Tag Archives: Hypnotherapy

Book “The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy”

By Donald Robertson
By Donald Robertson

I took the Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy in mid 2012 (more about my background of hypnotherapy here). The author of this book, Don Robertson was the course facilitator and trainer. I learnt my first “proper” meditation (dehypnosis!) with him, including my favourite “leaves on the stream“. So until today I can still always relate his Scottish accent with meditation, relaxation and hypnosis, because of how much I learnt from this knowledgeable man from Scotland at that time.

I believe this is the most well-informed and extensive textbook in this subject, a non-state hypnosis approach that is based on scientific research and clinical trials. It is nothing like any other books on hypnosis that you will find out there. It starts from the basics (history), theories, and practice of it.

So yes, it is highly recommendable to anyone from a scientific backgrounds (even if you are an engineer or programmer), who are interested in hypnotherapy and CBT, to have a go. I’m more than happy to answer any question you may have, just get in touch! Though, the most suitable readers of this book (i.e. those who will gain enormous benefit) are existing CBT practitioners who would like to include hypnotherapy into their practices and make them even more effective.

Self-Hypnosis & De-Hypnosis

催眠 (hypnosis) 与去催眠化 (dehypnosis)

开始前,先说说关于英文 “dehypnosis” 这个字的翻译,让我纠结了好一下的一个词。面对广大群众,其实我会偏好"反催眠"(听起来比较酷?!),但却也因为"反",它带有误导性,感觉像是抵抗被催眠,阻止人家给你催眠,阻止自己接受催眠师的任何暗示*?所以我还是选了"去催眠化"。



那怎么个"去催眠"呢?简单来说,就是认知行为疗法(CBT)里的认知解离/认知距离化(cognitive defusion, cognitive distancing)。注意到自己沉浸在这些想法里了,注意"这些想法就只是想法,它不是事实!"让自己走出来,反催眠自己(看吧,"反催眠"是比较适用的)。这也是我最爱的接受与承诺疗法(ACT)的提倡之一--改变自己和想法的关系,而不是改变想法本身(因为为了改变一个想法,你可能更关注它,更沉浸纠结其中,最后更痛苦!)。




N.B. 配合8月我会到北京参加心理学家大会,用中文写了这篇"催眠与去催眠化",非常非常基本的概念,往后会深入写些实用技巧。

Client Factsheet: Hypnotherapy / 客户须知:催眠治疗

The more you understand hypnotherapy, the more effective it is likely to be.  If there are any points below which you don’t agree with, or don’t understand, please discuss them with your therapist.

  • Hypnosis is a special way of using various naturally-occurring psychological and physiological states.  It’s a collaborative process in which you allow yourself to follow the guidance of the therapist by using your imagination to evoke positive emotions and rehearse behaviour change.
  • Everyone can, in principle, be hypnotised.  It has been shown to help if you relax, think positively, and imagine the things being suggested.
  • Hypnotic “trance”, so-called, is an increased ability to respond to positive suggestions, usually accompanied simply by relaxed attention to the ideas being suggested.
  • Hypnosis is definitely not a state of sleep or unconsciousness.  Roughly 90% of people report being aware of everything that happens, and relaxation helps but is not essential to hypnosis.
  • Hypnosis is definitely not a state of mind control.  You cannot be made to do anything against your will.  On the contrary, normally you must want to accept suggested ideas and actively imagine responding to experience their effects.
  • Hypnosis is completely safe when used in a responsible and professional manner.  Nobody has ever been “stuck” in hypnosis.
  • Comedy stage hypnosis has very little to do with clinical hypnotherapy and has been shown to foster misconceptions which can prevent people from benefiting from treatment.  Take what you see on television with a generous pinch of salt.
  • Hypnotic suggestion is a means of experiencing certain helpful ideas at a level profound enough to directly influence our emotions and behaviour.
  • Psychological and emotional problems can be seen as the result of negative thinking, whereas hypnotherapy aims to encourage (“suggest”) positive ideas which lead to improvement.
  • Hypnotherapy, except for smoking cessation, usually requires more than one session.  However, it is probably one of the briefest forms of psychological therapy, and in clinical studies the average number of sessions is around 4-6.
  • Hypnosis can help with an enormous range of different issues.  Research tends to provide most support for its use in,

1. Anxiety management.
2. Pain management.
3. Overcoming sleep disorders
4. Treating certain psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses.

