Hypnotherapy: Techniques, Cost, Benefits


Psychotherapy helps people with mental disorders improve their well-being, usually through methods such as talk therapy. Hypnotherapyalso known as hypnosis therapy or clinical hypnosis, is the therapeutic use of hypnosis in psychotherapy with a trained mental health provider. Hypnosis is a trance-like state of consciousness that makes the mind more open to suggestion.

Read on to learn more about hypnotherapy, its effectiveness, and what to expect if you have a hypnosis therapy session.

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What is hypnosis ?

Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness that allows for increased focus and concentration. This can facilitate therapeutic change, helping with behaviors such as:

Despite how hypnosis has been portrayed in the media, it is a real and effective therapeutic tool.

How it works

Trance states can occur regularly in daily life.

In a therapeutic setting, however, a trained therapist will guide you to a state of focused concentration. Once in this altered state, they will suggest visualizations related to your therapy goal.

Once the session is over, they will guide you to a normal state of consciousness.

Not everyone can be hypnotized

About 10% to 20% of people cannot be hypnotized. A study indicates that hypnotizability is actually a genetic trait.

what happens to the brain

Brain imaging research shows that if a person is under hypnosis and visualizes an image, areas of the brain are activated as if they were in a conscious, waking reality. When a person experiences physical pain or induced pain during hypnosis, areas of the brain correlated to pain are activated.

Can hypnosis lead to mind control?

The entertainment media makes hypnosis look like mind control. But in reality, hypnosis is a trance-like state of deep, relaxed concentration. You can still hear what is happening around you and come out of the trance at any time. Hypnotherapy cannot make you do something against your will. No hypnotherapist or hypnotist can make someone do things they don’t want to do. This is why people hypnotized to quit smoking can continue to smoke.

How can this help

Here are some of the conditions that can be improved or benefit from hypnotherapy:


The average cost of hypnotherapy ranges from $75 to $125 or more per session, but multiple sessions may be required to achieve results.

Sometimes the cost can be lumped into a larger program, such as smoking cessation or weight loss.

Insurance will sometimes cover hypnosis when treated by a licensed mental health professional.


In a pain study, hypnosis produced up to 42% reduction in pain.

Hypnosis offers other benefits, including:

Side effects

Reported side effects of hypnosis may include:

When to use caution

Hypnosis is not appropriate for people with severe mental disorders, including psychosis, hallucinations or delusions. It can even be dangerous for people with dissociative disorders and schizophrenia.

What to expect

Here are some general steps to plan for during your session:

  1. Induction: The therapist will induce a hypnotic state by suggesting relaxation, which may include the visualization of something soothing, calming or pleasant.
  2. Hints: Suggestions are usually focused on your goals, such as losing the urge to smoke or reducing pain.
  3. Emerge in the present moment: Once the hypnosis process is complete, the medical professional will bring you out of the trance state and back into the present moment.

Be sure to dress comfortably for your appointment, as you may need to lie down during the session.

Is self-hypnosis effective?

In a study of self-hypnosis for people with cancer, results indicated that they improved their emotional distress by using self-hypnosis. In another study, participants used self-hypnosis as part of a weight loss program. The results indicated that those who used hypnosis saw their weight decrease and their feeling of fullness improved while eating.


Hypnosis is a trance-like state of consciousness that makes the mind more open to suggestion. It involves inducing a person into an altered state and making suggestions influenced by their goals.

Hypnosis is helpful for many issues including smoking cessation, weight loss, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, etc. It has proven to be an effective complement to traditional psychotherapy.

A word from Verywell

If you are considering hypnotherapy, it is important to find a mental health professional trained in hypnosis. This will help you feel comfortable during your session. Remember that if hypnotherapy is not the right choice for you, there are many other therapy methods available to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is hypnosis real?

    Evidence-based scientific research suggests that hypnotism is real and effective. Research shows that hypnosis impacts multiple regions of the brain. In one study, participants experienced a 42% reduction in pain.

  • Is hypnosis safe?

    When practiced correctly, hypnosis is generally safe. However, hypnosis is not safe if you have a serious mental illness. For most people, it is possible to come out of a hypnotic state at any time by counting down.

  • What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

    They are often used interchangeably, but the meanings are distinct. Hypnosis is a trance state in which the mind becomes more open to suggestion, and hypnotherapy is the clinical practice of hypnosis.

  • Can you learn to hypnotize someone?

    Yes. A study indicated that people with no experience could be effective at hypnotizing others.

  • How long does hypnosis last?

    In one study, people who combined cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with hypnosis reported greater improvement than those who had CBT without hypnosis.


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