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Can you get hypnotherapy on the NHS?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding hypnotherapy is “Is hypnotherapy available on the NHS?”.

The short answer is yes, clinical hypnotherapy* is available on the NHS.
In early April 2015 the General Medical Council announced that hypnotherapists who meet set accreditation requirements can now provide hypnotherapy services and treatments via the NHS.

This is great news to people who may benefit from hypnotherapy but perhaps cannot afford to pay privately for sessions.

How can I get access to hypnotherapy via the NHS?

Here are some considerations that may affect your access to hypnotherapy as a treatment via the NHS –

  • Evidence based treatments

The first thing we would suggest investigating is whether hypnotherapy is an appropriate treatment for the issue you are looking to resolve. It is true that hypnotherapy can help with a wide spectrum of problems and many hypnotherapists will advertise their services as an almost holistic therapy. However, it is wise to be aware that whilst hypnotherapy has an strong evidence-base for helping overcome certain issues (such as anxiety) other problems may not be supported by clinical research.

(Below is a list of issues that current research supports hypnotherapy as a treatment)

If you are unsure if hypnotherapy can help you overcome something not listed below, feel free to contact us, info@sch.pm.

  • Practitioner accreditation

Not all hypnotherapists will qualify for accreditation so finding a therapist in your local region who does, should be your next task.

  • GP awareness and support

Another factor that may affect your ability to gain access to hypnotherapeutic treatment is GP support. GP’s are very very busy people and cannot possibly be aware of every treatment available for every problem they encounter. This may prove a stumbling block if you believe hypnotherapy to be the best treatment available for your presenting issue. That is not to suggest that your GP will reject the notion of hypnotherapy, in particular you may find that directing the GP’s awareness to an evidence-based hypnotherapist will help.

  • Funding

Another factor that may prevent you from gaining access to hypnotherapy via the NHS is how sessions will be funded. There are certainly a fair few hoops that would need to be jumped through by the GP practice staff and hypnotherapist in order to draw money down to cover the session fees. Add this to the logistics of hosting the sessions in a suitable environment, getting access to NHS funded hypnotherapy may prove difficult.

This said, with the new GMC guidelines in place hypnotherapists are one step closer to being able to provide access to their services, outside of financial constraints.

These welcome changes are important and something many therapists in our field have been looking towards for many years.

Have you discussed hypnotherapy with your GP?

If you are considering discussing or have previously talked about hypnotherapy with your Doctor then we’d be pleased to hear from you.

Clinical research supports hypnotherapy as a treatment for –

Weight reduction
Headaches and migraine
Smoking cessation
Irritable bowel syndrome
Cancer pain
Distress during surgery
Surgery pain
Acute pain
Bed wetting
Chemotherapy distress
Cystic fibrosis Depression
Duodenal ulcer relapse
High blood-pressure
Hip & knee osteoarthritis pain
Irritable bowel syndrome
Nausea & hyperemesis
Obstetrics pain (Hypnosis shortens labour & reduces analgesic use)
Trauma recovery
Wart removal

Wark, David M. “What we can do with hypnosis: a brief note”, American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, July 2008.

*Hypnosis is not suitable for all clients and results vary person to person. All our programmes can be delivered effectively without the use of hypnosis.
Learn more here