This blog will be of interest to student and trained hypnotherapists or anyone with an interest in hypnosis.
Which hypnosis/hypnotherapy books are best?
I often get asked by my hypnosis students to recommend books. Well people who know me will know that I read many hypnotherapy and counselling textbooks, but which ones would I recommend the most? In this blog, I will help you to decide on hypnotherapy textbooks that you might like to read. However, I do change my recommended book list when new books are written, or I discover a gem. Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to like the same books that I like.
I would like to start with some basics. Reading a textbook doesn’t need to be a chore. In fact, it can be very enjoyable. Think about your purpose for reading. Is it for general interest or is it to find out specific information? Is it because you have been recommended to read it, or is it part of a course reading list?
If you think that you hate reading, you need to ask yourself if this is becoming a barrier to your progress. Maybe you had a hard time at school and found reading difficult. If it’s a problem seek some help by talking to a friend, hypnotherapist or counsellor.
I have found over the years that some books that have been recommended are either not easy to read or don’t provide me with the specific information that I need. On the other hand, sometimes if I buy a book for interest the book could be much better than expected. So, the first step is to understand these things to make your reading more enjoyable.
How do you assess a good hypnosis textbook?
Anyone can write a book if they want to and they have the motivation to do so. Occasionally authors use ghostwriters (that is others who write their books). With the era of on-demand publishing, it’s easier to get a book published. But generally, a good textbook provides information that is valuable on a certain topic. Books are aimed at specific audiences. Hypnosis books are usually written for adults and may have some content related to children.
You want it to provide the correct information. When I read, I want the author to be knowledgeable and experienced. I want them to provide supporting evidence in the book because if I decide to follow their techniques in practice, I want to know that they are safe and provide good outcomes for clients. I ask myself a few questions to get things in perspective. Is the author credible? They may be a well- known person or they may be a rising star. Are they qualified in the profession? Do they work internationally or not? How many years of experience do they have? Remember when thinking about practical hypnosis, some authors may not be so familiar with the same professional membership organisations, standards or licensing as other hypnotherapists in other countries.
You need to consider who, when and where the book was written. The easiest way to do this is to look at these other aspects before looking at the content of the book. I start by asking myself who the book is written for. Is it written for a beginner or a more experienced audience? Is the language easy to read? And for some people is it written in a language that they can understand? Does the person use lots of jargon that hasn’t been explained? When was the book written? Some books are classical so are old yet still get used. Other books are much more up to date. Ideally, aim for most books to be the most recent editions. I consider where the book was written because some publishers are abroad and so may use different terminology or spelling. Some publishers may also specialise in a certain aspect of the topic such as transpersonal hypnosis or NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming). Some authors incorporate hypnosis into tasks that the public will find helpful such as sports hypnosis.
You need to consider the format. Is it the book written in the best style for you? The format and the visuals might make a book better for you. I hate small font sizes and I like white space so that sections are easy to identify, and headings are clear. I also like pictures, graphs and other relevant images to break up the text. I always like an index and a subject and or author section at the back for ease of finding things in a hurry. You will also need to consider if they have provided references or some evidence? I want references to check the information from other research studies as I like my practice to be research and evidenced-based.
You need to consider the book’s value. Is it value for money? Can you afford it? Should you borrow a book rather than buying it? Could you buy a second-hand book? If possible, I like to try before I buy. Therefore, I like online bookstores that allow you to read a section of a chapter. Colleagues who are prepared to allow you to look through their book before purchasing one for yourself are also helpful. I have collected a lot of books. A few were not very helpful to me when I was a beginner, but they are now that I am much more experienced.
I have struggled to suggest the three best hypnotherapy books as there are several that I would recommend, however, here is my current choice of the three best hypnotherapy textbooks for learning hypnosis.
- Essentials of Clinical Hypnosis. An Evidenced Based Approach by Steven Jay Lynn and Irving Kirsch
- An introduction to the Practice of Clinical Hypnosis by Michael D. Yapko.
- Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors edited by D. Corydon Hammond.
You should not rush out and buy these books without checking that they are right for you.
I hope you enjoy reading about hypnosis as much as I do.