Inner Conflict Resolution with Hypnotherapy

Inner Conflict Resolution Ego State


Inner conflict is a psychological struggle within the self, often manifesting as a clash between competing desires, beliefs, or needs. It is an internal dialogue where different aspects of the psyche are at odds, leading to feelings of unrest, indecision, and distress. The repercussions of such turmoil can significantly affect an individual’s mental health, potentially resulting in anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. It impairs emotional well-being and can hinder one’s ability to make decisions, maintain relationships, and achieve personal goals.

Focused Attention

Hypnotherapy emerges as a potential solution amidst the myriad of treatments available for mental health issues. This therapeutic technique induces a trance-like state of focused attention and increased suggestibility to facilitate profound psychological changes. By tapping into the subconscious mind, hypnotherapy aims to uncover and resolve the underlying issues driving the inner conflict.

Goes Beyond Reach of Conventional Therapy

The efficacy of hypnotherapy in resolving inner conflicts lies in its approach to accessing the deeper layers of consciousness, which are often beyond the reach of conventional therapy. This article posits that through targeted suggestions and the therapeutic use of trance, hypnotherapy can effectively harmonise the conflicting parts of the psyche, leading to improved mental health outcomes. By addressing the root causes of inner conflict, hypnotherapy can provide individuals with the tools to reconcile their internal struggles and foster a greater sense of inner peace and clarity.

1. Understanding Inner Conflict

Inner conflict arises when an individual experiences two or more contradictory emotions, thoughts, impulses, or desires simultaneously, leading to mental unrest or indecision. It is the mental struggle stemming from the opposition between elements of one’s personality, such as the id (instinctual needs and desires), ego (realistic considerations), and superego (moral constraints), as described by psychoanalytic theory. This discord within oneself is not merely an abstract psychological concept; it has tangible effects on a person’s daily functioning and overall well-being.

The causes of inner conflict are as varied as the individuals who experience it. Some familiar sources include:

  • Unresolved Past Trauma: Unprocessed events from the past can create a lingering sense of unease and conflict within the self.
  • Conflicting Values and Beliefs: When personal beliefs are at odds with external expectations or societal norms, it can lead to an internal struggle.
  • Decision-Making: Facing choices with significant personal consequences can evoke inner conflict, especially when these choices challenge an individual’s sense of identity or ethical framework.
  • Change and Transition: Life transitions, whether developmental, situational, or unexpected, often require adjustments that can precipitate inner conflict.

Psychologically, inner conflict can manifest as anxiety, persistent worry, guilt, shame, and feelings of being ‘stuck’ or immobilised by indecision. Emotionally, it may lead to mood swings, irritability, or a sense of dissatisfaction with life.

Possible Symptoms from Inner Conflict

Physically, the stress from inner conflict can cause symptoms such as insomnia, changes in appetite, fatigue, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. It can also exacerbate existing medical conditions, as chronic stress impacts the immune system and the body’s inflammatory responses.

Understanding Your Inner Workings

Understanding inner conflict is the first step in addressing it. By acknowledging the presence of these internal struggles, individuals can seek out methods and therapies, such as hypnotherapy, which may aid in resolving the tensions that undermine their mental health and peace of mind.

2. Traditional Approaches to Inner Conflict

Traditional therapies have long been the cornerstone of treating inner conflict, with each modality offering its perspective on the best way to understand and resolve internal psychological struggles.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviours. It helps individuals recognise the links between their thoughts, feelings, and actions and reframe negative thinking into a more positive and constructive mindset. By challenging distorted beliefs and perceptions, CBT aims to reduce the psychological distress caused by inner conflicts.


Originating from the work of Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis delves into the unconscious mind to uncover hidden desires and unresolved conflicts, particularly those rooted in childhood experiences. Through techniques like free association, dream analysis, and transference, psychoanalysis seeks to bring these unconscious conflicts to the conscious mind, where they can be addressed and worked through.

Humanistic Therapy:

Humanistic therapy emphasises personal growth and self-actualisation. It is based on the belief that inner conflict results from a discrepancy between one’s real and ideal selves. Therapists who practice this approach strive to create a supportive environment that encourages self-exploration and self-acceptance, helping individuals reconcile their inner conflicts by aligning more closely with their authentic selves.

