11 Best Hypnosis Books For Aspiring Hypnotists (2024)

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11 Best Hypnosis Books For Aspiring Hypnotists (2024)

The following 11 books are my personal favorites that I read as I was studying to be a hypnotherapist. There are a huge number of books available on the topic of hypnosis, but, forme, these are the best books. These books explain the concepts better than anyone else. Not all of them were written as training material for aspiring hypnotists. Some were meant to be self help books but contain such great material that they have merited a place on the list. 

Full disclosure: By clicking on either the title of the book or the book’s image, you’ll be taken to the Amazon store page where you can buy the book. If you make a purchase, I make a small commission as a result. The commission played no part in selecting the books for my list as I would have received commission on any book for sale on Amazon.

This is, without doubt, my favourite hypnotherapy book of all time. Trevor Silvester, the author, takes a new approach to the practice of hypnosis in a therapeutic setting. As a former editor of the Hypnotherapy Journal, he has an admirable background in the field of hypnosis. He is the director of The Quest Institute which is a training organisation for hypnotherapists in the UK. There are many books on hypnosis that date back decades and are written in the language of the era, which can bit a bit off-putting to read in the 21st century. 

Trevor Silvester’s creation is a relatively new book and in my opinion, offers a very practical approach that most students of hypnotherapy will be able to follow and integrate into their own style really easily. This is not only a comprehensive training manual, but most importantly, it’s a very enjoyable read. Silvester uses very down-to-earth, everyday language which makes this book more accesible. His emphasis on constructing the right question or the right use of words is integral to his approach and has huge educational value.

Through the practical examples used in this book, you learn not only how to keep the client very relaxed by using vague language designed not to arouse objection, but also how to pinpoint root causes of problems. Some of his approach will seem quite similar to Tad James’ Timeline Therapy, which is a very logical form of therapeutic hypnosis. Silvester encourages his students not to focus too much on problems but instead on creating solutions that the client can walk away from a hypnosis session feeling empowered with.

The name os the book implies a fusion between cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis, and a very logical, rational approach to emotional problems. This book will very much suit those budding therapists who shy away from the more “airy-fairy” approaches to therapy and are intent on studying a logical, scientific approach.

It’s no wonder that my second favourite book is by Tad James, as I mentioned that the previous book may have been influenced by this writer. This is an informative resource for anyone interested in going into the practice of clinical hypnotherapy. This is a great book for teaching the right way to guide clients into hypnosis and how to achieve a deep hypnotic state 

The heart of the book lies in its practical applications. James introduces readers to a repertoire of techniques—some traditional, others innovative. From progressive relaxation to Ericksonian approaches, he provides step-by-step instructions. The inclusion of case studies further illustrates the efficacy of these methods. Aspiring hypnotherapists will find ample guidance on induction scripts, deepening techniques, and therapeutic interventions.

James’s writing style is clear and concise, making complex concepts accessible to both novices and experienced practitioners. He meticulously dissects the hypnotic process, emphasizing the importance of precision and rapport. Whether you’re a therapist, psychologist, or simply curious about the mind’s inner workings, James’s lucid explanations serve as a valuable resource.  He explores the work of the most influential hypnotherapist of our time, Dr. Milton H. Erickson and the area of study know as ericksonian hypnotherapy. He also discusses the work of John Grinder and Richard Bandler and the whole field of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). You’ll also find cognitive-behavioral principles in this intellectually stimulating and entertaining book.

Now in it’s 5th edition,, Michael Yapko’s classic is the ultimate guide for all serious hypnotherapists. He navigates through the history of hypnosis from the likes of Franz Anton Mesmer and the field of “animal magnetism”, through to the big names in hypnosis in the 20th century such as Gil Boyne and Milton Erickson and all the way up to the early 21st century. “Trancework” is a triumph. It is, essentially, a handbook of clinical hypnosis and is a vital book for every hypnotherapist to have and constantly refer to. 

