The popularity of hypnotherapy among therapists is increasing. Hypnotherapy is seen as a powerful yet gentle technique used to help clients overcome a wide variety of behavioral, emotional, and even physical issues. To help you understand what hypnotherapy is all about I have interviewed John McGrail, Ph.D. C.Ht. who is a clinical hypnotherapist in Los Angeles, California.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
“I own a private practice called, A Better You, Inc. My company serves individuals of all ages and backgrounds, as well as selected corporate clients. Services range from individual sessions, to motivational presentations, training seminars, and workshops. My role is to guide my clients in manifesting change, transformation, personal growth and spiritual empowerment. I firmly believe that anyone can create the life they wish to have and it’s my passion to assist him or her in that endeavor. I also endeavor to equip clients to be able to continue growing on their own when their work with me is complete.”
“I have over 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and mentor across a variety of industries and disciplines. I am now a member of the faculty and teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in Breyer State’s online degree programs in hypnotherapy.”
“I’ve published numerous articles on personal growth and I am just finishing a new book. The working title is, “Synthesis, Finding Your Path to Practical Enlightenment,” which I expect to publish later this year.”
What is hypnotherapy?
“Hypnotherapy is in essence a methodology that utilizes hypnosis to help people create change in their lives. Hypnosis is a natural state of consciousness that creates a state of openness or flexibility in the mind. When we enter hypnosis we become naturally receptive to new thoughts and ideas. We become what we call suggestible. Thus, using hypnosis, we can help an individual overcome the natural, inborn resistance to change that affects everyone to one degree or another. It can be likened to a tool that helps in removing the roadblocks to growth and development.”
“Hypnosis is also thought to provide direct access to the subconscious part of the mind, from which most of our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behavioral patterns arise. If we think of the subconscious as a sort of hard drive– a mechanism that simply records and plays back information, good or bad– the process of hypnotherapy is like erasing unwanted or negative programs, and installing new ones that will empower and improve the quality of an individual’s life.”
What type of issues can hypnotherapy help a person with?
“Hypnotherapy can be helpful in creating virtually any change a person desires. Hypnotherapy can have an impact on the behavioral, emotional, spiritual, and physical side of a person. This includes virtually anything that does not entail organic or physical brain damage, or an acute psychosis like schizophrenia. It is most commonly associated with eliminating unwanted or negative behavioral patterns, habits, fears and phobias. Building self-esteem and confidence, performance enhancement at work, school or play. Helping many psychological and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain management, irritable bowel syndrome and even warts. In most states, when working with a medical or psychological disease or disorder, a lay hypnotherapist– one who is not a licensed physician or psychotherapist– must obtain a written referral from a licensed practitioner. (See my website for more info on frequently treated issues).”
What is the experience of hypnotherapy like for a person?
“Generally speaking hypnotherapy is an extremely pleasant experience. Hypnosis in a clinical setting creates absolute emotional calm, focus, and a feeling of well being combined with total physical relaxation. Most clients leave their sessions feeling refreshed, relaxed, and empowered.”
How long does it take before the person’s issue is resolved with the use of hypnotherapy?
“The required number of sessions varies widely. It is subject to a plethora of factors– the issue itself, the client’s history with the issue, his or her desire to overcome the issue, willingness to commit to the work, their facility with entering hypnosis, etc. There are also many considerations in terms of the practitioner, such as their training, experience, competence, professionalism, etc– just like any other service provider. Hypnosis is merely a state of consciousness. How it is used is a matter of both art and science. As a rule though, hypnotherapy is considered a short-term solution, meaning that in the hands of a skilled professional, a client usually achieves results fairly, sometimes very quickly– in a matter of weeks and months rather than months or years. Most of my clients are with me for about 3-5 sessions on average.”
Can anyone try hypnotherapy and is there an age limit?
“Yes, with the exception of certain psychoses, and with appropriate referral in the case of medical or psychological disorders, anyone can try hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a safe, natural, painless process using a natural state of consciousness that every normal human brain experiences every day. As for age limits, there is no upper age limit, and for children, the only requirement is that they can concentrate for a few minutes, which they usually can by age of six or seven. My youngest client is seven, and my oldest 84.”
What advice would you like to leave for someone who is interested in hypnotherapy?
“Hypnotherapy is a wonderfully powerful process. However like any service provider such as doctors, dentists, plumbers, mechanics a good result is definitely tied into the talent and experience of the therapist. If possible, get a personal referral from a friend or relative that has experience with a practitioner. If that is not possible, then speak personally to several practitioners. Ask questions about their training and experience. Just because someone is fairly new would not necessarily preclude hiring him or her, but ask about his or her training program. Ask for client references. Any practitioner who is good should be willing to provide client references. If someone makes the process sound too good to be true, then I would avoid seeing him or her because it probably is.”
“This is a powerful modality but it isn’t magic. It’s a process and it will take a number of sessions for success. It will depend on the issue and a true professional will tell you that upfront. There is very little we can guarantee so listen to those sorts of claims very carefully.”
You have to feel comfortable with whom you work, so really pay attention the feeling you get when you speak to a potential provider. The one who you feel the most comfortable with is usually the best choice, regardless of price. And a note on fees; those folks who are really good, took a lot of time and effort to get that way. They tend to be more expensive but you will most likely have a better chance to succeed and at a faster rate. So when you look at it that way you will probably save money in the long run. This is an investment in your life, so think accordingly.”
“Finally, there are some professional organizations for which membership requires a certain demonstrated level of training and experience, and they often provide referrals. These would include The International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association, The National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Society of Clinical Hypnotherapy, whose members must hold a license to practice medicine, dentistry, or psychotherapy, and the Hypnotherapies Union, whose members are not exclusively but largely located on the West coast in Southern California.”