Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis

From Theory to Practice

By: Edwin K. Yager, PhD


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Size: 152mm x 229mm
Pages : 272
ISBN : 9781845901226
Format: Hardback
Published: January 2009

This comprehensive volume is certain to become an invaluable textbook in the field of clinical hypnosis. Dr. Yager has put together an impressive table of contents covering much of everything there is to know about how to translate theory into practice across the range of clinical settings. His clear and thoughtful perspective will inform those who are new to the field and expand the understanding of those who have more experience. The level of depth and detail is unparalleled, providing readers with a full education on the topic.

Divided into five parts, the book begins with a discussion of what hypnosis is (and isn't) and introduces the concept, the language, the phenomena, the tools, and hypermnesia. In Part II, the discussion turns to clinical considerations, addressing approaches to using hypnosis, the roles it can play in psychotherapy, and some potential dangers and risks that may arise with its use. Part III looks at specific procedures, delineating the principles of trance induction, highlighting the particulars of hypnosis and sleep, and focusing on Dr. Yager's pioneering discoveries regarding subliminal therapy. Part IV is devoted to Applications of Hypnosis - from test taking to ocular correction providing a wide view of the power and possibility of hypnosis as one of the most efficacious treatment options available for an extraordinary range of challenges. In the final section, attention is given to a variety of relevant topics not considered elsewhere.

Picture for author Edwin K. Yager, PhD

Edwin K. Yager, PhD

Edwin K. Yager, PhD was a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine and a staff psychologist for the UCSD Medical Group. He was a certified consultant in hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and was also a president, board member and fellow of the San Diego Society of Clinical Hypnosis. In the course of his private psychology practice, using Subliminal Therapy and hypnosis, Dr Yager successfully treated thousands of patients.


  1. Considering some changes to my student's reading list, I spoke with Rosalie Williams at Crown House. She recommended this book as well as some other titles. Having many books waiting for appraisal, this one took a while to get to, but when I did, I was very pleasantly surprised. I had expected it to be a bit basic -” ideal maybe for students new to hypnotherapy, but maybe not too stimulating for an experienced therapist, but instead I found it a very interesting read.

    The book is divided into five parts; Background, Clinical Considerations, Specific Procedures, Applications of Hypnosis and General Observations. Within each part are chapters, which are then divided into easy to read titled sections. If space allowed, I could innumerate the headings and topics, but so much is contained in 250 pages or so that this would be a very long article indeed. Suffice it to say, this is a book that is now very much on my student's recommended reading list.

    There are, as you might expect, explanations of what hypnosis is and how it can be achieved, then various approaches and their uses and benefits; Yager divides hypnotic approaches into two basic types; suggestion and analysis. A few inductions of different styles are included, but this is not a book of scripts. It does however have much of what a new therapist needs. I'd be confident that there'd be something for therapists with more -˜flying hours' too.

    Chapter 12 is all about Subliminal Therapy, which appears to be a form of parts therapy. Yager devotes thirty pages to this approach, the theory and practise, including several pages of flow charts that demonstrate how the process can be used. In later chapters Yager gives guidance on how to work with a range of issues from grief to physical pain and sexual dysfunction to depressive disorders, from weight management to tinnitus and much more. This book doesn't set out to be an encyclopaedia of presenting issues and treatment, but Yager discusses a wide range of presenting concerns.

    This is a very readable and very helpful book for any therapist, experienced or otherwise. In this short review, I'm doing this great book an injustice. It is very readable and can be read cover to cover or dipped into at will. It is written clearly and has a good mix of academic and practical content. It has a glossary of terms that can be helpful for students and new therapists and is a book that would be a great addition to any therapist's bookshelf.
  2. Edwin Yager is an academic as well as maintaining a private practice in San Diego, California, so this book is an academic tome yet is flavoured fully with concrete experience at the chalk face.

    The book is a remarkably slim tome for a work that is so comprehensive in its breadth and scope of content. It is an ideal reference book which gives you, the practitioner, a breadth and depth of knowledge in different areas to equip you with the confidence and ability to translate what you read in to what you do as a matter of practice.

