Applications of hypnosis

Hypnosis has been applied in a variety of settings such as:

Stress/anxiety and panic disorder: this may include learning self-hypnosis and other self-control strategies, changing your mindset and your reactions, initiating lifestyle changes, etc

Phobias such as agoraphobia, social phobias –presentation anxiety, animal-type phobia, blood-injury-type phobia, natural environment type (fear of heights, storms, etc), situational type (fear of driving, flying, elevators, enclosed places), fear of choking or vomiting, etc

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): hypnosis is considered a good choice for PTSD treatment as it may offer the much-needed sense of safety and security. Moreover, it appears that PTSD experiences share similarities with hypnotic dissociative phenomena, which we can utilize therapeutically.

Depression: Certain health professionals apply hypnosis later in the treatment of depression. However, many professionals recommend its addition from the very first session, since even the slightest of emotional change (or even a hypnotic phenomenon that the client did not believe possible to achieve) may offer the depressed client the belief that change may be possible after all.

Eating Disorders: hypnosis is mostly used in bulimia nervosa since it is believed that a client acts as if hypnotized during a bulimic episode or in binge eating. This is an ability that we can utilize therapeutically. Hypnosis, when added to an obesity programme, enhances its effectiveness. Finally, it is less often used in anorexia nervosa.

Psychosexual Disorders such as erectile disorder, premature or delayed ejaculation, vaginismus, dyspareunia, orgasmic disorder, decreased or absence of sexual desire, etc

Medical and Psychosomatic Problems: hypnosis has a role to play in medical issues, especially when stress or emotional difficulties may trigger the onset of a disease or affect its course. Hypertension, headaches – migraines, gastrointestinal disorders (especially irritable bowel syndrome), dermatological (skin) problems (neurodermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, etc), management of chemotherapy nausea and other side-effects, childbirth (e.g. preparation for labour, pain management, swifter recovery and hospital release), pre-surgical anxiety, psychogenic hair loss, etc

Dentistry: overcoming dental fear and anxiety, pain management, enhancing effects of sedation, bruxism, swifter recovery and fewer post-operative difficulties, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) overcoming intolerance to dentures, etc

Children: Unfortunately, children share similar problems with adults such as asthma, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), headaches, anger, anxiety, chronic and painful diseases, etc. There are, however, certain problems that are either exclusive to childhood or occur more often when in childhood such as: nail biting, thumb sucking, trichotillomania (hair pulling), bedwetting, physical/sexual abuse, neglect, adjustment difficulties (changing schools, divorce, etc), exam anxiety, school phobia etc. Children provide a wonderful opportunity to apply suggestions though storytelling and to utilize their natural ability to fantasize therapeutically.

Sports: restoring and/or enhancing athlete’s performance, identifying reasons for decline in performance, pre-competition anxiety, anxiety during athletic performance as long as it has a negative effect on performance, pain management during an injury (and avoid being medicated for the pain), confidence building, dealing with personal issues affecting performance, etc

Forensic Psychology: using hypnosis with witnesses, victims, and suspects. There are strict guidelines on how to use hypnosis in this area. It is not used very often (as it is in clinical settings) and because there is a risk of false information, information revealed during hypnosis is not always admissible in court.


As you can see, hypnosis has a role to play in a vast array of problems. This does not mean it is a cure for everything nor does it mean that it is necessarily the best option for your difficulties. A licensed psychologist who has ongoing training and experience in hypnosis will help you understand what is best for you.