What is hypnotherapy?

The term hypnosis is derived from the Greek word "hypnos“From what" sleep "means. However, hypnosis is not simply a state of sleep, but rather a mental state that lies between the sleep and wake consciousness. This state of consciousness, also called "trance", enables a more focused perception and sensation.

But creativity and imagination are also significantly increased, which means that past situations can be better evoked in the mind's eye and that ideas or thoughts can be viewed in a more focused manner. One speaks here of a channeled perception.

The state described is achieved every day by all people, for example when they get up in the morning or work concentrated. The aim of hypnotherapy is to promote and intensify this everyday trance, which leads to physical and mental calming.

These effects can be proven by technical methods. The electroencephalogram (EEG) shows typical alpha waves (8-14 Hz), muscle tone decreases, and blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Hypnotherapy has to be clearly differentiated from other forms of hypnosis.

In addition, it is known that hypnosis can only have an effect if the person to be treated believes in the method and is open to it, otherwise one would not allow one to get into the state of "trance".

Indications for hypnotherapy

The range of indications for hypnotherapy is very broad and includes not only psychological and psychosomatic illnesses but also the therapy of chronic pain. Mental illnesses include above all affective disorders such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety disorders.

Addiction therapy is another major field of application for hypnotherapy. Numerous studies have shown that this therapy has an effect on gambling addiction and drug addiction. Above all, a positive effect on smoking cessation could be determined. But psychosomatic diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome are also accessible to hypnotherapy.

In addition, hypnotherapy is increasingly finding its place in newer therapy strategies for chronic pain or headaches. Reports also suggest that the use of hypnosis can also be effective for functional symptoms. These include swallowing disorders or language disorders such as stuttering.

How do I find the right therapist?

Basically, hypnotherapy should only be carried out by specialists who have undergone extensive training for this purpose. To find the nearest hypnotherapist in your area, we recommend visiting the website of the "German Society for Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy". Here you can find a list of all psychologists and doctors certified by the society.

A good and trusting relationship between the patient and the hypnotherapist is particularly important for the effect of the therapy. This is built up in numerous discussions and the problem at hand is first discussed in more detail. If you do not feel that you can build a trusting relationship with the therapist, you should consider changing them.

What does the health insurance company pay for hypnotherapy?

Basically, it must be stated that the statutory health insurance companies only cover the costs of hypnotherapy in exceptional cases. Since, depending on the treatment, the costs for a single treatment can be between € 80 and € 120, you should contact the health insurance company before carrying out the treatment.

The rare exceptions to these regulations include, for example, patients who have been shown to be afraid of the dentist on the psychiatric side. In such a case, the health insurance company may pay for the therapy in order to enable treatment by the dentist.

Other individual cases relate to applications in which hypnotherapy takes place as part of pain therapy or in the treatment of depression or anxiety disorder, provided that hypnotherapy is in connection with behavioral therapy. The regulations for private health insurances depend on the respective insurance.

There is often a full or partial assumption of the costs. This is especially the case if additional insurance has been taken out for alternative practitioners. But even in this case it is best to contact the respective health insurance company.

How are the prospects for losing weight to be assessed?

The use of hypnotherapy to reduce body weight is becoming more and more common. In addition to the slogans of "stress-free weight loss", however, it is also the good study results that lead to this development. In numerous studies, an effect of hypnotherapy in losing weight was found.

This is primarily aimed at changing behavioral patterns and sensations so that, for example, the smell of fatty food is no longer perceived as tasty. However, it is important that hypnotherapy is carried out in addition to a diet, as only this can ultimately bring about weight loss.

The aim, however, is to facilitate this and to be able to achieve a longer-term effect by changing the basic behavioral patterns.

Read more on the subject below: Losing weight with hypnosis

What are the prospects for depression?

Some recent studies have shown a positive effect of hypnotherapy in the treatment of depression. However, it is important that this is combined with behavioral therapy. The positive results of these studies have even led to a partial assumption of the treatment costs by the statutory health insurance companies.

