So there you are reading the leaflet or website list of ailments that hypnotherapy can help with and if you’re sensible a small alarm bell might well be ringing.

Typically, treatments claiming to fix everything from depression to gout and infertility have been associated with bottles of extravagantly labelled ‘medicine’ being sold from the back of a covered wagon or it’s modern equivalent.

And when you look at the list of complaints we hypnotherapists propose to treat and improve it looks alarmingly like the labels and sales material accompanying bottles of snake-oil.

And yet hypnotherapy really can help with this remarkably wide ranging list of problems. So what is going on?

Well, simply, the reason why we can help with so many different problems using trance states is because this state is a very fundamental natural state for human beings to go into and utilise. Unlike being able to walk, talk and eat though this inherent capability is not routinely developed from an early age. In fact more often than not it is actively discouraged and in some cases stigmatised.

When we daydream, for example, we enter a light trance state and it’s interesting to note that Einstein’s school report recorded “seems to spend most of his time in a daydream”.

With this in mind, when I treat people for a specific purpose I engage them in understanding that trance is a natural ability they have and that my role is to help them focus it. So we hopefully leave our clients with a new life skill they can use and apply going forward though it is interesting to note that help in focusing and directing this state for specific purpose still adds to its efficacy.

So perhaps it is less surprising against this background that hypnosis can have so many uses.

This is the reason why those long lists of treatable complaints are actually for real. There are few problems which cannot benefit from the remarkable capabilities which nature has given all of us access to through trance.

In my view we are missing out a very important, fundamental part of our children’s education in not teaching them about how the brain works and how to make use of trance. As therapists, part of what we treat is making up for this deficit in education in children and adults alike.