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                                        Individual Couple & Relationship Counselling

                                            30 yrs Behavioural Science Experience

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Hypnosis - Different Approaches

It is important to know what to look for from the variety of different practices and practitioners in the field !


The term ‘hypnosis’ describes a wide variety of procedures for inducing states of awareness which are different from the usual ways of  operating we use in everyday activity. In these states we can be released from many of the constraints which focus our thinking in the everyday world. Thus we can have access to processes which can liberate us from previous assumptions and limitations. Not only this - but we can be freed from time constraints and even change the way our body operates !

Our minds can visit and re-examine past experience from new viewpoints. We can also imaginatively construct better ways to engage and manage situations which we have previously found difficult or impossible. In such ways we can break through the limits we learned both consciously and unconsciously & which prevented us from leading fuller lives . In these ways we can create a new capabilities, belief and confidence in ourselves.


This approach figures largely in the popular imagination. It entails the use of eye-closure and much reduced or virtually complete loss of external awareness. Command and Standard Induction Approaches ( see below ) generally employ only  formal hypnosis.  People who are considered not to have achieved a satisfactorily deep state through these methods are often

( and mistakenly ) described by this kind of  practitioner as ' not very good subjects '.


This is primarily used in competent Ericksonian work ( see link below ).  The work is highly adaptable and develops entirely from ways the individual constructs and represents their experience in what they say and how they react and behave. It incorporates this information to create beneficial hypnotic suggestion interleaved with the ordinary stream of exchange with clients so that change work can be accomplished in a flowing and totally naturalistic way.

Deeper states may be used deliberately for particular purposes - but in the normal run of things these develop quite spontaneously as the client becomes engrossed in the work. Generally one experiences a comfortable and reflective dialogue - often with engaging and usefully thought provoking content.

In more complicated cases - where a variety of inter-related processes need to be adjusted over time - I often employ personally designed scripts and make MP3 recordings to promote unconscious process. These are necessarily complex and can seem to have different content and many alternative meanings on different hearings as the the content is processed.

You may easily discover you have very little conscious recollection of  what happened - even though you were totally aware of it at the time. But later on - and whenever required - situations which had previously defeated one’s best efforts are met with perfectly adequate resources and constructive attitudes which just seem to become effortlessly available.

Good practitioners of Ericksonian mode who have extensive training - post training professional development and supervision are to be found in the UKCP Register of Practitioners.  This register is the largest and most reputable multi-disciplinary register of professionally trained and regulated therapists in Europe



As seen in popular TV entertainments relies on the selection of very suggestible people all of whom will respond to a stereotyped and programmed - somewhat domineering script or procedures.  This is rigid and inflexible and is considered by Ericksonians to be disrespectful of the person and of extremely doubtful therapeutic value. There are practitioners who use this approach - but they are by no means the only act in town !.


Whilst often being less domineering and more sympathetic to the recipient, this style largely uses prepared scripts or inductions to treat a particular problem with little or no variation to take account of individual differences or circumstances. An Internet search will reveal many sites which market hypnotic tracks on CD and hypnotic induction scripts for downloading.

Many practitioners of this mode use the same limited set of routine inductions for all conditions and types of person.  The best such practitioners are systematic - but are limited in the range and complexity of conditions for which they might be expected to achieve success. Though some have a reasonable length of  experience - a great many practice part-time to earn extra cash - have short trainings and have no proper psychotherapeutic training or supervision.

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Copyright Keith Bibby© December 2009                             >> More About Ericksonian Hypnosis