Hypnotherapy uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. The person's attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, a person may focus his or her attention with the help of a trained therapist on specific thoughts or tasks.
The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis is the largest U.S. organization for health care professionals using clinical hypnosis. ASCH Certification in Clinical Hypnosis is distinct from other ''certification'' programs in that it ensures that the certified individual is a bona fide health care professional who is licensed in his or her state to provide medical, dental, or psychotherapeutic services. ASCH believes that persons trained only in hypnosis lack the diagnostic and therapeutic skills as well as the licensure required to safely and responsibly treat medical, psychological, or dental problems with hypnosis. ASCH Certification distinguishes the professional practitioner from the lay hypnotist. There are 2 levels of Certification. Entry level is simply called ''Certification''. An advanced level, called ''Approved Consultant'', recognizes individuals who have obtained advanced training in clinical hypnosis and who have extensive experience in utilizing hypnosis within their professional practices.