Child and Family Counseling Center, San Diego, offices in Del Mar and Encinitas
Clinical Hypnosis


What is Clinical Hypnosis?

When hypnosis is used for treating a physical or psychological problem, it is called clinical hypnosis, or hypnotherapy. Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, much like a highly relaxed state of mind, in which a person is highly receptive to therapeutic suggestions.

It is a natural experience that almost everyone has experienced. Examples include watching a TV program or videogame and being so engrossed in it that you are unaware that someone may have left or entered the room. Or, perhaps you were driving and became briefly unaware of turning left or right because you were thinking of something else (i.e., “highway hypnosis”). Daydreaming is yet another example of an altered state of mind.  

How is Clinical Hypnosis different from Stage Hypnosis?

In California , use of hypnosis for psychotherapeutic purposes is restricted to health professionals such as physicians, dentists, and psychotherapists who have completed post-graduate courses with supervision. Stage hypnosis is for entertainment purposes, not therapeutic purposes. Stage hypnotists give you the impression that they have complete control over you. However, with clinical hypnosis, you are the one with complete control, contrary to popular misconception (see more misbeliefs below).

What types of problems are treated with Clinical Hypnosis?

Psychological problems such as:

  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Fear/Phobia
  • Smoking
  • Weight Management
  • Substance Abuse
  • Speech Problems (e.g., stuttering)
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Self-esteem/Motivation
  • Sports/Performance Enhancement

Medical problems such as:

  • Pain management
  • Surgery/anesthesia
  • RSD
  • Childbirth/Labor
  • Abdominal Pain (e.g., Crohn’s Disease, IBS)
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bleeding
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Warts
  • Headache
  • Pediatric conditions such as bedwetting (Enuresis)
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Feeding/Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety/Fears
  • Tics and Tourette Syndrome

Dentistry such as:

  • Dental Anxiety/fear
  • Bruxism
  • Control of Bleeding,
  • Gagging

What are common misbeliefs about Clinical Hypnosis?

“I will lose consciousness.” False. You experience a very relaxed state and are aware of everything, yet are focused on what the professional is saying.
“I will lose control.” False. You are in control at all times. You cannot be made to do anything against your will. If you want to end the hypnotic state, you may do so at any time.
“I won’t be able to talk.” False. You CAN talk while in a hypnotic state.
“I won’t be able to come out of a trance.” False. If you want to end the hypnotic state, you can do so at anytime.

How long does hypnotherapy take?  

Like most other treatments, it will depend on the nature and severity of the problem. It may take only one session for problems such as smoking, or more sessions, for other problems. Clinical hypnosis is often used in combination with other forms of psychotherapy.

How much does hypnotherapy cost?

Some insurance companies will cover the fee, which is charged per clinical hour of 45 minutes. Please call for information regarding the fee.

For more information you may contact the two major professional hypnosis organizations in the US (see below). All members of these organizations are licensed professionals.

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH)*
130 East Elm Court
Suite 201
Rosell , Illinois 60172-2000
Phone: (630) 980-4740
Email info@ASCH.NET

* I’m a Member of its Board of Governors, Certified by it, and am its local, contact person.

Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis (SCEH)
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
221 Rivermoor Street
Boston MA 02132
Phone: (617) 469- 1981
Email: sceh@mspp.edu