ADHD Hypnotherapy may sound unlikely at first, but the reality is surprisingly positive for this highly misunderstood but powerful complementary treatment.
As the controversy about possible over-diagnosis of ADHD continues, and the risks of medication continue to be debated and researched, a growing number of ADHD adults and parents of children with ADHD are now considering alternative and complementary therapies to help them cope with this condition.
According to ADHD expert Dr Tony Lloyd, from the charity ADHD Foundation (which is chaired by Rory Bremner, who himself has ADD), drug treatment should be used only as an adjunct to behavioural therapies, as recommended by NHS guidelines. But the reality is that in adults the vast majority only receive medication, and in young children 75% receive medication, and only 50% receive behavioural treatment.
“The fact of the matter is that in the UK medication is the first line of treatment and pretty much the only line of treatment. That needs to change.” ~Dr. Tony Lloyd 
Whilst hypnotherapy has for too long been associated with stage shows, it is increasingly receiving the scientific attention that it deserves, and has been shown to be effective for a wide range of problems from smoking, to anxiety, and even depression. And now, ADHD Hypnotherapy is becoming more widely accepted as offering possible benefits. According to the National Council of Hypnotherapy, the main regulatory, professional body in the UK:
“Research has been conducted using alternative therapies including hypnotherapy for ADHD and hypnosis has been found to help people with ADHD focus, concentrate, and control stressful situations.
Other forms of treatment that contain no side effects include psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy. These, along with hypnotherapy, can help children change their behaviour and help them realise that they can be in control of their actions.” 
In terms of learning differences and behavioural problems, including ADHD, hypnotherapy can help you or your child to:
- Learn to focus
- Avoid distractions
- Improve study habits
- Raise Self Esteem
- Release Traumas & Phobias related to ADHD
- Change your beliefs about ADHD for the positive
- Increase motivation & eliminate procrastination
- Improve sleep
- Lower depression and anxiety
Here are 7 reasons to consider Hypnotherapy for ADHD for you or your child…
1). It turns out that children and adults with ADHD can be hypnotised after all.
In fact, the slow brain wave activity typically found in children and adults with ADHD is similar to what we find in someone that is hypnotised, or indeed in children up to the age of 12. Interestingly, all children are very suggestible and hypnotisable.
According to Traci Stein, PhD, in Psychology Today:
“Hypnosis involves attending to hypnotic suggestions, and it would seem logical that those with ADHD would have greater difficulty paying attention to them. Yet, some research has shown that people with ADHD are in fact more hypnotizable and trance-prone than average despite challenges with focus.”
And in a peer reviewed 2015 study by researchers Maarit Virta, et. al., using hypnosis to improve attention, it was reported that:
“This study indicates that hypnotic suggestions have an influence on the reaction times in a sustained attention task. This effect was found in both adults with ADHD and normal control participants.”
2). You can use Hypnotherapy for ADHD either alone or in addition to medication, and the two can work together really well.
For those that are concerned that they are not hypnotisable because of ADHD, it should be noted that research has shown that use of medication can improve hypnotisability in those with ADHD.
Hypnotherapy may also be a suitable option if you choose not to take medication currently or are unable to take it, and it may also help to lower the dosage of medication necessary and the rate of medication-related side effects.
Of course, medication should never be lowered or stopped without consulting your health professional.
3). Hypnotherapy for ADHD is very safe, and side effects are extremely rare.
Before you or your child consider medication, it may be worth exploring whether hypnotherapy for ADHD could in fact be enough to avoid medicating. This is especially valuable for young children, in whom medication should be a last resort, and there are likely to be many adults and children whose ADHD could be helped with behavioural treatment and other approaches like CBT or Cognitive Hypnotherapy.
4). Hypnotherapy for ADHD is a good option for those in the 20% for whom medication does not work or has severe side effects.
Whilst medication works for 80% of people with little to no side effects, that leaves 20% for whom it either doesn’t work or for whom the side effects are too severe.
Therefore, other options need to be considered. One may try coaching, CBT, or Neurofeedback, or a combination of these.
The kind of ADHD Hypnotherapy that I use is cognitive based with coaching, so it combines the best of both worlds, and also hypnosis tends to be more powerful and easier to follow than coaching or CBT alone, which relies primarily on the conscious mind. Hypnotherapy has also been shown to speed up Neurofeedback, cutting the number of sessions required in half.