However, hypnosis is also used to conquer habits such as nail-biting or smoking cigarettes, and for personal development in areas such as sports performance, public speaking, or creativity.

  • Thousands of positive experimental and clinical research studies on hypnosis have been published.  It was recognised as an effective treatment by the British Medical Association (BMA) and American Medical Association (AMA) in the 1950s and, more recently, by the American Psychological Association (for obesity) and NICE guidance (for IBS) used by the NHS.
  • Hypnosis is essentially a simple, down-to-earth, and common sense therapy.  For example, by relaxing, thinking positively, and picturing your goals, hypnosis can help you to progressively improve your habitual feelings and behaviour.



  • 催眠是一种应用各种自然发生的心理和生理状态(naturally-occurring psychological and physiological states)的特殊方式。这是一个你与治疗师合作的过程 -你允许自己遵循治疗师的指导,使用想象力来唤起积极正面的情绪,并练习行为的改变。
  • 原则上,每个人都可以被催眠。它带来的好处已被验证,只要你放松,积极思考,并想象治疗师所说的暗示。
  • 所谓的催眠“恍惚状态”(trance),是一种对正面暗示(positive suggestion)产生反应能力的增强,通常简单地伴随着对催眠建议的松散注意力(relaxed attention)。
  • 催眠绝对不是睡眠或昏迷状态。大致上90%的人都表示对过程里所发生的一切有意识;放松对催眠有帮助,但不是必须的。
  • 催眠绝对不是精神或思维的控制(mind control)。你不能被逼着做违背自己意愿的事。相反地,通常你必须愿意接受那些催眠暗示,积极地想象对这些体验产生的反应。
  • 在负责任和专业的使用下,催眠是完全安全的。从来没有人”被卡在催眠里出不来”。
  • 舞台催眠表演和临床催眠治疗没有什么直接的关系,舞台催眠表演已被证明是加深人们对催眠治疗的误解,妨碍了人们受益于催眠治疗。对于你在电视上看到的,要有所保留别尽信。
  • 催眠暗示(Hypnotic suggestion)是一种对有益想法的深刻体验,并使这些想法对我们的情绪和行为产生正面影响的一种方式。
  • 心理和情绪上的问题可以被看作是消极负面思维的结果,而催眠治疗的目的就是鼓励(“暗示” “suggest”)正面积极的思维,从而得到改善。
  • 除了戒烟课程,催眠治疗通常需要多于一次的疗程。然而,它很可能是最短形式的心理治疗之一,在临床研究显示平均疗程大约是4-6次。
  • 催眠对一系列不同的问题都有帮助。研究倾向于显示对下列治疗最有帮助 –

1.焦虑管理 (Anxiety management)

2.疼痛管理 (Pain management)

3.克服睡眠障碍 (Overcoming sleep disorders)

4.治疗一些身心或压力相关的疾病 (psychosomatic or stress-related illnesses)


  • 成千上万的催眠实验和临床研究已被发表。它从1950年代开始就被英国医学协会(British Medical Association)和美国医学协会(American Medical Association)确认为一种有效的治疗,在近期也受美国心理学协会(American Psychological Association, 针对肥胖)和英国NHS的NICE指南(针对IBS 大腸激躁症)所认可 。
  • 催眠本质上是一种简单的治疗。例如,通过放松,积极思考,想象你的目标,催眠可以帮助你逐步改善你平时改变不了的情绪和行为问题。


AMA         (1958).  ‘Council on Mental Health: Medical use of Hypnosis’, JAMA, Sep 13, 1958: 186-189.

