What Is Hypnotherapy?
The reason this section of the website is a bit more formal than others is because we need to understand the modality we are dealing with first and put all the woo-woo stuff aside once and for all.
Hypnotherapy is a mode of interaction between a facilitator and a client used to create subconscious change in a client in the form of new responses, thoughts, attitudes, behaviors or feelings*. It is undertaken with a client in the state of hypnosis.
In the early 1970’s the occupation of “Hypnotherapist” was acknowledged by the United States Department of Labor in a document which was formerly known as The Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
This occupational description read: CODE: 079.157-010 TITLE(s): HYPNOTHERAPIST (profess. & kin.)
“Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client's problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning*.”
As The Dictionary of Occupational Titles is no longer in print, it is the understanding of IAIH (International Association of Interpersonal Hypnotherapists) that the Occupational Information Network (ONET) Index has now become a federally accepted standard as a directory for listed occupations. Hypnotherapist was listed under the category of “Therapist, Other”, yet upon careful further review ONET no longer lists the separate categories of “Therapists, Other.”
Now the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Instructional Program Data lists Hypnotherapist as “513603 Hypnotherapy/Hypnotherapist”, along with other such occupations as Acupuncture, Homeopathic Medicine, Massage Therapy, Yoga Teacher, and Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (
What Is Hypnosis?
What some happy tennis students say:
As a graduate and a holder of the State Licensed Diplomas of the first State Licensed hypnotherapy school in Florida, Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy, I personally prefer our school's general definition of hypnosis:
A natural, yet altered, state of mind where communication and responsiveness with the subconscious mind is present.
Another definition of hypnosis I find quite comprehensive and to the point is that of Gil Boyne, one of the founders of contemporary hypnotherapy:
Hypnosis is a natural state of mind with special identifying characteristics:
1. An extraordinary quality of relaxation.
2. An emotionalized desire to satisfy the suggested behavior: The person feels like doing what the hypnotist suggests, provided that what is suggested does not generate conflict with his belief system.
3. The organism becomes self-regulating and produces normalization of the central nervous system.
4. Heightened and selective sensitivity to stimuli perceived by the five senses and four basic perceptions.
5. Immediate softening of psychic defenses.
It is important to realize that "an emotionalized desire to satisfy the suggested behavior" only applies if the client feels that the suggestions given by the hypnotherapist are beneficial and aligned with the client's goals on a deep subconscious level*.