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What is Clinical Hypnosis ?

Clinical hypnosis is the practice of beneficial social influence, one-on-one. Since most of that effect occurs outside of the client’s or patient’s conscious awareness (in the subconscious)—it feels willful and voluntary, even magical.

We are only magical beings to the extent that we do not realize how powerful we are. Clinical hypnosis is best practiced when it is client-centered—when the client comes to understand that they have done the changing within themselves. They own it.

This professional skill development involves years of accurate supervision in the careful attention to the details of communication, clinical strategies, and, most significantly, an understanding of therapeutic relationships: rapport. Communication and relationships are elements in all health care interactions. Hypnosis raises them to an art form. As James Warnke said “Hypnosis is art and science masquerading as conversation.”

Clinical hypnosis skills involve listening carefully, attending to shifting states of awareness of the clients, and crafting language—both verbal and nonverbal—to evoke images and experiences that create therapeutic change.

At its core, the practice of clinical hypnosis—and the larger field of psychophysiological self-regulation—is about using our powerful experiential resources to change ourselves for the better, from the inside out. This is a positive and hopeful perspective on the human condition. Teaching people, to use their imaginations to diminish suffering successfully, enhance healing, and build resilience is not just heartening; it is, well, magical.