Charles Tebbets had a long and impressive career as a hypnotherapist and teacher of hypnosis. He died while attend the National Guild of Hypnotist Convention in 1992. I (Chaplain Paul G. Durbin) had the good fortune to attend some of his seminars and workshops over the years and he was an inspiration to me. I  asked his student and friend, Roy Hunter to write a "Tribute to Charles Tebbets." Following Roy’s "Tribute" are some samplings of Charles Tebbets writings.

A Tribute to Charles Tebbetts: 20th Century Pioneer of Client Centered Hypnosis by C. Roy Hunter, M.S., CHI

As the dawn of the 21st Century closed the history book on 20th Century hypnotherapy, therapists around the world looked back at the 20th Century pioneers who forever changed the course of hypnotherapy. One name shines brilliantly as a pioneer of client centered hypnosis: Charles Tebbetts.

More popularly known for his profound work with parts therapy, Charlie (as his friends called him) became a leader among hypnotherapy instructors. During the latter years of his life, he trained thousands of students in the art of hypnosis. Dr. John Hughes of the National Guild of Hypnotists respectfully referred to Charles as one of the Grand Masters among hypnotherapy instructors. but WHO WAS this man who inspired two major hypnosis associations to give awards in his name?

Charles Tebbetts was already in his teens at the close of World War One. Before attaining today's drinking age, he played saxophone in a band at a night club that also employed a stage hypnotist. Fascinated with the nightly show even after a period of several months, Charlie also noticed that the stage hypnotist seemed to have a problem with alcohol. One night when the hypnotist failed to show up, Charlie convinced the manager that he could do the show instead and thus began the career of Charles Tebbetts!

During the next few decades, Charlie remained involved with hypnosis even though he also pursued a career in advertising and song writing. Though never receiving a college degree, he studied the work of every major pioneer involved with hypnosis (past and contemporary), including Dave Ellman and Milton Erickson. Eventually he met and befriended Gil Boyne, and studied at Gil's school. Charlie incorporated many techniques taught by Gil, yet he continued to practice his own unique style of therapy. He eventually joined the National Guild of Hypnotists.

When I was privileged to study personally at his school in Edmonds (north of Seattle) back in 1983, Charlie had already discovered the powerful PARTS THERAPY technique that he is best known for today. Some therapists believe that Charles Tebbetts originated parts therapy, but that is not true. One trait that I always admired about my mentor was his willingness to give credit to others. Though he gave frequent credit to Gil Boyne for numerous techniques, he was just as quick to credit Dave Ellman where credit was due. He also talked about the accomplishments of Milton Erickson and Fritz Perls (and showed videotapes of both men in the classroom).

To look at him, one would never know that Charles Tebbetts once suffered a totally immobilizing stroke. While lying in bed, unable to move anything except his eyes, he had lots of time to utilize self-hypnosis to regain his mobility. He told me that he started with one finger at a time, until he could move both hands; and then he worked on his toes and feet. Over the following weeks he gradually increased his mobility and ability to talk, becoming living proof of the power of the mind!

My late mentor spent the latter years of his life emphasizing the need for comprehensive training. He felt strongly that 3-day and 5-day programs would hurt both the profession and the clients who saw graduates of short programs. Charlie also taught the importance of fitting the technique to the client rather than vice versa, which today I call Diversified Client-Centered Hypnosis. His primary goal was to empower the client, and he insisted that his students use the philosophy that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. While people may still debate whether that is true, my own experience demonstrated the wisdom of Charlie's belief. Some years back I brought myself out of a very deep trance when I did not like the suggestions given to me. Might there have been a different result if my belief were different?

Charles Tebbetts practiced and taught hypnotherapy with a passion to the day of his death. In the fall of 1992, while attending the annual convention of the National Guild of Hypnotists, he was struck down by a heart attack. Just hours before his passing, he asked me to teach his parts therapy workshop in his behalf. His wife, sitting in on the workshop, suddenly left the room and minutes later an NGH official informed us of his passing. Joyce Tebbetts, who did not normally believe in "psychic stuff" told me that she left the workshop suddenly because she had seen her husband standing beside me waving goodbye. Whether or not one believes in what she saw, I was moved to tears when she told me.