Limitations of Traditional Approaches:

While these therapies are effective for many, they are not without limitations. For instance:

  • Accessibility and Time: Traditional therapies often require a significant time commitment and may not be readily accessible to everyone due to cost or availability.
  • Depth of Unconscious Exploration: Some individuals may not respond to the cognitive focus of CBT, requiring a deeper exploration of the unconscious than what CBT offers.
  • Emotional Resistance: Psychoanalysis can sometimes be an emotionally challenging process, and not all individuals are comfortable with or capable of the deep introspection it requires.
  • Therapist’s Role: Humanistic therapy heavily relies on the therapist’s ability to create a non-judgmental, empathetic environment, and its success can depend highly on the therapist-client relationship.

In some cases, individuals may find that these traditional approaches do not fully address the complexities of their inner conflict, leading them to seek alternative methods such as hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can offer a different avenue for exploring and resolving inner tensions, mainly when traditional therapies have not resulted in the desired level of resolution.

3. Hypnotherapy as an Alternative

Inner Conflict Resolution IFS

Hypnotherapy is a form of therapy that utilises hypnosis, a state of focused attention, heightened suggestibility, and vivid visualisation, to bring about therapeutic change. Historically, hypnosis has been practised in various forms for centuries. Still, in the late 18th century, it became more widely recognised as a tool for healing under the work of Franz Mesmer and, later, James Braid, who coined the term ‘hypnotism’.

Bypassing the Critical Faculty

Unlike traditional therapies, hypnotherapy engages the subconscious mind directly. While therapies like CBT and psychoanalysis work with the conscious mind to understand and solve problems, hypnotherapy bypasses the critical conscious mind to facilitate a dialogue with the subconscious, where many deep-seated patterns and conflicts reside.

Parts Therapy, Ego State Therapy, and Internal Family Systems (IFS) are some of the specialised techniques within the hypnotherapy framework:

Parts Therapy:

Parts Therapy is based on the concept that our personality comprises various parts, each with its function and purpose. Not to be confused with multiple personality disorder. Inner conflict is often the result of these parts being in disagreement. In hypnotherapy, the therapist guides the client to communicate with these parts to understand their concerns and motivations and negotiate a more harmonious inner relationship.

Ego State Therapy:

Ego State Therapy, just like Parts Therapy, is an approach that recognises the personality as being composed of separate parts, often known as ego states, which are aspects of who we are. These ego states can contain both helpful and unhelpful patterns, and inner conflict can occur when these states are in opposition or when certain situations trigger negative states. Hypnotherapy can facilitate communication between these states and integrate them into a more cohesive whole.

Internal Family Systems (IFS):

IFS, similar to Parts Therapy, views the mind as consisting of multiple sub-personalities or ‘family members,’ each with its unique role. These parts may be hurt, carry burdens, and react in ways that cause inner conflict or unhealthy behaviours. IFS uses hypnotherapy to access these parts, allowing them to be heard, understood, and healed, thus restoring balance to the mind.

The Process of Hypnotherapy:

Hypnotherapy typically follows a structured process, which includes several stages:

  1. Rapport Building: Establishing trust and a sense of safety between the therapist and the client.
  2. Induction: Guiding the client into a state of deep relaxation and focused attention.
  3. Deepening: Increasing the client’s level of hypnosis to facilitate greater openness to suggestion.
  4. Therapeutic Intervention: Using Parts Therapy, ES or IFS techniques to explore and resolve inner conflicts.
  5. Consolidation: Integrating the insights and resolutions achieved during hypnosis into the client’s conscious mind.
  6. Re-orientation: Bringing the client back to normal waking consciousness.

Throughout this process, the therapist utilises various techniques, including visualisation, direct and indirect suggestion, metaphor, and storytelling, to assist the client in resolving inner conflicts and achieving their therapeutic goals.

Bottom Line

Hypnotherapy stands out from other therapeutic modalities due to its ability to quickly access deep levels of the psyche and effect change in a relatively short amount of time. By focusing on the transformative power of the subconscious, hypnotherapy offers a unique and powerful alternative for individuals seeking to overcome internal barriers and achieve lasting psychological well-being.

4. The Science Behind Hypnotherapy

Science of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy operates on the premise that the mind can influence the body, and various neurological studies support this connection. When a person is hypnotised, their brain activity becomes focused, which can be observed through neuroimaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalograms (EEG).

Neurological Basis of Hypnotherapy:

  • Changes in Brain Waves: Brain wave patterns shift during hypnosis, typically showing increased theta wave activity associated with deep relaxation and meditation.
  • Altered State of Consciousness: Neuroimaging has shown that hypnosis affects the areas of the brain involved in attention and the processing of sensory input, which may explain the altered state of consciousness and increased focus.
  •  Brain-Body Communication: Hypnotherapy can affect the autonomic nervous system, which controls involuntary body functions, suggesting that hypnosis can influence physical processes like pain perception, blood pressure, and even immune responses.