There are numerous different methods of hypnosis that can be used in the therapy of depression. These include, for example, suggestive hypnotherapy, positive visualization or hypnoanalysis, which proceeds in a cause-oriented manner.

Read more on the subject below: Therapy for depression

How does hypnotherapy work?

Basically, a conversation should take place before every hypnotherapy. This is primarily about the patient's problem and building trust between patient and therapist. At the beginning of the actual hypnotherapy, the "Trance state“Aimed at by the patient. There are various methods that lead to the desired state of consciousness within a few seconds (rapid induction) or by slowly introducing it.

The trance depth is then checked. There are also numerous methods for this, such as inducing rigidity of the arm (catalepsy). After this introduction, the actual hypnotherapy takes place, which can vary greatly depending on the technique used. They range from suggestive methods to hypnoanalysis, the focus of which is on the search for the underlying cause of the patient's problem.

At the end of each hypnotherapy, the so-called "Diversion“From the trance state by means of targeted suggestive procedures.

What are the risks of hypnotherapy?

The extent to which the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes involves side effects or even risks is currently the subject of controversial discussion. It is known that hypnotherapy can lead to confusion, heavy dreams, nausea, or sexual problems. However, the frequency of these side effects or risks is comparable to that of other relaxation exercises or various forms of psychotherapy.

The proportion of patients with minor side effects of the treatment is around 15%, whereas the proportion with more severe impairments is only 2%. In addition, there is a risk of re-traumatisation with hypnotherapy, depending on the form used, since previous experiences, such as abuse, can become conscious again.

Thus, before using hypnosis, a thorough anamnesis should be conducted in order to address such risks. It is also known that the rate of side effects and risks is significantly higher with show hypnosis.

What are the prospects for smoking cessation?

The success rates of smoking cessation through hypnotherapy vary between 30% and 90% depending on the source. Serious sources usually assume a moderate success rate of around 50%, provided hypnosis is used as a single therapy and not combined with other methods.

Every smoking cessation is based on an inner motivation and willingness to quit smoking. If this premise is not met, then hypnotherapy cannot help either. Thus, at the beginning of a possible hypnotherapy, the patient's motivation is asked.

The actual hypnotherapy aims to change attitudes towards smoking. It is conveyed that one is indifferent to smoking and that one can relax without cigarettes.

Before using hypnotherapy, however, an independent attempt at weaning should already have taken place, as this itself already has acceptable success rates and one becomes more aware of one's inner willingness and motivation.

What are the prospects for an anxiety disorder?

Hypnotherapy has become increasingly important in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders in recent years. Anxiety disorders can take on very different dimensions and forms and, together with depression, are one of the most common reasons for conception in a psychotherapeutic practice.

Since severe anxiety disorders cannot always be adequately treated with behavioral therapies, a combination with hypnotherapy is now increasingly being used and in some cases is even covered by health insurance.

The effect of hypnotherapy in the context of anxiety disorders is probably due to the fact that anxiety disorders are often based on trauma from early childhood that is later only subconsciously present. Through hypnotherapy, these experiences can be brought back to consciousness and thus processed, in the sense of a "neutralization".

What qualifications does the therapist need?

Since the improper use of hypnosis also harbors side effects and risks, it is advisable to only visit doctors or psychologists / psychotherapists who have attended further training and are certified by the German Society for Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy.

A list of all hypnotherapists approved by this society can be found on the Internet. In addition to this further training, the treating therapist should have had basic training in the medical professions of medicine or psychology in order to have sufficient knowledge of the clinical pictures and their diagnosis.

Which doctor do I have to contact?

Since hypnotherapy is carried out in most cases by psychologists or psychotherapists, you can contact them yourself or go through your family doctor or psychiatrist. If there is a recognized medical indication, such as an anxiety disorder, the latter can issue a referral, which in some cases can lead to the costs being covered by the health insurance fund.

In most cases, however, a private assumption of the costs can be expected.