Does Hypnotherapy Work?

Does Hypnotherapy Work?

The short answer to this question is a very firm yes! In the last fifty years, evidence-based research into the effectiveness of hypnotherapy has provided significant insights into the therapeutic value of Clinical Hypnotherapy.

Hypnosis can be used successfully in the treatment of anxiety, depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and physical pain management.

It is now considered not just an alternative medical treatment. For some particular issues, it’s a first-line treatment option and part of a powerful integrative medicine treatment plan.

What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool to help you discover more about yourself.

This discovery can reveal how you became the person you are and gives you space to create the person you want to become.

A hypnosis session, combined with counselling and other techniques from a trained therapist, guides you firmly and supportively to a place where you can truly change the way you think, feel and experience life for the better.

One of the most useful ways to explain hypnotherapy is to think about it as a “means of developing powerful personal resources that can be purposefully directed towards achieving therapeutic goals.”

And isn’t that what we all want from therapy and to really enhance our mental health?

Support and guidance to be the person that can resolve our inner struggles and think, feel and behave differently in a new chapter that we can write for ourselves?

Being guided to be in touch with your own ‘powerful personal resources’, in a relatively quick and efficient process makes hypnotherapy a safe and effective therapy. Add in the element of support from a qualified professional in order to deeply embody these resources and experience real change and you have a very powerful therapeutic treatment.

Often our clients get a strong sense that something important has ‘shifted’ for them and shares this with their hypnotherapist in the following session. What can be really fascinating is that sometimes the client hasn’t always remembered the area/areas where the shift has occurred were areas addressed within the hypnosis.

At Shift at Brisbane Natural Health, we record your hypnotherapy session and share it with you so it is easy to replay. This also further enhances your openness to the effectiveness of hypnotherapy and deepen your response to positive suggestions.

Understanding clinical hypnosis therapy

When you think of hypnosis, you may imagine what you’ve seen on TV during stage hypnosis or in a movie. Clinical hypnosis is very different and it doesn’t make you fall asleep, or it cannot make you lose control or do anything that you don’t want to do. When you’re in hypnosis, this deep state is called a “trance”.

The deeply relaxed state of a trance is very similar to deep meditation.

In this state of deep relaxation, your whole body feels relaxed and most people usually feel incredibly calm. In this relaxed state we are working with your unconscious mind and unconscious processes – those deeper parts of yourself that are sometimes not immediately apparent to your conscious mind.

Over 90% of your mind is subconscious and this is where our most deep-seated beliefs and values are stored. By accessing this part of ourselves, we create pathways toward significant changes. Sometimes this is to help to release emotions and past traumas so that you can heal and move forward and sometimes it is about shifting old habits and behaviours that are not helpful.

Change experienced through hypnosis treatment is sustainable offering significant improvements to your mental health and lifestyle.

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Is hypnotherapy the same as hypnosis?

The state of hypnosis is the trance state, the ‘twilight’ stage where you are not completely awake but not completely asleep. It is a natural state for our brains and occurs very easily just before we fall asleep and just before we wake up. In this trance-like state, a very relaxed yet focused feeling can be experienced in waking moments in your life like long car drives, or when you are very absorbed in an activity.

How hypnotherapy works

Studies have shown that therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be enhanced by adding hypnosis to the process and this becomes hypnotherapy. Utilising the hypnotic state is a focusing technique, a way of focused attention on the kinds of thoughts or images that can prepare you mentally and physically for accomplishing whatever you’re striving to accomplish. It’s all about being in the right frame of mind to reach your goals.

When you undergo hypnosis you are engaging in a process of building a frame of mind. Whether it’s a frame of mind to take better care of yourself, perform better on a task of some sort, learn relaxation techniques for your anxiety or the frame of mind to sleep well and form a new sleep foundation. This positive frame of mind supports managing your mindset and health conditions effectively.

Hypnotherapy sessions are considered a cognitive behavioural intervention, delivered while in a hypnotic state.

What can I expect during a hypnotherapy session?

When you arrive at Shift at Brisbane Natural Health you will start your appointment with our therapist learning more about you and what you’d like to work on using hypnotherapy.

We want to create an environment where you feel safe and secure and able to share your issues. We have an amazing team who will make sure you are comfortable before, during and after your session.

In the initial session, your therapist explains their style of hypnotherapy; explores your understanding of hypnotherapy, including the myths and provides the opportunity for questions. It is very important that you understand that you are fully in control of the hypnotherapy process and that the hypnotherapist is facilitating the process, adapting to your own personal needs and goals. 

During the initial 90-minute session, we spend a lot of time guiding you into a relaxed state. This is called an induction which is a systematic progressive relaxation, with additional suggestions, given by this hypnotherapist such as ‘going deeper and deeper into a very relaxed state’; ‘nothing will bother or disturb you’; ‘feeling very safe and secure’; and ‘as the sounds around you fade into the background so you can go deeper and deeper into relaxation’. 

Your therapist spends time deepening this trance-like state by accessing your creative imagination and guiding you to a place in your mind where you feel safe, secure and deeply relaxed. Often you might be guided to descend a set of ten stairs in your mind with every step adding to the depth of your trance. At every stage, you are encouraged and guided to be in a place where you feel completely comfortable, with suggestions to use your sense to imagine a place of safety, security, protection and deep relaxation. This is called deepening the trance.

