Hypnotherapy refers to the method of using hypnosis to communicate directly with the “subconscious mind” to resolve inner conflicts, change frozen dysfunctional beliefs and self limiting internal representations in order to achieve a greater degree of personal freedom, health and harmony of mind, body and emotion.

Hypnosis has been given many definitions over the years and as we discover more about the human mind I’m sure we will come up with many more refinements to our understanding, much the same way as science continually redefines the nature of physical “reality” as our understanding and awareness evolves.

For the sake of this article, I will use one of my favorite definitions of hypnosis due to it’s simplicity. This definition was introduced by one of my personal mentors, Dr. Michael Preston, MD. of the Institute of Medical Hypnosis.

Hypnosis is a state of awareness dominated by the subconscious mind
– Dr. Michael Preston, MD. –

To bring this definition home I will use the metaphor of a computer. In this metaphor our conscious awareness would be the part of our mind that we are commonly aware of thinking with, or the monitor of our computer. What shows up on the monitor reflects the programs that have been impressed upon the magnetic hard drive of our bio-computer.

The subconscious is like the hard drive. It is a storehouse containing all the information our eyes, ears, feelings, and body has ever experienced during our life and more importantly, the perceptions, decisions and conclusions or conceptual/emotional meanings we have attached to those experiences.

It is our SUBCONSCIOUS perceptions, definitions and emotional associations that determine our habitual conscious thought and emotional patterns. These habitual thought and emotional patterns either work for or against our health, happiness and level of personal success in life.

Our Habitual CONSCIOUS Thoughts, Feelings and Actions
Reflect our SUBCONSCIOUS Thoughts, Feelings and Associations
We manifest what we think SUBCONSCIOUSLY!

The reason successful hypnotherapy makes such rapid life transforming changes in a person, is because the hypnotherapist works directly with the client on the Subconscious level of cause, to transform their identifications and associations, as opposed to simply talking and conceptualizing change on the level of effect.

Types of Hypnotherapy & Hypnotherapists

There are many different types of hypnotherapy and hypnotherapists, just as there are different types of Medical Doctors and Psychological disorder treatment specialists.

It is important to take the time to qualify your potential hypnotherapist to determine their level of training, background, experience and expertise with your particular issue. The following is a generalization, but hopefully it will help you understand the different types of hypnotherapists and hypnotherapeutic interventions. First a brief outline, and then a more detailed description of each.

  • Hypnotist
  • Certified Hypnotherapist
  • Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist
  • Certified Medical Hypnotherapist
  • Psychological Hypnotherapist
  • Transpersonal Hypnotherapist

Hypnotist and Certified Hypnotist

The term hypnotist can refer to anyone who has some degree of training, skill and experience hypnotizing others. Since hypnosis is actually a naturally occurring state of awareness, learning to hypnotize someone really isn’t that difficult and the amount of training necessary is minimal. You can read a book to learn to be a hypnotist or take a weekend course and get certified as a hypnotist.

Since the field of hypnosis is somewhat loosely regulated and supervised, it is relatively easy to get “certified” as a hypnotist and many so called certified hypnotists as well as stage hypnotists have only a weekend training course under their belts.

A certified hypnotist may or may not be qualified to do hypnotherapy. The level of Certified Hypnotist requires the least amount of training, experience and expertise.

Certified Hypnotherapist

A Certified Hypnotherapist is defined as someone who has had training as a hypnotist and has also received additional training and certification in hypnotherapy or the application of hypnosis for the purpose of self improvement.

Hypnotherapists are not psychologists and typically don’t work with severe mental illness patients, although some psychologists utilize hypnosis as part of their therapy with the mentally ill.

Hypnotherapists typically work with clients who seek vocational and avocational self improvement. In simple language, these are things that do not qualify as a medical disorder or a serious emotional and mental disorder.

Following is the definition of the profession of Hypnotherapy as defined in The Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the United States Department of Labor.

Hypnotherapist According to the Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles

079.157.010 | Hypnotherapist
Alternate Title: Master Hypnotist | Alternate Title: Hypnotist

“Hypnotherapist induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior pattern through hypnosis. Consults with client to determine the nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic states by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Test subjects to determine degrees of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and an analysis of clients problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.”

