What is Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy)?

By Pearl Werfel, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist in San Francisco, CA, Certified in Clinical Hypnosis

Hypnosis is a safe, well-researched and widely utilized intervention for physiological and psychological symptom management as well as behavioral change. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) defines clinical, or medical hypnosis as an altered state of awareness used by licensed therapists to treat psychological or physical problems. Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. At the beginning of each hypnosis session there is an opportunity to slow the over-active mind and breathe more deeply. In this safe and comfortable state, it becomes possible to create significant changes.

I have successfully utilized hypnosis with my clients for many years. Hypnosis is intended to help you gain more control over undesired behaviors or emotions or to help you cope better with a wide range of medical conditions. It can be incorporated into brief- behavioral psychotherapy focused on a specific issue. And, many clients find that including hypnosis as part of their longer-term psychotherapy to be very beneficial. I often teach my clients how to use self-hypnosis so that they can have tools to use in between sessions, as boosters and after therapy ends. I also make recordings for my clients to utilize at home.

Recent research indicates that hypnosis, when conducted by a trained psychotherapist or physician, can be very effective with:

• Anxiety and Stress
• Sleep Problems
• Depression
• Fear and Panic
• Gastrointestinal Problems
• Surgery Preparation
• Smoking Cessation
• Acute and Chronic Pain
• Childbirth
• Performance and test anxiety
• Addictive behavior
• Medical symptom management

Pearl Werfel, Licensed Psychologist, Hypnosis Therapy San FranciscoAbout this Contributor: Dr. Pearl Werfel is a psychologist in private practice in San Francisco. She was certified in Clinical Hypnosis in 2001. Dr. Werfel specializes in chronic illness and wellness, pain and stress mitigation and self-care for professional caregivers.

In addition to her private practice, Dr. Werfel is Adjunct Faculty at California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant and has presented at conferences, universities, community groups and businesses on wellness and stress reduction, pain management and chronic illness. She is the lead author of Multiple Sclerosis: Advances in Psychotherapy, Evidenced –based Practice and has been inducted into the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) Hall of Fame for Health Professionals. Dr. Werfel is the Chair of the California Psychological Association CARE Committee and a Past-President of San Francisco Psychological Association. She is also a member of the Clinical Advisory Committee- NMSS, Northern California and the Bay Area Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team.

For more information about her work, please visit: pwerfelphd.com.