What is Hypnotherapy?

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson

Hypnotherapy, often surrounded by misconceptions and mystique, is an ancient practice that harnesses the power of the mind to promote positive change.

While it has been portrayed differently in popular media, the scientific principles behind hypnotherapy are grounded in neurobiology and psychology.

In this article, we delve into the fascinating world of hypnotherapy, exploring brainwave patterns, suggestibility, and the intriguing connection between the conscious and subconscious mind.

The Conscious and Subconscious Mind

To understand hypnotherapy, we must first comprehend the two major components of the mind: the conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is the aspect of our awareness responsible for logical thinking, decision-making, and reasoning. It processes information in a linear and analytical manner.

On the other hand, the subconscious mind operates beneath the surface of our conscious awareness, governing automatic responses, emotions, and memories. It functions in a non-linear and intuitive manner, making it a powerful driver of our beliefs, habits, and behaviours.

The Bridge of Suggestibility

Hypnotherapy aims to bridge the gap between the conscious and subconscious mind, enabling positive suggestions to influence behaviour and thought patterns. In a hypnotic state, an individual becomes more receptive to suggestions, as the critical factor of the conscious mind is temporarily bypassed. This increased suggestibility allows a skilled hypnotherapist to introduce new ideas and perspectives directly to the subconscious.

Brainwave Patterns and Hypnosis

Brainwave activity plays a crucial role in the hypnotic experience. Our brain produces different types of electrical patterns depending on our mental state. During hypnosis, brainwave patterns tend to shift from the typical alert, waking state (beta waves) to more relaxed and receptive states. These include:

  • Alpha Waves: The alpha state occurs when we are in a relaxed and calm state of mind, similar to the moments before falling asleep or just after waking up. Hypnosis is often associated with increased alpha activity.
  • Theta Waves: The theta state is associated with deep relaxation, daydreaming, and light sleep. During hypnosis, individuals may experience heightened theta activity, which allows for enhanced visualization and creativity.
  • Delta Waves: The delta state is the slowest brainwave pattern, occurring during deep sleep or profound meditation. Some individuals may reach this state during exceptionally deep hypnotic experiences.

The Role of Brain Plasticity

Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new neural connections and reorganize itself, plays a significant role in hypnotherapy. When a person is in a hypnotic state, the brain becomes more receptive to changes in thought patterns and behaviors. This plasticity enables the mind to adopt new perspectives, break free from negative habits, and cultivate positive changes.


Hypnotherapy, once shrouded in mystery, now stands on solid scientific ground. By understanding the connection between the conscious and subconscious mind, brainwave patterns, and suggestibility, we can appreciate the potential of hypnotherapy as a powerful tool for personal transformation. It offers individuals a safe and effective means to address various issues, from stress and anxiety to breaking unhealthy habits and improving overall well-being. Embracing the science behind hypnotherapy allows us to unlock the full potential of our minds and embark on a journey of positive change and self-discovery.

Katie Peterson
Clinical Hypnotherapist
Central Scotland Clinical Hypnotherapy 

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