A Tool for Psychotherapy

Hypnosis – A Great Tool for Psychotherapy

Did you study Chemistry in High School? Me, too! Do you remember a lot from that time? Uh, maybe not — unless you went on to study it in college, med school or some other place like that. Nonetheless, you might remember the concept of a catalyst, right? Of course you do! In fact, you’ve not really left Chem 101 very far behind. Unless you’ve switched to an all-electric auto, you likely drive a vehicle with a catalytic converter. The device changes some of the exhaust gases from your vehicle into less polluting chemicals. And, a glance at most food labels will reveal a list of ingredients that clearly were conjured up in the lab.

Wait . . .  we were talking about counseling, eh? How is this relevant?

I’m getting to that!


A catalyst, as you’ll fondly remember from your chemistry studies, allows something to happen faster, and with a lower expenditure of energy, than the change without the catalyst. Hmm, faster and easier – does that sound a bit inviting? Of course!


More below the waterline

Hypnosis can be a catalyst for change in psychotherapy. For example, when researchers looked at a collection of studies [this is called a meta-analysis] where treatment was ‘hypnosis plus psychotherapy’ is compared with ‘psychotherapy alone’, about 70% of clients receiving the combination therapy [counseling plus hypnosis] made significantly better progress.1 This is just a tiny tip of a very large iceberg. If you go to scholar.google.com – and you search on ‘combining hypnosis with psychotherapy’ – you’ll find lots more support to this notion. Don’t stay up too late with all this reading!

Bottom line – combining hypnosis with psychotherapy can be a catalyst to your therapy. That’s why I often use this tool in the service of your personal change. Perhaps to speed things up, maybe to expend a bit less energy to do so. Everyone is different, so we’ll find out how we can apply this to you and your personal issues, as we work together.

This is not a rejection of talk therapy, or any other tool or technique. You can talk about change. That’s a good start. You might reflect on the ways you want to feel better or react to stress differently. Also good. What if I told you that you could potentially begin to experience those kinds of changes even in the early phase of therapy? Would that interest you?

By the way… Pain Management, too

A quick Google search will show you that there are tons of scientific research that supports the use of hypnosis for pain management. Researchers have shown that people can typically bring pain down 3 or 4 points on a 10 point scale. And, maybe use less medication – with a sense of more personal control over their condition. If you’re suffering pain daily that you rate ‘7’ on a pain scale – getting it down to a ‘4’ could be a desirable outcome. Here are some excellent summaries:

From the American Psychological Association: “Hypnosis is likely to be effective for most people suffering from diverse forms of pain, with the possible exception of a minority of patients who are resistant to hypnotic interventions.” From the International Journal of Clinical Hypnosis: “The findings indicate that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic-pain problems. Also, hypnosis was generally found to be more effective than nonhypnotic interventions such as attention, physical therapy, and education. Most of the hypnosis interventions for chronic pain include instructions in self-hypnosis.”

Also, you can use the search function on this website. Click the magnifying glass icon and enter the word ‘pain’.

What’s the rush?


Do you have time to change?

Certainly, there are things that should be savored. A sunset — a great conversation with a friend — the last day of a vacation. I don’t want a fast-forward button on these experiences!

On the other hand, getting rapid results in psychotherapy might be okay, don’t you agree? That’s one of the reasons that I got excited about learning hypnosis and incorporating it into my work. It’s also one of the reasons I keep using this tool — the possibility of rapid results continues to be important to me, and is of interest to most of the people I work with.

To be honest, not every intervention produces instantaneous or overnight changes. We can facilitate:

learning the source of distress, old patterns, old beliefs – promoting insight and understanding

the un-learning of outdated perspectives, limiting viewpoints that have constrained us up to now

rapid rehearsal and anchoring of new emotional and behavioral resources, so we can draw upon them in challenging moments

I’d love the chance to talk to you about hypnosis, it’s application to your situation, and how we can facilitate change for you. Please give me a call or go to the contact page to send a message.

[1] Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy: A meta-analysis. Kirsch, Irving; Montgomery, Guy; Sapirstein, Guy Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 63(2), Apr 1995, 214-220