James Stabler



Cogntive Behavioral Hypnotherapy


Hypnotherapy is simply psychotherapy aided by hypnotic interventions. As such there is no stand alone hypnotherapy model but rather various schools of psychotherapy using hypnosis to bring about therapeutic change.

Psychodynamic psychotherapies that use hypnosis to change thinking, feeling and behaving emphasize:

  • The psychodynamic concepts of the unconscious and the repression or forgetting of painful memories
  • The use of hypnosis to uncover past events that are influencing the present

Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy emphasizes:

  • Using hypnosis to change how our brain interprets situations by altering perceptions, feelings and actions
  • Using hypnosis to train the mind and body to respond with relaxation
  • Trance states are natural and people are in and out of trance throughout the day
  • The induction of trance states through suggestion, imagination, motivation, dissociation and role playing


There are many definitions of hypnosis and for the purposes of this discussion hypnosis is defined as:

  1. Is goal specific
  2. Uses suggestions
  3. To achieve an altered state of consciousness
  4. To bypass the critical brain
  5. Allowing the subconscious mind to bring about the conditions to achieve the goal requested by the conscious mind.

Cognitive Behavioral Hypnotherapy (CBH)

The five-step hypnosis process is an integral part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, (CBT). The purpose of CBH is to change thinking and behaving by the use of cognitive and behavioral interventions with the aid of hypnosis.

Cognitive Restructuring

  1. CBT is goal specific, change your thinking and therefore your feeling and behaving or results to get what you want now and in the future.
  2.  CBT begins with education or Suggestion that the situation does not cause your negative condition but rather your interpretation/beliefs about the situation.
  3. After this comes deeper hypnotic Suggestion through Metaphorical language. At this point the critical brain has been bypassed allowing altering of consciousness or the accessing of alternative interpretations of the situation at hand.
  4. The critical brain is further bypassed by more Metaphorical suggestion to alter consciousness. This sets the stage to bring about awareness of the actual thinking that will be changed through pen and paper cognitive restructuring exercises.

Behavioral Restructuring

The cognitive restructuring discussion above, focused on using hypnosis to change how our brain interprets situations by altering perceptions, feelings and actions. This section focuses on using hypnosis to train the body to respond with relaxation.

  1. The specific goal is to learn how to change your thinking without thinking by responding consciously and particularly unconsciously, to negative situations/stimuli with relaxation.
  2. There are always thoughts or information being processed all the time with our mind/body. We can process a great deal of our thoughts/information via the body/mind without being conscious of them.
  3. The Relaxation Response is useful when it comes to dealing with stressful situations. There are two ways we can respond to stress, either with anxiety or relaxation. An anxiety response usually makes things worse and a relaxation response allows us to respond effectively.
  4. There are many ways to induce the relaxation response. The hypnotic key is to say a repetitive word such as relaaaax each time you induce the relaxation response. Gradually, the relaxation response will generalize and become automatic. 
  5. There are a number of ways to induce the relaxation response:
  • Abdominal Breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation, active and passive
  • Say the word relaaaax out loud each time you exhale or release your muscles
  • Combine PMR with Abdominal Breathing
  • Autogenic Relaxation


  1. Practice the relaxation response as a stress and anxiety coping method
  2. Practice the relaxation response as a way to gain mastery over stress and anxiety
  3. Send me a comment or question


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