Basically, there are two types of hypnosis. (Really, there are as many “types” of hypnosis as there are hypnotists. But I’m generalizing styles and techniques into two broad categories.)
The first is “Direct Suggestion.” This is when we get you into a trance and I simply tell you good things about yourself. “You are confident. You are a non-smoker. You eat only healthy foods and only when it is healthy to eat them. You are comfortable and pain-free.” And so on.
Direct Suggestion is a legitimate and effective hypnotic technique. As far as it goes. The main problem with Direct Suggestion is that it often doesn’t last. Generally, when considered successful, Direct Suggestion lasts about a week, maybe two at most. And then it “wears off.” That is because the underlying issue, the “root cause”, remains unaffected. Typically an individual relying on direct suggestion must continually reinforce it with either frequent visits to the hypnotist or listening to a recording.
If, by some miracle, the bothersome behaviors or thoughts are “fixed” through Direct Suggestion, oftentimes the root cause will express itself in some other undesired habit, behavior, thought, or emotion, and one ends up playing “whack-a-mole” with symptoms, one popping up elsewhere as soon as one manages to whack this one down.
I think of Direct Suggestion as first-aid. It is important and helpful, and provides some immediate relief and short-term change, but it is a temporary measure intended to give us time and room to do the real work of getting to the problem and addressing it. I do Direct Suggestion in every session, but what I really love to do is the deep insight work. That’s the real gold in hypnosis.
In hypnosis, because we’re in direct communication with the subconscious, we’re able to visit places, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and experiences that we might not be as readily able to in our normal waking state. These are deep insights. Hypnosis allows us to explore parts of ourselves that might be guiding us subconsciously, below conscious awareness, in other words, without our realizing it. If this is done with a skilled and experienced professional, we can take even greater advantage of this heightened state of awareness and resolve those persisting issues. Then, when we confront similar situations, feelings, or people in the future, we can respond with the intelligence and reflection of our best selves.
We often “know” what we’re supposed to do, but we just don’t manage to do it. With deep insight work we can align our hearts and our minds, bring our subconscious programming in alignment with our conscious desires, and live life with more intention, awareness, and expertise.
It is unfortunate that this kind of deep insight work isn’t done more prevalently among hypnotists. Even today, despite the advances in neuroscience and psychology, most hypnotists rely on Direct Suggestion, or its cousin “Guided Imagery,” as their primary therapeutic tool. There is nothing wrong with Direct Suggestion or Guided Imagery, of course. But these hypnotists are missing out on the most powerful and transformative possibilities in hypnosis.
There are a number of effective, evidence-based techniques for insight work in hypnosis. None have proven to me as consistently, profoundly, and efficiently successful as “Five Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis” (5-PATH for short). 5-PATH is simply a systematization of the most advanced hypnotic techniques in the most productive process, supported by and held accountable to research by leaders in multiple fields of mental and emotional health. I can personally vouch for the power of 5-PATH, as I’ve seen it make a world of difference for hundreds of clients.
If you are considering hypnosis, I recommend finding a practitioner who is trained and experienced in deep insight work, and ideally who has advanced training and certification in 5-PATH. These are the best of the best in professional hypnosis today.
You wouldn’t want your doctor to stop with First-Aid. Expect the same from your hypnotist. Find someone trustworthy and experienced who can help you tap the profound potential of your own mind.