My two books, The Art of Hypnosis and The Art of Hypnotherapy (Kendall/Hunt Publishing) were written to preserve the important teachings of the late great Charles Tebbetts. When I consider the many hundreds of students whom he personally trained, it is indeed a privilege that he asked me to carry on his work. While I certainly realize that my mentor taught a comprehensive training program that was almost before its time, he is best remembered for evolving parts therapy into such a powerful tool. I believe Parts Therapy as taught by Charles Tebbetts to be one of the most profoundly beneficial contributions to hypnotherapy in the 20th Century. Others may have borrowed variations of parts therapy, and even may call it by different names; but the true pioneer of parts therapy in the hypnotherapy profession is the man whom I believe deserves to be considered the grandfather of client-centered hypnotherapy: Charles Tebbetts.

[Roy Hunter, M.S., CHI, is an internationally recognized author and trainer. He was inducted into the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame in 2000 for his written contributions to the hypnotherapy profession, and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including The Charles Tebbetts Award from the National Guild of Hypnotists, and The Charles Tebbetts Memorial Award from the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. His website is:]

(Roy Hunter receives NGH Charles Tebbets Award 2001)

NOTES FROM SELF-HYPNOSIS: (By Charles Tebbets. (1984) Westwood Publishing Co. Glendale, CA.): Since the subconscious mind is our driving force, we always do what our subconscious believes. Since it will believe anything it is told we can reprogram it if we bypass the conscious mind and substitute new, constructive ideas for its existing negative ones. Then they must be reinforced daily until they become well entrenched habits of thinking. (p 6)

SIX FUNCTIONS OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS: (What the subconscious believes is the difference between success and failure, sickness and health and happiness and unhappiness. It has six vital functions:

1) It serves as a memory bank of computer. Nothing we have ever learned or experienced is, in strict scientific literalness, ever erased from these cell patterns unless a portion of the brain is injured or removed. (p 8) (Hypnosis is helpful in recalling past history and in improving memory, concentration and recall.)

2) The subconscious controls and regulates the involuntary functions of the body, such as breathing, circulation, digestion and elimination. Since tension or stress inhibit these process, they are responsible for the symptoms of psychosomatic illness. (p 9) (Hypnosis is a helpful tool to re-establishing their normal functions because it can reach the controlling force.) We cannot emphasize too strongly, though, that a medical doctor should be consulted to be certain the disease is psychosomatic before proceeding with this method of treatment. (p 10) (Hypnosis can be used to enhance healing in conjunction with medical treatment when the illness is not psychosomatic.)

3) The subconscious is the seat our emotions and this accounts for its domination of the conscious mind. Since the emotions govern the strength of our desires, and since our desires govern our behavior, we are at the mercy of our subconscious unless we learn to control it. When we have conflicting desires, the subconscious one usually wins. (p 10) Subconscious beliefs can cure or kill you. (p. 11)

4) The subconscious it the seat of the imagination. Many people say the have no imagination, but although they may have suppressed it, it is still there and active, often working against their best interest and well-being. (p. 11) Creative imagination is one of the great secrets of success. All great artistic, musicians, engineers and architects draw their so-called talent from their subconscious minds. Most of the greatest works of art were created while the artist was in some form of self hypnosis. In this state, the imagination is dominant while the reasoning mind is dormant, and creative powers are at their peak. Mozart claimed his musical inspiration were formed like dreams, independent of his will. Coleridge created Kubla Kahn "in his sleep." New ton solved most of his mathematical problems while in so-called dreams. Goethe said his greatest poems were written while in a dreamlike state. (p 12) (One's imagination can work for good or bad according to how the individual uses it.)

5) The subconscious carries out our habitual conduct. It manages and controls the activity we have reduced to habit. (p 13)

6) The subconscious is the dynamo that directs our energy, the energy that drives us toward our goals in life... The subconscious mind is not suppose to think, but to react to the thoughts you give it, and carry out your orders. It is much easier to direct the subconscious than to let it push you around. It is intended to be the servant and you were intended to be the boss, and if yours has not pushed you toward success and happiness it is time you started giving the orders! (p 13)


1) The slow, hard way to reach and convince the subconscious is by repetition.

