Book Review: 'Understanding Hypnosis' by Dr Brian Roet

For clinical hypnotherapists we all know there are many books on self hypnosis available to us, however Dr. Brian Roet’s 'Understanding Hypnosis' differs from the others in that, as a qualified and experienced practitioner, he addresses the subject of hypnosis better than most.Currently working in London as a psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist, Dr. Roet also has a medical background as an anesthetist and general practitioner, thus giving a sense of authority to his work. Interestingly he does mention briefly in his early days the conflict between himself, as a medical doctor wanting to refer his patients to natural therapists, and his fear of being struck off the medical register if he did. This highlights the reluctance then, and is still the case today in some areas of the established medical hierarchy in accepting hypnotherapy as an effective form of therapy, despite articles written about the effectiveness of hypnosis which were then slowly finding their way into established medical journals.


What is discussed in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, is the underpinning knowledge of hypnosis which unfolds into a fascinating look at a wide range of subjects, including the “what’s” and “why’s” of hypnotherapy, how to work safely in the trance state, and the benefits of tapping into the subconscious mind through a doorway from the conscious mind to gain access to inner strengths.

What is welcoming about his work is his emphasis on words being the hypnotherapist’s tool, and the amazing influence words can have within the therapeutic context. When used in hypno-analysis and conversation with the subconscious, these words get right to the heart of the matter, thus implementing new thought patterns more appropriate for life in the present.

Dr. Roet explains that the first step to this is establishing what words are being used in the negative self – talk, which the subconscious mind is working with to create our current thought patterns and behaviour. As Dr. Roet discusses, those words at the back of the mind are words that have been left their over time, perhaps years or a lifetime, this is known as imprinting, and uses case studies to highlight how imprinting effects us. Case studies on other topics are provided throughout the text.

As well as the language of the subconscious, other tools of the hypnotherapist are explained briefly, including relaxation, age regression and progression, past life regression catalepsy, amnesia, hallucination and time distortion. He also touches upon the subjects of psychosomatic illness, pain control, stress, dentistry, and phobias, and uses case studies throughout.

Dr. Roet also goes a step further by providing the reader with a handy step-by-step guide to self hypnosis, instructions on how to choose the best practitioner from a client’s perspective, and what to expect from your hypnotherapist as a client. In fact, the complete hypnotherapy session is well outlined with eleven points from the therapist’s point of view – making it a great template in which to create your own hypnotherapy session.

Although the book is aimed at the general public and is styled as a self-help book, it is an excellent resource for anyone interested in hypnotherapy – especially for the student of hypnotherapy as it provides them with an important perspective into clinical hypnotherapy. A highly recommended read for anyone serious about hypnotherapy!