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This is one of several therapies practiced by Members of our Association is known as ‘hypo analysis’.  

The therapy in its original form was developed and taught by Neil French who launched his course, Successful Hypnotherapy in 1974.  Since then, the original therapy has been developed as knowledge and understandings in psychology has evolved.


At the core of hypnoanalysis is the doctrine of cause and effect. Whenever a person is experiencing a psychological problem or symptom, the theory is, there will be a cause.  And rather than trying to manage the symptom, as one might with cognitive behavioral therapy the idea of Hypnoanalysis, is that a person will track back through their life, via a process known as Free Association that utilises hypnosis, to find the originating unconscious cause of their problem.

The originating unconscious cause of the person's symptoms is usually not known by the client at the commencement of therapy, or perhaps an aspect of the cause is unknown.  Sometimes clients feel sure that they know the cause of the problem but are usually proved wrong.  As the unconscious cause of the client's symptoms begins to surface this is normally accompanied by a release of bottled-up emotion connected to the symptoms.  Once this experience has fully surfaced and all bottled up emotion released, client symptoms will disappear. This may happen immediately or over a period of weeks following the person's sessions.

The process takes several sessions, typically 8 to 16 sessions can be required, though with some clients with complex histories, it can take much longer than this.

The process does require much self-disclosure from a client, this can initially be quite uncomfortable, and so it is important that clients choose a therapist that they can relate to and feel comfortable with.  It is therefore very important that all perspective clients should meet and discuss in detail their symptoms with their perspective therapist. This will provide clients with the opportunity to decide if this therapist is someone that can work with them to resolve their problems.  Clients typically find that after five or six sessions this process of self-disclosure becomes much easier as they get to know their therapist.

All sessions are, of course, completely confidential. 

The therapy itself does not guarantee success. The outcome of any therapy that a client embarks upon will depend upon many factors. The outcomes can vary from no improvement to all, to some relief of symptoms, and of course to a complete resolution and improvement of the symptoms consulted for.  Interestingly, clients often report improvements in other aspects of their life they had not expected or consulted for, such as improved self-esteem, happiness, improvements to their relationship and improved confidence.  

Hypnoanalysis - as a Therapist

Hypnoanalysis from a therapist's perspective

As a therapist, you may or may not have heard of the terms, Hypnoanalyst or Hypnoanalysis.

If you've come from a background as a psychologist or similar than most of your interest, will be scientific in its approach, backed up with lots of evidence-based research and based on the more well-known approaches and so you are unlikely to have come across Hypnoanalysis.  

If you are someone who has a background in something along the lines of NLP or similar, then you will be very familiar with hypnotherapy and the works of people like Milton Erickson but again you may not have come across hypnoanalysis.

The Therapy is psychodynamic and its approach, in other words it reflects into people's past experiences. The originator of this method of therapy, Neil French was fairly influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, though he always said that his therapy had little to do with Freudian therapy but did borrow some of his ideas.

Neil French was first, and foremost, a hypnotherapist with an interest in psychodynamic psychotherapy.  One of the techniques that greatly interested him was free association. He began to utilise free association in conjunction with hypnosis, something that Freud had given up on (Hypnosis that is).

Via several accidental discoveries whilst practicing free association and hypnosis Neil developed an approach now known as hypnoanalysis.

At its core is the belief in cause-and-effect. If a client is experiencing a set of unpleasant symptoms, there must be a reason for it and rather than managing symptoms via hypnosis or other cognitive approaches, he set about trying to tackle people's symptoms via this method.

Using free association in conjunction with hypnosis, and several other techniques that he developed would lead a person to a moment of what he termed ‘liberating enlightenment’, a release of bottled-up emotions, leading to the discovery for the client of an unconscious anxiety that was lying at the root of their problems.

In 1974, Neil launched a training course to help train lay practitioners in his techniques. By the time he retired in the 1990s, he believed he had trained more people as hypnotherapists and hypnoanalysts than anyone else.  the association that he ran was considered to be the largest in Europe.

Since Neil’s retirement, several developments have occurred in psychology that have led to the approach Neil had given, to be developed and evolve with more up-to-date and evidence-based techniques that has helped improve what is now delivered to clients.

There are several other variants of what Neil French taught that also known as hypo analysis.  

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