About Dr. Edwin K. Yager

Personal History

I started my working life as an engineer. As time passed, I moved into management and to my surprise I found management more rewarding than engineering. Dealing with people and their personalities is a fascinating process.

During this time, I became involved in the study of – and then in teaching – the clinical use of hypnosis. This led to my seeking the degrees necessary for me to change my career to that of the helping professions. This change in career was due in large measure to my conviction that hypnosis held promise of being an effective means of resolving many human problems. That promise has been fulfilled beyond my ability to comprehend at that time. I have become passionate about the subject.

My Role as a Psychotherapist

My first task in helping people lies in convincing them of the first of the three items, the possibility of change, and then to teach them “how.” However, unless there is motivation – not just desire, but motivation – to change in the way they wish to change, I will not likely succeed in helping them. It is true that a counselor or therapist may be able to assist in the development of motivation by guiding the person to evaluate consequences and values; however, he/she will be limited in that ability. Real motivation comes from conditioning derived from life’s experiences.

Teaching people “how” to change is basically a process of education. A process that involves teaching some theory and life facts they already really know, followed by guided experience to uncover and identify the roots of the problem/limitation/behavior/belief; then to objectively evaluate that information from the perspective of present, more mature knowledge and judgment; and finally to integrate the conclusion reached; that is, to program the desired change into unconscious thought and behavior.

My approach to helping others is based on my understanding of how we function as human beings. I have become convinced beyond question that the human mind is capable of healing illness, as well as capable of causing such illness, and this applies to both psychological and physical illness. Properly used, hypnosis can be a powerful tool to influence mental processes to promote healing. Moreover, as I understand the phenomena, hypnosis is the vehicle through which the illness was probably introduced into the life of the patient, probably happening without conscious awareness. As I understand this phenomenon called hypnosis, we all spontaneously enter trance states many thousands of times in the course of life without conscious awareness that it is happening. As an example, in the case of a child, frightened in a dark place, he or she would quite logically learn to associate fear and dark, and thereafter be afraid of the dark, a consequence that would later be diagnosed as a phobia. That we can employ hypnosis to reverse the influence that is causing the current problem should not be surprising.


My Role as a Life Counselor

Just as life’s conditioning may result in a mental illness, it may also result in a limitation in our ability to do something, a limitation that is not based in reality, but perhaps based on the expressed, false opinion of another person, or a misinterpretation of perceived information. Examples of this kind of conditioning abound and include academic problems, personal relations problems, performance limitations, over-reaction problems and hyper- and hypo-sensitivity problems. Such influence from the past can prevent happiness, limit professional performance and advancement, or interfere with relationships with others.

My understanding of how we became who we are, as expressed above, opens the door to how to change what we don’t like about ourselves. This may involve learning how to recognize self-limits that are false, and then to set them aside, or learning how to improve our presentation to others, or how to improve our standing in the world.

In the hands of a competent clinician, hypnosis is simply a tool, a tool that can be effectively and efficiently employed to accomplish desired change.



• I am licensed in California as a Psychologist (License No. PSY14466).  This license does not include authorization for me to prescribe medications.

• I have accumulated over thirty-years of experience in the field of psychotherapy, following a career in electrical engineering.

• I specialize in treatment using suggestive and analytical hypnosis, as well as Subliminal Therapy, to resolve a wide variety of presenting problems.

I hold the following graduate degrees:

• Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the Professional School of Psychological Studies, San Diego.

• M.A. in Counseling from the United States International University,
San Diego.

• M.T.E. in Technical Education from National University, San Diego.

I hold the following appointments and memberships:

• Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine.

• Past-President (1987), current Board Member, and Fellow of the
San Diego Society of Clinical Hypnosis (An affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis).

• Member and Approved Consultant in Hypnosis, American Society
of Clinical Hypnosis.

• Associate Member, American Psychological Association.

Member, San Diego Psychological Association.



Today, I am the Director of the Subliminal Therapy Institute, a practicing psychologist and author. I am a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine, and my textbook, Foundations of Clinical Hypnosis: From Theory to Practice is highly regarded in the field.


Professional Ideology

If asked by a colleague, “What is your professional orientation?” I would respond that it is basically psychodynamic, with alternates of cognitive-behavioral and eclectic thinking. And, in so responding, I would be forcing a clear line of thought into the professional mold.

Expressed in non-professional jargon, the essence of my understanding of the human experience, and the basis for my approach to helping people, is that we are conditioned creatures. We are conditioned by our life’s experiences in which we learn what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. We learn skills and we learn limitations. We learn to believe “this” and not to believe “that.” We are the products of life’s conditioning and we cannot change who we are just by willing it to be so. All of the characteristics and limitations we have embraced are ours, unless and until we find a way to change that conditioning.

One blessing of this life is that, under the right conditions, we can change that conditioning and so change its results. The right conditions require that: 1) We know that it is possible to change, 2) We know how to change and, 3) We are motivated to do so. Unless all three are present, I do not believe we have choice at all and, even if we have all three, there is choice only for the future, not for this moment.



As a Psychologist, licensed in California, I am bound by several policies and regulations that define both the requirements and the limits of confidentiality.

Except for the limits prescribed by law, all information related to our work together is confidential, including the fact that we work together. Yet, the law does define certain limits and they are as follows:

I am required by law to break confidentiality if...

• There is knowledge or reasonable suspicion that child abuse or neglect has occurred and the victim is currently under 18 years of age.

• There is knowledge of physical abuse of an elder person.

• You threaten violence to a specific person.

• Ordered by a court to do so.

I am justified in breaking confidentiality if...

• You threaten suicide.

• You are dangerous to yourself or others, or you are unable to take care of yourself.

• You threaten the property of another.

• There is knowledge of infliction of mental suffering, fiduciary abuse, neglect, or abandonment of an elder person.