While the first thing that comes to mind when you think of hypnosis might be some extravagant magic show in Las Vegas, in reality, people use hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, all the time.

But what is hypnotherapy exactly? We’re sharing everything you need to know below.

What is it?
According to the American Psychological Association, hypnotherapy is not actually a form of psychotherapy. Instead, it’s a tool that’s used in addition to traditional therapy. Clients who use hypnotherapy get into a trance-like state with the help of a clinical hypnotherapist. When in this state, they’re better able to use their mind and thoughts to make changes or regain control of behaviors.

A properly trained and credentialed hypnotherapist is not going to make you say or do things that you don’t want to do. They’re not there to control your mind. In fact, people who use hypnotherapy would describe it as a pleasant, peaceful, and relaxing experience.

Why try it?
“People seek out hypnotherapy in hopes of changing their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – experiences that have unconscious motivations,” says Dr. David Godot, a licensed clinical psychologist and the secretary of the American Psychological Association’s hypnosis division. “The famous psychiatrist and hypnosis pioneer Milton H. Erickson used to say that ‘the symptom is a solution,’ meaning it solves some unknown problem.”

For example, overeating can be related to emotional or even sexual trauma in some cases. According to Dr. Godot, it can be a way of self-soothing and of creating a less sexually desirable self-presentation. A clinical hypnotherapist can help someone discover the root issue and give them strategies to move forward.

Who should do it?
Hypnotherapy can be beneficial for anyone who wants to manage emotional distress or physical pain, and it can also help change certain habits and behaviors, such as smoking or overeating. If you’re looking to try hypnotherapy, make sure you’ve done your research. Unlike psychotherapy or counseling, Dr. Godot says that hypnotherapy is not a legally protected team, so a hypnotist may not have the training required to deal with things like trauma.

“Literally anyone can offer hypnotherapy services regardless of qualifications or lack thereof,” he says. “So I always recommend that people interested in hypnotherapy seek out a licensed physician, psychologist, or psychotherapist who also has training in the use of hypnosis.”

xx, The FabFitFun Team