Hypnotherapy For Dummies®


by Mike Bryant and Peter Mabbutt




About the Authors

Mike Bryant is an African-American who has lived in England since 1984.

Mike is a qualified psychiatric social worker, counsellor, and hypnotherapist and has also worked as an information technology and project manager.

With extensive experience in both America and the United Kingdom, Mike has established a range of innovative mental health schemes in London as well as having provided senior service development consultancy to NHS Mental Health Trusts across England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as a Senior Consultant with the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (SCMH). While at SCMH, he published a range of papers and reports on mental health issues.

Mike currently lives in London with his wife and family and has a private practice as a counsellor and as hypnotherapist. You can find more information about Mike’s practice at .

Peter Mabbutt is Director of Studies at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) and lectures throughout the UK and overseas to both lay students and medical practitioners. He is responsible for the development of the LCCH’s core courses and with his colleagues has introduced many new techniques and subjects to the curriculum, ensuring that it continues to meet the needs of the modern-day hypnotherapist.

With a background in psychopharmacology Peter co-authored a range of papers on tranquilisers, anxiety, and learning and memory before training with the LCCH to become a hypnotherapist. Peter has a specialist interest in the mind-body connection, weight control, the treatment of trauma, and hypertension.


Authors’ Acknowledgements

From Mike Bryant: I would like to dedicate this book to my family: My lovely wife Toni, and my gorgeous daughters Jodie and Jessie. Jodie, sorry I couldn’t use your working title of Daddy’s Wicked Hypnotherapy Book. Maybe next time.

A big thanks goes to my parents, and my brother and sister from Indianapolis. Howdy.

Michael Joseph: Thank you for creating some of the best hypnotherapy training in Europe – the London College of Clinical Hypnosis. A big appreciation to my teachers and colleagues there at the LCCH.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation to all of the people who have come to me for hypnotherapy. They have also been my teachers and I owe them a great deal in my development as a clinician, trainer, and author.

Peter: Thanks much for taking on this book with me. Running an international training college (LCCH), I know that wasn’t easy! Thank you for providing your expertise and humour to this book. Thanks for also getting me hooked on the BBC’s “Dr. Who” - it is indeed fab. But moreover, thanks for being my teacher, supervisor, and friend.

From Peter Mabbutt: This book is dedicated to my parents, Christine and Charles. Though sadly no longer with us, they always encouraged my dreams. Hey mum and dad, I realised another one! To my sister Nadine and her family, ¡Hola! And to the rest of my family a big thank you and hello too.

Thank you Michael Joseph, Principal of the London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH), for guiding me along a path that consistently proves to be exciting and fun and for the many groan-worthy jokes that punctuate the day when you are in the office. On top of this I would also like to say a very special thank you to all my colleagues at the LCCH for their support in all things hypnosis and beyond. We make a great team! To all my hypnotherapy students past, present and future; you may think I’m teaching you, but there is a lot that you teach me. Tom Connelly of the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, many thanks for searching out those niggling snippets of information for Mike and I.

There can be no replacement for good teaching and good teachers (thanks again LCCH) but the icing on the cake comes when you are out in the field, and with this in mind I extend another set of thanks to all my patients from whom I have learned and continue to learn so much about the wonderful world of humanity.

Mike, a big thanks for bringing me on board this project. It was great fun and you are a joy to work with. Here’s to the next one!

To all my friends out there who have been patient with my absence whilst writing this book: I’m free again and the drinks are on you!

To my ‘other’ family: Sandra, Gerald, and Andrea Winston, thank you for welcoming me in and letting me share in the laughter.

And Elijah (kiddo!) and Dalya (princess!) Winston: Howzit dolls? The laughter you bring is all the therapy I need.

And finally the biggest thank you of all to my partner Steven Winston for your love, enthusiasm, encouragement, support, humour, nags, and glasses of wine. The boy done good!


Publisher’s Acknowledgements

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at .

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Rachael Chilvers

Content Editor: Steve Edwards

Commissioning Editor: Samantha Clapp

Development Editor: Kathleen Dobie

Copy Editor: Martin Key

Technical Editor: Elyse Kassis

Executive Editor: Jason Dunne

Executive Project Editor: Martin Tribe

Special Help: Jennifer Bingham

Cover Photo: © Corbis

Cartoons: Rich Tennant,


Project Coordinator: Jennifer Theriot

Layout and Graphics: Claudia Bell, Stephanie D. Jumper, Barry Offringa, Heather Ryan

Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Lesley Green, Brian H. Walls

Indexer: Techbooks

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services



Hypnosis is a subject everyone has an opinion about, but few people have ever directly experienced. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is a topic that leaves many people baffled or completely blank. So what exactly is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy? That’s one of questions this book answers.

