There are many misunderstandings about the therapeutic
uses of hypnotism, so let me begin with what it isn't.
Firstly, you would not be "under my influence"; you remain
totally in control of the situation and cannot be "made" to
do anything which is contrary to your will. Secondly, there
is nothing remotely magical or occult about it; if you have
ever lost track of time whilst reading a good book or set off
on a journey and then arrived at your destination without
being consciously aware of getting there, then you have
experienced this phenomenon. It is best regarded as a
state of deep relaxation akin to meditation.

Relaxation: it therefore follows that hypnotherapy can be
useful for clients who have difficulty relaxing, and as an aid
to dispelling some of the symptoms of anxiety.

Rehearsal: this state is also valuable for mentally
practising potentially challenging situations such as public
speaking or examinations. Musicians, athletes and others
have found it useful for shaping effective performance. It
can be used as part of the process of systematic
desensitization for clients with phobias. Many clients have
reported effective help with freeing themselves from habits
which they wanted to break, such as smoking. However,
Leo believes that in all such situations hypnotherapy is only
an adjunct to changes in the beliefs and behaviours
underlying the "bad habits"; as was said earlier, it's not
magic!

Pain management: one of the most remarkable areas of
hypnotherapeutic use has been in the management of pain,
both chronic and acute. Even battlefield surgery has been
conducted under hypnosis (see Hartman's "Medical and
Dental Hypnosis" for further information). You can learn
simple but effective techniques to help with going to the
dentist or having injections, or living with recurrent
discomfort. Once again, it is emphasised that this is not a
cure, nor a substitute for prescribed analgesics; this is not
magic, it's harnessing the power of your own mind.

I will never undertake hypnotherapeutic work without
the client's fully informed consent and only in cases
where I believe that there is a real therapeutic
justification.

For further information, visit the website of NRHP of which Leo is a full
member.