Hypnosis for anxiety and depression treatment

Man lying down receiving hypnosis

Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, can be an effective way to relax and focus the mind. It can be used to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, improve your mood and help with depression.1 Hypnosis can also help people learn new skills, relax or adopt new perspectives.

Getting help to treat depression

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Types of hypnosis

With the help of a trained therapist, hypnosis is performed through guided relaxation, intense concentration and focused attention.2

The goal is for a patient to reach a heightened state of awareness, sometimes called a trance, to focus attention on specific thoughts or tasks. There are two types of hypnosis:

  • Suggestion therapy—Used to help change behaviors through suggestion
  • Patient analysis—Used to explore an event or memory to find the root of an issue

A common misconception is that under hypnosis, you are under someone else’s control. This is not true. A therapist cannot make patients do something that they do not want to do.3

Benefits of hypnosis

In a hypnotic state, patients have the opportunity to explore thoughts, feelings and memories they may have hidden from their conscious mind.4

Hypnosis may be used for pain control and to overcome habits or improve conditions, such as:

  • Phobias, fears and anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Grief and loss

Finding the right professional

When choosing hypnosis as a treatment option, consider the following factors:

  • Find a licensed or certified mental health professional trained in this technique.5
  • Does he or she have experience treating patients with your issue or condition?
  • Ask yourself, “Am I comfortable speaking with this person?”

Talk to your doctor about whether hypnosis may benefit you and for referrals to professionals near you.

This material is provided for informational use only and should not be construed as medical advice or used in place of consulting a licensed medical professional. You should consult with your doctor to determine what is right for you.


  1. “Hypnosis,” American Psychological Association, last accessed Aug. 1, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-hypnotherapy.
  2. “Mental Health and Hypnosis,” WebMD, last accessed Aug. 1, 2022, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-hypnotherapy#1.
  3. “Mental Health and Hypnosis.”
  4. “Mental Health and Hypnosis.”
  5. “Mental Health and Hypnosis.”