Research and Studies Supporting Hypnotherapy’s Effectiveness:

  • Pain Management: Studies have shown that hypnotherapy can effectively manage pain in conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and headaches. The brain’s pain centers are influenced under hypnosis, reducing pain sensation.
  • Anxiety and Stress Disorders: Clinical trials indicate that hypnotherapy can lower anxiety levels, particularly in patients undergoing medical procedures such as surgery or childbirth.
  • Behavioural Changes: Research supports the use of hypnotherapy in treating addictions, smoking cessation, and weight loss by modifying behaviour patterns and reinforcing positive behaviours and self-control.
  •  Psychosomatic Disorders: Hypnotherapy has been effective in treating disorders where psychological factors exacerbate a physical condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and dermatological conditions.

The scientific understanding of hypnotherapy is still evolving, but the growing body of research supports its legitimacy as a therapeutic tool. It is the interplay between the mind’s power and the body’s response that makes hypnotherapy a fascinating and valuable method for addressing a wide array of psychological and physical issues.

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    5. Hypnotherapy in Practice

    Hypnotherapy is utilised to address a wide range of inner conflicts, leveraging its unique ability to access the subconscious mind and enact deep-seated change. The types of inner conflicts that hypnotherapy can help resolve include:

    1. Anxiety and Phobias: Hypnotherapy can help individuals confront and reduce the intensity of fears and phobias by reprogramming the subconscious responses to fear triggers.
    2. Self-Esteem and Confidence Issues: Hypnotherapy can improve self-esteem and confidence by altering negative self-perceptions and reinforcing positive self-image.
    3. Addiction: Inner conflict often fuels addictive behaviours. Hypnotherapy aims to address the psychological root of addiction, aiding in the cessation of habits like smoking, alcohol use, and drug abuse.
    4. Emotional Trauma: Hypnotherapy can facilitate the processing of past emotional trauma by allowing individuals to access and heal traumatic memories in a safe, controlled environment.
    5. Stress Management: Stress often results from inner conflict between personal desires and external demands. Hypnotherapy helps in developing healthier responses to stressors.
    6. Weight Management: Hypnotherapy can assist in resolving inner conflicts related to body image and unhealthy eating patterns, promoting positive lifestyle changes.
    7. Relationship Issues: Conflicts within relationships may stem from internal battles with vulnerability, trust, and self-worth. Hypnotherapy can help individuals navigate these issues more effectively.
    8. Decision Making: Difficulty in decision-making can be rooted in fear of the unknown or of making mistakes. Hypnotherapy can clarify internal desires and motivations, leading to more decisive thinking.
    9. Grief and Loss: Hypnotherapy can provide support in resolving conflicts arising from grief, such as the struggle to let go or to reconcile unresolved feelings towards the deceased.
    10. Performance Enhancement: Whether in sports, arts, or business, performance anxiety and self-doubt can be mitigated through hypnotherapy by enhancing focus, motivation, and self-belief.

    In practice, hypnotherapists tailor their approach to the specific inner conflict at hand, ensuring that the therapeutic interventions are targeted and effective. By fostering heightened awareness and suggestibility, hypnotherapy allows individuals to re-examine and adjust their internal narratives, leading to resolution and harmony within themselves.

    6. Combining Hypnotherapy with Other Treatments


    A singular approach may not be sufficient for everyone in mental health and personal/professional development. Combining hypnotherapy with other treatments can create a more holistic, integrative approach to healing. This synergy allows for a multifaceted exploration and resolution of complex inner conflicts.

    Integrative Approaches:

    The integration of hypnotherapy with other therapeutic techniques can address multiple layers of an individual’s psyche. For instance:

    • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnotherapy: While CBT works on the conscious level to change thought patterns and behaviours, hypnotherapy can reinforce these changes on the subconscious level, making the overall therapy more effective.
    • Psychoanalysis and Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy can accelerate the uncovering process of psychoanalysis, bringing unconscious material to the surface more quickly and efficiently.
    • Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy: Combining mindfulness practices with hypnotherapy can enhance self-awareness and control over one’s thoughts, aiding in the management of stress and anxiety.

    The Role of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach:

    A multi-disciplinary approach can be beneficial for complex inner conflicts with multiple contributing factors. It involves a team of professionals who may include:

    • Psychologists: Offering cognitive and behavioural strategies.
    • Physicians: Providing medical oversight, especially when physical symptoms are present.
    • Nutritionists: Advising on diet and its impact on mental health.
    • Physical Therapists: Assisting with the physical manifestations of psychological stress.

