Personal Change Through Self-Hypnosis: Foreword

I graduated in psychology from the university of new south wales in 1970 and have worked as a counsellor to university students and staff, at an employee assistance company and in private practice since then.

I began writing this book in 1982 after discovering that self-hypnosis is at least twice as effective as hypnosis by another person (hetero-hypnosis) for reduction or cessation of smoking cigarettes.  I believe this also to be the case for other complex issues, such as eating disorders, substance abuse, and gambling.

The book was published in seven countries, including Italy and Iceland.

In the book I have tried to replace popular misconceptions of hypnosis with the concept of the acceptance of suggestions to promote positive change. You will also become aware of the significant contribution Australian practitioners and researchers have made to the study of hypnosis.

In addition to theories and known facts about hypnosis, the book contains basic hypnosis scripts and more than 70 specific scripts. The book and hypnosis recordings developed from the book are available online. Printed individual scripts are available separately, as are more than 30 hypnosis CDs.  The CDs were constructed because it became apparent that not everyone was willing to make their own recording.  My partner, Bill Peach (1935-2013) recorded five CDs before he became too ill, and I completed the project in 2014.

I have reprinted the book to accompany the CDs, the online recordings and the printed scripts. It is helpful to understand many things about hypnosis before you embark on your own project.

While the references in the book are obviously dated I find that none of the more recent findings negates or casts doubt on any of the material within.

There have been some fresh therapeutic approaches, in particular acceptance and commitment therapy and the concept of mindfulness.

However, at the 20th international congress of hypnosis in Paris in august 2015, researchers and practitioners were still attempting to understand and explain the phenomenon of hypnosis.

They were in little doubt that hypnosis had established itself as a legitimate treatment method, partly due to advances in brain imaging (the changes in brain activity during hypnosis are startling) and neuroscience.  There was a large increase in the number of papers presented by doctors and dentists using hypnosis as anesthesia for complex surgery.  However, theories presented at the congress, some involving electrodynamics, quantum physics, string theory and chaos theory and neuroplasticity, did little to shed light on the subject.

Some of the current research evaluated the use of hypnosis to treat a variety of disabling conditions – post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, cancer, allergies – and some tried to increase hypnotizability in experimental subjects by various means, to no avail. Many years ago my friend and colleague dr. Barbara newton based her Ph.D. on driving brain-waves to increase hypnotizability, also to no avail. This does not imply these experiments failed, but they do imply that hypnosic susceptibility is not amenable to manipulation.

There were very few papers on self-hypnosis, and none of them dealt with people making recordings of their own hypnosis scripts.

In my experience the expectation of success with either self-hypnosis or hetero-hypnosis ranges from close to 100% for concentration, motivation and exam nerves, slightly less for public speaking, public performance and job interviews, still high for sporting improvement, anxiety symptoms and sleeping disorders.

I presented my smoking cessation research findings at the international society of clinical and experimental hypnosis and psychosomatic medicine congress at The Hague, Netherlands in 1978. Subjects using self-hypnosis showed a 75% drop in consumption and a 50% complete cessation rate. The group undergoing hetero-hypnosis were between half and a third as successful.

Individuals differ and in my experience no amount of theorising or testing for hypnotiseability will predict what will actually work for a particular person. The worst outcome is that nothing will change. In my 48 years as a qualified psychologist and hypnosis practitioner there have been no untoward incidents.

Copies of the book, hypnosis recordings, CDs and individual scripts are available for downloading online or ordered by mail by visiting the website , or emailing.