Dr John Butler

Dr John Butler

Who is Dr John Butler

Since 2016 the Hypnose Zentrum Köln host seminars and workshops in Transforming Therapy™ in co-operation with NOJ Hypnose Ausbildung Hypnotherapy Training International (HTI) in London.

These seminars and workshops are held by Dr John Butler who is the director and leading hypnotherapist of the HTI. The HTI was founded in the 1960 by the legendary Gil Boyne, of whom John Butler is the successor and whose legacy he is continuing.

Interviews mit Dr John Butler

I conducted two interviews with Dr John Butler in which we learn more about the person who was chosen by Gil Boyne to continue his legacy, the Transforming Therapy™ and Westwood Publishing.

The following two interviews are the audio only versions.

Interview 1

Transcript 1

Click to read the transcript

Axel Hombach

Who is Dr. John Butler part 1.

If you have followed the post on the transforming therapy hypnosis approach the posts on the courses the other interviews with dr. John Butler you may have come to wonder who dr. John Butler is who is this person who has such an extensive knowledge on hypnosis and that is exactly what we are going to tackle in these two interviews my name is axel humba I’m the head and leading hypnotist and coach of the hypnosis n Tomica I’m currently online with dr. John Butler of the HDI which is the hypnotherapy training international the leading school in hypnotherapy and hypnosis world white the hei was originally founded by guilt born foo he is the successor Gisborne himself was one of the most influential figures in modern hypnotherapy in the modern hypnosis and John Buckland carries on his legacy John Butler was one of my teachers in hypnosis and I consider him one of the best if not the best teacher in hypnosis that I ever had and not only they’re one of the best teachers I’ve ever had he’s currently sitting not next to me he is sitting in London and please let us say hello to John John hello.

Dr. John Butler


Axel Hombach

So as we talked about this is going to be about who you are well I’ve already said that I consider you one of the best teachers I’ve ever had and certainly one of the most knowledgeable people in hypnosis I’ve ever met and earlier this year when you gave the class in transforming therapy here in Cologne the feedback reflected that you are obviously one of the best teachers that is out there and as it so happens since people met you I’m asked over and over again who is John Butler how did he get into hypnosis and what what is she doing currently and there are a lot of questions that people seem to be interested in well not only people I’m also very interested in your biography and your history and so this is all about some time ago you sent me a biography a small CV so to speak and when we look on the internet we can also find a list of titles of grades of positions that you hold there’s a lot about you that we can start so first let me ask a very simple question very open question which can lead to anywhere you choose – John who are you?

Dr. John Butler

Well thank you axel well as you mentioned I’m the director of the HDI just to clarify what you’ve said about guildelines work the HDI that Gil ran for many years in Los Angeles was the hypnotism Training Institute and hidden the therapy training International is continuing his work he was very influential in persuading me finally to set up their school of my own and from there we’ve branched out and toured in many countries the aim is the same really to promote the very best quality of hypnotherapy worldwide that we can so that’s one part of who I am it’s my passion it’s a vocation it’s a major part of something I do every day we’re always working on our next courses here in London or in other countries and looking at the research and working on the current student cadre that we have how they’re getting on and so it’s very much a 24 hours a day up almost to keep our whole world of hypnotherapy advancing the way that we wanted to go now I also of course work and seek clients I do clinical work to this day and that’s been a major part of my background my teaching is based on the pragmatics of clinical work as opposed to theoretical work from different academic disciplines which is very important in the way it helps us understand and develop some of the methodologies in hypnotherapy but the practical work is a foundation that it cannot be minimized and must be the predominant part of hypnotherapy it’s the clinical art of hypnotherapy as that is the most important thing for our students to learn and they can read up and immerse themselves in the theories academic theories and various theories out there as part of a background to their clinical practical skills so clinical work is a big part of my life too and I think it’s very important that teachers keep in touch with the clinical work so that they’re teaching from a position of constant engagement with clients as well as working from their practical skills of teaching which they’re developing and working with all the time so keeping your clinical skills active and hot is very critical I’m also involved in teaching still teaching at the academic level in the medical world the world of medical clinical medicine research medicine and that’s teaching your Anatomy neurophysiology anything really with a a neuro label in it is part of what I do in the teaching and the academic level.