An important point to understand is that hypnosis and hypnotherapy are not the same thing. Hypnosis has been around since humans began to speak and involves going into a trance. Hypnotherapy uses the hypnotic trance to help you achieve a goal, or create a positive change in your thinking, to help solve a problem. Whereas hypnosis is centuries old, hypnotherapy, like other talking therapies, is a relatively recent practice.

This book helps you understand how hypnosis works. It also discusses the various problems and symptoms hypnotherapy can effectively treat, and shows you how you can put hypnotherapy to use for you.

About This Book

Hypnotherapy For Dummies helps you understand hypnosis on both a theoretical and a practical basis. Both are useful depending on your interests. You can, for example, use this book simply to find out about hypnosis. You may stop at this level and just be clearer about how hypnotherapists work with their clients.

Or, you may be interested in finding a hypnotherapist to work on problems, or to help you succeed in achieving your goals. If you don’t know what sort of things a hypnotherapist can help with, you will be an expert after you read this book!

Hypnotherapy can help people to overcome a surprisingly wide range of habits, emotional problems, and phobias. It can also dramatically improve performance for students taking exams, athletes wanting to improve their game, and creative artists wishing to deepen their abilities.

In many ways hypnotherapy is like counselling, but it is a different approach and much more rapid in producing changes. Hypnotherapists frequently remove phobias within four to six sessions. There is also a body of evidence demonstrating that hypnotherapy is the most effective way to help people stop smoking.

Most people only know about hypnosis from stage hypnotists and movies, which often portray a negative image. This book explores the different ways in which hypnotherapy helps people overcome their problems and achieve their goals.

Conventions Used in This Book

To help you navigate through this book, we set up a few conventions:

bullet Italics are used for emphasis and to highlight new words, or define terms.

bullet Boldfaced text indicates the key concept in a list.

bullet Monofont is used for Web and e-mail addresses.

Sometimes we (the authors, Mike and Peter) use the pronoun ‘we’ to signify both of us or ‘I’ followed by ‘(Mike)’ or ‘(Peter)’, depending who the author writing that particular paragraph is.

Also, when speaking generally we use the female pronoun ‘she’ in even- numbered chapters and the male ‘he’ in odd-numbered chapters, just to be fair to both genders!

Foolish Assumptions

We assume you picked up Hypnotherapy For Dummies for one of the following reasons:

bullet You have a general interest in self-improvement techniques. You’re looking for ways to become more the sort of person you’d like to be.

bullet You want to break a habit. You know that hypnotherapy has a good track record with helping people overcome phobias, smoking, eating problems, and other unwanted habits and you have a habit you want to lose.

bullet You’re curious about various techniques such as psychotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming, counselling, and hypnotherapy. You think that it may all just be psychobabble and want to know what really helps.

This book tells you about the therapies most closely related to hypnotherapy, how they differ and what they have in common.

bullet You want tips on choosing the right hypnotherapist. Chapter 12 is devoted to helping you find a qualified hypnotherapist.

bullet You’re interested in becoming a hypnotherapist. This book is the equivalent of an introductory course in hypnotherapy so after reading it, you may be interested in learning first-hand. If that’s the case, Chap- ter 19 shares tips on training as a hypnotherapist.

bullet You’re just browsing. ‘Oh, is this a book about hypnosis? I thought this was Cleaning and Stain Removal For Dummies!’ Sorry, wrong book.

Why You Need This Book

As the authors of this book we, Mike and Peter, are both practising hypnotherapists. Hypnotherapy For Dummies emphasises the importance of working with a hypnotherapist to achieve your goals. Developing a working relationship with your hypnotherapist is the key to achieving a positive outcome. We think that this is a significant difference to many introductory books on hypnotherapy. Many of those currently available fall into two main types:

bullet Specific interest books aimed at anyone interested in solving a particular problem. These books focus on a single issue, such as the application of hypnosis to achieve weight control, decrease anxiety, develop confidence, or to stop smoking, and so on.

bullet Scripts books aimed at teaching a DIY (do-it-yourself) approach to hypnosis. Scripts are the phrases hypnotherapists use to conduct therapy, once someone is in trance. These types of books offer techniques you can use to hypnotise yourself or others.

In our opinion, this DIY approach cannot approach the level of trance or range of techniques that a good hypnotherapist can provide. We have seen many clients in our practice who have had nil, or negative results, from amateur hypnosis learned from books alone. A qualified hypnotherapist has a variety of techniques to choose from, and selects the technique uniquely suited to relieving your symptom efficiently and effectively.

