Joanne Cook showing what is hypnotherapy lady with inside the mind visual

What is hypnotherapy and how does it work – Demystifying Hypnosis

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Free resources

I absolutely love being a coach and whilst having much success in supporting clients make life affirming, positive and transformative change over a few years, on occasion I found that there would be a much deeper aspect blocking the client making further progress despite coaching in a compassionate trauma-informed way.

I had read about Hypnotherapy as a complementary approach to do ‘deeper inner work’ however it was the multifaceted approach in Rapid Transformational Therapy – a new contemporary therapy combining many aspects of psychotherapy, neuroscience and hypnosis – that I chose to train in to further develop my practice.


So, what is hypnotherapy and how does it work?

Hypnosis is powerful with many benefits.

However, it has also been the subject of controversy and speculation largely due to its use in show biz entertainment.

Are you going to make me bark like a dog?

In social settings when I explain to people that I work as a hypnotherapist it is mostly met with a mix of bemusement, curiosity and fascination.  Occasionally the response I get is accompanied by a little laugh which is almost always followed by a question like ‘Are you going to make me bark like a dog?’ or ‘Can you make me fall in love with a lampshade?’ to which I playfully respond, ‘Only if you would like to’.

And that’s the very thing with stage hypnosis, the hypnotist knows at a subconscious level the participants want to draw attention to themselves, they want to be noticed and entertain hence its effectiveness.

In a professional therapeutic practice this would be highly unprofessional, so no I would not work with anyone who wanted to bark like a dog.

I also have Kenny Craig the fictional Hypnotist in Little Britain and indeed Paul McKenna’s early TV career in the 1990’s to thank for the understandable scepticism and nervous response.

What people may or may not know is that today Paul is not only a hypnotist, but he is also a behavioural scientist and one of the most successful authors of self-help and personal development books specialising and dedicating his time supporting veterans with PTSD, severe trauma, pain control and emotional trauma.

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is a type of mind-body intervention in which hypnosis is used to create a state of focused attention and increased receptivity in the treatment of a medical or psychological disorder or concern.

This focussed awareness by-passes the critical factor of the mind, pushing aside that judging, analysing part of the conscious mind. The combination of these two aspects leads an individual to access their subconscious mind along with a heightened receptivity to bring about lasting positive change.

In truth all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, it’s an inside job.

It’s a state of mind that we go in and out of all the time in our everyday lives.

Each day we will go into some similar form of trance like hypnotic state of focussed awareness.

For example, when we drive the car in auto pilot, when we obsess about something which consumes our attention away from other everyday things, or when we get totally absorbed in a passion or hobby.

Surprisingly, we are more often in a form of trance than not!

Hypnosis has been around a lot longer than you might think.

A form of Hypnosis was first discovered in the late 1800’s by a German Physician Fran Anton Mesmer whose theories attracted a wide following and in 1843, the Scottish surgeon, Dr James Braid, who was a pioneer of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, proposed the term “hypnotism”.

Sigmund Freud was also a hypnotist, and it was through this work Freud discovered our unconscious process, which was a significant finding especially in psychoanalysis.

However, the most prominent figure in modern hypnosis is American psychiatrist, Milton Erickson, who made outstanding clinical successes, leading to his working methods being adopted and strongly embedded in contemporary approaches such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which has gained widespread acceptance in both business and clinical practice.

Is Hypnosis proven?

The science of Hypnosis has been developed rigorously since the late 20th century and the British Medical Association approved hypnosis as a treatment in 1955.

The Royal Society of Medicine has a section dedicated to Clinical Hypnotherapy now developed into a science with a calendar of events throughout the year and papers outlining advancements in hypnosis in various medical settings.

So, what does it really feel like to be in Hypnosis?

I have had many experiences of being hypnotised both in person and via virtual medium as part of my training.

From personal experience I find each session of hypnosis is different to the next, and my clients report the same.

Sometimes it feels simply like my eyes are closed and I feel a little more relaxed. I can still hear, feel and experience all my senses which are slightly more accentuated by having my eyes closed.

I understand what is being said and asked of me and I am in control and calm.

Other times I feel like I am in a deeper place of relaxation yet farther removed from any internal narrative occupying my head or everyday noise in my environment with a much greater heightened focus on the experience, both in mind and body sensations.

I still feel fully coherent, understand what is going on and in control.

In all experiences I have found myself in my mind’s eye seeing and feeling things in new, different, and deeper ways.

I can access information with greater clarity, and exploring safely with the therapist, I can apply deeper wisdom and creativity that the logical mind would make more challenging to fathom or comprehend.

Through hypnosis I have experienced a greater sense of empowerment, a greater intensity to get out of my own way and create the life I want to have rather than one that I was previously experiencing.