2) Identification with group or parent: If you are Irish you may have a subconscious desire to show off your so-called "Irish temper," which is merely an idea accepted because you are a member of a group. Again, you may have been told "You're just like your father" often enough to have accepted some of his habits as your own.

3) Ideas presented by authority figures are usually accepted as absolute truths by the subconscious. (p 15)

4) Intense emotion opens up the corridor to the subconscious because the conscious mind is inhabited by emotions. If a child s badly frightened by a dog, he may fear dogs for the rest of his life, in spite of his conscious reasoning that the average dog is not only harmless, but friendly. (p 16)

5) The fifth way to subconscious change is hypnosis, and this method is much more practical and effective than the other... Hypnosis is the fastest and shortest route to the subconscious.

Faith in your religion can be intensified by hypnosis and it can help you live a better, more useful life.

History has recorded a continuing controversy over whether or not humans have "free will." Many great philosophers, including Schopenhaur and Einstein, have maintained that, since we are obviously products of our inheritance and our environment, our choices in any given situation is determined by our attitudes, desires and opinions, which are the result of those that preceded them, and then those the preceded them, and so on back to our childhood when our attitudes, opinions and resulting desires were implanted in our subconscious mind by our environment. We are obviously product of factors beyond our control, and to many this seems to deny that we have free will or moral responsibility. But we have the wherewithal to modify these previously learned behavior patterns by eliminating destructive or anti-social ideas while in hypnosis, and replace them with positive, truthful concepts that will enrich our lives. Hence our free will. (p 19) 


1) The motivating desire must be strong. (p 43)

2) Be positive. (p 44)

3) Always use the present tense. When you use your imagination you are in direct contact with the subconscious, and that is what you are trying to influence. Your self image has a great deal to do with your success or failure in life. If you want to be s success, visualize yourself a success... Imagine what you are suggesting is true, not some time in the future, but now! This is the only kind of communication your subconscious mind will understand and act upon. (p 45-46)

4) Set a time limit. Set a realist time limit, and you will find the goal is usually reached well before the time you set! (p 46)

5) Suggest action, not ability to act. Don't say, I have the ability to dance well." but rather "I dance well, with ease and grace." (p 46)

6) Be specific. Don't suggest a number of things at once. You may alternate suggestions at different self-hypnotic sessions, but never work on more than two or three at once, and never never more than one during a suggestion. (can use self-confidence with other suggestions)

7) Keep your language simple.

8) Exaggerate and emotionalize.

9) Use repetition. (p 47)

Plato said, "We become what we contemplate." Christ (Not Christ, but writer of Proverbs) "As a man thinketh so is he." Your subconscious mind understands pictures better than words. Imagine it will happen, hypnotize yourself and tell your subconscious to make it happen, believe it will happen and it will. (p 121)

NOTES FROM MIRACLES ON DEMAND: (By Charles Tebbets, (1997) Westwood Publishing Company. Glendale, CA):

RECOGNIZING THE STATE OF HYPNOSIS: The subject becomes extremely relaxed and slow diaphragm breathing is usually noted. The pulse rate slows down and the eyes often tear, or the whites of the eyes become reddened. The eyelids often flutter and the eyeballs roll upward. The face relaxes to an expressionless appearance called the "hypnotic mask." As the lungs relax, the subject expel the air form his lungs in what is called the "hypnotic sigh." The subject becomes highly responsive to suggestion and direction, and although he can be selective in the suggestions he will accept or reject, he tends to carry out any suggestion that he doesn't mind accepting. All of theses signs of hypnosis do not occur in every subject, but they are all sings of either entering or being in a trance state. (p 31)

Hypnotherapy also works on the principle that most diseases are psychosomatic and are chose subconsciously to escape from a situation the client perceives as an overload of stress. The mental stress caused by destructive emotions such as anger, hatred, resentment or fear often impair the functioning of the body's immune system and is therefore the indirect cause of physical illness. (p 51)

UNCOVERING TECHNIQUES: There are four steps in the elimination of a symptom by the uncovering methods: (1) The memory by which the symptom is provoked must be brought into conscious awareness. (2) The feelings with which it is associated must be re-experienced. (3) The relationship of the symptom to the memory must occur which allows the client to make future decisions unencumbered by the repressed material. (p 68)