    The book is written clearly and succinctly. There is jargon, unlike the book reviewed above, but there is an excellent glossary of all terms used so that one can fully understand what one is reading.

    I like its brevity. Nothing is lost through it not being a thick book. In fact much is gained as it makes it immediately readable.

    I would have found this book immensely useful when I was doing my initial training. I find it immensely useful now that I am approaching my 20th year in the profession. This work is ideal for both those setting out on the hypnotherapy road and for those who may feel they have arrived. There is always something new to learn. Always new ideas and strategies to consider. As William C Wester ( USA) says” It is a blend of theory and practice covering most clinical problems and providing a complete bibliography for further investigation. This volume will become a valuable resource in a hypnosis library as well as a basic text in the field,. I couldn' have put it better myself.

    Dr Yagers extensive clinical experience has made him an ideal author for such a book. Here we are in safe hands and we know that we can come away from reading the book with new ideas, new enthusiasm and wider understanding. I feel it has the potential to help us be more creative in our approach to our work and at the same time, more effective.

    As is so often the case the excellent format of the book and the care that Crown House has put into its design and production helps to make this book even more impressive, attractive and useable. Another triumph for them, I feel.

  3. When I first picked up Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis, by Edwin Yager, I did not feel enthusiastic. First, the title sounds like the dry, dull textbooks I waded through as an undergrad. Second, as a hypnotherapist of 20 years, I thought Id find the subject matter too basic. I am happy to say I was wrong on both counts. Yagers book provides stimulating reading. It is written in a straightforward way and holds basic information for beginners, as well as innovative methods for seasoned practitioners.

    Yager covers much of what many would consider"standard fare, for books about hypnosis: hypnosis-related terminology, hypnotic phenomena, hypnotic language, the risks of hypnosis, common applications, and hypnotic tools and methods. He gives a decent review of the research on hypnosis for memory enhancement, touching on the controversial topics of confabulation and false memory. I especially liked his chapter on brief inductions. He also addresses two topics seldom found in books or journals on hypnosis: 1) Hypnosis during sleep and 2) hypnotic language in giving informed consent in medical settings (with guest author, Stephen Bierman).

    The author differentiates two basic approaches to hypnotherapy: direct suggestion and hypnoanalysis. He writes that direct suggestion aims for the alleviation of symptoms, while hypnoanalysis, on the other hand, goes to the root cause of symptoms. Hypnoanalysis regresses the client to a seminal event and allows the client to reframe the meaning of that event. Yager advocates hypnoanalysis when the client is"resistant, (i.e., non-responsive) to direct suggestion. He notes that the seminal event should be viewed in a dissociated manner to avoid abreaction and re-traumatizing the client. He also writes that knowledge of the event is not enough; the client must also derive a belief change or a new cognition, such as"you survived that., I found this discussion extremely helpful as a guide in selecting hypnotic interventions and strategies.

    Yager is an adherent of Dave Elman, who defined hypnosis as"bypassing the critical factor,, to communicate with the unconscious mind. Yager states that"all clinicians use hypnosis, knowingly or unknowingly,, because the clinician-patient relationship is structured with three factors that increase the clients suggestibility; 1) the clinician is regarded as an authority, 2) the client is often in confusion or emotional distress, and 3) the client expects the clinician to do something to alleviate the confusion or distress. Thus, we have the perfect formula for hypnosis (authority, emotion, and expectation).

    Yagers chapter on Subliminal Therapy, by itself, makes this book worthwhile reading. Subliminal Therapy is a protocol for communicating with the unconscious mind to review memories, extract relevant data, relate cause and effect, derive solutions, and execute decisions. This communication is accomplished via a pendulum, ideomotor signals, visualization, or having the client report on subjectively perceived physical sensations. While no formal induction is required, clients often go into trance during this process.

