Harvard Mental Health Letter

Hypnosis as mental health therapy

Although myths about it abound, this form of therapy is often helpful.

Hypnosis is one of the oldest forms of psychotherapy in the Western world, and it may also be the most misunderstood. Although long associated with charlatans or performers, all true hypnosis is, by definition, self-hypnosis. In spite of the prevailing myth, nobody can be hypnotized against his or her will. Instead, hypnosis is generally induced by focusing attention on positive mental imagery.

A spate of papers on the topic have urged clinicians to remember that this therapy is an option when treating patients.

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