    This collaborative approach ensures that all aspects of the individual’s well-being are addressed. Hypnotherapy’s role within this team is to provide a therapeutic avenue to access and resolve deep-seated emotional and psychological issues, complementing the more surface-level treatments provided by other disciplines.

    Bottom Line

    By integrating hypnotherapy with other forms of treatment, individuals can benefit from a comprehensive care plan tailored to their unique needs, promoting more profound and lasting healing.

    7. Who Can Benefit from Hypnotherapy?

    Who Can Benefit from Hypnotherapy

    Hypnotherapy is a versatile tool that can benefit a wide range of individuals. However, its efficacy can vary based on certain demographics and psychological profiles.

    Demographics and Psychological Profiles Most Likely to Benefit:

    1. Openness to Experience: Individuals open to new experiences and exploring their subconscious mind tend to respond well to hypnotherapy.
    2. Motivation for Change: Those with a strong desire to change their thoughts or behaviour are ideal candidates, as motivation can enhance the effects of hypnotherapy.
    3. Capacity for Concentration: People who can focus their attention and become absorbed in thoughts or activities may find hypnotherapy particularly beneficial.
    4. Stress and Anxiety: Those experiencing stress and anxiety can often find relief through hypnotherapy by learning relaxation techniques and new cognitive responses.
    5. Chronic Pain Sufferers: Individuals with chronic pain for whom traditional medical interventions have not been fully effective may benefit from hypnotherapy’s pain management techniques.
    6. Addictive Behaviours: People seeking to overcome addictions such as smoking, overeating, or substance abuse can utilise hypnotherapy to address the underlying psychological triggers.
    7. Emotional Trauma: Those dealing with the aftermath of emotional trauma may find hypnotherapy a valuable adjunct to process and integrate traumatic memories.

    When Hypnotherapy Might Not Be the Best Option:

    1. Severe Mental Illness: Individuals with severe mental health conditions such as psychosis or certain personality disorders may not be suitable candidates for hypnotherapy as it could exacerbate symptoms or lead to disorientation.
    2. Lack of Consent: Hypnotherapy requires the active consent and participation of the individual. It is unsuitable for those sceptical or unwilling to undergo the process.
    3. Cognitive Limitations: Those with significant cognitive impairments or difficulties in understanding may be unable to engage effectively with the hypnotherapeutic process.
    4. Misaligned Expectations: Individuals who expect hypnotherapy to be a quick fix or a form of mind control may be disappointed. It is a therapeutic tool, not a magical solution.

    It is essential for those considering hypnotherapy to consult with a qualified professional to determine if it is an appropriate modality for their specific circumstances. An initial assessment can help clarify therapeutic goals and establish whether hypnotherapy is viable or if other treatments might be more beneficial.

    8. Finding a Qualified Hypnotherapist

    The skill and expertise of the practitioner significantly influence the success of hypnotherapy. Therefore, finding a qualified hypnotherapist is crucial for anyone considering this treatment.

    Credentials and Qualifications to Look For:

    • Certification: Look for hypnotherapists who are certified by reputable hypnotherapy organisations. Certification typically requires a certain level of training and examination.
    • Training: Ensure the practitioner has undergone comprehensive training in hypnotherapy, including specific techniques and ethical practice.
    • Professional Membership: Membership in professional bodies indicates a commitment to ongoing education and adherence to a code of conduct.
    • Experience: Consider the practitioner’s experience, especially in dealing with the issues or conditions you wish to address.

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    How to Find a Reputable Practitioner:

    • Referrals: Ask for referrals from healthcare professionals or individuals with positive hypnotherapy experiences.
    • Professional Directories: Use directories provided by hypnotherapy associations to find qualified practitioners in your area.
    • Interviews: Don’t hesitate to contact potential hypnotherapists to ask about their experience, approach, and background.
    • Reviews and Testimonials: Look for reviews or testimonials from previous clients, remembering that confidentiality is critical in therapeutic relationships.

    What to Expect in Your First Hypnotherapy Session:

    • Initial Consultation: The first session often involves a detailed discussion about your medical history, the issues you want to address, and your goals for therapy.
    • Explanation of Process: A good hypnotherapist will explain how hypnotherapy works and what you can expect during the session.
    • Assessment of Suitability: The hypnotherapist may conduct a brief assessment to determine your responsiveness to hypnosis.
    •  Introduction to Hypnosis: Depending on the practitioner, you may be introduced to hypnosis in the first session to familiarise you with the experience.
    • Establishing Trust: Generally, the first session’s key focus will be building rapport between you and the hypnotherapist.

