What is Hypnotherapy?

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy – the hard truths.

Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc. provides technical hypnosis. We believe hypnosis is a therapeutic tool. It is a modality that can be used within health management that has a genuine role to play. This explains why our clients include doctors, directors of credit unions and professors at local universities.

There are various other kinds of hypnotherapists. Some are ‘metaphysical’, some are more geared towards alternative therapies including reiki and ‘soul cleansing’. Some therapists will even share details of their troubled journey and invite you to participate on a voyage to your own inner peace. No therapist of this nature has a place at Vancouver Hypnotherapy.

When I see websites expounding the skills of a hypnotherapist that also offers reiki, quantum healing, spirit cleansing and has a quote from Buddha, I immediately switch off – and check that I still have my wallet. I advise you to do the same. Hypnotherapy need not be flakey. If, during your search, you come across a therapist who so much as mentions The Secret, Quantum Physics or ‘Self’ on their website, you should probably move forward elsewhere in your search – unless you are specifically looking for a metaphysical solution. We do not provide a service of that nature. Whilst I acknowledge the importance of spirituality, the approach at Vancouver Hypnotherapy is one of professionalism and technical competence.

I enjoy all aspects of hypnosis, and my staff and I have a thorough all-round knowledge of many hypnosis activities. However in the clinical setting, we concentrate on technical hypnosis for the specific benefits our clients require.



Hypnosis happens when you are in a relaxed state, something like daydreaming, when your critical faculties are suspended and you are open to suggestion. The words ‘hypnosis’ and ‘hypnotherapy’ are derived from the Greek word hypnos, meaning ‘sleep’.

Hypnotherapists induce a hypnotic trance in order to help you overcome addictions and phobias, such as fear of flying, or to relieve pain or stress contributing to illnesses like asthma. Some therapists who practise ‘modern’ or ‘ericksonian’ hypnotherapy (a style of psychotherapy called NLP) don’t even induce the trance state, having found they can rely on ‘everyday trance’ — the mind’s ability to wander and daydream — as a basis for making effective therapeutic suggestions.

In the 18th century, the Austrian doctor Franz Anton Mesmer practised a kind of hypnotism involving magnets (‘mesmerism’). His patients claimed to feel no pain while in a trance. Although Mesmer was dismissed as a charlatan, a Scottish doctor, James Braid, became interested in Mesmer’s approach and investigated the possibilities of trance-like states of mind as a form of anaesthesia.

Early psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud made use of hypnosis, but the American psychotherapist Milton H Erickson developed the form of hypnotherapy commonly used today. Many practitioners are counsellors, psychotherapists or psychologists, others are doctors and dentists.


Hypnosis bypasses the conscious mind, allowing direct communication with the unconscious. Most people can be hypnotised to a greater or lesser extent; the best subjects are those who are imaginative and easily absorbed in what they are doing.

Hypnotherapy is said to be particularly useful for habit problems like bedwetting in children, smoking, compulsive eating and nail biting; also, stress-related or psychosomatic conditions like skin problems, irritable bowel syndrome and migraine and pain relief, phobias, panic attacks, lack of confidence, inhibitions and sexual problems.

The truth is, you can use it for pretty well anything you feel you need a little help with. We get asked to help with the most extraordinary things. We welcome unusual enquiries!


Hypnotic states can be induced in several ways (whirling Dervishes use motion, for instance) but Western hypnotherapists tend to prefer quiet relaxation. You normally see a practitioner for a course of 60-minute sessions. At Vancouver Hypnotherapy this course of treatment is based on previous instances of similar issues which we have documented and recorded to help in future treatments. As a result, our therapists are able to estimate with considerable accuracy how many sessions you should expect for your particular challenge. When something comes along which is highly unusual we will inform you if we are unfamiliar with the issue.

At your first appointment, the therapist will ask about your physical and mental health, the nature of your problem and why you have chosen hypnotherapy. A hypnosis session often starts with a relaxation procedure, such as tensing and releasing different parts of your body as you lie on a reclining chair or couch, although a good hypnotist can hypnotise you standing up, and pretty well anywhere.

Vancouver Hypnotherapy hypnotists are expected to be able to hypnotise virtually anyone, anywhere. Additionally, in our clinic we use a number of technologies we have developed and that have proven highly effective at inducing trance. While there are a very few people that will never be hypnotised, we pride ourselves upon our ability to work with clients others have never managed to hypnotise.

At no time do you lose control of the situation. At any time, should you wish, you could literally get up and leave the session. You will not feel anaesthetized; it’s more like being half awake. Some people describe it as being slightly stoned. You are, however, perfectly able to drive after a session. It is a pleasant and relaxing process.

The video below shows me working with a client who achieves a good state of trance in quite literally seconds. This is a little unusual, but illustrates the fact that hypnosis can take place very rapidly if you know what you are doing.As you can see, this is a comfortable and relaxing experience. The ability to be hypnotized is generally an indication that the client has strong visualisation skills. The client gave permission for the use of the video. By the way, this was shot a long time ago – I no longer have the mustache!

This about sleep:

Fast Inductions

We don’t use this particular technique often, however this is an instant induction and can be used if required. This is an example used in a demonstration of hypnosis and it would be unusual to use it in therapy, though there are instances when it can be useful. Don’t worry, in our clinic we don’t make a habit of dropping clients on the floor.


As you can see, we expect our therapists to be able to work in hypnosis at very advanced levels. Just attending a course is not enough to secure a job at Vancouver Hypnotherapy. We expect the highest standards of hypnosis technique from our hypnotists so that our clients can benefit from these skills. By working in a dynamic environment, with other hypnotists who take their work equally seriously, our hypnotists advance their skillsets every day.

Once in trance some therapists deepen the state by suggesting you feel heavy and relaxed. Once you are in a light to medium trance, the hypnotherapist will address your subconscious mind. People with arthritis may be told they can turn the pain down like the volume of a radio, or smokers that they will no longer find smoking pleasurable. You may be given a post-hypnotic suggestion that enables you to induce self-hypnosis after the treatment course is completed.

Hypnotherapists may use trance to explore the root of a problem and help you change deep-seated attitudes or feelings. At the end of the session, the hypnotherapist suggests that you return to normal consciousness.
We have developed many advanced techniques, including altering associations in clients’ minds, creating aversion to various substances or actions, and ammending emotional response. Many of our techniques are not taught elsewhere and represent breakthough methods of treatment.


A division of Vancouver Hypnotherapy Inc.