Does it Work?

As an experienced hypno-psychotherapist, I’ve simply lost count of the times I’ve been asked the questions ‘hypnotherapy – does it work?’

Hypnotherapy most certainly is a highly effective intervention for a wide range of issues. That fact alone will be sufficient for many people to decide to contact us to personally experience the power of hypnotherapy in dealing with life’s challenges or in enhancing their career and life experience.

For others, however, a more detailed explanation of how hypnotherapy works might be appreciated.

How Hypnotherapy Works

Technically speaking, hypnotherapy is the application of therapeutic techniques with clients when they are in a state of hypnosis. There is a significant difference between:


A hypnotist is trained to guide people into hypnosis and to assist them deal with simpler matters such as relaxation and basic stress management and also to work with matters like smoking cessation.


A hypnotherapist is trained and skilled in the application of more advanced therapy techniques with clients in hypnosis. For example, a well-trained hypnotherapist would typically be skilled in dealing with certain anxiety disorders such as fears and phobias, helping people with performance enhancement and developing self-confidence etc. and with using regression (where appropriate) to address emotional issues arising from past experiences.


A psychotherapist uses the techniques of various schools of thought in psychotherapy such as psycho-dynamic (including Freudian, Jungian and Adlerian) and various others (including but not limited to Counselling, Gestalt therapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Rational Emotional Behavioural Therapy) but not primarily hypnosis or hypnotherapy, to help clients deal with their emotional issues and life challenges.

Psychotherapists are trained to deal with more complex problems including a wide range of anxiety disorders and certain forms of depression.


Hypno-psychotherapy is a reasonably recent term in Australasia even though it has been recognised in the United Kingdom and Europe for several decades. The hypno-psychotherapist uses an appropriate mix of hypnosis, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy to assist clients achieved desired clinical outcomes from more serious emotional problems and life challenges.

Choosing Your Therapist

We advise you to take care in selecting your practitioner in any of these areas. It is not an uncommon marketing approach for therapists to adopt the most current terminology to describe their practice.

However, the success of your therapy experience will always depend not so much on the title of the therapist but more on his or her qualifications, accreditation and experience.

One of the advantages of using better-qualified and experienced practitioners is that their training instills into them the knowledge of when to involve an appropriate medical specialist in the diagnosis and perhaps medical treatment of a problem thus ensuring the best possible outcome for the client.

Hypnotists, hypnotherapists and hypno-psychotherapists are not trained in medical diagnosis.

Therapist training levels – very important information

As mentioned earlier, while the term hypnotherapist is well known in Australia, hypno-psychotherapist is a relatively new term in this country. The term originated in the UK and it is very well defined by the requirements for membership of the appropriate professional registration institution there. It is NO simply hypnotherapy. It extends well beyond that, as an understanding of the required training levels of each profession will quickly reveal.

An hypnotist typically undergoes up to 100 hours of face to face training.

An hypnotherapist requires in the order of 500-600 hours of face to face training to achieve Clinical or Professional status of the major professional institutions.

An hypno-psychotherapist trained to the UK standards requires far in excess of that, and if you are dealing with practitioners who use the title hypno-psychotherapist in Australia, you are strongly advised to check the various components of their training against the list provided later herein.

The UK initiated the profession of hypno-psychotherapy and for registration with the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy (the formal registering body in the UK) the education and preparation requirements are stringent and the main requirements as listed on the UKCP website are listed hereunder (this is edited from the list of requirements on the UKCP website):

Training requirements for UKCP registration

  • Training hours should be a minimum of 1800 hours over four years. This should include:
  • a minimum of 625 hours of theoretical / methodological / practical training of which there should be a minimum of 500 classroom hours
  • 250 hours personal development of which a minimum of 48 hours must be contracted psychotherapy, on an individual basis with a UKCP registered psychotherapist or equivalent.
  • Therapeutic tasking journalled by the individual and/or monitored by the contracted psychotherapist
  • Personal developmental quests journalled by the individual and monitored by the Training Organisation
  • Journalled utilisation of self-hypnosis within a structured personal development course eg. Mindfulness Training
  • Attendance at group therapy with a registered Psychotherapist
  • NB training hours must be clearly delineated from personal development hours and no hour can be used twice.
  • 450 hours of clinical practice. More hours may, of course, be conducted but only 450 hours count towards the 1800 total. Clinical practice is defined as "time specifically contracted for the professional delivery of psychotherapeutic treatment, administered within the relevant codes of confidentiality, accountability and informed consent". Trainees must ensure clients are aware of their trainee status.
  • 1 hour of supervision per 6 hours of client work. For the 450 hours this would mean 75 hours would be expected.

Mental health placement

  • In line with central UKCP policy, a mental health placement is a requirement for all students, with the exception of those who already have experience of working in this field.


  • Assessment will be designed to ensure that the Trainee can demonstrate the appropriate levels in all three categories of Theoretical Understanding, Practical Ability and Psychological Maturity.
  • Supervisor's reports will form a part of any final assessment for Accreditation, and a monitoring process between Training Organisation and Supervisor will be practiced over the course of the Trainee's Clinical Practice.
  • A requirement of Accreditation shall be an original written dissertation of not less than 10,000 words, relevant to the practice of Hypno-Psychotherapy. This piece will be Internally and Externally assessed and will normally be submitted as a final stage of theoretical assessment.

Our principal, Alan Patching, has met the all of requirements listed above in his training.

He is also the principal of the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (Aust).

To Hypno-Psych Solutions Home from About Hypnotherapy

Meet Our Principal

Alan Patching

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