Hypnosis: Does it Really Work?

One of the questions I get asked most about the practice of hypnotherapy or hypnosis–and I am usually asked this by my fellow mental health practitioners–is: Does hypnosis really work?

After I get done laughing, I explain that if hypnosis didn’t work, I wouldn’t waste my time doing it.  The body of literature that supports the efficacy of hypnotherapy as a healing tool is certainly sufficient proof of just how well this treatment modality does work.  But that’s not the only way I know that hypnosis or hypnotherapy does work.

I know from my own personal and professional experience that hypnotherapy is an amazing and powerful method of changing lives and solving problems.  Having hypnotized hundreds of persons, I can assure you that positive changes are made and that lives are enhanced and improved.  Like any other treatment, however, hypnotherapy does not work for everyone–and for these folks, more mainstream forms of psychological counseling are available.

Still–where it does work–hypnotherapy appears to be nothing short of magic, although it is not at all an attempt to trick or deceive anyone.  Where an individual might take as long as 6 to 12 months in counseling to work through issues around anxiety, for example, the same result can often be achieved in just six sessions of hypnotherapy.  It seems like magic, but it is not.

Again, there are no guarantees–just as when you receive a prescription from your physician there are no guarantees it will work.  The effects of hypnosis are sometimes subtle, such as helping the subject to sleep better, but sleeping better can produce powerful and healthy results for many individuals.

At other times, the effects of hypnotherapy can be striking and surprising.  In one case, a woman who came to me for help with eating habits and weight loss told me the following story.

“After my hypnotherapy session last week, I went food shopping,  When I was done and I reached the checkout counter, I looked into my shopping cart and said to myself: ‘Where did all these fruits and vegetables come from?!'”

Magic?  No!  Effective?  Yes, often!