Suggestion Hypnosis- A Powerful Update for Your Brain

By Susanna Sweeney, MSc, MBACP, CHT

Most articles on suggestion hypnosis are written for hypnotists to help them sharpen up on their techniques and add extras to their toolkit.

What I want to do in this article, is this: I want to give you, the prospective hypnosis client, an understanding of what suggestion hypnosis is, what the ideas behind it are, what to expect and how you can get the very best out of it because I believe that education can really help you to get the best from your hypnosis treatment.

So, let's get started!

suggestion hypnosisSuggestion hypnosis can help you to reach your goals and change your life.

What is Suggestion Hypnosis?

Suggestion is one of two basic ways of working in hypnosis therapy- the counterpart being regression hypnosis.

Depending on what issue you are attending hypnotherapy for, the two can be used separately on in conjunction to help you achieve your goal.

However, suggestion hypnosis on its own can help you to get a lot of work done:

  • Your hypnotherapist will use suggestion hypnosis when educating the subconscious mind to accept new ways of thinking, new positive emotions, and new, more desirable behaviors
  • Stop smoking hypnosis exclusively uses suggestion
  • Suggestion will be the largest part of weight loss hypnosis treatment
  • Therefore, it is safe to say that suggestion will form at least some part of every hypnosis treatment

Regression hypnosis, in contrast:

Regression hypnosis, in short, facilitates you to visit experiences in the past- often the distant past such as early childhood that set off the problematic issue you are attending hypnosis therapy for and helps you to.

  • Dismantle deep seated subconscious patterns
  • Get rid of stubborn issues that just won’t shift any other way
  • Shift deep seated emotional issues such as fears and phobias, low self esteem or confidence, depression or anxiety

Is Suggestion Hypnosis Suitable for You?

Good question.

There are certain exclusions to suggestion hypnosis:

  • If you have issues with psychosis, such as hallucinations, hypnosis is not suitable for you at this time.
  • If you have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, hypnosis is not suitable for you.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a dissociative disorder such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), you are better advised to work with an experienced psychotherapist rather than a hypnotist.
  • If you suffer from epilepsy, hypnosis is not suitable for you for health reasons.

Apart from those exclusions, suggestion hypnosis is safe, and very well contained.

The Ideas Behind Suggestion Hypnosis

The basic idea behind suggestion hypnosis is this.

In my article: "What is Hypnosis?" I talk about the brain state of hypnosis. Thanks to cutting edge technologies using different types of brain scans, we can now see that the brain- when in hypnosis- does different things to when it’s in a conscious waking state.

Increased suggestibility during hypnosis is one such example. As an adult, when in a conscious waking state, your mind has very strong inbuilt censors in operation that stop change. That’s why quitting smoking or losing weight, or any other change, for that matter, can become so difficult.

For the purposes of suggestion hypnosis, hypnotherapists use this increased suggestibility during hypnosis to feed your subconscious mind suggestions which are designed to help you change the issue you want to change.

Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

suggestion hypnosisSuggestion hypnosis explained in brief.

What is the function of the censors in your mind?

Good question.

Our minds are constructed in such a way that every culture, every parent, can condition their children according to the needs of their particular environment. It is for this purpose that young children’s minds are wide open to suggestion.
Why would this be so? This mechanism makes sense to me in evolutionary terms.

Think about it.

Eskimo parents living in year round freezing conditions will have to instill very different behaviors in their children compared to parents living in sub-Saharan Africa. In order to survive, their kids require a very different set of skills.

Because children are so easily suggestible, everything the caregivers say will impress itself deeply on their minds. Fear responses in particular are deemed essential to survival, so our minds make sure we take those messages in at a young age and never forget what we should be afraid of, in order to survive.

How do our minds make sure we never forget?


After the age of seven, the gates to the subconscious start to close. We can see this in children when, as they are growing up, they stop believing in magical creatures such as fairies and dragons and suddenly become much more astute as to what is imagination and what is reality. To use hypnosis language, they become much less suggestible.

Now, their conscious minds start to take center stage, and the programs that have been established in the subconscious mind run quietly in the background, determining their behavior. They will quickly become unaware these programs exist, and will be unaware of the power they have over them.

