Optimind Clinic

Dr Gordon Wong, psychiatrist    

What is Hypnotherapy?

by Dr Gordon Wong, Specialist in Psychiatry

MBBS (HK), MRCPsych, FHKCPsych, FHKAM (Psychiatry), MSocSc (Couns)(South Australia), DCPsyc RCP&S (Irel), DFM (HKCFP), Dip Med (CUHK), PGDipClinDerm (QMUL)


Hypnotherapy is a powerful therapeutic tool. Many people have heard of it, but not many people understand what it is, or even have some misconceptions on hypnotherapy. This article will explain what is hypnotherapy, its uses and benefits.

Hypnotherapy is psychotherapy rendered under a state of trance. Trance is a state of awareness, intense concentration and relaxation. In a trance state, the unconscious mind can be accessed, and the mind is more responsive to ideas and suggestions. Hypnosis is used to reach a state of trance, hence the name “hypnotherapy”.

Common misconceptions include “Only certain kinds of people can be hypnotised”. That is not true, as anyone can be hypnotised, if they agree to it and cooperate in the hypnotic process.

Another common worry is that one can be hypnotised to say or do something against one’s will. That is not true either, as a person can only do or say what they already wanted to do or say in a hypnotic state. Hypnosis cannot make people do or say something that is against their will. In fact, the therapist is only a catalyst for the change, facilitating the change that the person already wanted to make.

Some people think that being hypnotised can be hazardous to your health. That is not true. In fact, hypnosis can bring about relaxation and other health benefits, which can improve health.

Many scientific studies have shown that hypnotherapy is useful for anxiety, insomnia, depression, pain, post traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other health problems. Hypnotherapy can also be used on healthy individuals for stress management, self esteem enhancement, smoking cessation, weight control, substance abuse issues, sport performance enhancement and even in decreasing pain in child birth.

Hypnotherapy is gaining popularity, as it can be used to optimise their mental health, or optimise their performance and wellbeing in general.