Axel Hombach

Yeah I say Frank you hold a degree and PhD in neural endocrinology what exactly is that that you started there.

Dr. John Butler

Well neuroendocrinology is looking at the the neurological and intricate logical systems where are they are interactive and looking at essentially how the brain regulates the endocrine system as the brain regulates every activity in the body and of course the body sends that information to the brain complex feedback loops and the neuroendocrinology is really studying that in all of its vast complexity so I researched in one particular area of that and that’s part of what I teach of course as well.

Axel Hombach

That sounds as if there are some overlaps to hypnosis there from the brain perspective if you if you look at the brain and how the hormones are regulated etc and how you apply maybe suggestion million pain management maybe in other areas like in like in stress management etc everything of those areas is regulated by various hormones or neurotransmitters etc and I could imagine that from your town university perspective you are somehow very well suited to dive into hypnosis.

Dr. John Butler

Yes I said well the research at the hypnotherapy has come on in leaps and bounds as technologies improved years ago when I was interested in the science behind hypnosis how did acts on the brain well the technology was very limited by comparison today’s standards basic EEG and we have then of course moved on a lot with neuroimaging methodology and MRIs it’s functional MRI and other systems so a great deal not more is now known am i interested in the brain coming from a scientific background was to look at how the brain works and this is a vast field of itself how the brain regulates itself and the body and to study the brain is to vast in complex to try and understand it all in one package so to speak one has to break it down into systems within the brain areas within the brain and look at it particular functions that go on there and so one looks at certain Llorona groups the cells that are there then you’re a physiology then you’re Anatomy the synaptic connections pathways the wiring and seeing how that is constructed that’s the anatomy how it works at the physiological level and then how that regulates functions within the body which then feed back into the brain itself and so a lot of what I do of course that I study was more of the mainstream where hypnotherapy itself is very much on this side of research it doesn’t get a lot of grants a lot of attention but the work of people like John Roselli and Helen Crawford in the United States several people Rainville and others has opened a lot of windows into our understanding of the effects of hypnosis on activity in the brain and it’s quite intriguing and there’s many debates about what it all means and certainly from my background it’s easier for me to understand that and conceptualize it in lots of different ways that if I hadn’t got the background in the hard sciences of the brain my original work was looking at Easter genic regulation of certain cell groups in the brain and how those cell groups then triggered pituitary activity and then triggered the hormonal axis that affects regulation and so that was one part of my research and of course a hormone like estrogen affects not only reproductive function and reproductive areas of the brain but it’s involved in all kinds of other activities and affects the functioning of cells particular cell groups specifically but it takes all cells to some extent and how important that hormone is so there is a lot of complexity in studying the brain it’s the most complex structure we’ve yet discovered in the universe and with our brains we are struggling to understand the brain and I think hypnotherapy will in due course be seen as a major part of how we understand the consciousness and how that works in the human brain and in human behavior now that’s not to say that perhaps Sciences will have all the answers but I think it’s a very valuable part of hypnotherapy that we understand the basics at least of the science behind it and then we can look for then into areas where science has yet not understood how things operate but with good clinical observations good empirical observations we’ll be able to find what works best to help patients to help our clinical work become the very best it can be.

Axel Hombach

And from the brain perspective as I understand you not only work with the brain as a neurologist but you have also some kind of a background in psychology and psychotherapy and have worked in both fields is that so correct to say?

