What is Hypnotherapy? An Introduction to its Basics and History


What is Hypnotherapy? An Introduction to its Basics and History


The mind is a powerful tool. Throughout history, humans have sought ways to understand, harness, and utilise its vast potential. One of these methods is hypnotherapy—a therapeutic technique that taps into the subconscious mind to facilitate healing, change behaviors, and improve mental well-being. But what exactly is hypnotherapy, and where did it originate? Let’s delve into the basics and history of this intriguing practice.

The Basics of Hypnotherapy:

At its core, hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis in a therapeutic setting. But before we explore that further, it’s essential to understand hypnosis itself. Hypnosis is a trance-like state of heightened focus and concentration, akin to being completely absorbed in a book, movie, or meditation. In this state, people are more open to suggestions and can access memories or experiences often hidden from their conscious mind.

Hypnotherapists guide individuals into this relaxed, focused state and then introduce positive suggestions or explore specific issues depending on the goal of the session. The process helps in various ways:

  1. Behavioral Changes: Hypnotherapy can help modify behaviors like smoking, overeating, or nail-biting.
  2. Emotional Healing: It can aid in addressing anxiety, stress, phobias, and trauma.
  3. Self-Discovery: Some use hypnotherapy to explore past lives or uncover repressed memories.
  4. Pain Management: It has proven effective in managing and reducing pain, especially in childbirth and some chronic conditions.

It’s important to note that not everyone is equally susceptible to hypnosis, and results can vary.

The History of Hypnotherapy:

Hypnotherapy, in various forms, has been around for centuries. Here’s a brief timeline of its evolution:

  1. Ancient Civilizations: Evidence suggests that ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Chinese, practiced forms of “sleep temples” where individuals underwent a type of dream therapy, which might be seen as an early form of hypnotherapy.
  2. 18th Century: The Austrian physician Franz Mesmer popularized the idea of “animal magnetism.” While Mesmer’s methods were controversial and eventually debunked, they laid the groundwork for future exploration into the mind’s power.
  3. 19th Century: James Braid, a Scottish surgeon, coined the term “hypnotism” and is often regarded as the “Father of Modern Hypnotherapy.” He distanced hypnosis from Mesmer’s ideas, focusing instead on its scientific and therapeutic potential.
  4. 20th Century: Milton H. Erickson, an American psychiatrist, further revolutionised the field by introducing many techniques still in use today. With the advent of psychology as a formal discipline, hypnotherapy began to gain credibility and found its place in mainstream therapeutic practices.
  5. 21st Century: Today, hypnotherapy is recognized worldwide as a credible therapeutic approach. Many countries have established professional bodies to train, certify, and regulate hypnotherapists.


Hypnotherapy offers a unique approach to healing and self-improvement by harnessing the power of the subconscious mind. While it may have had mystical or controversial origins, its evolution has been rooted in a growing understanding of the human psyche. As with any therapeutic approach, it’s essential to consult with a trained and certified professional to ensure the best possible outcome. Whether you’re looking to change a habit, overcome a fear, or simply