    Yager has chosen the unusual name of Centrum (also the commercial name of a multi-vitamin) to indicate the part of the mind with which the therapist communicates. He characterizes Centrum as a part of the clients consciousness that is wise and helpful,"a part that can communicate with all other parts of consciousness. Astute readers will note that Subliminal Therapy draws from Ego State Therapy and the"parts model, of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Yager gives ample description, a flow chart, and a case transcript to show how to conduct Subliminal Therapy; the instructions to give, the questions to ask, and how to work with the information received.

    Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis concludes with brief discussions of various applications of clinical hypnosis, and the considerations unique to each. These include the commonplace, such as smoking cessation, weight loss, insomnia, and pain management, as well as the atypical: asthma treatment, childbirth, breast enlargement, wart removal, stuttering, and ocular correction.

    Among his other achievements, Robert Yager, Ph.D. is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and a Staff Psychologist of the UCSD Medical Group. He is certified as a Consultant in Hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He also maintains a private practice in San Diego, California.

    I recommend his book to other hypnotherapists because it makes for an excellent desk reference. I also recommend it as an introductory textbook for those in hypnosis training programs. It can be purchased through the Crown House Ltd online catalog in the U.S. and the U.K.


    Judith E. Pearson, Ph.D. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master Practitioner/Trainer in NLP. She is Executive Director of the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists and has a private practice in Springfield, VA. She has published The Weight, Hypnotherapy and You Weight Reduction Program: An NLP and Hypnotherapy Practitioners Manual and has recently released a hypnosis CD entitled Discover Your Learning Genius. Her website is
  4. This is a fantastic book. The voice of the author comes across as a friendly and enthusiastic guide, offering balanced and insightful opinion to complement the concise coverage of the theoretical and historical background covered within. This is the first book of its kind, that I have come across, that speaks with a balanced academic voice, with a truly well informed and referenced message.

    Overall impression: A brilliant and engaging introduction to the history and theory of hypnosis. This is a concise text, covering many key aspects of hypnosis that would be extremely useful to those just setting off on the journey of learning hypnosis as well as a reference to those teaching it.
  5. Dr Yager's wealth of clinical experience and deep theoretical understanding result in a valuable book and should be included within all Clinical Hypnosis libraries.
  6. Yager (Psychiatry, U. of California, San Diego) has written this textbook on clinical hypnosis for therapists, clinicians and students who are considering implementation of these technique or are simply looking for a way to expand creativity in treatment protocols. The author covers proven methods and practices in hypnosis before progressing to the theory behind how this type of therapy works, including descriptions of what types of phenomena can be readily observed or expected. Clinical considerations, procedures and applications are also discussed, and appendices include a glossary of terms and a bibliography of unusual uses for clinical hypnosis such as birth memory, selective blood flow and accelerated healing.
  7. The author has taken a refreshingly new approach to hypnosis based on his forty years of teaching and clinical experience. This is a comprehensive book and a valuable resource for the beginning clinician or seasoned professional. It is a blend of theory and practice covering most clinical problems and providing a complete bibliography for further investigation. This volume will become a valuable resource in a hypnosis library as well as a basic text in the field.
  8. When I initially saw the title of this book, I was prepared for an exploration of hypnosis. What I wasn't prepared for was such a fabulously comprehensive and compelling read. I am sure this will become one of the major texts in the field of hypnosis.

    This is a long awaited and excellent account of the multiplicity of hypnosis that will be a valuable resource for both new and experienced therapists. It doesn't get hung up on specific one-sided approaches to using hypnosis, but gives the reader ample information to be able to make an informed choice, that will ultimately benefit the readers therapeutic work. As well as telling us about what we need to know, the book also tells us about the lesser known aspects of hypnosis. For over a decade I have been searching for a book like this. Marvellous, exciting for the profession and a credit to the author.
  9. Dr Yager's book is a great testimony to his 40 years of clinical experience. He covers a great deal of ground without it ever feeling like it is old ground, and his descriptions of analytic procedures ” especially subliminal therapy - will be of particular use to practitioners. Whether as a foundation for clinical use of hypnotherapy, or a springboard for further learning, this book will give something to every reader.

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