BMA         (1955).  ‘Medical use of Hypnotism: Report of a Subcommittee appointed by the Psychological Medicine Group Committee of the British Medical Association’, Supplement to the BMJ April 23, 1955: 190-193, Appendix X.

BPS.        (2001).  The Nature of Hypnosis.  Leicester: BPS.

APA         (1997), Update on Empirically Validated Treatments, The Clinical Psychologist, 1997


Adapted from the Client Factsheet: Hypnotherapy, by the UK College of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, translated by Hui Bee.

Is hypnosis for me?

Is hypnosis/hypnotherapy for me?

Try these!

Exercise 1 – Postural Suggestion:

  1. Stretch both of your arms in front of you at shoulder level, palms facing up. With eyes closed, imagine a pile of books being stacked on your right palm.
  2. Imagine a couple more books, and then a couple more books being stacked on top of those books on your right palm. Feel the strain in your arm as it gets heavier and heavier, heavier and heavier.
  3. Now imagine a huge balloon filled with helium has been tied to your left wrist and is tugging it up into the air ….higher and higher ….higher and higher.
  4. Open your eyes and notice where your arms are relative to each other.

Exercise 2 – Postural Sway:

  1. Stand up with your eyes closed and imagine holding a big heavy suitcase in your left hand.
  2. Imagine bigger and bigger suitcases weighting down your left side, pulling you over.
  3. After 2 or 3 minutes, open your eyes and notice any changes in your posture.

Make sure you read the instructions clearly, then only you close your eyes and try them.

Most people who try these two exercises notice that their bodies/arms move at least a little in response to these suggestions (Exercise 1 works particularly well for me). If you don’t notice any movement, practice the exercises a few more times. If you still don’t notice even the slightest amount of movement, hypnosis may not be for you!

Also, some contraindications of hypnosis include people who are disorientated due to organic brain syndrome or psychosis, people who are severely mentally retarded, and people who are paranoid or hypervigilant. So these people shouldn’t be performing self-hypnosis or being hypnotised.

Where to find Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy in Malaysia?

I’ve come across this question three days in a row, of people asking for hynotherapist in Klang Valley or Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia.

All the while I never really mentioned to people that I’ve a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (accredited by the UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy), especially ever since I came back from the UK. I thought the Malaysians would hold so many misconceptions about hypnosis that if I were to tell people about this qualification of mine, people were going to be worried what I was going to do to them! (Make them give me all their savings?!)

But these people that I spoke to kind of change what I thought, although some of their beliefs of what hypnosis can do are still not quite true or slightly exaggerated (based on my training background of evidence-based cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy & clinical psychology).

Here I’d like to introduce a few basic introductory (text) books to self-hypnosis, mainly cognitive behavioural based and empirically supported, you can learn more about them and perhaps try to practise them at home, do let me know if you have come up with any problems or obstacles. Not that I’ll definitely be able to answer all your questions BUT I do know a number of therapists in the UK who use hypnosis to help people in their own private clinics.


Alladin, A. (2008). Cognitive Hypnotherapy: An Integrated Approach to the Treatment of Emotional Disorders.

Heap, M. & Aravind, K. (2002). Hartland’s Medical & Dental Hypnosis (4th ed.)

Lynn, S. J. & Kirsch, I. (2005). Essentials of Clinical Hypnosis: An Evidence-based Approach (Dissociation, Trauma, Memory, and Hypnosis Book Series)

Robertson, D. (2012). The Practice of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy: A Manual of Evidence based Clinical Hypnosis. (my review here)

Straus, R. A. (1982). Strategic Self-Hypnosis.

(The Alladin’s and Lynn & Kirsch’s text books are easy to understand, especially when you have some backgrounds in psychology or practicing self-help; The Robertson’s book is the most extensive resources on CBH you can ever find!)


A wide range of resources about what hypnotherapy can do, a private clinic in South Manchester: Manchester Hypnotherapy & Counselling

N.B. If you do come across any hypnotherapist in Malaysia please do share it here!