What is Hypnotherapy?

This is the therapeutic use of trance to resolve unwanted habits, unsatisfactory feelings or emotions and issues generated through previous experiences (such as at work, in childhood, or relationships), phobias and unhelpful behaviours or self-beliefs.

Hypnotherapy is the process of supporting and deepening these naturally occurring trance-states to enable access to your inner, unconscious resources, memories and aptitudes. The role of the Hypnotherapist is to assist you to create beneficial changes to the way you experience the world, and to discover preferable alternatives to unhelpful behaviours, self-beliefs, habits or thinking.

 Hypnotherapy uses deep relaxation in order to work with a person’s subconscious mind, using their imagination along with NLP techniques including visualisation, storytelling, metaphors and suggestion to discover beneficial changes which can help resolve unhelpful experiences such as phobias, anxieties or stress.

 What is Hypnosis?

 First of all – what it isn’t. Hypnosis is not

  • mind control  
  • brain washing
  • Mesmerism (more on this below)
  • loss of consciousness
  • going ‘under the influence’ of a hypnotist

Hypnosis is a natural state experienced every day by most people - for example in daydreams or when recalling the sensations of a pleasant experience; when deeply engrossed in a book, film or piece of music; while on journeys, when we discover we have travelled for some distance without noticing; in ‘deletion' trances when we search for, say, spectacles which are perched on top of the head, or when searching for something (for example a bunch of keys) which mysteriously disappears but then we notice is right in front if us.

We enter these trance-like states spontaneously and the process of hypnotherapy is about using these states deliberately to achieve beneficial results. Researchers have indicated that hypnotherapy using imagery, NLP techniques, metaphor and storytelling enables people to access their inner resources effectively to enable them to achieve their goals, be they health-oriented or focused on other elements, by enabling communication at emotional as well as somatic or cognitive levels.

For centuries trance states have been used for healing, personal empowerment and recuperation. At Epidaurus in ancient Greece a form of hypnosis was performed in the temple of Asclepius (the Greek god of medicine and healing), and the name hypnosis comes from the Greek ‘hypnos’ meaning sleep (a friendly parting expression of an evening in present-day Greece is ‘kalo hypno’ – sleep well).

 Hypnosis was developed in the late 18th and through the 19th century, the practice finally named ‘hypnosis’ only about 1840 by a Manchester-based surgeon James Braid. Confusingly hypnosis is, in fact, not a form of sleep but a state of deep physical and mental relaxation which is gentle, pleasant and comfortable. While hypnosis developed in a clinical environment its therapeutic use is generally misunderstood due to expectations arising from stage hypnosis and through misrepresentation of hypnotic processes for dramatic effect (for example the film 'The Manchurian Candidate') where the subject is 'brainwashed'.

Mesmerism, propounded by Franz Anton Mesmer in the late 18th century, is often confused with hypnosis (hence “being mesmerised”) and was based on the notion that an invisible power emanated from the practitioner to take control of a subject and remedy their ailments. This power was named ‘animal magnetism’ and fell from favour as clinical experiments demonstrated its lack of validity. Stage hypnotism relies on a similar notion of the performer having some magical power of control to have someone do things, usually outlandish, in response to a prompt. One conclusion to draw from observing stage hypnotists is there  seems to be a fascination for eliciting impersonations of Elvis Presley.

 It is worth noting that stage hypnotists rely on preparation and briefing of their enthusiastic volunteers (perhaps keen to have an excuse to do something outlandish?) in order to have them ‘perform’ whilst in trance. It is worth saying again: you cannot be hypnotised against your will, you cannot be hypnotised to ‘do’ things against your will or risk ‘losing control’ under hypnosis.

For further information from the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council see http://www.cnhc.org.uk/assets/pdf/Hypnotherapy-4-005.pdf

Who might benefit from Hypnotherapy?

Virtually anyone. Hypnotherapy seeks to access a person’s inner resources and aptitudes to realise their potential and to create beneficial changes in the way they experience the world.

While hypnosis was used extensively in the 19th century in surgical procedures (losing favour with the arrival of chloroform and the consequent speed which patients could be anaesthetised chemically), hypnotherapy is used in addressing a wide range of conditions including:

  • anxiety
  • phobias
  • unwanted habits
  • addictions
  • low self-esteem
  • lack of confidence
  • anger management
  • weight and diet management
  • chronic pain
  • allergies
  • fear of examinations
  • fear of public speaking
  • compulsions
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • improving concentration
  • improving sporting, artistic and professional performance.


To discuss having Derek work with you please contact the surgery on (01524) 733867 or leave a message at our reception desk. He can also be contacted via email at derek@kingdental.org.uk

All initial consultations are free of charge.


 Hypnotherapy is contra-indicated for some manifestations of depressive illness, psychosis and epilepsy. If you believe you are experiencing such conditions we strongly advise seeking professional medical advice before considering undertaking hypnotherapy.