We think you need this book, because unlike specific interest books, this book takes a broad overview of the theory and practice of hypnotherapy, examining a wide range of the most common hypnotherapy treatments and looking at these in detail.

And unlike script books, our approach recommends self-hypnosis after you’ve experienced a few sessions with a qualified hypnotherapist. Postponing self-hypnosis lets you understand the depth of trance properly before you try it on yourself. A good hypnotherapist can address your specific needs more directly than a generic script gained from a book or an audiotape. Afterwards, you can approach self-hypnosis with the experience of deep trance.

In short, you need this book to ensure that your hypnotherapy experience is profoundly successful and positive!

How This Book Is Organised

The great thing about For Dummies books is that you don’t have to read them all the way through. You can simply turn to the bit you’re interested in and start at any point within a chapter, within a section, or even just go directly to a paragraph that interests you.

We divided the book into five parts, with each broken into chapters. The Table of Contents and the Index help you pinpoint information within the outline explained in the next sections.

Part I: Understanding Hypnotherapy

This section defines the terms used in hypnotherapy and what hypnosis can do for you. Here we also explain what hypnotic trance is and what it feels like.

We also describe the techniques a hypnotherapist has to choose from and exactly what you can expect to happen in a typical session. This knowledge lets you know how to set clear and realistic goals for your own hypnotherapy.

We provide practical and useful information to help you make hypnotherapy work best for you.

Part II: Considering How Hypnotherapy Can Help

Ever wondered how hypnotherapy affects the mind and the body? The chapters in this part describe how hypnotherapy can help you overcome unwanted habits and increase your feel-good factor.

We’re not pretending to be magicians, but hypnotherapy can help with an impressive range of physical problems. But, just in case you think that hypnotherapy is a cure-all, we devote a chapter to letting you know what it can’t accomplish.

Part III: Expanding the Reach of Hypnotherapy

This part focuses on the lesser known applications of hypnotherapy. You may be surprised to know that children are natural hypnotic subjects. The techniques involved in working with children are described here.

Hypnotherapy is also used to work with past-life regression. Whether or not you believe in past lives, this area can still be very powerful in uncovering unconscious themes in how you live now.

We also describe in detail how phobias can be removed through hypnotherapy.

Part IV: The Practical Stuff

This is the part of the book that can help you choose the right hypnotherapist or practice self-hypnosis.

Chapter 13 walks you through your initial session, telling you what to expect and how to prepare – don’t worry, it’s as easy as closing your eyes! And Chapter 15 introduces you to some of the other therapies you may come across, as you explore the world of hypnotherapy.

Part V: The Part of Tens

You can think of this part of the book as a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. So you may want to start with these chapters to debunk common myths about hypnotherapy, survey the pioneers who made significant contributions to the field, discover the characteristics of a good hypnotherapist, or find out how to train to become a hypnotherapist yourself.


Here we include some very useful books and Internet resources for hypnotherapy training courses and organisations – plus a sample Code of Ethics from the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

Icons Used in This Book

This book won’t throw lots of questions at you, but it should certainly set you thinking. These icons highlight some of the points you may be thinking about.


Here you’ll find anecdotes and examples to illustrate certain concepts, or true life stories we want to share with you.


This icon highlights hypnosis or hypnotherapy terms, or language, which may be unfamiliar to you.


The text next to this icon tries to correct possible wrong thinking or misconceptions.


This icon draws your attention to an important point to bear in mind.


When you see this icon we’re trying to emphasise a bit of information that may be useful to you later on.


This icon is saying ‘watch out!’ This is something to be very aware of regarding the subject you’re reading.

Where to Go from Here

You don’t have to read this book from beginning to end. Each chapter of the book can be approached individually, depending on your interest. Have a look at the Table of Contents and jump right into any chapter that appeals to you.

If, for example, you wanted to know how hypnotherapy can help break habits like smoking, you could start reading this book by going straight to Chapter 5. On the other hand, if your interest is to understand how a hypnotherapist can help remove your phobias, then Chapter 11 is an excellent starting place.

The most important part is, that after reading this book, you’re in an informed position to begin doing the work with a hypnotherapist, and can walk into your very first session with a great deal of confidence and certainty of success.

Good luck to you, and we wish you the best in finding the answers you’re looking for.

Part I

Understanding Hypnotherapy

In this part . . .

You find some helpful background information in this part to help you to understand how hypnotherapy works. This part also looks at the terms used in hypnotherapy, the basics of how it works, and what hypnotherapy is used for. You even find a very brief history of hypnosis and hypnotherapy included in this part.

If you want to know exactly what a hypnotherapist does, we describe the techniques and procedures used in a typical hypnotherapy session. In other words, this part is a great place to start if you’re new to hypnotherapy.