If you intend to practice as a board-certified hypnotherapist, this important book will become a dog-eared resource that you will refer to over and over again as you help your clients with their psychological problems. One of the aspects of this book that I enjoyed the most was the inclusion of a series of case studies which help to provide greater insight into how to construct individualized hypnotic treatments for the clients that will seek you out to help them overcome their mental roadblocks.

This book explores the many ways in which the use of hypnosis can help people achieve positive change. It discusses proper clinical practice and stresses the importance of good ethics and client confidentiality. You’ll find discussions of the latest research as well as extensive learning about practical clinical hypnosis. Yapko’s writing style is scholarly yet accessible. Complex ideas are distilled into digestible portions. The book’s organization facilitates progressive learning, making it suitable for both classroom study and independent reading.

In summary, Trancework remains an authoritative primer for clinical hypnosis. Yapko’s legacy endures, shaping a generation of therapists. Whether you seek foundational knowledge or aspire to refine your hypnotic skills, this book is an indispensable companion. I promise, you will find this an invaluable reference book which will be valuable for many years to come.

Essentials of Hypnosis serves as a foundational text for those venturing into the captivating realm of clinical hypnosis. Michael D. Yapko, a seasoned practitioner and scholar, distills essential principles and practical techniques, making this small book an invaluable resource for aspiring hypnotherapists. Yapko’s approach is grounded in empirical research and clinical experience. He demystifies hypnosis, emphasizing its evidence-based applications. Aspiring hypnotherapists will appreciate his commitment to bridging theory and practice.

As I mentioned in the last paragraph, this is a small book, only approximately one third of the thickness of his seminal work “Trancework”. Yet in it’s brevity, Yapko captures the essentials of clinical hypnosis. The heart of the book lies in its clinical insights. Yapko shares practical wisdom—how to structure suggestions, construct effective sessions, and deepen hypnotic experiences. His guidance on goal-oriented interventions is invaluable.

Yapko dispels common myths surrounding hypnosis. Ethical practice is paramount. Yapko navigates informed consent, confidentiality, and professional boundaries. Aspiring hypnotherapists will find his ethical guidelines indispensable. Yapko’s passion for demystifying hypnosis is admirable. Whether constructing suggestions or managing potential resistance, Yapko’s practical tips are simply invaluable. This is a great learning resouce as Yapko provides sample session transcripts for common problems. These serve as templates, illustrating how to structure therapeutic interactions. Novices will benefit from studying these real-world examples.

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This book boldly goes where no other hypnosis book goes! I’m not sure that’s stricly speaking true but I was itching to use that line! This is my book. I wrote it in 2017 and I am fiercely proud of it’s dedication to simplicity. I remember when I was a budding hypnotherapist feeling all at sea and convinced I would never get the hang of getting people into hypnosis. I really wish this book had been around at the time. From the very first chapter, it is gently encouraging. 

I discuss, briefly, the historical context and the founding fathers of hypnosis. Then we delve into knowing who should be hypnotized and who shouldn’t. I discuss what questions you need to ask before getting anyone into hypnosis. There are specific physical and mental conditions that mean we should never do hypnosis with those people. This knowledge will prevent you getting sued, or worse still, causing harm to someone.

In this book, you’ll learn about building rapport and trust, hypnotic inductions, how to deepen trance, how to construct a simple post-hypnotic suggestion and how to terminate trance. All of these are explained using real-life stories from client sessions (client names are obviously changed to protect client confidentiality).

There are a number of really amusing stories about what to do when something unexpected happens. Most other books just talk you through induction techniques as if they work perfectly every time. From my own clinical experience, I know that rarely happens. This book focuses on giving practical guidance, an appreciation of the unbelieveable power of your subconscious mind and is sprinkled with lots of anecdotes and humour. As such, it is a joy to read and an absolute must for those wishing to learn about inducing hypnotic trance in others safely and ethically. 

“Learn Hypnosis: How To Hypnotize Anyone Safely” is an excellent starting point. Beginners will appreciate its practicality, safety emphasis, and step-by-step guidance. 

