It may help to make this discussion of hypnosis a little more personal, a little more real to you. Imagine someone you love and care about who suffers some painful condition that causes terrible ongoing distress.

Imagine further that the cause of the pain is unknown, or is known but considered untreatable. Each day this person you care about suffers terribly, a life marred by an inability to do much of anything positive because of the consequences of the debilitating pain. Now imagine that he or she has a clinical hypnosis session with a knowledgeable clinician, someone well trained in the dynamics of treating pain and the methods of clinical hypnosis. And imagine that he or she is invited to close his or her eyes, focus on the ideas, images, and suggestions of the clinician. He or she gets so absorbed in the suggested experiences and discovers an ability to detach from his or her body for awhile- and thus the pain as well. The clinician records the session, he or she goes home with instructions for how to re-create the experience either autonomously or with the recording, and for the first time in who-knows-how-long, this person feels relief and hope, and not like a helpless victim anymore. How powerful an experience might that be?

Can you imagine what it does for someone’s self-esteem when he or she discovers it is possible to manage skillfully something so distressing that used to seem entirely overwhelming and uncontrollable?

What if instead of focusing on reducing perceptions of pain you focus on reducing anxiety, empowering people to take charge and manage their fears sensibly and directly?

Or, what if you focus people on developing the hopefulness and sense of personal power to move them out of the victim mentality that is the foundation of their depression? The range of ways to absorb people in new frames of mind for living well is what any therapist attempts to do. Clinical hypnosis just “turbo-charges” the process, catalyzing the therapeutic messages getting integrated more naturally and more easily.