Books are an important asset to hypnotherapists as I believe that hypnotherapists need to develop the profession through research, knowledge and skills but most of all by providing excellent service for clients.
therefore reading is part of continuing professional development (CPD).
But with so many books to choose from where do hypnotherapists start?
Today I will recommend the books that I have found most helpful over the years.
This blog is for new and experienced hypnotherapists who like me love learning and developing their practice.
I like books, especially books that you hold rather than ebooks.
But you can use ebooks if you prefer and there are lots of ways to access them. I found a site that has a huge range of books of 7000,000 in 950 subjects for a minimal cost called Perlego. (You can get a free trial to see if you like it).
Books help with developing knowledge and skills but they also help you become more critical and help you to provide the evidence for your practice.
Obviously, I’m biased as I think books are great but they can be expensive or disappointing if they don’t contain the information you want and are at the right level.
Some books have amazing amounts of information.
But sometimes they are written by people who although they are experts, fail to communicate in a way that meets your learning style and interest. Furthermore, some books are also a trial to read as you plod through the jargon. I get recommended books or I use book sites that allow me to look inside before buying to get past this problem.
How I learnt to love textbooks
Am I boring? Am I too geeky? I hope not, but perhaps that’s what makes me unique!
I didn’t always like reading so many textbooks. I suppose I was spurred on by the subjects related to health, wellbeing, hypnosis, psychology and research as my interests in these subjects became part of my life’s journey.
What I learnt was that textbooks are great if you use them in the right way.
Most people think that you need to read a book from cover to cover, but I often don’t. I always read the contents of textbook pages first. I might flick through the first chapter but I regularly head straight for the chapter that appeals to me most and read that first.
If I’m not sure about a chapter I read the first few paragraphs and then the last few paragraphs. If the topic is relevant and interesting I might then read the whole chapter.
Some people like background music or other noise to help them concentrate, but for me, I find too much noise distracting and prefer to be in a quieter place to read.
Many textbooks become my reference friends as I dip in and out of them when I’m searching for something.
Because I like to base my practice on research and evidence, these are the type of books that attract me most and so I buy them.
Here is my choice today, but if a new book comes out this could change.
1. Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors. Edited by D.Corydon Hammond
This book is a classic.
It’s a big hardback, red book and it’s easy to read.
It was the first book I brought after my initial hypnotherapy training many years ago.
I like this book because it is a great reference and offers stimulation for ideas and stories to use with hypnosis.
Written by Professor Hammond, past president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and professor of psychiatry and anesthesiology in the USA.
Its aimed at hypnotherapists and psychotherapists but will be of interest to many other people who are interested in hypnosis.
It provides practical guidance to a raft of medical and psychological conditions. There are lots of scripts from an Ericksonian perspective or a more classical perspective.
I like the way it is divided into sections. For example, there is a section on hypnosis for pain management, a section on formulating hypnotic suggestions and hypnosis for medical disorders such as skin disorders.
I find it gives me inspiration when I am looking for another angle to assist clients so is a great reference book. It also provides me with evidence that some unusual conditions have been helped in the past with hypnosis.
It’s not cheap at around £50 but a Kindle version is also available. My other minor criticism is that the inside is printed on horrible off white paper.
Horevitz, R. P. (1991). Hammond, D. Corydon (Ed.) (1990). Handbook of Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors. New York: Norton & Company. An American Society of Clinical Hypnosis Book, xxi, 602 pp. $65 (US). American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 33(4), 278–280. https://doi.org/10.1080/00029157.1991.10402946
2. Trancework: an introduction to the practice of hypnosis by Dr Michael D. Yapko
Dr Yapko is a clinical psychologist and hypnotherapist who has been practising for a long time. This book is now in its 5th edition.
Yapko is one of those authors and researchers that has influenced my work a lot. He has written several interesting books and I think I have all of them by now!
What I like about his books are they are practical and easy to read, yet they also help the reader to understand the clinical application of hypnosis and the supporting research.
Trancework, I think, will be of benefit to most hypnotherapists. It is practical, ethical and informative so helping the reader to develop a deeper understanding of hypnosis and clinical work.
The book discusses hypnosis myths, the mind-body interaction, assessment tools, how to develop positive suggestions for change, and practical tips for better client care. The book also includes hypnosis for children.
The current cost of this book is around £43 for a paperback and £115 for a hardback book. Earlier editions are very good and are cheaper.
Other books by Dr Yapko
These are the more recent books.
Treating depression with hypnosis
Essentials of Hypnosis
Mindfulness and Hypnosis
Process Orientated Hypnosis
Suggestions of Abuse
Using Hypnosis with Children
Find out more at Michael Yapko’s website
3. Essentials of Clinical Hypnosis. An Evidenced-Based Approach by Steven Jay Lynn and Irving Kirsch
This hardback book does what it says on the cover; it provided an evidence-based introduction to hypnosis. I have great respect for the authors as they have been working in the field of hypnosis for many years and they develop good research that helps to progress our understanding of hypnosis.
The book is divided into twelve easy to read chapters. The first chapter provides the history. Subsequent chapters move to contemporary hypnosis covering the most common areas such as stopping smoking, anxiety and pain management.
The final chapter asks questions and discusses controversies which I think is good because it helps the practitioner to start to question what they do.
It’s well-referenced and provides examples from practice.
The current price is around £29 for the hardback copy.
4. The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis. Theory, Research and Practice. Edited by Michael R. Nash and Amanda J. Barnier
This is another one of those go-to books when you want some evidence about an aspect of hypnosis. It covers the theoretical, research and clinical aspects of hypnosis.
I think this book is better suited for the more advanced hypnotherapists or those wanting to do some research. I confess that I still haven’t read every page of this large book but it is used regularly.
If you want some in-depth information on things like theories of hypnosis, hypnotisability, and treating conditions such as anxiety and depression this book will help.
What makes it stand out for me is that the authors are researchers and leaders in their field of hypnosis. This is particularly important to me as I am also studying and doing my own research.
It is also thought-provoking and makes you consider questions around the chapter subject.
As expected for such a detailed book, every chapter is referenced.
Currently, the cost of this paperback book is around £43.
5. Hypnosis for Chronic Pain Management. Therapist Guide. Mark P. Jensen.
We now know that hypnotherapists can help many people with pain management and this book supports that practice.
I like the format of the book as the text is easy to read and other is plenty of space on the page which makes the whole process of absorbing and understanding the content easier.
It is a paperback book that starts with the understanding of pain. It explains clearly the biological and psychological aspects of pain.
Hypnosis as a treatment for pain is also discussed. I like the way treatment plans are written.
I like the chapter on assessment as it is thorough and shows the questions to ask the client. The book progresses through the ways to treat chronic pain. The appendix has some useful assessment and evaluation tools.
It costs around £37.
So that’s my five books for now. I have many more books on hypnosis, psychology and counselling so I will be sharing more with you in later blogs.
For more information on study skills, supervision or help with hypnotherapy, please contact me through my website Awaken the Change.