The short answer is, “Yes, but”. Hypnosis recordings became popular in the 1980s, and are still quite popular. Sometimes I am asked how effective they are, relative to group sessions and private sessions. Let’s discuss.
Effectiveness as a Spectrum
Without any doubt, the single most effective form of hypnosis or hypnotherapy is private, one on one sessions, conducted live and in person, working in a manner customized to you and your unique situation and your desired outcomes, with a trained and experienced hypnotist who is focusing on and responding to you, rather than merely following a script. This will produce the fastest, most powerful results, and there really is no substitute in effectiveness.
The less customized the experience is to you and the way you are responding live in the moment, and the more effort you have to put into the process yourself, the less effective it will be. At the other end of the effectiveness spectrum, for instance, is where you find simple prerecorded audio sessions intended for very general audiences.
But What is Effectiveness, Anyway?
The thing is, all forms of hypnosis work. Hypnosis recordings do actually work. Scripts do actually work. Sessions that are designed for mass re-use via large seminars or recordings or apps do actually work. Research trials involving hypnosis frequently utilize recordings, even if they also include live sessions, because the recordings reinforce and enhance results.
Effectiveness in this context, then, is basically a measure of how powerful the results can be, how much time it takes to see them, and how much work you have to do to achieve them. High effectiveness means powerful results that happen quickly and require relatively little effort on your part.
One very common example is that a hypnosis recording may need to be listened to every day for 21 days to achieve a particular change, where that could potentially have been delivered in a one hour private session with a hypnotist.
With all that out of the way, then, let’s rank different ways of experiencing hypnosis or hypnotherapy, from the most effective to the least effective:
- Live, private, unscripted, one on one session with a professional hypnotist, customized and responsive to you, performed in person
- Live, private, unscripted, one on one session with a professional hypnotist, customized and responsive to you, performed online or virtually
- Prerecorded session from a professional hypnotist, customized specifically to you
- Live, group session, performed in person (unless you strongly dislike groups)
- Live, one on one session that follows a standardized script (unless you strongly prefer groups)
- Live, group session, performed online or virtually
- Prerecorded sessions that follow standardized scripts for your specific issue
- Prerecorded sessions that follow standardized scripts for general use
- Prerecorded sessions you create, if you are not a hypnotist yourself
There are always exceptions. Some things work better than others for some people with some issues in some situations. The above is a general guide, however.