It’s ok morally for Catholics right? I’m talking about using it for curing some deep seated psychological issues like PTSD or depression. I’ve heard from a lot of people that it helps and am thinking of trying it. My depression isn’t as bad as it was, but I’ve figured out that it’s rooted in some thinking habits that I can’t seem to break. I thought maybe hypnosis would help with that.

But I also heard, I think on Catholic Answers Live, that we should be careful with hypnotism, though I’m not really sure exactly why. They may have been talking more about past life new agey stuff though. I can’t remember, it was a few years ago.

Anyways, is it ok? Just wanted to check before I make an appointment with the therapist.

  1. Robyn, and everyone, please see my review of two books about trauma:


  1. If you have been told by anyone (anyone at all) that you can’t possibly have been through what you have been through, you must repudiate that.

You must become confident in your memories. (This should of course make allowance for any role we may have had - if any.)

  1. If planning to spend money, remember that a practitioner tells you what they are telling you about what they are doing. But they might be biased.

  2. I am here by PM (but I don’t log on every day) as “a bloke”, weatherbeaten by life is my only “qualification”. At the open forum not all responses about trauma will be equally empathetic as each other though I hope I’ll be able to express some of my viewpoints in it as well.

Our Father said for everyone affected.


Sorry for your difficulties. I don’t believe hypnosis is a wise undertaking.

Two modalities I know which have been effective for those experiencing depression and particularly traumatic experiences have been EMDR and deliverance ministries such as Neal Lazono’s “Unbound” (Catholic Apostolate).

I mention EMDR not as a suggestion (can’t suggest medical treatment), but for informations’ sake as a technique which exists so you can research if desired.

I hope you find healing, and I have said prayers for you.


I think the Catholic Church frowns on treatments using hypnosis. I am not sure of the answer.

However, I don’t think you should be basing decisions about your psychological well being when dealing with serious psychological issues on the opinions of total strangers on the internet. Talk to professionals that you see in an actual medical office building or a Church.


I just want to mark this place to return to tomorrow.

More tomorrow.


A few more points:

  • On Planet Earth, suffering is par for the course

  • We should all beware people telling us what to think and what not to think. Beware people telling you to go blank. Always think about what you want to think about, when you want to think about it, no matter who tells you otherwise.


I know a few people that have used it to quit smoking and overeating, surprisingly it did work for a couple of them, one guy had it done by someone he was referred to and said when he came out of it, he honestly did not desire to smoke anymore, said he didnt crave them or have withdrawls or anything, but another one said it didnt last that long, so it probably only works for certain people.

I was going to try it years ago, my exwife knew a lady that did this and she did it for free, never charged anyone, but I was worried about doing it and what it could do to my mindset, so I never went thru with it…I was mainly worried it would bring some terrible memory my mind had repressed back in.


Certain therapies work better for certain disorders. Hypnotherapy is geared more towards helping to reduce phobias, or trying to either extinguish certain behaviors (like smoking), or initiating new behaviors (like eating healthy or exercising or improving study habits).

Hypnotherapy is usually not used for mood disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorders. And it is usually not used for trauma-related disorders such as PTSD.

There are other more effective therapies to treat those diagnoses. Be sure to check the credentials of anyone you plan to see for therapy and have a discussion with them first about what therapy/treatment approaches they plan to use.


You might want to contact Dr. Dwight Damon. He’s editor of “Hypno-Gram”, which is a magazine of he National Guild of Hypnotists. I think he’s Catholic. 508-460-0700 www.ngh.net

Ask for some referrals of Catholic hypnotists near you.

Seems to me that three popes endorsed the use of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes, but NOT for entertainment [not for stage hypnosis].

You might want to check out the use of Eye Movement Integration … EMI … and EMDR which is somewhat similar. Both are used extensively for PTSD situations.


This was in today’s email:

EYE MOVEMENT INTEGRATIONTM (EMITM) is a brief, extraordinarily effective approach, which produces lasting therapeutic results. You will learn to treat PTSD, flashbacks, phobia, anxiety associated with addictions, and recent critical incidents.

In this workshop you will learn: - The principles on which EMITM is based and the essential skills required to utilize the technique successfully. - How to gather the required information from the client and how to use the EMI method as a short-term treatment. - How to individualize the EMITMapproach to fit each client’s unique needs. - How to use additional methods including Visual-Kinesthetic Dissociation and several Milton H. Ericksonian Pattern Interruption methods (breaking habitual sets and minimum behavioral cues). Read the story of the Seven Asterisks on page 61 of My Voice Will Go With You, by Sidney Rrosen, M.D.

