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What is Cognitive Hypnotherapy and How Can it Help me?

Updated: Apr 28

hypnotherapy Sydney

When I tell people I have trained in Cognitive Hypnotherapy, the usual response I get is; “can you make people act like a monkey?”, or; “can you snap your fingers and put me into trance?”  I can assure you, this is not how it works!

What is Cognitive Hypnotherapy?

Cognitive Hypnotherapy is a modern model of hypnotherapy which has combined theories and strategies from lots of other therapies such as CBT, NLP and cognitive therapy. Think of it as combo therapy which is great as there is no need to keep switching therapists if you don’t get on with a particular approach as there are so many more tools in our huge toolbox!

Cognitive hypnotherapy is based on 3 key principles:

1. Trance is an everyday occurrence

Traditionally people speak about being put into trance-a place that the therapist somehow gets you to go to- we don’t think that way. How many times have you driven somewhere with no memory of the journey or missed whole conversations by being distracted? These are all examples of an altered state of consciousness or as we call trance! Trance is also in the things you want to change; do you get stressed by something that shouldn’t bother you or give in to temptation when you are trying to stick to a diet for example- again this is you in trance!

So really what Cognitive Hypnotherapy works to dehypnotise you from these problem behaviours into a more positive and useful state.

2. All behaviour has a positive intention

Even when we care carrying out our problem behaviour the intention behind it is also a positive- even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time. 90% of our behaviour is unconsciously driven- which means it is done without us even realising! This includes the things we want to change. Here your unconscious is working to try and bring you benefit- to get you away from danger or towards reward. But it can sometimes get this wrong and negative behaviours can become so ingrained and hard to change.

3. Everyone is unique

Most therapies attach a label to a problem and use that label to guide treatment- we don’t. We treat everyone as an individual and work out how they do their problem e.g. how does someone do their anxiety? Rather than thinking; "aha anxiety" and then immediately picking the generic anxiety treatment plan. Traditional therapies are based on assumptions- but you can’t assume that if two people have anxiety they will behave exactly the same right?!

For example when encouraging the client to relax a traditional therapist may talk about walking along a beach feeling the sand between their toes- but how does the therapist know that this would be a relaxing experience for the client? They may have had some trauma or negative experience on a beach. A cognitive hypnotherapist would instead tailor the treatment to the clients way of thinking- this means no more scripts or generic plans!

How Effective is Cognitive Hypnotherapy?

Talking therapies such as counselling and CBT actually target the conscious part of the brain, the part we feel we have control of. Talking about our problems whilst having benefits such as bringing awareness and understanding of our problem can also bring them right to the surface. I am sure you have heard of the saying, what is brought to mind comes to mind. It is often the case that by going over and over our issues causes our brain to actually focus on them more which can have the opposite effect to what it intended and even make them worse!

How many people talk about going to see their therapist for years on end? This is what really gets me; you shouldn’t have to see someone for years to feel better! Often our problems are so deep rooted and are often associated with our identity- for example how many people say; "I am depressed" or "I am anorexic?". The I am is a completed association with their problem.

Talking therapies are really targeting the wrong part of the brain to be able to resolve these more deep rooted issues which have bypassed the conscious and are in-fact stored right down in our unconscious! Cognitive hypnotherapy works by targeting down through the brain to the unconscious where our habitual and automatic behaviours are stored; this includes many of our problem behaviours. By targeting this part of the brain we can get right to the core which often unravels many other more surface level symptoms and unwanted problems at the conscious level.


In a nutshell, the effect of cognitive hypnotherapy is to get help you learn how to stay in control in situations you didn’t used to be and from that to get you to the point where you realise you can be in control of anything in your life!

If you would like to know more about how Cognitive Hypnotherapy can help you, please get in contact with Hannah Myall who offers hypnotherapy in Sydney for a free consultation.

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