Dave Elman’s Hypnotherapy stands as a timeless classic—a beacon for both novices and seasoned practitioners. Elman’s writing exudes practical wisdom. He doesn’t dwell on just theories; instead, he offers tangible techniques. Aspiring hypnotherapists will appreciate his no-nonsense approach. Elman’s step-by-step instructions for inductions and deepening are gold. His direct approach—often referred to as the “Elman Induction”—has stood the test of time. Beginners can confidently guide clients into trance states.

There is a really comprehensive discussion about clinical application of hypnosis including chronic pain management, the use of hypnosis to eliminate bad habits or to achieve better health, and how the trance state can be a powerful tool in helping certain medical conditions.

Hypnotherapy underscores the versatility of hypnosis. Elman’s case examples span diverse contexts—medical, psychological, and personal growth. Readers grasp that hypnosis isn’t limited to stage shows; it’s a powerful therapeutic tool. The author’s genuine passion for hypnotherapy is palpable in these stories, and his enthusiasm is infectious. At the time of it’s release, hypnosis was still regarded widely as a magical power of some sort. This book made a major contribution to dispelling some of those old myths.

Even though some of the language is quite dated, if you can get beyond that, it is a good idea to purchase and read this book. It gives a different perspective and will add to your understanding of the field of hypnosis

Even though this is, essentially, a self-help book rather than a hypnosis training manual, I believe this book will have a profound effect on how you approach client problems. Richard Bandler is one of the co-creators of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) along with John Grinder. With a foreword from on of my personal hypnosis heroes, Paul McKenna, this book not only explains trance states and how to achieve them, but also discusses some of the intricacies of the fascinating field of NLP.

There is a really helpful chapter on pattern interrupts which are vital to know so that you can “interrupt” un unhelpful pattern of behaviour and re-train it. There is a major nod in the direction of Milton Erickson in the section about utilization which was a mantra of Erickson. This book is sprinkled with client stories and case studies which are designed to help the reader overcome their own problems. There are even practical exercises that can be done at home to achieve the outcomes you want. 

I have to confess to using some of these exercises with my clients even today. The genius of Bandler is in his ability to relate. He communicates the learning in a fun, witty manner, which is what makes this book a fantastic read for the general public as well as apiring therapists.

Dr. Richard Nongard’s Expert Hypnosis Scripts For the Professional Hypnotherapist is a valuable resource for both aspiring and seasoned practitioners. Although we are encouraged by numerous trainers and experts ranging from Michael Yapko to Trevor Silvester all the way down to your local hypnotherapy trainer never to just recite a pre-written script with a client, these script do act as a solid reference point for all hypnotherapists. After spending fifteen years as a hypnotherapist, I still come across clients who bring unusual challenges that I haven’t come across before.

Having a reference point such as this book is invaluable at every stage of a hypnotherapists career. Perhaps the most practical aspect of this book lies in the direct suggestions. Nongard articulates over 100 solution-focused direct suggestions across various areas. These can be seamlessly integrated into custom scripts, enhancing their effectiveness. This book is like a casebook of clinical hypnosis scripts and suggestions. They can also help you construct your own self-hypnosis scripts to achieve a better life for yourself.

The book’s structure—organized by specific issues—facilitates learning. Practitioners can adapt the scripts to suit individual clients. Whether dealing with insomnia, preparing for a medical procedure, confidence-building, or overcoming pain, the templates are versatile. Beyond medical applications, Nongard provides resources for metaphysical exploration and personal growth. Whether addressing hand tremors or creating an abundant future, the scripts cover a wide spectrum of client needs.

We all begin with a script. That’s how every hypnotherapist begins. In a class, the instructor will give you a copy of a script which you will probably learn off by heart and then use on a real live client as part of your training. If we didn’t start with a script, we’d probably be too terrified to ever hypnotize someone because we wouldn’t know what to say. Very soon though, we have to wean ourselves off of scripts and start constructing our own suggestions.

