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How Clinical Hypnosis Can Enhance Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The world of therapy has various ways of approaching treatment. Different therapists approach treatment based on their training and varying client needs. The most commonly used approach presently is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which helps people identify how their thoughts, emotions, physical reactions and behaviour are all related to each other. Becoming self-aware of the process and using various interventions helps change your thoughts and behaviours. This process should eventually lead to more adaptive ways of living and lead to symptom relief. CBT is possibly the most widely studied form of psychotherapy and has been shown to be very effective at treating a wide variety of psychological issues. That said, this approach is not necessarily suited for everyone. Depending on your current state the process can sometimes seem a little overwhelming or daunting.


Mounting scientific evidence is showing that the use of clinical hypnosis alongside CBT can actually enhance its effects. This is really promising because some of the interventions used in CBT can be difficult for some clients to work through. By being in a more relaxed state and having your natural defences lowered, most people can become more receptive and creative to the entire process. This leads to less frustration and greater satisfaction gained from each therapy session. Hypnosis is widely misunderstood by most and is highly underutilised within healthcare in general. It’s a natural state of mind that can be accessed by focusing your attention inward. This leads to an overall calming effect and can enhance communication as well as meta-communicative processes. A recent meta-analysis (study of studies) reports impressive evidence that combining CBT and Clinical Hypnosis (CBTH) does in fact enhance client results to a statistically significant level.

I have been combining the two approaches in my practice for quite some time and personally find that it helps enhance the clients experience as well as deepens the positive effect it can have on people. If you have tried CBT in the past with minimal or mixed results, perhaps combining it with hypnosis could be the added step that makes all the difference? Hypnosis is not for everyone, but it can help most people become unstuck in areas where they were previously completely unaware of.

Here are some areas CBTH can treat:

  • Depressed mood

  • Anxiety

  • Pain

  • Addiction

  • Trauma

Unlike what you would see in the movies or for a stage show, clinical hypnosis is a very powerful tool that can be used in a therapeutic setting. You will not lose control over your behaviour while in hypnosis and you generally remain aware and remember what happens during the session.

Hypnotherapy when used in combination with Counselling can be very empowering and offer you invaluable tools to help you along in your daily life. If you are interested in learning more about the process please reach out and I’d be happy to help out.

Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, RCC - a Registered Clinical Counsellor & Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.

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