Recent Thinkers in Hypnotherapy

Lesson Progress:

John Kappas (1925 – 2002)

Author of Professional Hypnotism Manual- A Practical Approach for Modern Times.

Dr. Kappas introduced the Physical and Emotional Suggestibility and Sexuality Theory to the hypnosis world, which we will explore later in this program.

Dr. John Kappas (1925–2002) identified three different types of suggestibility in his lifetime that have improved hypnosis:

Emotional Suggestibility: A suggestible behavior characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to inferred suggestions that affect emotions and restrict physical body responses; usually associated with hypnoidal depth. Thus the emotional suggestible learns more by inference than by direct, literal suggestions.

Physical Suggestibility: A suggestible behavior characterized by a high degree of responsiveness to literal suggestions affecting the body, and restriction of emotional responses; usually associated with cataleptic stages or deeper.

Intellectual Suggestibility: The type of hypnotic suggestibility in which a subject fears being controlled by the operator and is constantly trying to analyze, reject or rationalize everything the operator says. With this type of subject the operator must give logical explanations for every suggestion and must allow the subject to feel that he is doing the hypnotizing himself.

Before his death, Kappas was

• Founder and director of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute,
• Founder and first president of the Hypnotist’s Union,
• Founder and former president of the American Hypnosis Association,
• Founding member of the Marital and Family Therapists union,
• Former vice president of the Hypnotists Examining Council, and
• Member of both the American and Canadian Psychological Associations.

In addition, he wrote extensively on the subject of Hypnotherapy and is recognized worldwide as an authority in the field.

(From Wikipedia)

Terence Watts 

The following is a direct quote from Terence Watts’s biography:

“I work in an eclectic style, though at all times in a totally client-centered manner. My original training was in Harley Street, London, UK, and centered predominantly around direct and indirect suggestion methods. That original course fired my enthusiasm in a way that nothing else ever had and I became eager to extend my knowledge.

After another training course and countless workshops and seminars, I began to favor an investigative method of working, preferring to work with the doctrine of cause and effect, rather than symptomatic-based therapies. I still use an analytical model as a primary methodology, combined with Parts work, Guided Imagery and Visualization and many other ‘bits and pieces’.

I see fewer clients than I used to; my teaching and writing commitments see to that but I do still like to work ‘at the sharp end’ as often as I can – it’s the best way to develop or sustain your skills that I know of.

Although I’ve started several new projects of late, I don’t actually have much to do with the running of them, preferring to concentrate on therapy and teaching.”

• Fellow of the National Council for Hypnotherapy
• Fellow of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health
• Member of the National Council of Psychotherapists
• Emeritus Fellow of the Counseling and Psychotherapy Society
• Emeritus Fellow of the Hypnotherapy Society
• Fellow of the Hypnotherapy Research Society


Milton Erickson (1902 – 1980) is a doyen in hypnotherapy and psychiatry. He based his work at Arizona, Phoenix, USA. His early life was fraught with a spate of tragedies, which he overcame with extraordinary audacity. Milton Erickson shot up to fame through his amazing ‘miracle cures’. Dr. Erickson likes to describe therapy as a way of helping patients extend their limits.

Since his death he has become a legend. An unorthodox psychiatrist, congenial family doctor, ingenious strategic psychotherapist and master hypnotherapist… These are the words often used to describe Milton Erickson. “He could cast a fabulous spell on Western psychotherapy. Even since his entry in to the scene, the subject of hypnosis has been pruned of superstition and is now widely recognized as one of the most powerful tools for change.”

Erickson is most famous for his skill with creative metaphors and stories that helped people to make personal changes just by listening. Milton Erickson had gained more fame through his legendary ‘Ericksonian handshake’. By this he would send someone into deep trance. Working along a basic human principle, it taps into the natural human ‘reorientation response’, triggered by shock or surprise. This occurs with ‘the handshake’ as a familiar social pattern is interrupted. Brief therapy, solution focused therapy, systemic family therapy, child psychology, even sports performance training have benefited from Milton Erickson’s work and ideas.


Dave Elman (1900 – 1967)

His interest in hypnosis was stimulated at an early age by his father who was an accomplished hypnotist.

When Elman was 8 years old he began to realize the vast possibilities of hypnosis in the relief of pain. This occurred when his father was dying of cancer and a family friend relieved the intractable pain quite rapidly with hypnosis. This friend was a well-known hypnotist with an enviable fame for performing outstanding feats.

Young Elman never forgot how his dad was afforded relief not available from traditional medical procedures. Elman went on to create newer, faster, and better ways to induce the hypnotic state, and moved forward to teach dentists and doctors to do Hypnosis.

Charles Tebbetts is sometimes known as the Maverick Hypnotist. He is famous for and popularly known for his profound work with Parts Therapy. Charlie (as his friends called him) became a leader among hypnotherapy instructors. During the latter years of his life, he trained thousands of students in the art of hypnosis. Dr. John Hughes of the National Guild of Hypnotists respectfully referred to Charles as one of the Grand Masters among hypnotherapy instructors.

NOTE: Roy Hunter is a current 21st century teacher of Tebbett’s methodology, and these excellent books by Roy Hunter reflect that.