About online hypnosis and hypnotherapy
Whether you are required to stay at home due to Covid lockdowns or are self-isolating, or even if you just don’t want to travel, it’s great to know that hypnotherapy can be delivered online. Online hypnosis is safe, effective and almost directly equivalent to face-to-face sessions.
As a result of Covid19, we have all become more familiar with video technologies such as Zoom, Skype, Facetime and Teams. Since we were unable to meet face-to-face, therapy transferred into this ever more stable way of working. In fact, even when restrictions were eased, many clients found online hypnotherapy to be more convenient than face to face therapy.
There are sometimes still a few lingering questions such as Is online hypnotherapy as good as face-to-face hypnotherapy? Does online hypnosis work? Is online hypnosis safe? What happens if the connection breaks? This page details the top seven questions that clients ask.
What we have learned from the Covid lockdowns is that online hypnotherapy is highly effective and generates results that are at least as good as face-to-face therapy. We have also learned how to safely deal with rare connection breaks and power cuts.
1 What is online hypnotherapy?
Online hypnotherapy is simply an online alternative to face to face treatment sessions. I personally tend to use either Zoom or Skype if Zoom is not possible. In practical terms, the sessions are structured as per face to face sessions and the same hypnotherapy techniques are employed.
The duration of the treatment part of the sessions is the same as for face-to-face sessions. The overall session duration can be shorter since we don’t need to deal with pre-session admin such as parking and comfort breaks.
Online hypnosis is suitable for anyone, but is especially useful for those unable to get out of the house due to lockdown restrictions, self-isolation requirements or due to disability. These days many clients simply find that online hypnotherapy is simply more time effective and convenient.
Security is assured by the encryption technology used by all the major video call providers such as Zoom. You also need to do your part by ensuring that you select a time and place where you will not be interrupted by family members.
2 Is online hypnotherapy as effective as face to face hypnotherapy?
Very much so – in practical terms, there is no difference at all. Some clients prefer the increased sense of comfort, control and security they get from being in their own environment.
Recent research confirms that online hypnotherapy can be as effective as face-to-face hypnotherapy. For example, in a study published in 2019, the effectiveness of online hypnotherapy in the treatment of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was evaluated. In the study one group received online hypnotherapy and their results were compared against another group that received face to face hypnotherapy. Both groups received therapy of the same style and format. The study concluded that there was no discernible difference in terms of outcome between the online and face to face groups. (International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Volume 67, 2019 – Issue 1).
In a systematic review in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012) the impact of online therapy on the therapeutic relationship was examined and that study concluded that online therapy was at least equivalent to face-to-face therapy. Additionally, an article in the Washington Post by author Lori Gottlieb described the increased sense of intimacy that some people feel when experiencing online hypnotherapy. So although further research is advocated, there is enough research available right now to support the view that online therapy is at least as effective as face to face therapy.
3 Can hypnosis really be undertaken online?
You don’t need a hypnotherapist to be physically present to go into a hypnotic trance state. We all go into natural trance states on a regular basis when we are focused on something intently. For example, when you watch a great movie, driving in autopilot mode or reading a good book you are in a trance state. In order to go into a therapeutic trance state, all you need is the ability to hear the therapist’s voice which will guide you into a state of deep relaxation.
4 How does online hypnotherapy work on Zoom / Skype? What actually happens in practical terms?
Before each session, you will be sent an email containing a unique secure link for Zoom sessions or my username for Skype sessions. Detailed instructions will be provided to help you get the best from the session. This includes advice on how to set up your device or laptop for the best audio quality and the most stable internet connection.
Initially, for Zoom sessions, you will be in a virtual waiting-room which means you can arrive a little early if you wish. You will be let into the therapy room at the official start time of the session.
As with a face to face session, we will talk for a while so you can let me know where you are and where you want to get to. When you are ready I will guide you into a relaxed state and after a while, you will probably want to close your eyes. I will then guide you through a number of therapeutic change processes.
Once you close your eyes you will find that there is no practical difference between an online and a face-to-face hypnotherapy session. Your awareness will be brought back to the room at the end of the session and we will talk about your experience for a while. If the internet connection is broken, you will automatically and safely awaken.
5 Is online EMDR possible?
EMDR is still possible as part of online hypnotherapy / EMDR sessions. Either traditional handheld object tracking or computer-based tracking is used.
6 Technically, what do I need for online hypnotherapy?
The most important thing is stable access to the internet, ideally via a device that is connected to the internet via a Wifi or Ethernet cable connection. Your device could be a phone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Whatever device you use does need to be reliable with an operational microphone and camera. Headphones help to assure confidentiality and generate a more immersive experience.
Your environment does not need to be silent but should be as quiet as possible with as few interruptions as possible.
7 How do I book online hypnotherapy?
I work with clients throughout the world across many different timezones (see table below – green areas are when I am typically available). Just complete the form to the right including where you are in the world and I will get back to you with available times, or click on the book appointment button below:
- International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis Volume 67, 2019 – Issue 1, SKYPE HYPNOTHERAPY FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME: Effectiveness and Comparison with Face-to-Face Treatment (PDF view)
- Washington Post, the surprising intimacy of online therapy sessions during the pandemic: Wahington Post, 2020
- Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012, The Therapeutic Relationship in E-Therapy for Mental Health: A Systematic Review (PDF view)