The programming will now be locked behind censors that make sure that the programming remains unchanged.

What do these censors look like?

  • Some cognitive biases are part of the system, for example the 'recency bias': We will take the news report we hear first as the ultimate truth and reject any subsequent reports we hear that may have a different take on the issue.
  • We will accept only what agrees with our already existing belief system. Everything else is screened out and rejected.
  • We become judgemental- about people who live their lives differently to us, about ways of thinking that differ from ours.

All of this serves the purpose of:

  • Locking existing programming into the subconscious mind
  • Constantly reinforcing the existing programming

In this way, we become our own worst task masters, and limit our personal development.

So, how DOES one change in adult life?

How can you achieve changes in your mind as an adult?

Good question.

To change the programming laid down in childhood in a fast an effective way you are well advised to work in a non-ordinary state of consciousness such as hypnosis.Hypnosis works well because it allows you to target the subconscious mind directly.

Otherwise, working in your conscious mind and using willpower, you could be struggling for years to achieve the change that you want. And that’s not because you are doing anything wrong. It’s simply  a peculiar thing about how our brains work.

suggestion hypnosisSuggestion hypnosis is learning- while in a very receptive brain state.

Suggestion Techniques Your Hypnotist Uses to Achieve Changes in Your Brain

Let's look at what this looks like in practice. What techniques can you use to re-educate your subconscious mind?


Reframing  is a technique that helps you to evaluate a situation you feel stuck in from a birds eye perspective while in hypnosis trance.

When your hypnotist uses reframing, the hope is that you will be able to start seeing new possibilities, or ways around the issue. You may suddenly find yourself seeing possibilities where, previously, it seemed like there were none.

Metaphors and Storytelling

Your hypnotist will use metaphors and storytelling frequently during suggestion hypnosis because they are an ideal teaching tool for your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind thinks in images rather than the logical sequences used by the conscious mind.

Metaphors and stories can help your subconscious mind to evaluate a situation or behavior from a different point of view. Metaphors and stories can help convince the subconscious mind to adopt new, desired attitudes, emotions and behaviors.


Using revivification, your hypnotherapist will help you to recognize resources you have used in the past to deal with a similar issue. Your hypnotherapist will guide you to see how these resources can be used to solve the current problem.


Reintegration allows two conflicting parts or voices within you to talk to one another. The idea is that if one part of you wants change and another does not, the part that is resisting can be ‘talked around’ to see that the planned change is desirable for all of you.

For example, if you want to stop smoking, but there is a small voice within you that is afraid you might gain weight, your hypnotherapist might set up a scenario where the two voices can communicate so that the resisting part can understand that continuing to smoke puts your life at risk the longer you continue, and that it is possible for you to stop smoking without gaining weight.

Suggestions in the moment

Hypnotherapists use suggestions within sessions for a variety of purposes:

  • Suggestions can be used to bring you into a relaxed state
  • Suggestions can be used to disable the censors of the conscious mind
  • Suggestions are used to help you see new possibilities
  • Suggestions are used to suggest new behaviors

Posthypnotic suggestions

Your hypnotherapist will use posthypnotic suggestions to suggest to your subconscious mind desirable emotional states and new healthy behaviors which are designed to help you overcome your problem issue.

These posthypnotic suggestions can be anchored to certain triggers.

For example, if you are attending hypnotherapy to stop smoking, your hypnotherapist may suggest to your subconscious mind that after the session, every time you see someone smoking, you will feel a deep feeling of disgust.

This, of course, is designed to keep you away from cigarettes first of all during the critical quitting period, and furthermore for life after that.

What does it feel like when you carry out a posthypnotic suggestion?

Good question.

  • You may not notice yourself carrying out the new behavior at all
  • You may observe yourself while doing it and may be surprised
  • You may find yourself thinking about what the hypnotherapist said and agree it is a good idea, and may then engage with the new behavior

Does suggestion hypnosis really work?

If you are not sure if hypnotherapy works at all, you may be interested in my take on the question: "Does Hypnotherapy Work?" Some of my ideas may surprise you.

If your question of whether or not suggestion hypnosis works is informed by you believing that you cannot really be hypnotized (as an incredible number of people do), you may also have internalized other hypnosis myths which I recommend you bust before embarking on hypnosis therapy- simply so that you can get the best out of it.