Trevor Silvester’s “Wordweaving” is, in my opinion, the authoritative guide to being hypnotic. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I am a huge Trevor Silvester fanboy! His books have fundamentally influenced how I deal with clients today. The heart of Wordweaving lies in its step-by-step method for learning powerful hypnotic language. Silvester teaches practitioners how to aim suggestions precisely at the key points of the client’s problem. He encourages the use of natural trance states experienced during the problem itself, allowing suggestions to penetrate deeply.

Silvester grounds his approach in scientific principles. Drawing from neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), he explores how past learning shapes present behavior. He delves into the unconscious processes that influence our actions, emphasizing that much of our behavior operates beyond conscious control. He introduces us to the matrix model – a powerful tool for mapping the process of a problem. By understanding the layers of behavior—neurological, linguistic, and emotional—hypnotherapists gain insight into the client’s unique reality. This model informs the creation of tailored suggestions. Silvester draws from NLP to enhance suggestion impact. His elegant and subtle language patterns infuse suggestions with precision. By linguistically framing the suggestion, hypnotherapists maximize their influence.

This book is not for absolute beginners but I would suggest, it would be a new tool (and a powerful one at that) to introduce to your practice within your first six months to a year as a hypnotherapist to help your clients achieve the permanent changes they seek. The Art of Hypnosis is well-structured and accessible, even for novices. Hunter provides in-depth information on achieving optimal results during hypnotic sessions. His emphasis on phrasing suggestions correctly and selecting the most effective approach for each client underscores the practical nature of the book.

Just to make it abundantly clear from the get go, Roy Hunter is not a relation of mine, even though we share the same surname. Roy Hunter has carved out an important role for himself in the development of the field of hypnosis as a respected author and therapist. His work is strongly influenced by his teacher, the world-reknowned Charles Tebbets who was a very influential teacher of hypnosis in the american history of hypnosis. 

Hunter explores the various different aspects of hypnotic inductions in good detail. He also introduces a type of therapy which was a favourite of his mentor Charles Tebbets, called Parts Therapy. He proposes that the reason people don’t fix their own problems is because a “part” of them is displaying subconscious resistance. This means that the client themselves may be unaware of why they are resisting positive change. Hunter encourages the therapist to find the part that’s causing the resistance and find a way for it to do it’s job in a different way.

While I regard this as a really good book, it just seems to me that there is a bit too much hero worship going on for my liking. Now, of course, I have met other therapists who have read this book and thought it was great and who do not agree with me on this point. This is why this book is no.10 on my list and not no. 1

In summary, The Art of Hypnosis is more than a technical manual; it’s an invitation to explore the artistry within the science. C. Roy Hunter’s commitment to practicality, ethics, and client-centered hypnotherapy makes this book a valuable resource for both beginners and experienced practitioners.

At this stage, you are probably not at all surprised that I have included a third Trevor Silvester book on my list. Just for full disclosure, I do not know the author and have never met him. I just love his style of writing. A very important factor in achieving a breakthrough in some area of your life is that your therapist knows how to use language in a powerful tool to unlock whatever mental blockage you have. 

One of the greatest “wordweavers” in the history of hypnosis was Milton H. Erickson. Silvester draws upon Dr. Erickson’s theories in this comprehensive look at the structure of well crafted questions. 

Silvester masterfully introduces us to a series of questions that serve as the lynchpin of effective Cognitive Hypnotherapy. These questions, skillfully posed during client sessions, lead us to the heart of their concerns. By unraveling the layers of thought patterns, emotions, and beliefs, practitioners can uncover the root causes of distress. He shows us how to harness the answers obtained from clients and transform them into powerful suggestions.

If you are a practitioner who would like to move away from using formulaic scripts and add some more intricacy and art to your use of hypnotic language, this is the book for you.

Picture of Author: Paul Hunter

Author: Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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Picture of Paul Hunter

Paul Hunter

Although thousands of people read his blog every month, Paul's path to success was not an easy one. Click here to read his amazing story "From Unwanted Baby And Adopted To A Respected Self Help Blogger". If you want to send Paul a quick message, then visit his contact page here

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