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Counseling and Hypnotherapy

What is Hypnosis, anyway?

Whatever we focus on, we amplify in our awareness.

The Division 30 of the American Psychological Association (APA), defines Hypnosis as:

“A state of consciousness, involving focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness, characterized by an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion.” Hypnosis helps clients develop resources that can be purposefully directed toward achieving therapeutic goals.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) Division 30 Chairperson, world-renowned Hypnosis Instructor, Dr. Michael Yapko, goes even further to explain:

“ Hypnosis is the experience of focused attentional absorption that invites people to respond experientially on multiple levels in order to amplify and utilize their personal resources in a goal-directed fashion. When employed in the clinical context, hypnosis involves paying greater attention to the essential skills of using words and gestures in particular ways to achieve specific therapeutic outcomes, acknowledging and utilizing many complex, personal, interpersonal, and contextual factors that combine in varying degrees to influence client responsiveness.”

  • Hypnosis is not new. Early Greek and Egyptian civilizations used hypnotic trance-like states for healing. Archaeologists have actually found Sleep Temples with hieroglyphics on the walls depicting this.

  • In the Middle Ages priests and mystics used hypnotic trances for healing physically and emotionally.

  • Hypnosis bypasses the critical factor of the mind and allows the establishment of acceptable selective thinking.

  • Hypnosis allows the self to reprogram the subconscious mind and unconscious processes to teach skills that can be learned and applied to other areas of life.

Let’s break Hypnosis down a bit.



Recently, after admitting to trying everything else, a parent came into my office and demanded that I hypnotize their child because they were feeling very frustrated and helpless in handling their child’s challenging behavior. Hypnosis ends up being the last things people try (often in desperation) and find it is the only thing that works for them. It is also common to think that Hypnosis is a quick and one-time fix for any problem, simple or complex. It is important to know what Hypnosis does and does not do.



A first line intervention

Highly supported research-based therapy


A last resort

Self-hypnosis. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis and always under the control of the individual

Mind control or a way to override the will of beliefs of the individual

Applied to all aspects of life from pain management to behavioral changes to personal improvement

Pain or illness removal

A physical (bodily) response to a suggestion from any of the 5 senses: heard, felt, smelled, tasted, or seen

Effective without practicing and wiring in the new behavior

An effective way to enrich any form of therapy whether behavioral or physical


A varying yet constant state of focused attention used by all (driving a car, reading a book, deep breathing, daydreaming, etc.

A sleep state

Access to subconscious and unconscious areas of the mind and thus the body

(Clients possess valuable abilities that are present but hidden which can help them overcome symptoms and problems)

A way to read the thoughts of the client

A way for clients to focus on their strengths as solutions to their problems


Energy psychology (accessing different energy levels of the brain)

Superstition or voodoo

A form of meditation which specifically focuses the mind instead of clearing it


Hypnosis or Meditation?

Hypnosis and Meditation have a common practical foundation, methodology and therapeutic orientation.

Hypnosis and Meditation differ in philosophical foundations and shared intentions.

Hypnosis and Meditation focus attention in similar ways.

Hypnosis and Meditation create a sense of detachment, timelessness and absorption in the experience (trance.)

Similar neurophysiological responses (Theta state) occur, although Hypnosis activates more areas of the brain than Meditation.

Hypnosis engages the mind, Meditation seeks to clear the mind.

Meditation is in the moment; a Hypnosis trance state can be perceived to be in the moment or in the past or future.

Hypnosis is a first line defense for the following symptoms...



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