But if you are open to an honest, simple answer, informed by my experience of working as a hypnotherapist as well as being a hypnosis client, then simply read on.

My answer is, first of all: yes, suggestion hypnosis works.


  • Some people simply don't like or don't enjoy working with hypnosis.
  • For some people, suggestion hypnosis can take longer to work than for others.
  • For different people change will happen at different rates. for some people it happens very fast, for others change is incremental over time.

Some factors that will make a difference are:

  • How ready you are for the change you want to make- if there is a lot of conflict inside you, the nurturing suggestions may not fall on fertile soil.
  • How deep you can go into hypnosis- the more susceptible you are to hypnosis, the better the results are said to be.
  • However, you can make up for susceptibility with repetition- the more suggestions are repeated, the better the outcome will be. This is why you should make sure to ask your hypnotherapist for a recording of the session or a hypnosis CD you can use at home to strengthen those new neural pathways.
  • How much you can trust the situation and hand your mind over to the hypnotherapist. 

You can help yourself here by doing your research to find:

Let me conclude this article by helping you prepare for suggestion hypnosis in the following section.

suggestion hypnosisHow to get the very best out of suggestion hypnosis.

How You can Get the Very Best out of Suggestion Hypnosis

  1. Educate yourself before you attend hypnosis. Bust hypnosis myths, and be clear on what to expect from hypnosis trance.

  2. Realize that the hypnotherapist is no more than a guide on your journey. In reality, it is you who is doing the work here. Expect to take responsibility for your part, see the next few points on what you can do exactly.

  3. Do your research and find the best hypnotherapist for you. The articles I pointed you to further above in this article can help to get you started with compiling a list of topics to cover in your phone conversation with prospective hypnotherapists.

  4. During your hypnotherapy sessions, help yourself bypass the censors of the conscious mind by telling them to take a break for the duration of the session. This means stopping yourself from judging everything the hypnotherapist says and does. Let it be, relax and embrace the opportunity for change. Listen with interest to what the hypnotherapist is saying. If you resist the messaging, you limit what you can get from the session.

  5. Make yourself really want the change that you are attending hypnotherapy for. Make all of you agree with the idea that you are inviting this change into your life. Embrace the suggestions given and nurture positive feelings towards them. See hypnotherapy as your portal to an improved life.

  6. Ask your hypnotherapist for a maintenance session or a recording of your session because suggestion work thrives on repetition. Play this session daily. Repeat the messages to your brain daily, in a relaxed state, and you will start seeing change.

I hope at the end of this article you have a better idea of what suggestion hypnosis is all about and what you can do to get maximum benefit from it.

Are you going to give suggestion hypnosis a go? Let me know in the comments underneath.


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Other Articles on Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Basics

  • Subconscious Mind Programming:  Subconscious mind programming is limiting many people and preventing them from living their dream. Find out if this applies to you and what you must do to turn things around...
  • The Secret Language of HypnotherapyLearn the secret language of hypnotherapy geared towards the requirements of your subconscious mind so that you can reach your goals more easily.
  • How Does Hypnotherapy Work? This article is a great starting point to understanding what to expect from hypnotherapy treatment, including what you can do to get the most from your treatment.
  • 16 Hypnosis Myths ExplodedHypnosis has been shrouded in mystery. You, too, have likely picked up a few hypnosis myths which still dominate public consciousness. Learn the truth about hypnosis here...
  • Life Regression HypnosisThis article fills you in on how you can get the very best from regression hypnosis and is a must read if you are thinking of embarking on hypnotherapy treatment for a complex personal issue.
  • Past Life HypnosisSome hypnotists offer specific sessions to uncover past life memories. Is this a good idea? Find out what my thinking is on how to get the best results from past life hypnosis.
  • Hypnosis or Self Hypnosis TranceHypnotic trance is referred to with much mystery. Is it really that spooky? Allow me to talk you through what the experience is like.

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Hello Venturer,

Welcome to my Online Hypnotherapy Clinic. I am Susanna Sweeney, accredited psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. I have been helping people to overcome their blocks and move forward for 25+ years.  Along the way, I have fallen in love with hypnotherapy. 

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