How long are you in hypnosis for in a session?

It really does depend. For the hypnotherapy I provide it is anywhere between 90-120mins.

For other modalities of hypnosis, it can be as little as 20 mins or more traditionally it can be up to 12 sessions of around 60mins each depending on the desired outcome.

How long does hypnosis take to work?

RTT is designed to support and alleviate issues or concerns from as little as 1-3 sessions with each session having a post session programme and follow up of at least 21 days.

It is also true to say that everyone transforms and responds differently.

It does depend on the person and how committed, open minded and clear they are on the desired outcome.

I have personally experienced as a client a session where I felt an instant shift, that something was different and that has continued. Sometimes it’s a little more gradual and can take a week, a month or maybe two and then I might notice I am making small incremental changes or making different choices.

At other times I might feel better about things yet unsure if there has been a change until I suddenly catch myself doing or being totally different or responding to situations more resourcefully than I would have previously.

Clients I work with report the same experiences.

"I had never considered hypnotherapy before, but I felt supported and safe throughout, I gained some valuable insights during both the Hypnotherapy session and preliminary sessions on what the root cause of the problem was and this has enabled me to stop blaming myself. I am moving forward with a more positive mindset."

-Andrew | Communications Director

Whilst there has been much success, in the last two years, only two clients have shared that they didn’t experience or see any kind of positive result of improvement. In both cases each had only had one RTT session.

For some presenting problems 1-3 RTT sessions are recommended which is better than being in a never-ending cycle of trying all sorts of things to alleviate emotional or physical discomfort.

A little secret…

Like many people in the complimentary fields of wellness as a hypnotherapist I have developed my own personal practice in what I do. I often self-hypnotise.

It is also something that I teach clients to do when I work with them.  The experience of deploying these incredible techniques has a huge positive benefit on my own wellbeing beyond the fact of simply finding meaning and purpose in what I do.

I have found this particularly when working with clients who want to live a healthier lifestyle, eat, and sleep better, build their confidence, boost self-belief or as they navigate a big life event.

There is an incredible positive halo or ripple effect beyond the session itself.

Is Hypnosis for me?

Hypnotherapy is generally good for anyone who is open minded and committed to see impactful change in any area of their life.

Hypnotherapy works within your subconscious realm by skilfully reframing unhelpful thoughts, habits, and behaviour patterns. It is outcome driven, and unlike coaching, hypnotherapy works by exploring much deeper origins of beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and experiences that drive unwanted presenting patterns of behaviour.

Whilst the past cannot be changed, I work with clients to aid closure on past emotional pain and events through a series of therapeutic techniques and bespoke support.

Together we unearth the root cause of your presenting issues enabling them to live a happier, healthier life.

Most people find this hybrid therapy deeply experiential, informative, relaxing, empowering and ultimately transforming.

When searching for personal development, ‘Do I need a coach or a therapist‘ blog may help you understand more about hypnotherapy.

"Hypnotherapy was a relief and brought a lightness into my life."

– Becky | HR Professional and Coach

Is Hypnosis safe?

Hypnosis is completely safe.There are however certain medical conditions that would not be suitable which is discussed on an individual basis as part of my free discovery calls.  The RTT School I trained with works on the principle of ‘do no harm’ and I reflect this in my own practice.

"I felt I was in a very safe, professional, and caring therapeutic environment where I was guided through the session."

– Judy | Professional

What is Rapid Transformational Therapy?

Rapid Transformational Therapy®️ is a contemporary innovative and critically- acclaimed therapeutic approach drawing upon powerful tools and techniques to offer fast, long-lasting results.

Its roots come from within traditional areas of psychotherapy including aspects of Gestalt, Solution Focussed, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alongside more modern therapeutic techniques such as deep relaxation, mindfulness, and hypnotherapy.

It is already being used within the medical profession, schools, multinational corporations as well as by business leaders and athletes.

Its personalised approach works with clients to reframe any negative beliefs, values, habits and emotions – many of which they have carried with them since childhood.

Often these have been so deeply buried in their subconscious, they are unaware of the past issues affecting them.

RTT was developed by Marissa Peer who has over 30 years’ experience in this field. The RTT school was established in 2015.


RTT is effective across a broad spectrum of issues. I have found in my practice it is particularly great for : –

  • Building self esteem
  • Growing confidence
  • Cultivating and maintaining healthy sleep habits
  • Developing an all-round healthier lifestyle
  • Reducing food cravings
  • Helping you get out of your own way by understanding unconscious blocks
  • Breaking negative or unhelpful patterns
  • Relationship issues

Did you find this helpful?

What might stop you from choosing hypnotherapy? If you’d like to know more or you feel hypnotherapy could help you unearth your ultimate potential, you can book a free exploratory call with me.