Following the deepening, your hypnotherapist will guide you in a unique process designed to assist you around your therapeutic goals. Prior to being brought out of their trance, your hypnotherapist adds posthypnotic suggestions, which are intended to be useful to you after the hypnosis is finished. Your therapist provides an opportunity for you to give yourself suggestions within the hypnosis and following this, you are brought out of your trance using a count of five with strong suggestions regarding alertness, awareness and energy. 

You will leave your appointment with a recording of the hypnosis session to listen to at night so you can continue to consistently retrain your mind and your neural pathways.

People who are capable of concentrating and focusing, are generally able to achieve a very good level of trance in hypnotherapy, but really, the relaxed yet focused state of hypnosis is natural and available to all of us.

What hypnotherapy can treat

Hypnotherapy appointments can be done online from anywhere in the world. We help our patients using hypnotherapy every day to work through all kinds of issues.

You might consider seeing a Shift Clinic hypnotherapist if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • You are experiencing anxiety, nervousness or excessive worry.

  • You recognise you need to learn more internal tools to reduce stress.

  • You are feeling down or low and don’t know why.

  • You’re working through some issues in your relationships – be it at home or work, and need some support to navigate this.

  • You‘re not happy in your life, but you don’t know how to change it.

  • You’re doing all of the emotional work but you’re just not healing.

  • You have difficulties falling asleep because your mind won’t shut off.

  • You would like to try a natural solution for pain control, cancer treatment side effects and support anxiety around dental procedures.

  • You are interested in learning how to practice self-hypnosis techniques through experiencing guided hypnosis with a qualified clinical therapist. These tools can be used when you need to sleep, reduce anxiety or relax.

At the Shift Clinic, our therapist Gary Cosier uses a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and other techniques to help you to shift your mindset. He will work with you to clearly define what the major issues are, which ones will be addressed in the session and what the desired outcomes will be.

Common myths about hypnosis and hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy has had quite a history of myths and misconceptions – from whether hypnotherapy is an altered state of consciousness that can produce false memories, to associations with witchcraft, hysteria, and some religions have even banned hypnosis. 

Stage hypnotists have contributed to the poor image by hypnotising people and publicly placing them in embarrassing and sometimes shaming situations. Clinical hypnotherapy, of course, is very distinct from stage hypnotism. Stage hypnotism has also directly influenced many of the common myths or misconceptions still present today.  

Common myths or misconceptions about hypnotherapy include:

…that a hypnotised person is like a robot, that hypnosis is like being asleep, that hypnotisable people are weak or gullible, that hypnosis can make people do things they couldn’t or wouldn’t ordinarily do, that hypnosis is all just faking…

In answer to these assumptions, the hypnotised person is fully in control of the hypnotherapy process and there are significant differences in how each individual responds. Hypnosis is not sleep and the trance is technically considered to be at the theta (relaxed), rather than the delta (sleep) brain wave level state. Theta brain waves are “present in relaxed states and predominate in trance and hypnogogic states.”

Hypnotisable clients are not weak or gullible and are often very intelligent individuals with the ability to focus and concentrate deeply. The unconscious mind will always reject suggestions that are either harmful or significantly different to a client’s usual behaviour and therefore a hypnotised client, in a clinical setting, cannot be made to behave in a way contrary to their usual behaviour or beliefs. 

The assumption that hypnosis is ‘just faking’ especially doesn’t hold any credence in the clinical setting. The experience of hypnosis is real. The hypnotherapist observes changes in the breathing pattern, the client’s pallid complexion, and other obvious indications of the client’s very relaxed state.

Is hypnotherapy safe?

Hypnotherapy is safe, affordable and effective for treating many issues. Think of it as healing and strengthening the mental and emotional parts of you. The part where we often store our most deep-seated fears and the part which can stop us from reaching our full potential.

Are there side effects to hypnotherapy?

The only side effects reported from hypnotherapy are shifts in thoughts, behaviours and feelings that clients are ready and willing to change.


Hypnotherapy can help to facilitate some profound changes in your body. Patients that benefit the most are those that have identified that they have some habits, behaviours or thought processes that are not healthy – and they want to make a change.

There are many reasons to try hypnotherapy – for sleep, anxiety and depression or weight loss or quit smoking hypnosis.

At Shift at Brisbane Natural Health, we have a range of services that can help you improve your mental health and ultimately, help you live a happier and healthier life.

We are here to support you with any mental health condition you are concerned about. People often come to us with anxiety disorders and have been to their medical doctor, or sought other professional medical advice that has been unable to help them long-term.

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Ready to see a Shift Hypnotherapist?

Hypnotherapy appointments can be done face-to-face or online from anywhere in the world. We help our patients with hypnotherapy every day to work through all kinds of issues including anxiety and other mental health conditions.

At Shift, our highly trained hypnotherapist Gary Cosier uses a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and other techniques to help you to Shift your mind. Gary will give you an in-depth understanding of human development and the impact your environment can have on your everyday life – on decision-making, emotional stress, depression, weight management, self-esteem, sleep patterns and many other life issues that can affect your well-being.

Head here to book an appointment online or call us on 07 3667 0337.

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