Here at Ellesmere Counselling and Psychotherapy Training we specialise in Integrated and Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy and Psychotherapeutic Counselling, but we also have a range of therapists in our community working in other modalities and in other therapies. Today we are speaking with Dawn O’Donoghue, a hypnotherapist, to learn more about hypnotherapy and about her practice here in Hull and East Yorkshire……

Over to Dawn………

What is Hypnotherapy?

Historically, hypnotherapy has always been a method used as part of the healing process. Although first used by the Ancient Egyptians, hypnotherapy was not officially recognised as a clinical discipline until the late 18th Century when Franz Mesmer, a German doctor, developed mesmerism. Today, accredited Clinical Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists use advanced, modern methods of hypnosis and other associated techniques including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT also known as tapping).

Everyone has experience of hypnosis. Car journeys which you have little recollection of completing, being absorbed in reading or undertaking a creative task. Those periods when you glance at the clock and appear to have lost a couple of hours – that is self hypnosis – similar to being between awake and asleep. The Hypnotherapy session allows the therapist opportunities to make suggestions (agreed with the client) to the subconscious invoking change. A typical session engages the client in the deepest form of relaxation, but they are always aware of their surroundings and generally find the experience extremely enjoyable and eager for their next session.

As a client-centred methodology, hypnotherapy is used to treat a wide variety of medical, physical, and psychological problems with a good success rate.

Unfortunately, the media often portrays hypnosis in a defamatory manner, suggesting that it can be used to implant evil suggestions and even murderous thoughts into the client’s mind. Equally damaging is stage hypnosis which engages the audience in demonstrations (often involving becoming a chicken) but trust me, if you want to become a chicken…you can, because it is impossible to create a suggestion to make anyone behave outside their comfort zone or out of character.

Clinical Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists work within the strict guidelines of the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC), with regular supervision and insurance legislations.

How did you become a hypnotherapist?

My own experience of hypnotherapy occurred when I was a teenager suffering from an extreme self-confidence issue and definitely a ‘shrinking violet’ hiding behind my long hair. If we have met since then, you will know I don’t have this issue today because hypnotherapy changed my life. I became a successful teacher/tutor with both children and adults before finally delivering lectures to large audiences of experts and academics without a single case of stage fright! My personal hypnotic experience was so positive that it fuelled my passion to study psychotherapy, the use of hypnotic techniques and desire to help others. I love neuroscience and continue to learn and implement my knowledge into my sessions. Retraining to become a fully qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist was one of my best life decisions.

What sort of conditions are you able to treat with hypnotherapy?

Clinical hypnotherapy can be used to treat physical, psychological and medical conditions – especially useful post-Covid – and is recognised by the NHS as a valuable form of therapy. It can be used to address a wide range of fears, phobias, anxiety-driven episodes, stress, panic attacks and sleep issues. It is acknowledged as beneficial for reducing hypertension, headaches and some functional disorders, and is very successful for clients suffering a lack of self-confidence or poor self-esteem, IBS, Fibromyalgia and other pain-related conditions. For many it is about changing mindsets, eliminating bad habits or simply learning to relax and let go of persistent issues. It can facilitate the recall of memories within a controlled and safe environment (especially beneficial for PTSD or abuse survivors), allowing the client to deal with past events which they feel has influenced their current psychological or medical status.

The three key elements to a successful Hypnotherapy session are:

  1. Developing a good relationship of trust between therapist and client. When the client feels valued and confident that they have a voice, they become more relaxed and able to express their problems;
  2. Client commitment to the process. They want to make changes to their behaviour, rid themselves of bad habits or simply grow. They will enter the hypnotic state readily, do necessary homework and become the lead in developing the solutions they have been looking for;
  3. When the Therapist adjusts the sessions to suit the needs of the client and employ other modes of therapy or elements of techniques.

My own portfolio includes a wide range of Clinical Hypnotherapy therapies ranging from visualisation to the use of metaphors. For children I develop storytelling whilst adults undergoing exam pressures may benefit from my use of a virtual study room. In conjunction with my hypnotherapy skills,  I also include EFT with EMDR and the use of focused breathing techniques. I use NLP, CBT and Art Therapy when needed and as a Professional Relaxation Coach and Sleep Consultant, I teach Jacobson’s relaxation techniques in my Sleep Clinic sessions. I’m happy to work with individuals or groups and am sometimes invited to work on Corporate Wellbeing days. I also work with Anxiety UK who pass on referrals.  

All sessions are confidential, and treatments are created to match the client’s needs. I always undertake a free initial consultation to enable the best plan to be formulated.

I’ve met some wonderful people during my time as a Psychotherapist. Every case is different, every case is interesting. For me…to see the client leave the room smiling, is an early indicator that the process is working.  

Dawn O’Donoghue, Hypnotherapist

Thank you to Dawn for her valuable insight into hypnotherapy

Contact Dawn

If you would like to know more check out Dawn’s website at:

Follow her Facebook page at-

Dawn’s Instagram – @newdaytherapies1

Her email is

Her phone is 07775 429575