British Medical Association

Does Hypnotherapy Actually Work?

Does it really work?

Does it really work is one of the most common questions asked. If you asked me if it works I would say that it does and that it is effectrive. This I know is a biased opinion. Is it not?

I have used Hypnotherapy to treat a multitude of conditions. From Anxiety to Weight Loss and have found it to provide varying levels of success. The reason I put forward this point is that the success is intrinsically linked to the clients desire to change. If you attend a hypnotherapy session for an issue that gives you underlying secondary benefits, then these cases are less successful.

An example of this is “Smoking Cessation”. Here there are two distinct facets to smoking. One being the physical addiction to Nicotine and the other being the mental addiction to the action of smoking. I have found that some clients do not realise that the mental addiction has secondary benefits, the most prominent being that of smoking stops them eating. And it is the fact that they are not putting on weight through smoking is their secondary benefit. Secondary benefits are not just limited to smoking, they atre linked to most conditions that clients seek help for.

To gain a better understanding of whether it does or doesn’t, lets review the available evidence. The first being from the British Medical Association. And the second being the British Psychological Society.

British Medical Association

The British Medical Association (BMA) first investigated Hypnotherapy as a potential treatment, way back in 1892. The BMA put together a committee of doctors that had experimented with hypnosis. It reported that it found that hypnotism was effective in relieving pain and aiding sleep. And a whole array of other ailments that it was found to help.

The BMA revisited the question of “Does hypnotherapy work? again in 1952. And yet again the BMA’s investigations confirmed the 1892 report.

In 1957, the BMA published their report in the British Medical Journal. This being the UK’s most established publications for the medical field. They published a paper titled “The Medical Use of Hypnotism” in June 1957, whose introduction read as follows:

If there is a future for an objectively oriented training in psychotherapy, hypnosis might well play a useful though by no means exclusive part. … It is on the whole a method which leaves few scars and makes no fundamental change in the personality that would not have occurred in the course of individual development. In responsible hands it is a safe method of treatment which can be combined with others and seems rarely to prejudice their use later in other hands.

British Phsycological Society

Other medical associations have joined the chorus of voices declaring hypnotherapy as being effective for patients seeking relief. Amoing these is the British Psychological Society (BPS).

The BPS released it’s report in 2001, entitled “The Nature of Hypnosis” where it wrote:

Enough studies have now accumulated to suggest that the inclusion of hypnotic procedures may be beneficial in the management and treatment of a wide range of conditions and problems encountered in the practice of medicine, psychiatry and psychotherapy.

The published paper reported on “convincing evidence” . Evidence in the report proves that hypnotherapy can help manage “both acute and chronic pain“. It states that it helps relieve anxiety and discomfort related to medical and dental procedures as well as childbirth.