Holistic medicine

Self hypnosis - effects, techniques and instructions

Self hypnosis - effects, techniques and instructions

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Lead yourself into hypnosis
Self-hypnosis is hypnosis in which the hypnotized person and the hypnotized person are the same person. Forms of this auto-suggestion differ in the way the actor sets himself into a state of hypnosis and in the type of trance himself. Although hypnosis and self-hypnosis have the reputation of being magical-esoteric, they are real relaxation methods. Getting yourself into a trance is auto-suggestion, and that includes recognized autogenic training. Originally it was even called "Autogenic training for self-hypnosis".

Supplement to psychotherapy

Self-hypnosis (also called “autohypnosis”) can be a useful addition to a licensed psychotherapy. The effectiveness of a method in psychotherapy can only be assessed in relation to the diagnosed symptoms, and it must suit the patient. Different techniques are usually integrated into a good treatment plan; putting yourself in a trance may be one of them, but it is not suitable for all patients.

For example, anyone who has just quit smoking and is using autohypnosis to stop lighting a cigarette hardly takes any risks. On the other hand, anyone who is in psychotherapy because of the risk of suicide is poorly advised to seek out control through other trance states. For such severe cases, hypnotherapy with specially trained doctors would be the order of the day.

Applications of self hypnosis

Putting yourself in a trance is especially common

  • to stop smoking,
  • to relieve fears like phobias
  • to switch off pain
  • to lose weight,
  • to fall asleep better
  • to develop a better self-esteem
  • to relax,
  • to manage stress

How does self hypnosis work?

1.) Make sure that you remain undisturbed for at least 15 minutes. Turn the smartphone down, tell your partner and / or children that you want to be left alone, or even better find a quiet place - a garden shed, a place in nature, an attic, etc.

2.) Make yourself comfortable. Make sure you don't sweat or freeze too much. Go to the toilet again.

3) Close your eyes. First you will think of all sorts of everyday problems. Now imagine an open box. You virtually pack all your fears and problems into them, close the box and bury it.

4) Now you are free for self hypnosis. Breathe in and out evenly so that the abdominal wall rises. You do not need special breathing techniques for this.

5) They focus on their breathing. Imagine relaxing every time you inhale. You can also imagine scenes or pictures that have a relaxing effect. You yourself know best what these are: the recurring waves on the sea shore, a forest lake, or the view from the Brocken. It's all about the fact that these pictures give them pleasant feelings.

6) Complete these pictures with suggestions. For example, say "I'll let myself go, I'll be free".

7) Now imagine how you release the tension and it disappears from your body with each exhalation.

8) If you can relax, this is already an autohypnosis.

Through the tunnel

Core elements of such trance states are similar in all cultures that ritually induce them. This is probably because the human psyche works similarly worldwide. To make your self-hypnosis more intense, you can go beyond the first exercises.

1) Imagine you are at the entrance to a cave that leads to a door. It can be a staircase, a passage in a mine, a tunnel in a cave - grab a picture that goes through your head.

2) Go down this hallway and imagine that the deeper you go, the deeper you fall into your "waking sleep". Continue to breathe deeply in and out.

3) Open the door. Imagine a room behind it that has everything you love. Here is your resting point. Breathe in and out of the air in this room and imagine that there is absolute peace.

4) Feel happy now. Then imagine a picture for this happiness. Bathe yourself in light and imagine how it runs through your whole body.

5) Imagine that you are sinking into a peaceful sleep in this place that nobody can disturb. "Fall asleep", enjoy your dream. But you don't really sleep, you let yourself fall even more. If you haven't let yourself be disturbed up to now, picture worlds that you otherwise know from your night dreams appear, place and time dissolve. You can travel to places you love, travel back in time, talk to the dead or mythical creatures. Your subconscious is now active.

6) When you come back, you find that your body feels relaxed and remains dreamy - the longer the more you do these exercises, the longer.

End of hypnosis

In self-hypnosis, you take on the role of the hypnotist yourself. So end this yourself.

1) You say "I am saying goodbye to this wonderful place, which I will visit again soon, today." For example, you can count to 3 and say "At 3 I am awake again".

2) Wait about 3 minutes before getting up or moving after opening your eyes.

What shouldn't you do?

Don't expect magic and don't wonder if you feel "hypnotized". As with the transition from waking to sleep, you may not notice it. Also, don't try to control the process. With a lot of experience in trance states, this is possible to a limited extent, but in the beginning it tends not to get into the state at all.

Do not try to put yourself in a trance if you are alcoholic, drugged, or have acute psychotic episodes. Never use autohypnosis to process traumatic experiences “on your own”. For this you need a therapist.

Under no circumstances should you hypnotize yourself if you suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar or borderline disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mood disorders. All of these diseases are associated with a lack of control over suggestions. Self-hypnosis can even aggravate the symptoms.

Which technique is appropriate?

Some people playfully immerse themselves in self-hypnosis, others have great problems in letting themselves go. People who generally develop their associations, for example as an artist, find it easier to get into a trance state than others who build their lives according to fixed rules.

It always depends on the individual and what the auto suggestion should achieve. Self-hypnosis is an umbrella term for different techniques and different questions. For example, techniques that lead to relaxation in a person cannot do anything to the same person if they want to quit smoking.

Is autohypnosis as effective as hypnosis?

No. Psychotherapists who work with hypnosis techniques estimate that the same results with self-hypnosis take up to ten times as much time as with external hypnosis and cannot be applied in many areas.

Autohypnosis only leads to a light to medium trance, since those affected have to end it themselves. While a second person can prevent the hypnotized from falling asleep, the individual is only able to do so after intensive training. Deep trance states mean profanely in self-hypnosis: people fall asleep. In the external hypnosis, however, he can continue to take in suggestions at this point, since he does not have to control his condition.

A combination of both variants would be ideal. An experienced therapist can combine the topics of self-hypnosis with those of external hypnosis and nest them into one another.

What are the advantages of self hypnosis?

It's easy to learn to put yourself in a trance. If you take part in a hypnosis course, one session is usually sufficient.

The auto-suggestion is harmless - unless you are suicidal or suffer from mental disorders that are triggered by images in your unconscious and should therefore not confront your unconscious alone.

Self-hypnosis takes little time, does not need isolation from the outside world and can be integrated into every day work. It costs nothing if you know the techniques.

The state of trance has a direct effect on the autonomic nervous system. You also relax physically: blood pressure drops and the muscles relax.

The positive feelings mean that self-hypnosis gives them pleasure.


In an autohypnosis you are extremely receptive to suggestions. Therefore, you should think about which pictures you allow in advance - while awake, think about what it means when a certain suggestion takes shape and becomes real for it. Then shape them so that their ideas feel good.

Before you start hypnosis, say aloud: "I only allow suggestions that are good for me." (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dr. phil. Utz Anhalt, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Brian M. Alman, Peter T. Lambrou: Self Hypnosis - A Manual for Self Therapy, Carl-Auer Verlag GmbH, 12th edition, 2015
  • Wolfgang Blohm: Self Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy, mvgVerlag, 2006
  • Dirk Revenstorf, Burkhard Peter: Hypnosis in Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Medicine, Springer Verlag, 3rd edition, 2015

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