Written by Rory Z Fulcher
What is analytical hypnotherapy?
Analytical hypnotherapy is the use of hypnotherapy to create subconscious change and to get insight from within. The main purpose of analytical hypnotherapy is to create changes on a deeper level, without so much ‘conscious input’.
Analytical hypnotherapy draws from analytical psychology, an area of psychology that was greatly influenced by Carl Jung, and his work within the world of psychotherapy, and in collaboration with Sigmund Freud and his use of ‘psychoanalysis’. Jung’s view was that the ‘psyche’ was self regulating, and as such, analytical psychology works on the principle that the ‘unconscious mind’ (or ‘subconscious mind’) can often be trusted to help us, rather than hinder us. There is a thought that even seemingly negative behaviours and beliefs can be considered helpful by the subconscious mind, if it believes that there is some positive purpose behind them.
Where analytical psychology and analytical hypnotherapy differ, is that the analytical psychologists will often be the ones analysing and drawing conclusions from conversations with the client. In contrast, it is not the analytical hypnotherapist’s job to analyse, but instead, to give the client’s subconscious mind the ability to ‘self-analyse’ based on what the client has (consciously) decided that they would like to do differently. With this in mind, it is often the case that analytical hypnotherapy clients will require much fewer sessions, than if that same client went to see an analytical psychologist or psychoanalyst.
Jung also believed that the way in which we perceive ourselves (our ego) has changed over time as the human race has developed, and that we have become less connected to our instincts. Jung believed that we need to pay more attention to our subconscious in order to be better guided by the ‘self’, as he called it, referring to our whole personality. Jungian concepts such as individuation (how we develop our personalities throughout our lives), type theory (functions of our personalities), and the deeper meanings behind dreams and spiritual experiences, are areas that are less directly incorporated into analytical hypnotherapy. However, as with all therapies, each therapist is different, and some will be taught to use more of the teachings of analytical psychology than others.
Part of the analytical hypnotherapy process, as mentioned above, is to gain insight. This could be general insight about the client’s issue or goal, or even relating to something that’s holding them back from succeeding. Or, it could be that insight may come from a client re-visiting a past memory in order to learn more from what happened. This process of going back into the past is known as ‘regression’. However, as hypnotherapy trainers, we draw a line between analytical approaches and regression approaches, because regression is often more ‘intrusive’ than many of the analytical hypnotherapy techniques that a therapist might use during a session. As such, we will be covering regression hypnotherapy separately in the another blog!
There certainly is a crossover where regression and analytical hypnotherapy are concerned. However, when you read the ‘analytical hypnotherapy techniques’ section, you will notice that these approaches are very different to regression approaches, and are often a lot easier for a client to engage in (and less likely to cause emotional reactions during the session).
Analytical hypnotherapy techniques
There are many analytical hypnotherapy techniques that can help to connect a client to their inner insight or to generate a subconscious change. With relation to subconscious changes, it’s interesting that in many cases a client won’t necessarily be consciously aware of what they want their change to consist of. For example, a client may want to reduce their anxiety, but not know how to go about doing it, or not know what they would prefer to do instead. That’s why analytical hypnotherapy approaches are fantastic for clients who have a broad ‘end goal’ in mind, but they’re not sure how to reach said goal.
It’s also interesting that analytical hypnotherapy can sometimes create outcomes that may, at first, seem objectionable to the client’s conscious mind. As another example, a client may come in for help with their stress at work and in their relationship, and an analytical hypnotherapy approach might present them with an option that they’d never consciously considered, such as quitting their job, breaking up with their partner, and moving away to a different area or even another country! Yes, that’s an extreme example, however, it is a real-life example from a past client. It turns out that change was exactly what she needed in order to take her life in a better direction for her, and for her mental health. As Dr Jung so eloquently purported, people need to listen to their ‘self’, and allow their subconscious to guide them to a decision that will ultimately make them happy – even if it’s consciously a difficult decision to admit, and to follow through with!
Common analytical hypnotherapy techniques include parts therapy, ideomotor response (IMR) communication, metaphors, free association, automatic writing, and our #1 favourite hypnosis approach: direct hypnotic suggestions. For some clients, taking a direct approach and speaking to the subconscious mind directly can be a quick and simple way to create a subconscious change or to generate insight. Other clients will benefit from either a metaphorical approach in order to allow the client the flexibility to create their own associations with the suggestions that you’re giving, or a more ‘subconscious process-driven’ approach (such as IMR work and parts therapy), to ensure there’s less conscious interference with the change process.
Clients experiencing analytical hypnotherapy may immediately have a realisation, during the session. This insight or ‘new way of thinking/behaving’ may immediately integrate itself into the client’s life. Conversely, some clients will take a little longer before their insight is received, or before those changes become fully realised in the client’s actions and thoughts. It is important, especially during the analytical hypnotherapy process, to make the client aware that people will only change at the speed at which they are able to change. For some it will be immediate, for others, it may take a number of sessions. As you undoubtedly know already, this is the case with almost any kind of therapy and hypnotherapy process.
What analytical therapy can help with
Analytical hypnotherapy is excellent at addressing issues where behavioural and cognitive approaches haven’t fully resolved the issue, or where a more subconscious change process would likely benefit the client. Here are some examples of what analytical hypnotherapy can help clients with:
- Anger management
- Bereavement and loss
- Childhood anxiety disorders
- Dental hypnosis
- Headaches and migraines
- Memory enhancement
- Nail biting
- Pain management
- Panic attacks/disorder
- Performance anxiety
- Phobias and phobic disorders
- Psychogenic infertility
- Psychosexual disorders
- Skin conditions and dermatology
- Sleep disorders
- Smoking cessation
- Speech impediments and stammering
- Sport hypnosis
- Stress management
- Terminal illness and death
- Trauma and PTSD
- Vaping cessation
- Weight management
Potential limitations of analytical hypnotherapy
With hypnotherapy clients, analytical hypnotherapy is often used as the third approach, after first employing behavioural hypnotherapy and cognitive hypnotherapy strategies. The reason for this, is that analytical hypnotherapy will often cause a subconscious change, and this change is best supported with prior ego strengthening – enabling the client to become an active part of their own solution – as well as behaviour and belief changes, to ensure that the client has sufficient resources to carry out the change in real life. Subconscious change work can also take additional processing time for the client, and if a client is not adequately prepared for this, it could potentially impact upon their life beyond the therapy session.
As with analytical psychotherapy, the analytical hypnotherapy process can sometimes take longer than using behavioural and cognitive hypnotherapy approaches. However, some clients simply will not be able to change without gaining insight and agreement from their subconscious mind. That’s why analytical hypnotherapy skills are an integral addition to the solution-focused hypnotherapist’s tool kit.
How to learn analytical hypnotherapy
To learn analytical hypnotherapy, ideally you will seek out a full practitioner hypnotherapy course, so that you not only learn analytical hypnotherapy approaches, but also how to integrate analytical approaches alongside other the other key therapy modalities). If you’d like to learn behavioural, cognitive, analytical and regression hypnotherapy all on one course (as well as learning a lot more besides), our next hypnotherapy diploma course begins soon. For full information about what you’ll learn (and the upcoming course dates), click here:
Otherwise, if you can’t make it to London, we cover analytical therapy on our Live-Online Hypnotherapy Certificate Course where you can learn with us on Zoom, from the comfort of your own home! We hope you enjoyed this blog about analytical hypnotherapy. If you have any questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher