Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic process performed on a patient who is in a state of hypnosis, a mental state of focused attention and low peripheral awareness. Doctoral-level classes in clinical hypnotherapy are often offered within Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology and through postdoctoral certificate programs in hypnotherapy. Such courses and programs are ideal for clinical psychologists, substance abuse counselors, mental health counselors, clinical social workers, or even dentists who are interested in incorporating clinical hypnotherapy into their work. Such individuals learn to use advanced clinical hypnotherapy methods to manage pain and modify behavior in their patients.
Prerequisites can vary widely among programs offering clinical hypnotherapy concentrations, since no organizations accredit the subject. Some schools require that incoming Ph.D. students already hold clinical hypnotherapist certification from a body such as the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH). Other schools require bachelor's or master's degrees in such fields as psychiatry or psychology.
Ph.D. in Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy
Students enrolled in doctoral-level courses in clinical hypnotherapy learn how to induce hypnotic trances and use imagery to explore the subconscious mind. Advanced theories in meditation methods, issues in modern hypnotherapy and hypnotherapy instruction are also offered at the doctoral level. A Ph.D. program focusing on hypnotherapy and hypnosis mainly offers courses that touch on advanced topics and theories in the practice. Some of these subjects might include:
- Clinical hypnotherapy techniques
- Hypnosis theories
- Meditation therapy
- Hypnotherapy in psychiatric care
- Advanced hypnosis
- Ethical and legal issues in hypnotherapy
- Regression techniques
Popular Career Options
A Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in hypnotherapy can prepare students for careers as hypnotherapists or as other types of therapists who practice hypnosis. Graduates may pursue positions as:
- Hypnotherapist practitioners
- Neuro-linguistic hypnotherapists
- Personal life coaches
- Dental hypnotherapists
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not publish statistics specifically on hypnotherapists or life coaches. The BLS projected job growth of 20% for mental health counselors and 15% for marriage and family therapists from 2014-2024, both of which were much faster than the average for all occupations. As of May 2015, marriage and family therapists earned a median annual salary of $48,600, and mental health counselors earned a median of $41,880.
Continuing Education Options
Individuals who complete doctorate programs with hypnotherapy concentrations can apply for voluntary certification from an organization such as the NBCCH and the American Board of Hypnotherapy. Such organizations also offer information on schools providing hypnotherapist programs, but they do not accredit such programs.
Obtaining a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in hypnotherapy provides students with the tools they need to perform hypnotherapy on their patients, since no Ph.D. programs specifically in hypnosis and hypnotherapy exist. After obtaining this Ph.D., graduates are prepared for a variety of careers involving hypnosis.