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Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis to try to treat conditions or change habits.

What happens in a hypnotherapy session

There are different types of hypnotherapy, and different ways of hypnotising someone.

First, you'll usually have a talk with your therapist to discuss what you hope to achieve and agree what methods your therapist will use.

After this, the hypnotherapist may:

  • lead you into a deeply relaxed state
  • use your agreed methods to help you towards your goals – for example, suggesting that you do not want to carry out a certain habit
  • gradually bring you out of the trance-like state – most people feel refreshed and relaxed

You're fully in control when under hypnosis and do not have to take on the therapist's suggestions if you do not want to.

If necessary, you can bring yourself out of the hypnotic state.

Hypnosis does not work if you do not want to be hypnotised.


Do not use hypnotherapy if you have psychosis or certain types of personality disorder, as it could make your condition worse.

Check with a GP first if you've got a personality disorder.

Can I get hypnotherapy on the NHS?

Hypnotherapy is not usually available on the NHS.

To find out if you can see a hypnotherapist on the NHS in your area, ask:

Finding a private hypnotherapist

In the UK, hypnotherapists do not have to have any specific training by law.

This means hypnotherapy can be offered by people with little training who are not health professionals.

When looking for a private hypnotherapist:

  • choose someone with a healthcare background – such as a doctor, psychologist or counsellor
  • if you have mental ill health or a serious illness (such as cancer), make sure they're trained in working with your condition
  • if you're looking for a therapist for your child, make sure they're trained to work with children
  • check they're registered with an organisation that's accredited by the Professional Standards Authority

Find a hypnotherapist through the Professional Standards Authority

A private hypnotherapy session can cost from £50 upwards.

Page last reviewed: 08 November 2023
Next review due: 08 November 2026