Existential Hypnotherapy

Mark E. King and Charles M. Citrenbaum

September 3, 1993
ISBN 9780898623444
Price: $45.00
175 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"

Existential philosophy provides a useful theoretical foundation for successful hypnotherapy because it stresses the importance of the client's experience over any preconceived notions or diagnoses. By using the client's reality as the basis of clinical work, the therapist can help the client break self-destructive habits and maintain healthy patterns of behavior without relying solely on behavioral techniques. Presenting an innovative approach to psychotherapy that is firmly rooted in philosophy, Existential Hypnotherapy bridges the gap between technique and theory.

Addressing theoretical themes, the book's initial chapters discuss significant issues for psychotherapy in general, and hypnotherapy in particular, with special attention paid to the nature of diagnosis and concepts of addiction. Chapters introduce the reader to the work of various existential philosophers, including Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Sartre. Bound to stir controversy, the authors persuasively argue that hypnosis should not be considered a “state” or “altered consciousness,” and that there is no such thing as self-hypnosis. Instead, they demonstrate that all clinical hypnosis belongs to the therapist-patient dialogue.

The book then focuses on specific hypnotherapy techniques that may be linked to desired therapeutic outcomes. These strategies include ways to help patients manage anxiety, and empower them to make needed life changes; methods for illuminating the existential meaning of symptoms to help patients break bad habits; and the utilization of patients' metaphors in treatment. Also discussed is the inadequacy of measurement scales that are supposed to determine a patient's ability to be hypnotized.

Unique and thought-provoking, Existential Hypnotherapy is an important guide for any practitioner in the mental health field who uses clinical hypnosis as a tool, regardless of his or her training or orientation. Providing an accessible review of the basic principles of existential thought, it is also useful for instructors and students using philosophy to ground their psychological work.