Hypnosis To Forget?

I’ve been asked can I use hypnosis to forget a bad memory or trauma? The answer is not completely yes or no. There is a short answer to that questions and a long answer.

The Short Answer, Yes.

Yes, it is possible to have someone forget a memory or a trauma but it’s important to understand that forgetting the trauma is not the same as removing the symptom created by the event. Simply removing the memory of a car accident does not promise to end the fear of driving. Having worked with over 10,000 hypnosis subjects in my career, I know some people respond differently to the being instructed to “forget”. Some respond perfectly with no symptoms, for others forgetting may produce a very uncomfortable feeling of confusion.

Also, amnesia is one of the more dramatic hypnotic phenomena and can be more challenging for some subjects to create.

It’s important that hypnosis has an overall positive effect on the subject. This is referred to as being “ecological”. I know of one hypnotist who told his client to forget he ever smoked. It was successful but the result was he got into arguments with family members who insisted he used to be a smoker. This is hardly the most ecological result.

The Long Answer, It’s Complicated.

The best outcome to treat a trauma is one in which the subject is free to the symptoms created by the trauma. This does not mean they forget the event. Instead the meaning of the event is changed and as a result the feelings they have toward it changes. What the client notices is they feel differently about the event. They can remember it but no longer feel anxiety, stress or sadness. The event begins to fit into the story of their life. They also feel more positive about themselves, more “whole”, even when they think about the traumatic event.

Hypnosis is VERY good at getting this result because of how easily it can change the feelings associated to events.


If you are suffering from a trauma or painful memory hypnosis has a long history of helping. Many people suffering from PTSD have gotten great result after only a few hypnosis sessions.

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