Hypnotherapy addresses itself to the 90% of our mind which we call the "subconscious". This is where lies all our autonomous reflexes and behaviours, habits and ingrained attitudes. Hypnotherapy, essentially, tries to re-condition or "reprogramme" the subconscious so that problem conditions, habits or feelings can be unwound or changed. This is not always an easy task and you may well ask whether there is a better way of using the trance state to bring about a therapeutic result.
The truth is that hypnotherapy is always dealing with the "ego" - that sense of "you" which feels it has a problem that needs treatment. Hypnotherapy is almost obsessed by the ego and in many cases it actually tries to reinforce that sense of being you. But what if too much ego is at the heart of most people's problems? Could it be that most of us are too wrapped up in our own subjective feelings and this is what makes us get our problems out of perspective leading to anxiety and depression?
The ability to "get out of your head" and experience yourself as part of a greater whole without being weighed down by your own ego all the time can be a much surer way to achieve effective therapy. This way of being has been long understood in Buddhism and there is now a growing movement called "zen therapy" which uses techniques including mindfulness to help people forget their ego.
The development of a "transpersonal" approach, in which the client relates their problems to the wider reality and draw on psycho-spiritual symbols and metaphor to help them, created some interest in the idea of ego-less hypnotherapy. But, today, so many people recoil at the first mention of anything vaguely spiritual and think there must be something weird going on. This is a great shame because any practitioner of meditation or mindfulness knows that religion need not come anywhere near it and you are simply using your own mind to its maximum extent.
Most people who come to hypnotherapy are understandably distressed by their own suffering and their problem can often dominate their whole lives. In transpersonal hypnotherapy, however, it is possible to de-activate the problem by seeing it in the context of the whole universe. Drop your ego for a moment and notice how your problem goes away. Meditators have long known the benefits of escaping the ego but a hypnotic trance is a similar, though not identical, way of achieving an altered state of consciousness in which you experience yourself differently.
These days it is obvious that the standard routes of mental therapy like CBT and counselling have an important role but often don't complete the change the client seeks. Hypnotherapy has the ability to be a far more visceral and colourful experience and in its transpersonal form it can be life changing.