Is hypnosis ok to engage in?


I’ve read/heard of people using it successfully to terminate bad/unhealthy habits. We were talking about this topic after watching the new movie Inception, with appears to use something like hypnosis (except in dreams).

Thanks for any and all advice/guidance.

Hypnosis, if used improperly, can pose dangers in that you are opening yourself up to the suggestions of others while you are unconscious. If the hypnotist makes suggestions that are detrimental to your spiritual life, then you could run into some problems.

For example, a hypnotist might subscribe to New Age or occult philosophies that run counter to Catholic doctrine.

One of the big pushes for the New Age and occult philosophies is leading people to think that they can be empowered on their own without the help of the Creator. Creating a “Superman” of yourself if you will.

“Will to Power” is the phrase you sometimes hear in these circles. It’s basically about creating your own successful outcomes through visualization, your “positive” mental outlook on life, and “thought control”.

As Catholics, however, we have only recourse to God for our empowerment. We are not gods ourselves, but live only through the grace of God. Anything we have, comes from God, whether it’s family, prosperity, health, etc.

Prayer, and a steady diet of good Bible reading, attending Mass and the sacraments, would give better results than hypnosis.

I’ve had good results with hypnotherapy for emotional issues, but you do need to do your homework and find a reputable practitioner. Mine happens to be a personal friend, so I feel very safe with her. :slight_smile:


Used properly (with a reputable practitioner) for specific purposes, hypnosis can be effective and beneficial. For example, when my paternal grandmother was dying of cancer, my mother went through hypnosis to suppress her own sympathetic gag reflex when holding the pan while my grandmother was vomiting (especially difficult at the end when she was vomiting fecal matter due to the specific cancer and way that it had spread) or cleaning the mess when the biliary tube blocked and spilled or needed flushing.

So I’d say that you need to consider what the goal is, whether the goal can be effectively achieved through other means, the qualifications of the practitioner–and there’s not a single answer to the question.

[quote=BenRosa]Is hypnosis ok to engage in?

I don’t remember.


I personally think, as others have mentioned, that hypnosis can be useful in certain situations to help us overcome things like Melissa mentioned (how sad about your grandmother - such a cross to bear for both her and your mother…)

But as far as the ‘shows’ you frequently see, where a hypnotist calls people on stage, etc. - I remember in college we had a hypnotist do a show for us, and thank goodness I wasn’t able to be hypnotised - it was a really funny show and mostly innocent, but I remember one bit where he made suggestions of a sexual nature (like oh, look at that sexy girl over there - you’ve never felt such pleasure or arousal!) and the poor kid had an erection up on stage and the guy just kept making suggestions to keep him going with his ‘pleasure’…:eek:

Hypnotherapy has nothing to do with stage-hypnosis.

It’s a psychological method that can be learnt by psychologists or psychotherapists. It’s helpful for an array of conditions - for example IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) responds excellently to hypnotherapy.

During that kind of hypnosis, you’re simply guided into a deep state of relaxation. You’re not “gone”, it’s not like the therapist can suggest to you to do things you do not want to do, or to leave hidden messages or whatnot. You are fully aware at all times, just as if you were meditating. If I’m doing my sessions (I have a CD course for my IBS) and for example the phone rings, I get up and answer it - my consciousness isn’t affected at all. I’m just very relaxed and have an easier time getting in touch with my body and my feelings.

Basic thing, as with everything, go to someone who has the right credentials and experience :slight_smile:

I have a very good friend that is an MD and practices hypnotherapy. He is also very Catholic and served as President of our Pastoral Council. He says it is very useful. I know him too well and we joke around a lot - so I am kind or leery about him putting in trigger for me to crow like a rooster or something goofy.

I have two aunts who underwent hypnotherapy to stop smoking. It worked for them.

I have a sister who is very easily hypnotized. When she was little, an older cousin hypnotized her. The cousin told her to eat a teaspoon of laundry detergent and she did. All of my cousins thought she was faking it. They told her to step in front of a moving car and she did. It slammed on its brakes just missing her by inches.

