• Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

    As a specialist in weight management using hypnotherapy I am often asked questions about how hypnotherapy works as a process, and how it applies to my practice.

    This page is updated as people ask me questions. If your question is not answered simply enter it into the form below and I will get back to you personally.

    Weight Loss Hypnotherapy

What is hypnosis and why is hypnotherapy useful?

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Hypnotherapy is useful because in the enhanced state of hypnosis you can make connections and changes that are not possible in a normal waking state.

Hypnosis is a state where your mind is active, focused and responsive to a hypnotist (or hypnotherapist in the case of hypnotherapy). Hypnosis has been used for a long time, although the term was only adopted for it relatively recently (in the 1840s) by a Scottish physician called James Braid. You can read more about hypnosis on this Wikipedia page.

When you are in a state of hypnosis it is possible to interact with your unconscious or subconscious mind differently to how you do when fully awake. You have a degree of control over processes and thoughts that you would not normally be aware of.

Hypnotherapy uses this state of hypnosis to reach into your mind for solutions that your conscious mind was not able to deal with. This can help you change, and as this change originates from within – from your own mind – hypnotherapy can be a source of change that is aligned with your own beliefs, values and personal way of doing things.

If you want to try hypnotherapy safely you can download a relaxing sample audio session. This is available in the free stuff page. The sample hypnosis session will guide you into a gentle hypnotic state and then guide you back out from it.

Other resources:

Wikipedia on hypnotherapy

NHS on hypnotherapy

Are hypnosis and hypnotherapy safe?

Yes, hypnosis and hypnotherapy are entirely safe.

Hypnosis is a state of mind. We go through many different states of mind throughout a day as different activities have different states of mind associated with them. So if you leave home and walk for a while, your state of mind will change. Same if you watch TV, or use your phone.

The state of hypnosis can be experienced in many ways. For the purposes of hypnotherapy I generally use a relaxed and focused state.

As a clinical hypnotherapist, I am skilled at guiding you into the state of hypnosis and back out from it.

Am I in complete control during hypnotherapy?

Yes, you will retain complete control over your thoughts and actions while you are hypnotised, and throughout the process. There is no loss of control involved.

You will also enjoy a state of complete mental and physical relaxation in my hypnotherapy sessions.

Have you ever enjoyed a lie-in? It can be a good analogy for the feeling of hypnosis.

You’re in bed and don’t need to get up. You know you can get up at any point, but you’re enjoying it and can’t be bothered. It’s similar with hypnosis. You know you can do whatever you want, and make a choice to continue enjoying it.

You mention the unconscious mind, will I be unconscious or asleep?

Hypnotherapy is a relaxed and focused state, and you will remain conscious at all times.

I use the term ‘unconscious mind’ to include all the processes that occur automatically in our minds. It refers to everything that you are not consciously aware of at the moment: Background noise, the weight of your clothes and breathing are typically unconscious sensations. You become consciously aware of them as they are mentioned, and they fade away again. The unconscious mind is also the seat of emotions, motivation and memories and helps direct your behaviour.

Most people don’t understand unconscious part of their mind. This may be because it does not learn and interpreting the world as we expect consciously. For example it has different interpretations of what is good and what is bad. And different interpretations of success and failure too.

The unconscious mind is important in our everyday life. Changing something as simple as a habit requires change at the unconscious level for it to feel natural. At times we may try to change an unconscious process and fail because of resistance at the unconscious level. This resistance may manifest itself as stress, self-sabotage or internal conflict.

A hypnotherapy session helps you interact with your unconscious mind differently to how you normally do. You have a much greater degree of control over unconscious processes and thoughts. This helps you bring about the changes that you want your life.

What does the medical profession say about hypnotherapy?

Perhaps the best endorsement for hypnosis by the medical profession is that hypnosis is currently used as anaesthetic in some surgical procedures. This is known as hypnosurgery. It’s not a new thing. Surgeon John Elliotson documented the use of hypnosurgery back in the 1830s.

You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

Is hypnotherapy effective?

Studies on hypnotherapy typically find it effective. Some of these are listed on the Wikipedia hypnotherapy page.

Some studies that examine hypnotherapy for particular applications find that there are not enough hypnotherapy studies to draw a conclusion. An example of this is the Cochrane study on psychological interventions for overweight or obesity. This study stated:

There was not enough evidence to reach a conclusion about other psychological forms of therapy, such as relaxation therapy and hypnotherapy, however the evidence that is available suggests that these therapies may also be successful in improving weight loss.


With respect to weight loss, there have been a number of studies that have shown hypnosis to be effective, as well as many endorsements.

What conditions is hypnotherapy useful for?

Hypnotherapy is useful for the treatment of conditions that have a psychological component.

This is not limited to purely psychosomatic conditions. A 2001 study by the British Psychological Society (BPS)  states that hypnotherapy could be useful for things as diverse as:

  • Pain management, as in childbirth or dental procedures.
  • Anxiety and tension
  • insomnia
  • Tension headaches, migraine
  • Gastro-intestinal complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Warts and possibly eczema, psoriasis and hives.
  • Weight reduction.

It’s quite a varied list because our minds effect most of our experience. Portions of the report are quoted here.

Can I be hypnotised?

Almost everyone can be hypnotised as long as they want to.

If you are creative, of average intelligence (or above) and want to be hypnotised then hypnosis will work for you. All you need to do is just let it happen without helping or hindering the process.

Hypnosis does not feel very different to your normal state of mind. If you are curious to see what it feels like, you may try the free hypnosis audio file I provide.

Will I need to do anything before visiting a hypnotherapist?

There is nothing that you need to do before a visit.

What are the pros and cons of hypnotherapy?

There are advantages and disadvantages to hypnotherapy, and you should be aware of the following:

  • There are relatively few sessions involved in hypnotherapy compared to other talking therapies, so it can take place over a short period of time.
  • In order to benefit from hypnotherapy you need to commit yourself to the process. A hypnotherapist has no power over you, and you need to cooperate for the therapy to be fully effective.
  • Hypnotherapy is more effective if you are motivated to achieve your desired outcome.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a number of hypnotherapy qualifications in various specialist hypnotherapy areas including conversational hypnotherapy, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, counselling as well as general hypnotherapy.

I am registered with a number of professional hypnotherapy organisations including the IACT, IAPCH and GHR.

I am also qualified as a master practitioner and trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

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