National Hypnotherapy Society | Different Types of Hypnotherapy -…

If you’re interested in giving hypnotherapy a go, then there are lots of different types available. This is a guide on what kinds of hypnotherapy are out there, and which would suit you best. If you find something that suits your aims, then take a look in our directory for accredited hypnotherapists to get in touch and find out more.

Cognitive hypnotherapy

The premise of this approach is based on three principles: Firstly, trance is a naturally occurring phenomenon that we experience every day, for example when reading a good book or going on a walk. Secondly, all behaviour has a positive intention, such as avoiding peanut butter out of fear of choking. This behaviour can be updated so that it can stop impacting your life. Lastly, everyone is unique by way of their perceptions and experiences. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cognitive hypnotherapy, and each treatment plan is individualised to your specific personality and needs.

The theories underpinning cognitive hypnotherapy are positive psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming. This variation of techniques allows therapists to create a personal, tailored approach for the client to learn to take back control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, effectively re-conditioning learned responses to things and events, such as a fear of dogs, certain holidays, or any other habit that has long since served its purpose.

Ericksonian hypnotherapy

This approach is named after its creator, Milton Erickson. Considered by many as the father of modern hypnotherapy, his unique techniques have influenced many other forms of therapy. The main technique of Ericksonian hypnotherapy is to use indirect suggestion, metaphor, and storytelling to alter a client’s behaviour, in lieu of direct suggestions. The reasoning behind this is that some people can be resistant to traditional hypnotherapy and the suggestions made to them, either knowingly or not. By the use of indirect suggestions, the intended goal for the client can be harder to recognise and therefore resist. The language used during Ericksonian hypnotherapy is often permissive and based on suggestion, rather than using direct commands on the client to respond or think a certain way.

Although some of the techniques that Erickson used have died alongside him after his long and successful career, elements of his approach have since been analysed and refined, leading to this approach being considered a highly effective type of therapy.


Otherwise known as analytical hypnotherapy, this approach aims to discover and resolve the root cause of a problem. Using a blend of analytical psychotherapy and traditional hypnotherapy techniques, the goal is to find and resolve the cause of a problem rather than manage the symptoms that a client is experiencing, with the hope that the symptoms will fade when the cause for them has been resolved. This blend allows the therapist to use hypnosis to complement psychoanalysis in the search for the events that have caused the unwanted behaviour to form. A client may not be able to recall what offset a fear of dogs without the addition of hypnosis to access the unconscious.

While there are many techniques used within hypnoanalysis, two common ones are direct regression and free association. Direct regression aims to access the client’s past memories through hypnosis, following the feelings to a defining event and allowing the client to experience it free from emotion in a safe environment. Free association involves letting your thoughts wander freely, moving from subject to subject without thought or judgement. You speak these words to your hypnotherapist who guides your train of thought towards the root of your concerns.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Otherwise known as NLP, this approach aims to give a client the tools for themselves to overcome life obstacles and move towards a more positive approach to life. NLP can be used for a wide variety of issues, from poor self-image to confidence with public speaking, as well as challenging any unhelpful perceptions or attitudes you may carry from past events. If you break down the components of NLP, each part of the name tells you what the approach draws upon. Neuro acknowledges that our experiences are gained from the neurological processes that control our main five senses. Linguistic understands that we make sense of our experiences through various filters, such as associations and language. Programming is purposefully gaining control of how we react to things, changing the outcome of our actions and events. Language in particular can be a powerful way to do this.

When using NLP alongside hypnotherapy, we can increase the power of the reprogramming so that the changes that we wish to make are more impactful and can have a deeper and more immediate impact on the way that we process information and interact with the world around us.

Rapid Transformational therapy

This approach was coined by Marisa Peer, a celebrity therapist and hypnotherapist trainer. It combines a number of techniques from numerous kinds of therapy to create a therapy that offers quick results for clients. RTT, similar to some elements of hypnoanalysis, is solution-focused and addresses the root causes of a problem instead of the symptoms that are a result of it. RTT aims to bridge the connection between your conscious and subconscious mind, helping you to learn how to access and address any issues that can be the cause of unwanted behaviours and mindsets. RTT has been used to boost confidence, improve performance in sports, performing arts, and careers, as well as improving your general well-being.

RTT is designed to be a short-term intervention, typically lasting for around 1-3 sessions. Following your initial sessions, you will typically be given a personalised recording to listen to for a suggested period of time, to strengthen the initial work done by the sessions with your hypnotherapist.

Solution-focused hypnotherapy

This approach, contrary to hypnoanalysis and RTT, focuses on the here and now, examining your current situation and your intentions for the future. This approach is also client-centred, meaning that during sessions you will take the lead with your hypnotherapist there to safely guide you. The core of the approach is to utilise your inner strength to set goals and to help you uncover the solution within yourself to the challenges that you may be facing. The hypnotherapist will ask you questions when you are under hypnosis, with the aim of accessing answers from your unconscious mind. These questioning techniques are aimed at empowering you to connect with your future more clearly so that your present actions can relate more clearly to your goals.

Solution-focused hypnotherapy, like many hypnotherapy approaches, can be helpful for anxiety, stress, irritable bowel syndrome, and low self-confidence. With this approach you can identify tangible and achievable goals, making the desired changes to behaviours or problems easier to visualise, connect with, and achieve.

This is not an exhaustive list of the approaches to hypnotherapy that can be found, but hopefully, it has given you a good outline of what is out there. There are types of hypnotherapy suited to almost anyone, from those who are dealing with the aftermath of defining events, to those who need to reprogram their relationship with themselves, to simply wanting a boost in an area of their life that they want to improve.