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“May I Have this Trance?” Modern Clinical Hypnosis Practice for Social Work Clinicians - An Introductory Class

  • Saturday, September 09, 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 12:15 PM
  • Online WEBINAR


Registration is closed

Presenter: Ben Pomerantz, MSW


Costs:  CSCSW Member: FREE | Students: FREE
Nonmember (with CEUs): $65 

2 CEUs


What Clinical Hypnosis is: Hypnosis has been called an “experiential method of doing psychotherapy.” It can be usefully thought of as “applied imagination.” Imagination comes from the Latin verb Imaginari “to picture oneself.” Skillful use of hypnosis utilizes the client’s imagination therapeutically, often in conjunction with other therapies such as CBT and or medications. Simply put, it is the science and art of engaging a person’s belief system and expectations to foster endogenous (having an internal cause or origin) healing.

What it isn’t: Clinical Hypnosis is not a therapy and is not a therapeutic theory. It is also most certainly not like what happens in the movie “Get Out!” or other entertainment venues. It should only be used with clients by trained professionals able to treat psychological and behavioral issues without hypnosis.

We will learn about hypnotic trance and how it aids imaginative work. Trance states help to activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Trance can be defined as a state of “highly focused attention with diminished peripheral awareness, enabling an openness to suggestion.” Trance can be induced or can occur naturally during everyday life. Such naturally occurring states are called “common everyday trances.” An example is “highway hypnosis” which is being so absorbed in thought that you drive past your destination or alternatively can’t believe how you arrived at your intended destination.

“Metaphors Be with You;” We’ll touch on the power of words, stories, imagery, past developmental experiences and metaphors to suggest optimal therapeutic outcomes to the client. These tools depend greatly on taking a careful history of the client at the beginning of treatment.

You will hear about important elements of the history of hypnosis; the extensive database of clinical research over the past two hundred years into the efficacy of hypnotic treatments; contraindications for it’s use and an overview of which clinical areas it is most effective in.

We will discuss hypnosis’ exceptional utility for clinician’s self-care and well-being which were frequently noted by UCLA psychiatric residents.

There will be a demonstration video of an hypnotic induction done by David Spiegel, MD, an associate Dean of the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University Medical School. Additionally, participants will receive an essay of his taken from an article in Harvard Magazine describing the many virtues of hypnosis for clinicians and their use with patients/clients. This presentation will be an overview of the seminar I’ve been leading at UCLA Medical School for Psychiatric residents for the past 7 years. The class is called “Introduction to Clinical Hypnosis” and consists of 12 2-hour meetings. I will also propose teaching a series of classes for interested participants similar to the UCLA course that will be especially adapted for Clinical Social Workers.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the key differences between clinical hypnosis and entertainment hypnosis.
  2. Understand and articulate that a central element of hypnotic treatment is to engage the client’s belief system, expectations and imagination to foster naturally occurring endogenous healing.
  3. See the role hypnotic trance has in fostering client well-being and openness to suggestion.
  4. Recognize the everyday presence in themselves and others of what are called “common everyday trance” experiences. Name several examples such as: highway hypnosis; intense absorption in work or play attenuating or eliminating awareness of time passing.
  5. List several clinical presentations in which hypnotic interventions are beneficial and supported by extensive modern research: e.g. anxiety disorders, chronic pain disorders; stress management; affect regulation.
  6. Report on hypnotic trance’s exceptional utility for clinician’s self-care and well-being.
  7. Know examples of how hypnosis uses language, imagery, stories, client memories, metaphors, beliefs and expectations in ways to activate innate healing.
  8. Describe how clinical hypnosis is compatible with other therapeutic interventions such as CBT, psychodynamic therapies, physician prescribed medications, etc.

          Workshop Logistics: After registering you will receive a link to the ZOOM MEETING.  

          • Closed Captioning available


          Ben Pomerantz, MSW, is the past president of the Southern California Society for Clinical Hypnosis and is certified in clinical hypnotherapy by the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis. He is also president of Healing Strategies, a consulting firm offering wellness workshops to medical, educational and business organizations. He also teaches hypnotherapeutic techniques to psychotherapists, physicians, dentists, and nurses. Ben has worked in the Los Angeles therapeutic community for over 40 years, both as a psychotherapist in private practice and as a teacher. He has worked with children, families, and adults in a variety of clinical settings, including medical, psychiatric, and social service institutions. He was on the adjunct faculty at the USC Graduate School of Social Work for 14 years and also taught in the Psychology Dept. at Mt. St. Mary's College. He has also led 3 month long seminars on Clinical Hypnosis for psychiatry residents at UCLA’s Behavioral Medicine Clinic ( 2002-2005 ) and in the Dept. of Psychiatry at UCLA’s Medical School ( 2016-present ).

          This is a District Meeting coordinated by the Greater LA District

          This DISTRICT MEETING meets the qualifications for 2.0 hours of continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. 

          Note: With supervisor approval, registered ASWs may use CEs toward LCSW hours.

            Cancellation Policy

            • 14 days or more before event date: Full refund
            • 13-7 days before event date: 75% refund
            • 6 days or less before event date: No refund

            Note:  Registration will be canceled if payment is not made at least 7 days prior to the event.

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