Hypnotherapy for Depression: Theories & Methods

Hypnotherapy for Depression: Theories & Methods

July 24, 2020 by Prasad Amore0

Theories of Hypnosis

The phenomenon of hypnosis was widespread from the ancient period itself. But people were not aware of the scientific base of this phenomenon. Many theorists brought out different types of concepts regarding hypnosis. Under hypnosis state, the hypnotist can help the client to make positive changes in behavior.

There are many theories regarding hypnosis, such as psychoanalytical theory, reality testing, cold control, and discrepancy theory-attribution theory. The socio-cognitive theory and dissociative theory were prevalent at the end of the 20th century.

Dissociative theory: dissociation theory is the splitting of subunits of mental life into one or more parts left out from conscious awareness and voluntary control. It also describes the phenomenon of hypnosis.

Neo dissociative method: Hilgard developed the Neo dissociative method. According to neo dissociative theory, the behaviors under hypnotic state are produced by dividing consciousness into two or more parts. It explains that hypnosis alters the functioning of the executive ego, which tricks the mind about what is going on.

Socio-cognitive theory: The socio-cognitive theories opposed the concept that hypnosis requires an altered state of conscious state to execute the application of it. According to socio-cognitive theory, the same individualized social and cognitive variables that shape complex social behaviors are thought to determine hypnotic experiences and responses.


Hypnosis became an acceptable intervention for treatment by the contribution of Harry Arons. He conducted many hypnotic training courses in the US, thereby training thousands of psychiatrists and psychologists. They widely used hypnotherapy to treat depression, which helped to spread out the concept and applications of hypnosis worldwide.

In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has approved the hypnotherapy is the recommended therapy category.

There are many opinions regarding the use of hypnotherapy for depression. Some studies suggest that hypnotherapy can positively result in the treatment of depression because hypnosis can help the clients develop positive thinking and modify the thought patterns. A hypnotherapist can make the clients retrieve past positive life experiences by using the application of hypnosis. In the hypnotic state, the ability to memorize things will be increased. This state is known as hyper amnesia. Hypnosis can help the clients to develop the coping skills to resolve the problems.

Treatment Methods

In many ways, hypnosis helps the treatment of depression.

Hypnotherapist tries to alter behavior patterns of the patients. Before undergoing the clients through hypnosis, hypnotherapist gives proper awareness of the hypnotic state and how the suggestions work. The clients should come to know what they will experience before the therapy session by undergoing the suggestibility tests. The techniques to be used to induce hypnotic state are based on the clients’ suggestibility and nature. The various types of treatment methods are as follows.

Relaxation: The state of hypnosis is profoundly relaxed. It helps the persons to reduce the muscle stiffness developed by depression. Relaxation decreases tiredness and increases the ability to sleep. Relaxation increases the secretion of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which reduces stress.

Acceptability: In a normal conscious state, persons will criticize positive suggestions given by the therapist. It is because of the conditioned mind through negative experiences and negative reinforcement. Hypnosis is another conscious state, in which the criticizing tendency is very low. So the client can accept the positive suggestions given by the therapist.

Positive feel: hypnosis can generate positive feel by allowing the subject to imagine the positive feeling making atmosphere, like beautiful natures and actual events. It helps the subjects to create a positive mood. In the state of hypnosis, the same mood of the real situation will be generated by imagining the same circumstances.

Retrieve the past positive experience: Recalling past positive experiences will help the subject enhance self-confidence. It is also a mood generating process.

Prasad Amore

Prasad Amore is a Licensed Rehab. Psychologist by RCI, Govt. of India. The 2nd Indian who has achieved the Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma through National Qualification Framework of British Government. He is a psychological consultant and trainer helping individuals suffering with mental health issues and other psychological problems. He is a freelance writer and authored 5 books in Psychology and Social Science.

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