The Art of Hypnosis: Mastering Basic Techniques (Third Edition)
The Art of Hypnotherapy: Mastering Client-Centered Techniques (Fourth Edition)
Mastering the Power of Self Hypnosis: A Practical Guide to Self-Empowerment (Second Edition)
Reviewed by Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D.
Roy Hunter is well-known in hypnotherapy circles. He is a widely-read author and sought-after speaker who diligently continues the work and teaching of the late Charles Tebbetts, considered by many to be a grand master of hypnotherapy. Hunter is also a practicing hypnotherapist who, since 1987, has taught Diversified Client-Centered Hypnosis at Tacoma Community College in Washington. His books are required reading at schools of hypnosis around the world. He was inducted into the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame in 2000 and has received honors from national and international hypnotherapy organizations. With Crown House Publishing, he has recently released new editions of The Art of Hypnosis, The Art of Hypnotherapy, and Mastering the Power of Self-Hypnosis. Together, these three volumes form a comprehensive home-study course on hypnosis for both professional hypnotherapists and lay readers.
The Art of Hypnosis (Third Ed.) begins with a scholarly history of hypnosis – one of the best I've read. It's an excellent manual on basic skills and concepts, covering tests of hypnotizability, trance induction, deepening, measures of trance depth, awakening, the formulation of suggestions, self-hypnosis, and the subconscious. Many of the scripts and examples are verbatim from Tebbetts. Hunter also draws material from other legendary figures such as Milton Erickson, Ernest Rossi, Dave Elman, and Walter Sichort.
Although I'm a hypnotherapist with over two decades of experience, I, nevertheless found several gems. Hunter, for instance, gives eight "rules of the mind" that explain the cognitive origins of unwanted behaviors and psychosomatic symptoms. The book also provides six inductions, with precise instructions. Hunter places a strong emphasis on training for professional hypnotherapists (he recommends much more than a single weekend course or a book), ethics, supervised practice, competence, understanding each client, and working cooperatively with the medical community. He teaches readers and students not only the techniques of hypnosis, but how to perform those techniques with empathy, intuition, and sensitivity to client needs. The Art of Hypnotherapy (Fourth Ed.) is a training manual on advanced methods. At the beginning of the book, Hunter wades into the controversy regarding the credentialing of hypnotherapists, taking the position that training is more important than academic degrees. Hunter defines hypnotherapy as the art of facilitating another's self-hypnosis. He explains the four objectives of the pre-induction interview: establish rapport, allay fears, build expectancy, and gather information. He aptly describes listening skills, confidentiality, and tests of suggestibility. He skillfully guides readers through the four cornerstones of successful hypnotherapy: 1) suggestion and guided imagery, 2) discovering subconscious resistance, 3) release of symptoms through regression and parts therapy, and 4) subconscious relearning. Readers learn how to assess the client's motivation, as well as how to bring about rapid behavioral change through imagery, metaphor, desensitization, past life therapy, and suggestion. The book covers specific applications such as smoking cessation, weight loss, anxiety, grief, phobias, pain management, and peak performance. Scripts provide examples of what to say and how to say it. This book addresses some finer points sometimes missing from books on hypnotherapy, such as ethical considerations and hypnotic voice.
The third book in the trilogy, Mastering the Power of Self-Hypnosis, is an instruction manual for real and lasting behavioral change, through reprogramming the subconscious mind for health and personal success. Hunter teaches readers how to enter trance and how to create change via the "gateways" of the subconscious mind. Hunter tells us that habits, both good and bad, are formed when the subconscious accepts a powerful belief. Such beliefs enter the subconscious through five gateways: repetition, authority, identity, hypnosis, and emotion. Hunter describes how to combine these gateways into a compelling package called a "motivation map" that makes change nearly inevitable. Hunter also teaches the mental tools that make self-hypnosis effective: induction, affirmations linked to key words, relaxation, mental rehearsal, visualization, and positive emotions. Hunter tells readers how to formulate and prioritize goals, and then how to use self-hypnosis to identify and release self-imposed obstacles, visualize the benefits of accomplishment, activate positive emotions, and mentally rehearse the actions needed. The applications in this book include stress management, smoking cessation, weight reduction, sales motivation, improved job performance, and sports enhancement.
The CD that accompanies the book features two hypnotic sessions with Hunter. One is a stress management session for coping with "people who push your buttons." The other is a deep relaxation training session in which the listener envisions a peaceful place of rest and tranquility... The three books are thorough and well-written in straightforward, easy-to-understand language. Case examples bring home the major points quite well. The three-volume set is an excellent starting place for beginners and a good review for experienced professionals.
Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist, writer, hypnotherapist, and NLP Trainer/Practitioner with a private practice in Springfield, Virginia. She is Executive Director for the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists. She has published The Weight, Hypnotherapy and You Weight Reduction Program practitioner's manual. Her web site is www.engagethepower.com.