This is not to say that hypnotherapy in the hands of a qualified professional can’t be utilized effectively as part of a comprehensive treatment profile for more “serious” issues however:

The typical certified hypnotherapist is trained to work with reasonably healthy minded individuals for self improvement issues and is NOT qualified to work independently with serious mental illness. They are typically more trained and experienced than a certified hypnotist.

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist

A responsibly and thoroughly trained Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist represents someone who has much more advanced training, as well as supervised and documented hours of actual clinical hypnosis experience working with more serious psychosomatic mental and emotional health issues than a typical certified hypnotherapist.

This training often includes more depth psychology and hypnoanalysis techniques in order to facilitate the discovery, insight, integration and catharsis often necessary to help clients and patients overcome more intense or disturbing psychosomatic issues and disorders.

Some clinical hypnotherapists are licensed psychologists or mental health care professionals while others are not. Often you will find the Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist working in tandem with other health care professionals in controlled environments for things like DID (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder), serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and Trauma cases that are chronic or have been resistant to other forms of therapy.

This is not to imply that other types of hypnotherapists don’t have success with many of these issues because many do. However in the ideal concept of the title, a truly qualified, skilled and talented Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist would be considered the “black belt” of hypnotherapists and a powerful healing facilitator in every sense of the word.

It is difficult to assign a piece of paper to this level of artistic mastery because effective healing results depend not only on the quality of training and level of knowledge and experience of the hypnotist, but on other “unseen” personal and spiritual traits of the therapist like intuition, creativity, flexibility, deep rapport and communication skills as well as their consciousness in general.

Certified Medical Hypnotherapist

A Certified Medical Hypnotherapist is typically a trained and certified Hypnotherapist will additional specialty training and expertise in Psycho-Biology or utilizing hypnosis to work towards physical healing via the Mind Body Connection. They tend to focus more on facilitating and assisting the physical healing process and have advanced training in hypnoanalysis to discover causes or contributing factors leading to or perpetuating physical health issues.

Again, many hypnotherapists get some of this training as part of their foundational curriculum but the Certified Medical Hypnotherapist has specific training specializing in this area. You will often find Medical Hypnotherapists working with medical patients prior to or after surgery, chemotherapy or even to produce hypno-anaesthesiology for Medical or Dental procedures.

Psychological Hypnotherapist

A Psychological Hypnotherapist is simply a psychologist who has sought out training in hypnotherapy and may utilize it as part of their healing modality on occasion. Although I’m sure there are some very skillful Psychological Hypnotherapists, my experience has shown that the best hypnotherapists are those who actually SPECIALIZE in hypnotherapy and not just add it to their already diverse, psychological tool box. It is my honest opinion, that ultimate results are often experienced by utilizing BOTH the services of a skilled psychological specialist along with a skilled Hypnotherapy Specialist who are willing to work cooperatively with each other with the objective to helping the client/patient accomplish their (the clients) desired health objective.

Transpersonal Hypnotherapist

A book could be written on this topic (and many have been). In a nutshell the Transpersonal Hypnotherapist approaches hypnotherapy from more of a Spiritual, Quantum Physics point of view. They approach the clients entire self concept as a form of hypnosis and work to help them awaken to their more Spiritual Consciousness. This is a very interesting area of study for any hypnotist or hypnotherapist and has some very empowering implications for our evolving consciousness as “human beings” and the nature of personal “Reality”.

Typically the study of Transpersonal Hypnotherapy includes many of the other disciplines presented from a slightly different frame of reference. Ideal for the more Spiritual or Progressively Minded.

The Common Goal of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy was recognized formally by the American Medical Association in 1958 as a valid therapeutic modality and has stood the test of time, as a highly effective and extremely rapid method for transforming our concepts, internal representations and emotional relationships on a subconscious level.

When facilitated effectively, a willing client can experience rapid heartfelt cognitive shifts, emotional release, internal conflict resolution, and lasting behavior change which results in a healthier, happier and more productive and successful life.

About the Author:
Mark Hamilton is a Certified Clinical, Medical, and 5 PATH Hypnotherapist, Certified NLP Practitioner and Advanced EFT Practitioner as well as a highly regarded Professional Stage Hypnotist. For more information visit: http://www.hypnoticsolutions.com or http://www.magicalhypnotist.com

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