By: Matthew Brownstein

We are all looking to improve something in our lives. Many of us have found traditional hypnosis to be a way of relaxing, reducing stress and even transforming some of life’s most challenging issues. However, there is a place where basic hypnosis ends and where Interpersonal Hypnotherapy begins. This place can simply be understood as beginning within our relationships.
Hypnosis by itself is simply a natural, yet altered state of mind where we have communication and  responsiveness with the subconscious mind. This definition alone does not imply that any true transformative work has occurred. Through self-hypnosis or through one person hypnotizing another (hetero-hypnosis) this altered state can be quite pleasant, yet when we begin to deliver suggestions or offer new visual images from which the subconscious can function then we only start to touch upon transforming the content of the subconscious mind.
The moment we begin to use transformative modalities that go beyond mere suggestion and visualization then we could say that we have entered into the realm of Hypnotherapy. Here we find a myriad of techniques that make change on deeper levels. These changes tend to get to the real root of one’s issues and the shifts tend to be relatively permanent. However, even with the most advanced Hypnotherapy processes, if the modalities do not look at our connections to others then they miss a very important point, for within the subconscious memories there always exists a relationship in one form or another.
When a person is dealing with a present day issue it is important to know that this is only the result of past thinking and that this past thinking could still be going on today. Therefore, an Interpersonal Hypnotherapist, like a regular Hypnotherapist, looks to the Initial Sensitizing Event that started this pattern of thinking, yet unlike a regular Hypnotherapist, the Interpersonal Hypnotherapist is trained to focus on the key relationships that are associated with the underlying thought pattern. It is in transforming the relationship within the subconscious mind that profound shifts can take place on all levels of our lives.
We understand that past events cause beliefs (thoughts) and that these thoughts cause emotions and present day symptoms. However, when we understand that no one exists in isolation then we must look to the who of the memory and not the why. The real question in Interpersonal Hypnotherapy is “Who are you having an internal dialogue with that needs resolution concerning a past event?” Once this person or persons are brought into conscious awareness then the relationship can be forgiven, the memory is desensitized, the beliefs are cleared, the emotions released and the present day issue can transform itself.
This is only a glimpse of the difference between hypnosis and Interpersonal Hypnotherapy, yet it shows the importance of relationships in this transformative model. For more information visit or join us for our Conscious Community Classes on Monday nights at