Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis for a psychotherapeutic purpose. Hypnosis can be a useful psychological tool if it is properly and ethically utilized. For example, hypnotherapy can be used as one element in a treatment plan to control symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks and phobias. As discussed below, it is important to make sure that the hypnosis is being done by a well qualified and experienced mental health professional, and not just by a "hypnotist" or "hypnotherapist."
Other applications of hypnosis in my practice include the correction of negative habit patterns, such as using it for Smoking Cessation, for the modification of eating habits for Weight Control and hypnosis for Pain management. Another application of hypnosis is to reinforce positive Mental attitudes, to help a person perform at their optimal level psychologically or physically.
Physical examples would include the enhancement of sports performance with special attention to issues of confidence, level of motivation, positive visual imagery, focus of attention, and freedom from anxiety, excessive tension and distractibility.
Psychological examples would include improved sales performance, improved performance in preparing for and taking a difficult examination and improved performance in public speaking situations.
What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy? The short answer is that hypnosis is a way of inducing a particular mental state. It is not an abnormal mental state. It can be used for psychological benefit in a professional setting or for entertainment purposes in a stage show. Hypnotherapy is a way using that mental state for a psychological benefit such as reducing fears and phobias, for changing undesirable habit patterns, or for reinforcing desirable behavior.
How can you choose a qualified professional person to consult for hypnosis? Unfortunately, in most states, anyone can call himself or herself a hypnotist or hypnotherapist and display an impressive appearing certificate simply by taking a correspondence course or paying a fee. It is, in fact, easy to learn how to induce hypnosis, but it takes a high level of psychological knowledge and training to apply hypnosis effectively safely and ethically. Is hypnotherapy dangerous? Not if it is induced by an experienced and well qualified mental health professional.
Here are some guidelines I would recommend that you use to select a hypnotist. First, do not see someone who makes extravagant claims, or who says they can guarantee the results of hypnosis. Second, make sure that the professional person you see identifies himself or herself as a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist and not just as a "hypnotist" or "hypnotherapist."
You should feel free to ask any psychologist you consult about his or her qualifications and experience. A well-qualified psychologist will not be offended by such questions and will be happy to tell you about his or her training. Be sure to ask how long the psychologist has been in practice in your community and whether he or she has had any university or hospital affiliations.
A psychologist should hold a doctorate degree in psychology (Ph.D.) from an accredited university of good reputation. In California, and in most states, a psychologist must be licensed by a professional state board. California law requires psychologists to show their psychology license number in the telephone book. Here is an example of the kind of information you might look for, based upon my own qualifications.
My own training and experience are as follows. I took my doctorate degree in psychology at UCLA and my California psychology license number is PSY1036. I have been in private practice in this community for over 30 years. For more information, click this link: About Marvin S. Beitner, Ph.D.
If you see someone with good professional qualifications for hypnosis, it may prove to be a valuable tool in helping you make the positive changes you want to make in your life. If you are interested in getting more information about checking on the professional qualifications of a mental health professional, click on check qualifications.
I do not do hypnosis other than in a one to one situation in my office with selected patients who would benefit from such a procedure. In my opinion it is neither ethical, effective or safe for a psychologist to offer hypnotic audiotapes to people he has not seen and evaluated in an office visit.