo the brief pre-operative hypnotic intervention.

Whilst the evidence for the treatment of pain, anxiety, etc is strong, the article discusses how the evidence for smoking is not quite so strong. I suspect this is due to the nature of the beast – smokers sometimes like smoking.  The smokers I accept into my clinic room prove to me that they are determined to succeed – that they really want to become non-smokers.  I do not see many for stop-smoking work yet when I do they are successful.  


A study (originating from 1970) published in the American Health Magazine in 2006 found that people tend to deem hypnosis as a last resort for changing habits, resolving anxieties, stopping smoking, etc.  Yet the study demonstrated that people experience a 38% recovery after 600 sessions of psychoanalysis (the freudian approach to psychotherapy that often involves 2-3 sessions per week – an expensive luxury).  People tend to experience a 72% recovery following 22 sessions of behaviour therapy.  And people tend to experience a 93% recovery after just 6 sessions of hypnotherapy.  This is quite staggering.  

As a psychologist trained in various behavioural therapies, hypnotherapy, and solution-focused therapies, I tend to bespoke my approach to the client and as the hypnotherapy component can occasionally last just 10-15 minutes, I combine behavioural therapies into sessions and increase efficacy significantly.  Some extremely serious conditions have been resolved in just 2-3 sessions.  There are some people with whom issues take longer to resolve – yet it is not uncommon for 6 sessions to be the most someone would need.

​To back this up, the Washington Post reported on a German Meta-Analysis of 444 studies  concluding a 64% success rate for hypnotherapy with Anxiety, Stress, and Chronic Pain.  


Hypnotherapy is an effective therapeutic tool to help people recover from a wide array of issues, including chronic pain, IBS, anxiety, stress, and many other issues.  The key is to choose a good hypnotherapist or therapist – one that you know will help you on the recovery journey.

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