Three Good Reasons to Choose Hypnotherapy

There are lots of treatments out there for a range of issues, so why choose hypnotherapy?
In my blog this week I present three good reasons.
Your reasons for choosing hypnotherapy might be the same as mine: hypnotherapy is fast, effective and safe. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to support this suggestion, not just from my own experience as a therapist and researcher, but from a wide body of other research published in peer-reviewed journals.

The National Institutes for Clinical Evidence (NICE) base much of their judgment on a type of study called a ‘meta-analysis’. A meta-analysis assesses how well a treatment works based on all of the available research that has been done with that treatment. Most of the evidence I present below is based on the findings from meta-analyses.

1/ Hypnotherapy is Fast

One of the things that inspired me to train in hypnotherapy was that it offers positive results relatively quickly. Research evidence has found this true for treating a range of problems, from emergency care (Iserson, 2014) to obsessive-compulsive behaviour (Scrignar, 1981). Often my clients are really pleased that, after many years of trying by themselves or using other methods, they can quit smoking using hypnotherapy in just one session. Most issues take a few sessions, but this still makes hypnotherapy one of the most rapid treatment options available.

2/ Hypnotherapy is Effective

Hypnosis can be effective across a wide range of psychological and medical conditions. For example, meta-analyses have found that hypnotherapy improves symptoms of depression (Shih et al, 2009), helps stop smoking (Green et al, 2008), reduces exam stress (Baker et al, 2009), alleviates PTSD symptoms (Rotaru & Rusu, 2016), and improves insomnia (Lam et al, 2015).

Meta-analyses have also found that hypnotherapy helps in pain management (Montgomery et al, 2000), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Mann, 2014), reduces distress related to medical procedures (Schnur et al, 2008) such as cancer procedures (Chen et al, 2017) and various other aspects of medical procedures, such as recovery time (Tefikow et al, 2013).

3/ Hypnotherapy is Safe

There is lots of evidence that hypnosis is safe. For example, this has been found in a meta-analysis of hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Schaefert et al, 2014) and a meta-analysis of medical procedures (Häuser et al, 2016). Hypnosis is not recommended for people with psychosis (e.g. schizophrenia) temporal lobe epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or dementia, but it is safe for the vast majority of other people.


Many readers will recognize that the evidence presented above is convincing in scientific terms. Having worked as a professional research for several years, and have published several meta-analyses on psychology and health topics (e.g. Barry et al, 2015), I feel confident in the evidence base for hypnosis.

There are of course other options you can choose, for example, there are plenty of stress management programmes in London that can be useful. I am always happy to discuss these topics with clients and others who are interested, so do feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Baker, J., Ainsworth, H., Torgerson, C., & Torgerson, D. (2009). A systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of hypnosis on exam anxiety. Effective Education, 1(1), 27-41.

Barry, J. A., Azizia, M. M., & Hardiman, P. J. (2014). Risk of endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Human reproduction update, 20(5), 748-758.

Chen, P. Y., Liu, Y. M., & Chen, M. L. (2017). The Effect of Hypnosis on Anxiety in Patients With Cancer: A Meta‐Analysis. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing, 14(3), 223-236.

Green, J. P., Lynn, S. J., & Montgomery, G. H. (2008). Gender-related differences in hypnosis-based treatments for smoking: a follow-up meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 50(3), 259-271.

Häuser, W., Hagl, M., Schmierer, A., & Hansen, E. (2016). The efficacy, safety, and applications of medical hypnosis: a systematic review of meta-analyses. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 113(17), 289.

Iserson, K. V. (2014). A hypnotic suggestion: a review of hypnosis for clinical emergency care. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 46(4), 588-596.

Lam, T. H., Chung, K. F., Yeung, W. F., Yu, B. Y. M., Yung, K. P., & Ng, T. H. Y. (2015). Hypnotherapy for insomnia: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary therapies in medicine, 23(5), 719-732.

Mann, N. S. (2014). The Role of Hypnotherapy in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Systematic Evaluation of 1344 Cases with Meta-Analysis. International Medical Journal, 21(5).

Montgomery, G. H., DuHamel, K. N., & Redd, W. H. (2000). A meta-analysis of hypnotically induced analgesia: How effective is hypnosis?. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 48(2), 138-153.

Rotaru, T. Ș., & Rusu, A. (2016). A meta-analysis for the efficacy of hypnotherapy in alleviating PTSD symptoms. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 64(1), 116-136.

Schaefert, R., Klose, P., Moser, G., & Häuser, W. (2014). Efficacy, tolerability, and safety of hypnosis in adult irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 76(5), 389-398.

Schnur, J. B., Kafer, I., Marcus, C., & Montgomery, G. H. (2008). Hypnosis to manage distress related to medical procedures: a meta‐analysis. Contemporary Hypnosis, 25(3‐4), 114-128.

Scrignar, C. B. (1981). Rapid treatment of contamination phobia with hand-washing compulsion by flooding with hypnosis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 23(4), 252-257.

Shih, M., Yang, Y. H., & Koo, M. (2009). A meta-analysis of hypnosis in the treatment of depressive symptoms: a brief communication. Intl. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57(4), 431-442

Tefikow, S., Barth, J., Maichrowitz, S., Beelmann, A., Strauss, B., & Rosendahl, J. (2013). Efficacy of hypnosis in adults undergoing surgery or medical procedures: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical psychology review, 33(5), 623-636.

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