Is Hypnosis Safe?

You have heard of hypnosis, but you wonder if it is safe.  I am a member of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), which trains only people with professional education and clinical training in a health care discipline.

Often people without these credentials offer "hypnotherapy" to the public with extravagant claims and even guarantees. ASCH recommends asking yourself if the person offering such sensationalized statements has the training and expertise to help you at all without the use of hypnosis.  That is a good way to know if that person can help you stay safe with hypnosis.  

ASCH believes that hypnosis will be most effective when the patient is highly motivated to overcome a problem and when the practitioner is well trained in both hypnosis and in the issues related to the treatment of the particular problem.  In other words, if the practitioner claims to be able to help you with weight reduction, is that practitioner a psychologist or other mental health professional with education and training related to weight reduction?  As with other methods, hypnosis cannot be guaranteed to be effective, and if anyone makes such a guarantee, beware!

For your own safety, ask the practitioner about their license (if any!), their training, and years of experience both as a mental health provider and as someone providing hypnosis.

 Don't forget to also ask if they are certified by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.  Certification provides recognition of the advanced clinician who has met fundamental educational training requirements in clinical hypnosis. While it is true that certification does not automatically imply competence, it does at least indicate the following about the provider: 

  •  advanced training in her profession
  •  a legitimate advanced degree from an accredited institution
  •  licensed or certified ;
  • peer-reviewed education and training in clinical hypnosis

You can check on their membership here:


Deborah Cole