Dr. John Butler

Yes that’s true because my clinical work has involved working with people with the clinical issues they bring which are often areas to do with stress anxiety the psychological problems they bring which of course have profound effects on the neurological neuro physiological activity of the brain and they feed into each other of course if the clinical work and it’s important that a person has a good understanding of psychological principles and these of course overlap between psychotherapy and hypnotherapy and I’ve trained in psychotherapy several systems and was for many years on the board of the UK Council for psychotherapy in United Kingdom and I have utilized certain of the knowledge that is part of my psychotherapy training within my work with hypnotherapy because hypnotherapy is a very broad basis of psychological and psychotherapeutic knowledge that it works from and so it’s important to be able to use concepts ideas there that are very relevant to hypnotherapy so hypnosis being a mind-body therapy draws on information from all branches of psychology all psychological knowledge and I would argue also philosophical knowledge about human thinking human society human behavior I think the critical thing to understand that differentiates hypnosis and hypnotherapy from psychotherapy is the very direct way that hypnotherapy connects with the subconscious processes and without a lot of intellectual speculation about what could be wrong with the person based on with prevailing psychological theory in the method of psychotherapy one is using be it cognitive being psychoanalytic or a nearest system well hidden the therapy directly investigates what’s happening in the subconscious layers of the mind the subconscious processes we want to call them that and deals directly with them at that level.

Axel Hombach

You mentioned that you were on the board some official public board of the government in the guy Oh was it a different kind of Casey.

Dr. John Butler

Yeah the UK council psychotherapy is not a government board it is well recognized by government agencies as one of the three main bodies regulating psychotherapy and there are a lot of interactions of course between the UK CP and government policies and government activities in the field of mental health now I was involved in many government sponsored initiatives that were involved in the regulation the self regulation a voluntary regulation of hypnotherapy that we have in the UK which there are many bodies involved in that as well and I was in the early 1980s the main person fact I was one of the first people at least that I know of in the modern era of regulation and that began to model in in that era early 1980s I hope to bring various people together from the schools that existed at the time and help to get them talking to each other with a view to setting standards and raising standards developing the standards for the future for clinical practice and for training schools so we would have a common basis of standard at least that the public could feel confidence in and that government agencies could also look at and feel well what these people do is a reasonable standard at least and in that initiative over the years and in the many initiatives really but in that movement to set and raise standards there’s been progress and yet a lot remains to be done in my opinion still.

Axel Hombach

Well it’s only been 35 years spent since the 80s and yes a lot a lot of time although it seems to be a lot of time it’s more than a generation we know how slow sometimes time works and until certain standards get through and as I remember from my time at university it’s more like old ideas time with the people and then there’s room for new ideas because the new people are still alive would you save that and your experience is the same with the standardization of regulation in the UK?

Dr. John Butler

I think that idea does I hold a lot of credibility I think that when we look at human nature whether it’s in science or in any other field well really we’ve become very devoted to our favorite theories and ideas and so as we become so captivated by our own ideas and maybe invest a lot of energy and time writing about them we’re slow to change them in the face of new evidence and so it is unfortunate but true that much of the progress in science hasn’t come from the embracing of the data but really from slowly but surely older people retiring the new people not being so wedded to the old ideas they weren’t their ideas particularly and so they’re more ready to accept new concepts and new developments.

Axel Hombach

New concepts new developments you were the first person who developed hypnosis course in the early 90s of the last century that was hypnosis course for academia.

Dr. John Butler

Yes back in 1990 we set up a course which I had written the basis of that course which was the first course in the National Health Service the NHS here in the UK and that was under the ages of the University of Manchester and that course was to teach nurses midwives people who will be using hypnosis with patients on the wards and it was this they will have an ability to use hypnosis which had an academic basis and acceptance so that course we taught for many years and it was the first official training in the NHS in hypnotherapy.

Axel Hombach

And currently you are still teaching medical staff and people.

Dr. John Butler

I still teach in the medical school and I teach medical psychology and also in teaching I am still teaching neuroanatomy in both practicals and tutorial groups so those are academic commitments I still have and it’s part of my work.

Axel Hombach

It’s part of your work means that you are slowly switching towards training hypnotherapy or hypnosis in general more than the academic teachings.

Dr. John Butler

Yes because over the years the need for hypnotherapy as a very brief form of psychological therapy as a very powerful form of psychological therapy is seen it’s seen in the UK in the Western world in many parts of the world and where the access to psychological services very limited the ability of governments to fund and trained psychiatrist psychotherapists which is a very long trainings is limited by their finances and by structural reasons as well in the academic system and for many reasons anyway many people do not have good access to psychological therapies hypnotherapy really fills that gap in a very powerful way much more effectively and say training counselors who only have a short period of training and therefore are equipped to deal with similar problems but when hypnotherapy training them even for a relatively short period of time we train over 200 hours that enables them to work with quite substantial range of problems some problems that are would be considered very severe and yet do this work effectively and safely and ethically so that’s a part of our my mission my purpose at the moment to spread that hypnotherapy practice as far as I can globally.

Axel Hombach

And this function I could imagine that is very helpful that you also the CEO of Westwood publishing the publisher that publishes the Green Bible the book of dave pelman and you’re also the current president of the American Council of hypnotist examiners if you look at your two positions there and how far does it help you to spread the idea of the techniques of hypnotherapy.

Dr. John Butler

Well the first thing the publishing is important because it means we can keep very good quality materials in print among the most important works that we feel that help students in their learning about hypnotherapy they’re very important training materials that we produce and these are available to students around the world and certainly in our own classes all the students get access to this kind of material we provide as part of our training materials and the courses that we teach and Westwood is a very specialized Enterprise founded by gil boy at a time when some of the hypnotherapy materials were only available to licensed clinicians in other words licensed psychologists and physicians and there was an elitist element of thinking at the time that unless you had training to physician level you know MD or PhD in psychology it wasn’t appropriate to practice hypnotherapy and thankfully that flawed thinking has now left us and so the publishing company that was set up I give at the time made good works available and we’re keeping that tradition guy of making information about hypnotherapy available to people who needed and will benefit from it the ACA Qi American counseling hypnotist examiners we set up by Gil Boeing to help vii maintain standards in the US for our clinical practice and for training in schools the weight schools trained that they would have a minimum curriculum and basic curriculum and then they would at the same time have to submit their students to an examination which was said by the acha so we knew that students had passed certain standards before they were considered graduates who were enabled to able then to go out and work with the public with clinical issues and the ACA Qi has had links with many schools over many years in different parts of the world so it’s it’s 36 years now since it was founded this is October 2016 so it’s over 30 years 36 years and in that time it’s been a very positive force for our field and has protected on many occasions about 40 occasions where there were attempts to restrict the practice of hypnotherapy to just very elitist groups who felt they should control the field acha continues its work in America and has affiliations with many countries and the bodies there that are doing not only training people but are regulating hypnotherapy in those countries which is mostly self-regulation voluntary regulation.

Dr. John Butler

Thank you John unfortunately our time is coming to an end and I would thank you very much for your insight for information before we quit for now there’s some last words right now that you would like to give to our listeners?

Dr. John Butler

Well Axel I hope anybody listening is keen to find out more about the work we do the training we offer and how they can learn hypnotherapy for their own benefits not necessarily to train to become a hypnotherapist with us but if that’s part of their drive their passion their vocation well that’s fine I would wish that they will be able to do that and or train with other good schools that exist out there at the same time for people reached and learning about hypnotherapy for their own purposes for personal development to help them with psychological issues I do hope they will take the time to look into the subject and if necessary then if their interest is there to connect with us and we will be able to provide them with more information.

Axel Hombach

Thank you very much John hope to talk to you soon again and bye for now.

Dr. John Butler

Thank You Axel. Goodbye for now.

Interview 2

The second part is being edit right now.


Englisch Summary

Dr. John Butler is a Doctor of Medical Science who works as hypno-anaesthetist. He lectures at various colleges in the UK. He is the CEO of Westwood Publishing. He teaches advanced Hypnotherapy and Transforming Therapy throughout the world. √

John Butler has worked as hypnotherapist for 35 years. He has been a hypnosis trainer for 25 years and worked as a co-trainer closely with Gil Boyne for 10 years.

He is the Director of Studies at HTI (Hypnotherapy Training International). He created and taught the first NHS course in hypnotherapy, is a recognised pioneer in medical hypnotherapy, and has been appeared many times in TV documentaries, and magazine features.

Internationally, Dr. John Butler is regarded by many collegueas as one of the most competent, experienced and friendliest hypnotherapists and hypnosis trainers.

John Butler is also the President of the A.C.H.E. the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, the association founded originally by Gil Boyne.

He is the publisher of the green bible of hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, the book by Dave Elman.

Academic achievements

PhD (Med Sci., Lond.), MBSH, MBPsS, MA, BA(Hons.), BSc(Hons.), DHP, Dip A.T., CHT, FNRHP

Registered with U.K.C.P., E.A.P., B.A.S., A.C.H.E.

PhD (Med Sci., Lond.) – Doktor in Medizin-Wissenschaft (Medizinische Forschung)
MBSH – Member of the British Society of Hypnosis
MBPsS – Member of the British Psychological Society (one has to be a psychologist)
Ma – Master
BA – Bachelor
BSc(Hons.) –
DHP – Diploma in Hypnosis and Psychotherapy
Dip A.T. – Diploma in Autogenic Therapy
CHT – Clinical Hypnotherapist (ACHE)
FNRHP – Fellow of the National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapist in the UK

Registered with
U.K.C.P. – UK Council for Psychotherapy
E.A.P. – European Association of Psychotherapists (nur als psychologischer Psychotherapeut)
B.A.S. – British Autogenic Society
A.C.H.E. – American Council of Hypnotist Examiners

Brief Biographical Summary

Professional Practice

Dr John Butler is a highly regarded hypnotherapist with over 35 years of proven experience as a successful clinical practitioner.

He has been a therapist to many high-level performers in performing arts, the media and business.

He has been a highly regarded teacher of clinical hypnotherapy for over 25 years.

He has been a hypnotherapy educator to a wide variety of health professionals including writing and tutoring the first official training in hypnotherapy in the NHS in 1992, teaching at the Royal College of Nursing in London.

Dr. Butler trained in experimental neuroanatomy, neurosurgery and neuroscience methodologies and carried out research in medical science specialising in the field of neuroendocrinology, in which he holds a doctoral degree from the University of London.

He has lectured in higher education for over 20 years and has taught medical psychology, neuroanatomy and medical neuroscience in medical education. He has taught psychological therapies specialising in clinical hypnosis for over 20 years, teaching in the UK and internationally.  This included writing and tutoring the first official training in clinical hypnotherapy in the NHS in 1992, at the Royal College of Nursing in London.

He is an instructor in surgical applications of hypnosis and has taught clinical hypnosis applications to surgeons and anaesthetists in a course accredited by the Royal College of Anaesthetists.

He is the principal instructor for Hypnotherapy Training International which operates training programmes internationally.

He is an approved hypnotherapy instructor for the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners and several other accrediting bodies.

He has been lectured to major businesses including Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, BUPA, Ernst & Young, etc.

He has acted as an expert witness and as an advisor to the police in legal cases involving hypnosis.

Standards Setting & Regulation Activity

He has been active for 30 years in the development of professional psychological therapies the UK and internationally and has served on committees and boards of government and private initiatives in setting training standards for this field.

He was a key figure in the development of the profession of hypnotherapy in the UK. Since the early 1980s he has been highly influential in the areas of establishing educational and training standards for hypnotherapists and in achieving public and political recognition of hypnotherapy as a major healing art.

He organised the first conference of heads and delegates of hypnotherapy schools and registers in 1986 to formally initiate processes of standard-setting for the training and professional regulation of hypnotherapists in the UK.

He played a major role in many private and government-sponsored initiatives concerned with training requirements, occupational standards and self-regulation of hypnotherapists that were established in the late 1980s and 1990s. His contribution to the profession in the UK was formally recognized in 2004 by an award from a national confederation of hypnotherapists.


Training & Education

He trained in a variety of systems of psychological therapies, including autogenic therapy and other systems of psychotherapy and made an intensive study of many healing systems.  He studied hypnotherapy with several schools and learned directly from many renowned medical hypnotherapists.  He specialised in clinical hypnotherapy and undertook lengthy training with Gil Boyne.  He studied personally with Gil Boyne and taught with him on many occasions.  Dr. Butler was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the ACHE in 2011.

He has been registered as a psychotherapist in several modalities with the United Kingdom for Psychotherapy and received certification from the European Association for Psychotherapy and holds membership of the British Psychological Society.  His academic background includes degrees in science and psychology and medical science with higher degrees in psychology and medical science.  He holds a doctoral degree in medical research from University of London.

Media Appearances & Contributions

In his clinical work Dr Butler has been influential in establishing the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a healing method in the perception of the public and health professional alike.

His work was first filmed over 20 years ago and since then has been reported many times in the media, including a major BBC television series, „Mysteries“, in 1997 and Channel 4’s breakthrough live broadcast with John Butler using hypnosis as a sole anaesthetic while surgery was performed on a patient in April 2006  („HypnoSurgery Live“, More 4 / Channel 4 TV).

He has made more than 30 television appearances as an expert in hypnotherapy with several programmes focused on his use of hypnotherapy as an anaesthetic for chronic pain and in invasive surgeries.

He has been widely quoted in the media as an authoritative source of information on hypnosis.

Dr Butler has written numerous articles on hypnotherapy for magazines and newspapers and contributed to many publications and television programmes on hypnosis and related subjects.

He is the clinical author of the popular book “Secrets of Hypnotherapy” (Pub. Dorling Kindersley).

Some of his clinical work has been featured in “Time” magazine and “Science” magazine.  He is the clinical author of the popular book “Secrets of Hypnotherapy”. (Pub. Dorling Kindersley).

He has contributed to several books, written many articles in popular and learned publications, and published papers in the field of neuroscience and hypnoanaesthesia.

Scientific And Professional Publications

Medical Research – Sample Publications

Kalló I, Butler JA, Barkovics-Kalló M, Goubillon ML, Coen CW. Oestrogen receptor β-immunoreactivity in gonadotropin releasing hormone-expressing neurones: regulation by oestrogen.

J Endocrinol13: pp741–748, 2001.

Butler JA, Sjoberg M, Coen CW.

Evidence for oestrogen receptor alpha-immunoreactivity in gonadotrophin-releasing hormone-expressing neurones.

J Neuroendocrinol.11(5): pp331-335. 1999

Butler JA, Kalló I, Sjoberg M, Coen CW.

Evidence for extensive oestrogen receptor alpha-immunoreactivity in the cerebral cortex of adult rats.

J Neuroendocrinol.11(5): pp325-329. 1999

Clinical Hypnotherapy – Sample Publications

Butler JA.

Clinical hypnosis in practice

Therapy Today: Journal of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy(Sept) pp22-25, 2012

Butler JA.

Pain Control

The Dentist(Aug); pp58 – 60, 2012

Butler JA.

Stress reduction means risk reduction

Dental Protection(Aug); p23. 2012

Butler JA.

Pain control and dental hypnosis

Aesthetic Dentistry Today(July); pp80-82, 2012

Kiss G, Butler JA.

Hypnosis for cataract surgery in an American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status IV patient

Anaesth Intensive Care 39: 1139-1141, 2011