Hypnosis typically involves an introduction to the procedure during which the subject is told that suggestions for imaginative experiences will be presented. The hypnotic induction is an extended initial suggestion for using one’s imagination, and may contain further elaborations of the introduction. A hypnotic procedure is used to encourage and evaluate responses to suggestions. When using hypnosis, one person (the subject) is guided by another (the hypnotist) to respond to suggestions for changes in subjective experience, alterations in perception, sensation, emotion, thought or behavior. Persons can also learn self-hypnosis, which is the act of administering hypnotic procedures on one’s own. If the subject responds to hypnotic suggestions, it is generally inferred that hypnosis has been induced. Many believe that hypnotic responses and experiences are characteristic of a hypnotic state. While some think that it is not necessary to use the word “hypnosis” as part of the hypnotic induction, others view it as essential.
Hypnotherapy is a use of hypnosis in psychotherapy. It is used by licensed physicians, psychologists, and others. Physicians and psychiatrists may use hypnosis to treat depression, anxiety, eating disorders, sleep disorders, compulsive gaming, and posttraumatic stress, while certified hypnotherapists who are not physicians or psychologists often treat smoking and weight management.
Modern hypnotherapy has been used in a variety of forms with varying success, such as: