Self-Help Hypnosis- 7 Challenges and how to Overcome them

By Susanna Sweeney, MSC, MBACP, CHT

Self-help hypnosis is a great tool that you can use by yourself to overcome your internal blocks, to change your belief systems, your emotions, your habits and your mindset. Self-help hypnosis can help you achieve your goals.

self help hypnosisOnce you overcome the challenges around self help hypnosis you can harness it to achieve any goal you want.

Like any other form of therapy, self hypnosis, too, has some limitations as to what it can do and what it cannot- which I will alert you to in this article. There are also some challenges that you can overcome easily with the tips given on this page.


1. Beware of Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is the first and foremost challenge to overcome for most folks.

What do I mean by magical thinking?

Somehow, in public consciousness, there is an expectation that hypnosis is a form of magic which can resolve any and all issues really quickly, without involving much work.

Here is the reality. While self-help hypnosis is a powerful tool that make reaching your goal a whole lot easier, it cannot replace the necessary effort and hard work.


But harnessing your mind is only one aspect of the complete picture.

If you want to succeed with self-help hypnosis, you will need to adopt a mindset where you are clear that as well as mind work, you also need a plan and you need to take action steps.

The mind work alone will not be enough to get the job done.

Just like athletes don’t become record breaking athletes by visualizing alone, just like athletes have to combine visualization with hard training and a lot of effort, so will you.


2. Practice is King

Some people expect self-help hypnosis to work immediately, else they will give up and decide that self hypnosis doesn’t work.

But this won’t be you because reading these articles you already understand the reality that self-help hypnosis is a skill and that developing this skill may take some time and patience along with regular practice.

I suggest to have an introductory period of practice runs before you start working with your personal goals. The reason for that is that many people put very high expectation on themselves if they start working on their goals immediately. They expect self help hypnosis to deliver immediate results.

But self hypnosis is a skill like any other, like playing the piano for example. It requires learning and practice. Be patient with the process. Everybody is different. Self help hypnosis skills come more easily to some people than to others. Consider practicing starting with self-hypnosis relaxation techniques.


3. The Challenges of Setting your Goals

The challenges with self hypnosis start before you ever proceed to working with self hypnosis techniques.

First of all, you need to get your goals just right, so that you have the right foundation.

See my article here on self hypnosis for goal setting so you can avoid the seven most common mistakes with goal setting.


4. Self-Help Hypnosis- the Paradox of Working as Both Hypnotist and Client

The set up in self-help hypnosis is that you have to act as both hypnotist and client. In other words, you must completely let go (as the client) while also being in charge of the session (hypnotist). Of course, this is very difficult to do. Most self hypnosis techniques you will find in books or online completely disregard this paradox.

Instead what you will find typically are complex techniques that require you to remember a lot of procedures and text by heart, which you are supposed to master while also relaxing. In my opinion, this is a very unrealistic expectation.

The reality is that with complex techniques it is very easy to become distracted and disoriented, and to lose focus- which in turn is bound to lead to frustration. Many people give up at that stage because they find it too hard to manage both channels at once.


5. What to do if you Make Little Progress

While self-help hypnosis is a great self help tool, there may be times when you are better off enrolling the help of a professional hypnotherapist, for example:

  • If you are having trouble learning the techniques required
  • If you become stuck with self help hypnosis and make little progress

A professional hypnotherapist can teach you the techniques in a one-on-one or group setting and give you individual attention for the pieces you get stuck with, so that you can master them.


self-help hypnosisOnce you overcome the seven challenges around self help hypnosis, you have an immensely powerful personal growth tool at your hands.

6. Underlying Programming

Making little progress may be due to old underlying programming.

On this page “Does self hypnosis work?” I explain how underlying programming operates and can ‘run the show’.

Developing awareness of what your underlying programs are can help you overcome getting stuck. It's so easy to mistake underlying programs and the emotions attached for reality. When you mistake them for reality, you will inevitably accept a limited world where you

  • cannot do such and such
  • are not able to grow
  • don't deserve, for example love or money.

With awareness you can learn to see these programs for what they are- old programs which do not reflect present-day reality. With this distinction made between reality and false belief you can then accept the truth that you are unlimited and can achieve anything you want.

Having said that, of course, it is easier said than done for most people.

Everybody is different, and the charge behind everybody’s underlying programs is different. My rule of thumb is that the bigger the charge, the more likely you are to be better off enlisting the help of a professional such as a psychotherapist or professional hypnotist to help you overcome your old conditioning.

If, for example, you have experience of severe or chronic trauma in childhood, the underlying programs may be very charged, stubborn and hard to remove by yourself. The holding and accompaniment of a professional over a period of time can make all the difference here.

Working with a professional hypnotherapist for a while can bring you to a level where you can then continue working on your own using self help hypnosis.


self help hypnosis challenges

7. Life Regression Hypnosis

Life regression hypnosis is a particular type of hypnosis work that brings you back into the past to the very source of an issue that is blocking your way forward in the here and now.

The goal of life regression hypnosis is to remove the program at the very core of the issue in question so that you can be free from it. Being free from this program, you are then able to move on with your life in the way you desire.

Life regression hypnosis can bring back memories from childhood. I find that early childhood memories in particular, such as from before the age of three, can be at the core of issues such as anxiety, phobias, depression and related issues.

Using life regression work, some people also regress to what is commonly called ‘past life experiences’. (I have written an article on past life hypnosis which you may be interested in.) To cut a long story short, as a therapist, I trust in my client’s subconscious to bring fourth what is necessary for the client to experience so that he or she may grow.

For this pragmatic reason, this is how I view past life experiences: These are experiences outside your biographical timeline that represent a fitting metaphor for issues in your own life- an issue that you have a strong emotional connection to and find very meaningful for your own process.

The reason I am bringing up past life experiences is to make this point:

While some hypnotists do not exclude life regression work from self-help hypnosis, I personally feel that this work would be much better off being held by a professional hypnotherapist. Life regression hypnosis involves very deep work, and there are too many ways you could become stuck in old programming if working by yourself, potentially re-traumatizing yourself.

If you feel that regression hypnosis is what you need or want, my recommendation is to find a good professional to work with rather than attempt to do this by yourself using self-help hypnosis.


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I hope you have found this article on the challenges of self help hypnosis useful for sharpening up your knowledge and skills. I am hoping you will give self-help hypnosis a go. Let our community know- using the comments underneath- how you got on.

Regards,






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