    Remember, the relationship with your hypnotherapist is collaborative. A qualified hypnotherapist possesses the necessary credentials and experience and makes you feel heard, respected, and comfortable throughout the therapeutic process.


    Hypnotherapy is a beacon of hope for those entangled in the often invisible yet palpable web of inner conflict. It reaches beyond the conscious mind, tapping into the vast and powerful realm of the subconscious, where many of our most profound struggles lie dormant or actively disrupt our peace. The potential of hypnotherapy lies in its ability to address and alleviate a diverse array of psychological disturbances, from anxiety and phobias to the emotional aftershocks of trauma. Its effectiveness is substantiated by centuries of practice and reinforced by contemporary scientific research that speaks to its impact on the brain and the body.

    It’s an Alternative

    Hypnotherapy offers a vessel of discovery and recovery for individuals navigating the tumultuous waters of inner conflict. It encourages a deep self-exploration that can lead to significant life changes, promoting healing and growth. The invitation to consider hypnotherapy is an invitation to step onto a path of transformation that could unveil a sense of harmony and balance previously thought unattainable.

    Bottom Line

    In the broader landscape of mental health, alternative therapies like hypnotherapy play an increasingly vital role. They complement traditional methods, offering personalised and holistic options for those seeking solace and solutions. As our understanding of the human psyche expands, so does our recognition of the myriad ways we can foster healing. Hypnotherapy, with its unique approach to the intricacies of the mind, continues to illuminate the journey toward wellness, proving that even the deepest of internal conflicts can be navigated and resolved with guidance, patience, and an openness to the possibilities of the subconscious.


    While hypnotherapy has shown promise as a complementary approach to mental health and wellness, it is essential to recognise that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. Individuals with serious health conditions or those currently under the care of a physician should always consult with their medical doctor before considering hypnotherapy or any other alternative interventions. A healthcare provider can offer guidance on how hypnotherapy may fit into a comprehensive treatment plan and ensure that it is used safely and effectively in conjunction with traditional medical treatments.


    1. Brain states and hypnosis research: This article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information discusses the neurological underpinnings of hypnosis and its effects on the brain. Find it here.
    2. Hypnotic suggestion reduces conflict in the human brain: Published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study explores how hypnotic suggestion can influence conflict monitoring in the brain and alter information processing in highly hypnotizable individuals. Find it here.
    3. Hypnotic conflict: a brief report: Available on PubMed, this report covers the management of conflict in hypnosis, focusing on how the manipulation of perception during hypnosis can affect conflict response. Find it here.
    4. Hypnosis in patients with perceived stress – a systematic review: This review, found on BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, evaluates the effectiveness of hypnosis on stress reduction and coping, which may be relevant to those experiencing inner conflict. Find it here.
    5. Hypnosis today: An article from the American Psychological Association that discusses modern applications of hypnosis in various treatment methods, including its role in creating a relaxed state of inner concentration and focused attention. Find it here.

    Further reading

    1. “Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution: Introducing Parts Therapy” by Roy Hunter. This book provides an in-depth look at Parts Therapy under hypnotherapy, a method for helping clients resolve internal conflicts and achieve harmony within themselves.
    2. “Easy Ego State Interventions: Strategies for Working With Parts” by Robin Shapiro. This work offers user-friendly techniques for various client issues, explaining ego states from various roles to extremely dissociated “parts”.
    3. “Parts Psychology: A Trauma-Based, Self-State Therapy for Emotional Healing”. This book discusses Parts and Memory Therapy, a trauma-based therapy suitable for a diverse audience. It compares it with Internal Family Systems, which may be ideal for those with a spiritual or religious inclination.
    4. “Parts Work Therapy for Complex PTSD”  by Dr. Arielle Schwartz. It covers various therapeutic approaches to working with parts, including Ego State Therapy and IFS, offering a valuable model for identifying common categories of parts like exiles, managers, and firefighters.
    5. “Internal Family Systems Therapy” by Richard C. Schwartz. This book explores IFS therapy, a type of psychotherapy developed in the 1990s that focuses on the sub-personalities or parts within a person, which can lead to a better understanding and resolution of inner conflicts.
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    About Lungisa E Sonqishe:

    I am a qualified Executive Coach focusing on Positive Mindset Strategies. I am also an accredited Client-Centred Hypnotherapist CHT and Parts Therapists CPTF, helping take clients to a new level of performance. I am a proud member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association®. 

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