Whilst CBT has been more thoroughly researched in terms of successfully helping ADHD, nonetheless in the first study comparing CBT with Hypnotherapy, hypnotherapy performed as well as CBT, but performed better in a long-term follow up.
5). Hypnotherapy for ADHD can be just as successful in young children, and often more so!
In fact, young children (before age 12, as young as 6 or 5) are already in a highly suggestible, imaginative state, which is considered to be a form of hypnotic trance, so they respond to hypnosis very quickly. This is one of the reasons why children tend to get faster results than adults. That, and what we call “neuroplasticity”: the ability of the brain to rewire itself according to the input from its environment.
6). Hypnotherapy for ADHD is fast and therefore cost effective.
On average Hypnotherapy tends to work fast. On average someone would see a CBT therapist to treat depression for approximately 40 sessions, with Hypnotherapy an average of 12. Hypnotherapy can cut the number of Neurofeedback sessions for ADHD in half, from as many as 80 down to 40, or 30 down to 15. (Barabasz 1999) As Neurofeedback can run into thousands of pounds per session, this represents a significant saving of both time and money. Similarly, hypnotherapy for ADHD could require less sessions on average than CBT or coaching would.
7). Working with a “Hypnosis for ADHD Specialist” increases the chances that Hypnotherapy for ADHD will work for you or your child.
I myself have ADHD and used hypnosis to recover from it when I discovered that medication wasn’t the best approach for me, due to severe side effects.
I also trained as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist in 2011 and a “Hypnosis for ADHD Specialist” with Lisa Machenberg of the “Hypnosis Motivation Institute” in Tarzana, California. So when I use Hypnotherapy for ADHD, it is specifically designed for the ADHD child or adult in mind, which means it works even more efficiently.
Sessions are tailor made to each individual and according to age. So when I work with a younger person, for example, the hypnosis is more magical, dynamic, and easy to follow. I work in a way to keep the attention of the child or adult that I’m working with!
Well, there you have it. Children and adults with ADHD are indeed hypnotisable, and may respond well to this approach. Hypnotherapy for ADHD is sure to receive more attention in future, and is definitely something to consider.
You or your child could learn self hypnosis, or have a course of individual treatment with myself. I work internationally via Skype or you can work with me one-to-one in my home town of Bristol.
Either way, Hypnotherapy for ADHD holds a lot of promise. If you want to find out more about how I help ADDer’s using hypnotherapy why not sign up for my mailing list.
About the Author
Jamie Vasilyan was diagnosed with ADHD and depression in 2004. He took medication but the side effects were too severe that he had to discontinue. This caused him to go on a quest to find out everything that he could about how to survive, and hopefully thrive, with ADHD.
By the summer of 2011, using a combination of hypnotherapy, meditation, clean diet and exercise, he came out of depression and mastered his ADHD. In that same year he was able to finally hold down a long term job, and retrain as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, helping other people with anxiety, depression, trauma, and ADHD, recover and live their lives again.
Jamie has also trained as a “Hypnosis for ADHD Specialist” with Lisa Machenberg of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute, and today focuses his energy on coaching other ADDer’s (children, adults and parents) to understand, cope with, and hopefully find success and happiness with ADHD.
 ADHD Treatment Can be Helped with Hypnotherapy, National Council of Hypnotherapy, 2015. https://www.hypnotherapists.org.uk/5950/adhd-treatment-can-be-helped-with-hypnotherapy/
 “ADHD Medication May Improve Hypnotisability”, Psychology Today, Traci Stein, Phd: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-integrationist/201508/adhd-medication-may-enhance-hypnotizability
 The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestions on Reaction Times in Continuous Performance Test in Adults with ADHD and Healthy Controls, Maarita Virta, et. al, in Plos One http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0126497
 Treating ADHD with Hypnosis and Neurotherapy, Annual Convention of the
American Psychological Association, Barabasz, Arreed; Barabasz, Marianne, 1991, https://archive.org/stream/ERIC_ED435076/ERIC_ED435076_djvu.txt
Nothing in this article should be construed as medical advice. ADHD and other conditions can only be diagnosed by a doctor or other medical health professional, and decisions about medication should always be in consultation with your doctor. Results from Hypnotherapy cannot be guaranteed, and are partly dependent on you or your child’s level of motivation and commitment to change.