When she was older, she and a group of friends went to watch a hypnotist do a routine at an amusement park. As soon as the routine began she stood up and started doing what the people on the stage were doing. (She was horribly shy and never liked public attention of any kind.) The security guards detained her group as they started to leave at the end of the show. The hypnotist told her that he had only had that happen one time before. He told her that she should never allow herself to be hypnotized because she was too suggestable. He said that it would be easy for someone to mess her up psychologically.

I think if you go to a licensed counselor with the purpose of doing some type of behavior modification, that’s fine. I think anything further is wrong.

The answer varies in my opinion, I am a certified Christian hypnotist and I do as do all of the hypnotists I know have a code of ethics which is a general code that most hypnotists follow. As you read about hypnosis can be used in negative ways also so it depends on the hypnotist I have heard of very few that do any negative or immoral suggestions. I would though as someone else has already said make sure they are not a hypnotist at one of those “metaphysical/ occult” shops because you do not want to be around someone who deals with that kind of stuff. But in general hypnosis is a natural state and is not harmful. For more information either check out my hypnosis site or the website of the Fellowship of Christian Hypnotists - Btw for those of you wondering about the code of ethics I will post that also.

  1. A hypnotist has a unique bond of trust with the hypnotic subject therefore a hypnotist must always maintain a concern for their subject’s welfare, respect their personal rights and dignity, practice social responsibility, and maintain their own professional integrity.

  2. A hypnotist must always obtain consent of the subject before attempting to hypnotize them.

  3. The well being of the subject must be the prime concern of the hypnotist.

  4. A hypnotist must not attempt to treat medical disorders, unless they are a trained medical professional. Any subject with a medical problem must be urged to seek proper professional medical treatment.

  5. A hypnotist must become familiar with, and obey all laws and regulations regarding the performance of hypnosis in the jurisdictions in which they practice.

  6. Because of the unique relationship and emotional rapport between hypnotist and subject, a hypnotist specifically will not use hypnosis as an advantage to engage in business dealings or in relationships of a sexual nature with any subject.

  7. A hypnotist will always make post hypnotic suggestions of positive well being to hypnotized subjects.

  8. A hypnotist will never intentionally cause strong or frightening emotions, obscene or sexual hallucinations, or degrading suggestions without the prior non-hypnotized consent of the subject.

I understand hypnosis is a powerful and valuable technique that is not to be employed without careful and thoughtful intent, and that I must complete this course using these guidelines by agreeing to this pledge. I agree with the spirit and specifics of the above Code of Ethics. I will always place the welfare of my subjects as my utmost priority.

I’ve had hypnotherapy a couple of times - most memorably to manage anxiety associated with exams (I had tried for my drivers licence numerous times and failed). It worked brilliantly.

My therapist in every instance happened to be my own mother - she’s a doctor with an interest in hypnotherapy - so the trust was absolute. I wouldn’t recommend going to someone you couldn’t trust.

Yes, when looking for a hypnotherapist find someone who you feel comfortable with and can trust. It is a cery powerful tool to get rid of bad habits, loose weight, phobias, etc… I am glad it was helpful to you! =)

  • In Christ
    Tyler Carter C.H, CCH.

Hum. I was told that some people are difficult to use hypnotherapy on, people who have trust issues or who will try to fight…you’d have to be ok with it on more than one level. Do you know if that’s true?

A sergeant in the military told me this…after they used relaxation techniques on the platoon after pretty much wearing us out physically, and I was the only one WIDE AWAKE and pretty much mocking them, I suppose (not that I was really, they were just annoyed that I wasn’t relaxed;0)

Hello Pheonix, Yes that is absolutely true. If you were to try and hypnotize someone agains their will it simply would not work they would need to give you full permission to be hypnotized and they must want to be hypnotized. It is also true some people are just harder to hypnotize than others and they are the ones who usually are a little afraid to be hypnotized or say they want to be hypnotized but they really do not. It is also possible to just tell tehy subject that you are just going to talk to them for a little bit and then use an induction to hypnotize them without their knowledge and thats what hypnotists must do with subjects who are afraid to be hypnotized and they realize after that there is nothing to be scared of. In fact my hypnosis mentor was telling me about a subject who paid to stop smoking and he came to Bill’s office and said “I want to stop smoking but i don’t want to be hypnotized” so Bill just said ok I will just talk to you for a minute then and he went right into the induction :slight_smile:

+In Christ
Tyler Carter C.H, CCH.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit