Book Review

Roy Hunter's Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution (Introducing Parts Therapy)

Book Review by Patricia Oosthuizen – May 2013

Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution (Introducing Parts Therapy)

Author : Roy Hunter MS, FAPHP,  Crown House Publishing Limited 2005


As part of my CPTF qualification I was given the challenging task of doing this in depth book review on Roy Hunter’s Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution. This book review is first presented with the intention of informing the potential knowledgeable reader about the book and its content. The targeted reader would be an experienced student of hypnotherapy, fellow hypnotherapist, psychotherapist or psychologist.

Second, this book review is presented for the purpose of examination and assessment by my instructor. For this reason more extensive notes, observations and comments, that would not usually be included for a potential reader, have been added.

 About the Author

Roy Hunter is a hypnotherapist and Trainer of Parts Therapy who is clearly passionate about what he does. He assists clients and groups in self hypnosis for personal or professional motivation as well as presentations, International Hypnosis conventions and workshops held both in the USA and abroad. His course on professional hypnosis training is taught by many hypnotherapy instructors around the world. Roy Hunter was awarded an honorary doctorate in clinical hypnotherapy by St. John’s University (for lifetime achievement, 2000), and was inducted into the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame in 2000 for his contributions to the field of hypnotherapy. He has received numerous honours from this organization as well as the National Guild of Hypnotists and the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association.   Roy Hunter has authored several books, some of his best known works are Master the Power of Self-Hypnosis (Sterling Publishing 1998) and the Art of Hypnosis, (Kendall/Hunt Publishing, 2000). I believe this book, Hypnosis for Inner Conflict Resolution, will join these books as one of his most important works.

Subject of Book

In this book Roy Hunter is delivering a detailed, in depth, step by step explanation of Parts Therapy which, as he presents it, is a type of therapy that is used in hypnotherapeutic process. Hunters approach is client-centered and is derived mostly from the teachings and insight of Charles Tebbetts (his late mentor and friend). This along with his extensive knowledge and personal experience enables him to offer a thorough introduction to Parts Therapy.  He says, ”The late Charles Tebbetts based his parts therapy on Paul Federn’s work, but evolved it into a client-centered approach and combined it with deep hypnosis in order to help clients resolve inner conflicts. I updated the work of Tebbetts, and explain why client-centered parts therapy differs from most variations of parts therapy.”

Parts Therapy is believed to have evolved from Ego State Therapy (Dr. John Watkins and Helen Watkins), There are different kinds or variations of Parts Therapy, used in different ways by different therapists. Some examples are, Bradshaw – Inner Child work,  Hal Stone, Ph.D and Sidra Stone, Ph.D.; Voice Dialog,  Kevin Hogan, Ph.D., FAPHP;  Quigley – Conference room therapy; Elias – Eastern philosophy and transpersonal hypnotherapy.

Roy Hunter describes his methods of client-centered Parts Therapy used in hypnosis, this for the purpose of inner conflict resolution. He clearly outlines the technique and reasoning behind his methods, also clarifying which clients would most benefit from this kind of therapy. He discusses all pitfalls and detours, endeavouring to furnish the reader with a full and extensive knowledge of Parts Therapy. (The Objective and reasoning behind it, the client-centered technique, the benefits, the step by step process, detours and pitfalls). There are copious examples and verbatim case studies in the book which allow the reader to gain a deeper understanding of how Parts Therapy works.

 Author’s Goal and reason for writing on the subject

It appears to me that his intention or goal in writing this book was to furnish fellow hypnotherapists and serious studens of hypnotherapy with an overall introduction to, and a full explanation of client centered Parts Therapy, with the idea that they should be able to apply the therapy themselves. He is clearly passionate about the subject and most eloquent in his detailed dissection of the process. At the same time he is able to convey the complexity and intricacies of Parts Therapy in a simple manner such that anybody with the appropriate background could understand and appreciate. He emphasises the importance and reasons for a student already to be at a level where they can induce trance, use deepening techniques, establish ideomotor responses, Resource State, and be able to facilitate Regression before attempting to master Parts Therapy.

I believe that Hunter intended for this book to be a starting point and a guide for those seeking to use such a technique for the benefit of their clients. This book gives the reader a firm foundation of knowledge on Parts Therapy and quite adequately prepares the serious student for their ‘practical training’. After reading this book a student or hypnotherapist should be well informed, very clear on the steps of the process and feel ready to work with confidence on becoming adept in this technique.

Hunter expresses his purpose quite clearly saying, ‘This book is intended to teach step by step Parts Therapy process the way I practice it.’

Conscise Summary of the Book

Roy Hunter’s book is an introduction and detailed step by step guide to using the hypnotherapeutic technique of client-centered Parts Therapy. It also guides the reader through a basic history of Parts Therapy and provides insights on how it has evolved and transformed. He discusses at length the variations of Parts Therapy so that the reader can appreciate the real objective behind using such a technique. His explanation of dealing with physical Parts is interesting. Paul Federn and Charles Tebbetts are commonly acknowledged to be the founders of Parts Therapy although they openly acknowledge that the now client-centered technique evolved from what was essentially Ego State Therapy and Gestalt Therapy.  Judith E. Pearson Ph.D says,

”Parts therapy is not new. It is known by several variations in the literature of hypnotherapy, NLP and personality psychology: ego state therapy, sub-personalities, voice dialog, and inner child work.”

In this way Parts Therapy was developed into what it is today. As a student and friend of the late Charles Tebbetts, Hunter is able to give us much insight and shares the a brief but very interesting story of how Tebbetts became the pioneer and master that he was. Chosen by Tebbetts himself to further his works, Hunter honours his memory, knowledge, skill and compassion with this treatise. With that said, he adds his own observations and insights, offering the reader the added benefit of his knowledge and extensive experience.

Parts Therapy, as Hunter explains, is a client-centered technique, used in the hypnotherapeutic process to assist a client in resolving inner conflict. He explains when this type of therapy is appropriate and what types of inner conflict would warrant such a technique. He discusses the benefits of Parts Therapy for the appropriate person and how it succeeds in its intention of promoting harmony between the parts of a person. Hunter outlines the importance of realizing and making clear to a client that these different parts are not separate personalities, rather different aspects of their persona. He makes this very clear and gives the good example explanation, that we wear different hats in different situations we face in life, behaving and expressing ourselves appropriately to suit the particular situation that we are facing. Like when we are at work we would wear a different hat to the one we would wear at home relaxing with the family. It serves to reason that when any of these parts of ourselves are in conflict, or seem to want different things that there would not be harmony (inner conflict).

Parts Therapy technique offers a way to communicate directly with these parts or aspects of our persona, expressing, identifying and addressing the cause(s), positive purpose and reasoning behind the behaviour. Hunter explains how this is best achieved by being non-judgemental, neutral, patient and open minded. With his step by step process a therapist is able to create a platform for communication and compromise, guiding a client to reach a solution through their own understanding and inner wisdom (the true meaning of “client-centred”). This is aligned with the main intentions of hypnotherapy:  assisting a client to connect to their ‘inner wisdom’, release repressed emotion/s, and empower the client to reach their own solution.  Judith E. Pearson Ph.D. writes, ”The book describes the background, principles and methods for conducting client-centered parts therapy in the context of clinical hypnosis.” She continues by explaining that, ”Parts Therapy consists of a set of therapeutic maneuvers for reconciling the conflicting parts of a client’s personality.”

Hunter discusses and outlines each step in the process of client centered parts Therapy. His methods lay out a preliminary step by step guide to establishing the true nature of a client’s issue/ailment/symptom or behaviour. Any subconscious ‘resistance’ that is not allowing positive change within the client, he explains, is usually due to one or more of the following; an imprint from an authority figure, a current unresolved issue, secondary gain, identifying with someone, inner conflict, self punishment and past painful experience. (The Seven Psychodynamics of a Symptom).

He achieves clarity on which dynamic is operating by asking the client strategic questions while in a state of hypnosis. This is done before conducting the process of Parts Therapy. His ‘seven psychodynamics of a symptom ‘  are those important set of questions that ascertain the nature of the problem and ultimately determine the correct type of therapy that would best suit the client’s needs. Depending on the answers given by the client, the therapist can confidently know if using parts therapy will be appropriate, or if using another technique would better work for the client. A therapist can also know when it is best to refer a client to a specialist, this in the client’s best interests and for their highest benefit. Hunter discusses this and urges any hypnotherapist to refer the client to a specialist or seek training in that particular area of expertise before attempting a technique with which they are unfamiliar, unprepared for and/or untrained to perform.  He makes it clear that it is not a failing on the therapist’s part, to refer a client to another therapist that would better serve them is in fact integrous, client-centered and honest.

Hunter also discusses the use of Parts Therapy regarding Multiple Personality Disorder (page154, 155) He urges and advises any hypnotherapist to either have qualified in psychology before attempting to use this type of therapy with MPD, or to refer or collaborate with another therapist who has this qualification and experience.

Hunter is also very clear in emphasizing the importance of language in hypnosis. He explains how and why leading is to be guarded against and is contrary to the clients best interests. The concept and benefits of the client-centered approach in hypnotherapy are also discussed in this book and are essential for a student’s core foundation of knowledge when using any technique in hypnotherapy. It bears repeating that it is wise and necessary for a student to already have attained an advanced training in hypnotherapy before attempting to use Parts Therapy. For a certified Hypnotherapist Parts Therapy would be an immeasurably valuable tool that they could master and offer skillfully for the benefit of their clients.

This technique works by identifying the part of the individual that is in conflict with the client’s best interests, and also to identify the motivating part that is driving the client to resolve the inner conflict for the benefit of the client. The therapist would then seek to establish rapport and open a communication with each of these parts in turn. Each of these parts would be neutrally addressed by the name or title that they chose and given the opportunity to express their positive purpose and reasoning in and behind what they do for that individual. With the purpose behind the undesired behaviour identified, the therapist then seeks to negotiate and mediate a compromise for both part, making clear the willingness from all sides to communicate, understand and resolve the issue for the highest benefit of the client/individual concerned.

Ultimately the communication, understanding and insights that ensue would result in skillfully shaping a compromise in the form of an agreement between those parts. If there is a breakdown in communication, an unknown block or a lack of trust between the parts, the therapist would then seek to identify a ‘wiser’ part to assist in the negotiations. (It is important to know about client’s beliefs and terminology regarding the higher self, wiser self or spirit before seeking to label or appeal to such a part. Rapport could be lost and the entire therapy process compromised. ) This would not be serving the client’s best interests.  Hunter writes, ”The facilitator of client-centered parts therapy has the task of identifying and calling out the right parts, asking the right questions, listening objectively,” and guiding the parts (and client) through a therapeutic process.

Critical Assessment

 In my view Roy has done a masterful job of presenting and introducing client-centered Parts Therapy. I agree with his approach, admire his passion and appreciate the care and meaning conveyed in his writings. He clearly achieved what he set out to do and covers all the bases.  It has been a great learning for me and a valuable source of information, really a worthwhile read.

His reasoning and opinion that the Parts should give their own name or title are most pertinent and definitely client-centered, the name or title given often being a clue in itself that would be neglected by the therapist who provided a name for that Part.

 In Chapter 2.1 Hunter shows the need for determination despite the ignorance of others. His brief history on Charles Tebbetts is enlightening, inspiring and insightful. We clearly owe them both a great debt of gratitude for their courage, pioneering work and development of Parts Therapy.

Hunter really clears things up by discussing the difference between negotiation and mediation with regard to the Parts Therapy process. He outlines the importance of conducting a neutral arbitration and keeping the process client-centered. (page 20)

I agree with his view on using scripts (Page 24) It reinforces the need for keeping the Parts Therapy process client-centered and encourages the hypnotherapist to develop their confidence, own style and fluency.

Hunter’s reasoning behind and use of the terminology, ‘release it’ or ‘let it go’ rather than using the wording ‘forgive’ was most helpful (page 27). He later discusses using the terminology ‘lose’ in the example of a person wanting to lose weight, and ‘give up’ when wanting to quit smoking. I believe these words  have can have negative connotations or associations that would wisely be avoided by the therapist rather than later counteracted.  Hunter also makes an interesting and very important point about the terminology, ‘try’ and ‘trying’, very much like the word ‘but’ (page 41) negating what follows it.  Also see his views on the use of the word ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ (page 56). It is my view that a serious student of hypnotherapy would greatly enhance their abilities and knowledge by studying semantics or neuro-semantics.

In this book Hunter clearly explains the difference between a hypnotist an a hypnotherapist, a little known distinction that has resulted in much misconception over time. A client’s preconceived misconceptions about hypnosis are certainly the first obstacle a hypnotherapist will need to address before seeking to establish proper rapport, induce trance or guide them through any process.  He makes a very good point about ‘weekend certification’ in hypnotherapy (page 29). In this important work Hunter emphasizes the vital aspects of the Parts Therapy process almost dogmatically.  I believe he was this meticulous because he intended for the reader to fully understand what Parts Therapy is, and also because of the general suspicions, confusion and misconceptions about  hypnotherapy and hypnosis.

Hunter is very good with his references and his non-judgmental, anti-ego approach is refreshing. His discussion on ‘dealing with subconscious perceptions rather than realities’, is both thought provoking and important (pages 31, 32).  His emphasis on proper preparation is excellent and will benefit any serious student of hypnotherapy (page 39).  He adds here also a very nice analogy of a hiker, I laughed at his wording,  ‘…wander around aimlessly in someone’s subconscious without proper preparation.’

I fully agree with Hunter about his deepening a client to a medium depth of trance before commencing with Parts Therapy. A client in a Parts Therapy session, who is only in a light state of trance, is able to consciously resist, sabotage or obsrtuct the process. He emphasizes repeatedly the importance of doing this and the reasoning behind it (page 43).

Hunter’s views on a therapist benefitting from having personal experience of being a subject of  hypnosis, before being able to fully appreciate the process, are very pertinent and important (page 49, 50). If the hypnotherapist believes in hypnosis and has experienced trance state before, it is a convincer in itself both for the therapist and client. It also allows the therapist to identify with the client who will be guided through a similar process of relaxation and selective awareness, from a point of enhanced confidence and knowledge, this stemming from their own experience.

The importance of establishing Rapport is very well explained (page 54). Hunter also discusses his method and the importance of establishing a Resource State: he refers to it as the Happy Place in his example where he wisely concludes that, ‘It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it’ (page 43).  His methods for establishing Resource State and gaining rapport are well explained.

Hunter uses of a deftly worded Ericksonian double bind on page 56, this regarding the client’s choice of verbal communication or finger response during the Parts Therapy process. His advice on explaining to the client and their different Parts that you are a mediator are most helpful (page 58).  He also makes it abundantly clear as to why a therapist should allow enough time for a Part to respond, before assuming it has not emerged. In this way, as mentioned above, a therapist’s personal experience in trance state will greatly benefit his understanding of how this communication in trance state is often slower and requires time.

Hunter explains why a therapist should never lead. This is so important for any hypnotherapist to understand and avoid like the plague. He urges the reader to rather use open-ended questions when addressing the Part/s, being respectful, neutral, non- judgmental and open minded. A gentle non-biased inquiry that would ideally lead to the different Parts expressing their purpose and intentions ultimately forming their own agreement – this is keeping it client-centered.  Hunter explains clearly why it is vital for the threrapist not to project their own assumtions and judgements into the therapy session (page 78).

I found another clear explanation in one of his excellent articles (Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy Articles for Professionals) ”The client-centered approach helps clients attain greater empowerment, because it is based on the belief that the power to change resides within the client. The facilitator’s job is to remain objective while helping clients discover their own inner power, and to help them use it constructively. Successful client-centered parts therapy provides a greater probability of lasting results, and often provides the side benefit of an improved self-esteem for many clients. This is a win/win.” Roy Hunter

Hunter discusses why it is important for a therapist not to assume. He prepares the serious student or hypnotherapist for the possibility that the Part they are calling out first may not emerge before another Part. He explains why this could happen in a session and clearly outlines his methods for dealing with such an occurrence. This is most helpful and important for a student to know. He makes a very good point when discussing the ‘controlling part’ on page 78.

The section on Tebbetts’s view of, ‘Deal with what emerges’ is  inspiring, important and most pertinent for any therapist to embrace when using Parts Therapy (page 80).

Following this, Hunter writes about the advice Charles Tebbetts gave to his own students. Helpful and important advice regarding ‘courtesy rather than criticism’, and the importance of being courteous with the Parts.

In this book Hunter put emphasis on the importance of working with the client’s spiritual or philosophical beliefs rather than the therapist’s own. I agree wholeheartedly with this viewpoint and appreciate how he explains that it is contrary to the desired outcome and client’s best interests. At the very least this kind of assumption would only serve to confuse the client, can break rapport and will ultimately sabotage the process thereby eroding the success of the therapy (page 105).

Hunter’s opinion on seeking assistance from a Higher Part when coming to the Terms of Agreement is very refreshing and extremely important. (This has also been my experience.  See my case studies for further reasoning on this point.)

Charles Tebbetts Orchestra analogy is excellent;  a marvellous way to look at it (page 114).  I particularly enjoyed his wording used in the suggestion found on page 118. His case study on Debby was very interesting; it clearly shows the wisdom in dealing with what emerges rather than the therapist presupposing a prescribed route of therapy.

There are only two aspects of the Roy Hunter Parts Therapy method that I would dispute or perhaps do in a different way. I am a qualified hypnotherapist but certainly cannot claim to have his vast experience. I have received training in Parts Therapy and am excited to be adding this valuable tool to my repertoire. I therefore respectfully offer my comments for the purpose of this critical assessment/review and can only look forward to a time when I can constructively contribute to his already finely-tuned methods. This, also for the purpose of adding to the wealth of knowledge already accumulated on Parts Therapy, and in my appreciation for such mastery in the pursuit of assisting/empowering others with the powerful tool of hypnotherapy.

The two points I would like to make are as follows. Regarding his questions in the ‘seven psychodynamics of a symptom’, I would like to query whether this kind of questioning engages the conscious mind. (Making the client think about it, instead of subconsciously responding spontaneously.) I was taught that the subconscious mind responds to simple, clear, pertinent, almost childlike questioning. If I ask a client what it isn’t, in a complex suggestive sentence, wouldn’t I not unnecessarily be summoning up that possibility for them, even though it may not have meaning – inadvertently giving it meaning. Much like the example of the command, ‘Don’t think about a blue Volkswagen !’. The client of course will think about what is proposed  and seek to align or identify with the stimuli mentioned (a kind of leading).

This is just my observation. I do understand why asking these questions is important and for the client’s benefit. I wonder if it would be possible to word the questions more simply, so that the therapist does not inadvertently engage the conscious mind’s critical thinking process.

The second point I wanted to make is regarding Hunter questioning a client in trance as to ‘when’ and ‘where’ the client’s issue arose. He does explain that this often prompts a Regression and that the therapist should be prepared for this. I’m just not sure one would want to intentionally prompt that route before trying Parts Therapy. Certainly in some instances and when appropriate a client could benefit more from a Regression or Past Life Regression process. I am passionate about analytical hypnotherapy and am trained in Regression and Past Life Regression but do appreciate why a more ‘simple’, less analytical approach of Parts Therapy would appeal to, and benefit many a client. I would perhaps endeavour to do the Parts Therapy first, unless absolutely unavoidable, and then revisit the issue with Regression if the need arose.

I believe Parts Therapy is powerful when used properly and with the right intention. It is my experience that Parts Therapy appeals to some clients because it is less intrusive and does not require the analytical digging for cause, disclosing of sensitive information or rehashing/reframing of past events. It is my experience that Parts Therapy can succeed by discovering and addressing the positive purpose behind the conflicting parts behaviour or is ‘motivation’.  This I believe can then be done without prematurely prompting the Regression process.

Again, this is just my opinion, indeed that no two therapists will be completely alike in their use of hypnotherapy. I have learned so much from Roy Hunters book and agree with his approach. With this said, I would chose to reframe those particular questions of  ‘when’ and ‘where’, to a question that would not knowingly or automatically prompt a Regression. In other words, where appropriate, I would seek to resolve the issue with Parts Therapy before initially inviting a Regression with that use of wording. If necessary I would address the client’s issue with Regression if the Parts Therapy was only partially or entirely unsuccessful.


In conclusion I would like to thank and aknowlege Roy Hunter for a writing of such importance. It has certainly enhanced my understanding of Parts Therapy and added to my confidence in using this most effective technique.  I recommend this book highly and am certain it will be invaluable to any serious student of hypnotherapy or therapist. This book and the knowledge contained therein will also certainly assist their appropriate potential or future clients, who would greatly benefit from their knowing and being able to offer this type of therapy.

Roy Hunter’s book is well written, eloquent, interesting and provides much detail without being tedious. Certainly a worthwhile read and a wealth of  knowledge for the hypnotherapist who is interested in mastering the powerful ‘tool’ that is client centred Parts Therapy. Learning Roy Hunter’s step by step process for Parts Therapy certainly provides a student with a firm foundation to build upon.  As always, it is up to the student or therapist to practice, perfect and fine-tune this skill/tool.

I feel it is also necessary to thank, aknowledge and appreciate the South African Institute of Hypnotism (SAIH), where I trained and qualified as a Certified Hypnotherapist (non-medical). Before reading this book I completed their speciality course in Parts Therapy which teaches Roy Hunters client centered method. The South African Institute of Hypnotism (SAIH) has been so thorough and meticulous in their training, allowing me to feel confident and prepared to properly use Parts Therapy for the benefit of my clients in future.  This has also allowed me a far broader understanding and level of appreciation when reading this book for the purpose of this review.

South African Institute of Hypnotism (SAIH) is the only accredited trainer of Parts Therapy in Africa.