You are here:

Hypnosis/Memory recall....


Hello Mr de Bruyn,

I would like to know whether hypnosis/hypnotherapy can help with memory recall?

By that, I DO NOT mean recalling "memories" (e.g an event) or anything 'forensic' (for example as an aid for the police in eye witness statements). I'm aware of the controversy surrounding false memories and suggestibility of details put forth by a doctor.

I mean can it help you recall information you have learned, for example of an academic subject, or indeed any information which doesn't have an emotional attachment?

Whenever I have made online searches such as "Can hypnosis help memory recall?", I'm taken to pages which debate recall in the forensic sense and I've yet to find a credible answer to the question "Can hypnosis help in recalling information you have learned?".

There are many memory improvement cds available but, as I understand it, taking the information in isn't the problem- being able to recall it from your unconscious mind is.

Hope this makes sense and thanks for reading- if you would like me to clarify further, I will try to,

- Steve

Hi Steve,

I think that you are seeing a distinction where there is none ... or at least not an important one.  Memories are memories and one can say that there is always some emotion attached.

That said, hypnosis CAN help in recall ... but it is not something magical, in most cases.  By that I mean to caution thinking of how hypnosis is portrayed in Hollywood films.  Take the Hitchcock film, "Spellbound", for example, all of that falderall is not like anything most of us have seen in real life.  :)

I also disagree with your understanding that recall is more important than "taking the information in".  Quite the opposite is true.  The failure to recall is MOST often a failure to record the information in the first place.  Any good memory course will emphasize FOCUS as the key component in memory ... IOW, if you don't pay attention when being introduced to someone at a party, you don't GET the person's name so there is really nothing to recall later.  Those courses emphasize focusing on the person's face and mannerisms, listening, repeating the name back, and using it a few times in immediate conversation.  THEN, they suggest that when you get home from the party, you immediately write down some notes about those you have met and review it periodically to keep the memories fresh.

In short, there is no "magic bullet" for memory.  It is mostly the systematic application of focus and intent.

One thing that does work exceptionally well, IMO, is the intentional use of sensory cues when studying.  For example, if you are getting ready for a test (like a GED for example) to whatever extent you can duplicate the conditions you will be placed in at the time of testing and do your studying in that same environment, you will find it easier to recall the material when tested.  Unfortunately we don't learn to do that so tend to study with music playing and while chatting with friends, eating pizza, and so on.  Unless we can put music on and bring friends and pizza in for the test ... well ...  :-)  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mike De Bruyn


I can answer questions on Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, NLP, and general personal change work. (I have some experience in EFT and EMDR, but not as much as hypnosis.) I will not debate the subject, attempt to justify it, or argue which modality is better than another. Please ask serious and specific questions so that I can give a specific answer. The more information you provide the better answer I can give. NOTE: In light of recent trolls, I will reject any question which is argumentative. I intened to provide information only to people seeking help. Those who need to argue can go elsewhere.


I trained in stage hypnosis and have worked in the field since 1968. I use traditional hypnosis, Ericksonian hypnosis and NLP in my work with private clients. I teach classes in Hypnosis and NLP and moderate the highly popular Hypnosis-Hypnotherapy group on Yahoo.

©2017 All rights reserved.