- Cognitive Hypnotherapy-One for the Future! -

By Ari on August 02, 2017

Cognitive hypnotherapy is essentially an outlet for alleviating a person’s stresses and strains. It is based on well researched psychological and neurosciences fundamentals and given initial results looks very promising as an alternative therapy. For example, nowadays hypnotherapy is prescribed in some dental clinics during a dental procedure for kids in comparison to local anesthetics that have major adverse side effects. It has been accredited by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, UK).

What is it exactly?

The society bases its idea of hypnotherapy from the way it is usually depicted in movies, something like a swinging pocket watch. At best, these notions are contentious and wrong. Broadly speaking, cognitive hypnotherapy combines the best of two worlds-long existent behavioral therapy and hypnotic therapies. Let us look at a few examples to reiterate the aforementioned point in a more general way. Days when we are doing something we love doing (like watching movies, partying or reading a novel) time seems to fly by, whereas if we work in compulsion then time seems stagnant. The former are examples of our daily interventions with hypnosis. The sole goal of cognitive hypnotherapy is to methodically induce this phase of mind and in turn reduce stress. Hence, it is an extremely compelling way of making positive changes in life.

Origin of cognitive hypnotherapy

We often use the word “mesmerized”-this word has its origin in an Austrian physician, Franz Anton Mesmer. Dr. Mesmer was the pioneer who used magnets to perform a form of hypnotism on his patients in the 18th century. It died an early death though and was only re-born with the efforts of Dr. Trevor Silvester at the turn of the new millennium. He first incorporated the ideas of psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, and neurolinguistic programming into what is known today as cognitive hypnotherapy.

The proof of principle for its working efficiency came from a great study: subjects were given suggestions post-hypnosis (in a hypnotic trance state) to see objects in color, even though they were being showed black and white images. Imaging was done to study activity of different brain regions during the time when the images were shown. Interestingly it was observed brain regions that are required for color perception were being activated suggesting subjects were actually following instructions following hypnosis. The same thing can be done to improve one’s attitude, even though controlled studies for the same is still lacking.

Prospective Applications of Cognitive Hypnotherapy

Phobias-attenuate irrational fear

Anxiety (acute and chronic, inclusive of social anxiety), tension, and


Quit smoking, drinking

Confidence booster/self-belief inducer

Panic attacks

Cure self-destructive activities like addictions and nail biting

Alleviate sleep disorders, like insomnia, considerably

Boost creativity and overall outlook

Significantly reduce psychosomatic problems like psoriasis and

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Obesity, by helping more compliance with weight loss measures

Why is it better than available therapies for stress?

Perception of the world is different among all individuals and this is essentially called as one’s “frame of reference”. Because frame of reference dictates reaction to stressful situations or relaxation methodology, the whole process of stress management is much more complex than envisaged right now. What cognitive hypnotherapy does is provide an individualized toolkit for the mind that can be utilized in varied conditions. Perhaps one shortcoming is that it takes a minimum of three sessions for it brings a positive change in overall attitude. But on the flip side any effected change is perpetual and the benefits are immense. Of note, cognitive hypnotherapy is not prescribed for chronic depression, epilepsy, or psychosis patients.

Foolish fears about cognitive hypnotherapy

The worst is perhaps patients fearing identity theft during hypnotic sessions. The same patients can go under the surgeon’s knife without having any real time assurance of surviving through the procedure. All it involves is a frank discussion with the provider about reasons for stress and objective goals to be met during the therapy. What one would gain at the end of the sessions is the understanding that it is okay to have certain limitations, but it important to know of ways to work around the limitations.

Current cognitive hypnotherapy protocols

Assertiveness training, mindfulness meditation or mindfulness based therapy, applied relaxation training, and cognitive behavioral therapy are the most used and effective protocols currently used in cognitive therapy clinics. None of the aforementioned is a magic or occult phenomenon. Also, none of these protocols are seductive, controlling, or demonic.

Given its wide ranging use and effectivity, the future of cognitive hypnotherapy in clinical use appears very promising. Detailed and multicenter validation studies are required to translate the promise to actual clinical success. But all the preliminary findings predict that cognitive hypnotherapy will be much used in future. Cognitive hypnotherapy will perhaps be incorporated in all forms of treatment regimen in order to ensure better outcome.

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