EMITM, is an uncomplicated, yet highly effective eye movement desensitization technique. Unlike other methods, EMITMis considerate of the client’s integrity and does not require regression or revisiting past traumatic events. Therefore, it is designed to avoid the concerns of false memory and/or the possibility of re-traumatizing the client.

The economics of providing psychotherapy are demanding short-term treatment. Current research continues to demonstrate that time-limited therapy can be as effective for many issues as the more established lengthy approaches. Until recently, clients who attended only a few sessions were usually labeled as dropouts or were often considered “not ready” for therapy. In reality, what was needed were better therapeutic methods. The Eye Movement Integrationtm is a better method. Moreover, EMITM often produces lasting results in just one to three sessions.

To print the full brochure, and register for one of the workshops CLICK HERE

Eye Movement IntegrationTM The significance of eye movements for therapeutic change was first introduced by Robert Dilts in 1981 during a Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner training as “Eye Movement Pattern Interruption.” EMITM is based on the idea that by suggesting clients hold the mental image of a troubling past experience in mind, while moving their eyes to various unaccustomed locations, interrupts their habitual set, accesses internal resources, and kindles more appropriate responses.

The term Eye Movement IntegrationTM (EMITM) was coined by Steve Andreas in 1987. EMITM is currently being used successfully by thousands of therapists in the U.S. and internationally.

To read what Dr. Randi Fredricks, Ph.D. writes about the relationship Between EMITM and EMDR, click or copy the following link into your internet browser:



To answer your questions directly, hypnotherapy is morally ok for Catholics, yes.

Here is an excellent article:


Here is a directory of hypnotherapists in California. Scroll down.


There are at least two certification boards that I know of.

One is the National Board of Certified Hypnotherapists.

The other is through the National Guild of Hypnotists.


I have studied hypnotherapy in the past (I have two certificates) and I don’t think it would be appropriate for the needs you have. We were taught that it could be useful for making changes in behavior like weight loss and smoking or feeling comfortable doing public speaking but not for more serious issues. It’s more to offer support in making changes rather than to delve into issues.


Thanks everybody! Sorry for taking so long to reply. Got swamped with schoolwork. End of semester and all that.

Anyways, what I’m hearing from you guys is that it’s not necessarily immoral or forbidden, but that it might not be helpful for what I need? Is that right?

That helps. I do think I might just make an appointment with a doctor then.

One more question though:

Monte RCMS, you said that hypnosis shouldn’t be used for entertainment purposes. I’m just wondering why? I’ve been to a few hypnotist shows before, I didn’t know there was an issue. :blush: I never volunteered myself, but one of my friends did, and I admit I laughed pretty hard.

Just wondering what the problem with it is?


The Holy See in the later part of the 19th century, stated that moral theology affirms that “one may submit to hypnotic treatment only for a grave reason, if suitable precautions against its abuse are taken and if there is no superstition or scandal” (H. Davis, SJ, Manual of Moral and Pastoral Theology, p. 19). Grave reasons would include the need for hypnosis to treat psychological illness or neurosis. Necessary precautions in*clude having a reliable witness present who would ensure no wrongful abuse of the one hypnotized while their freedom is diminished. Further, the moral and ethical standards of the hypnotist must be well-established.

The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue produced in 2003 “Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian reflection on the ‘New Age.’” The context of the following paragraph, which mentions hypnosis, is that New Age includes the idea of a oneness as opposed to individuals. Hypnosis is included in a list of techniques used with the intent of transcending a person’s individuality and entering a state of oneness. This document is a “reflection,” which indicates theological opinion. However, while the method and intention of the New Age use of hypnosis might be different than that of hypnosis used for amusement, the Pon*tifical Councils’ caveat regarding vulnerability should not be dismissed:

The point of New Age techniques is to reproduce mystical states at will, as if it were a matter of laboratory material. Rebirth, biofeedback, sensory isolation, holotropic breathing, hypnosis, mantras, fasting, sleep deprivation and transcendental meditation are attempts to control these states and to experience them continuously. **These practices all create an atmosphere of psychic weakness (and vulnerability). . . . “We are authentic when we ‘take charge of’ ourselves, when our choice and reactions flow spontaneously from our deepest needs, when our behaviour and expressed feelings reflect our personal wholeness (**no. 4, footnotes omitted).

Based on the foregoing, I think the most reasonable perspective of the Church’s view on hypnotism is that it is not encouraged but can be tolerated if appropriate safe guards are employed and the reason for use is “grave”.


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