How to choose a hypnotherapist
Some years back, at the very outset of my training as a hypnotherapist, I was given the ‘homework’ task of ringing six established hypnotherapists of my choice and requesting that they send me a leaflet about their practice. This was to put me in the place of the potential client, and the process was enlightening.
The results were mixed, to put it mildly, and as well as being underwhelmed by the poor presentation of some of the hypnotherapists I spoke to that day, I also found myself wondering how I would even know whether hypnotherapy was a realistic option for my needs.
Undoubtedly, hypnotherapy is one of the most agreeable ways for us to tackle many of the problems and difficulties that life throws at us. Central to its process is the experience of trance, which for the vast majority is a wonderfully agreeable state of deep relaxation, and for some, this can be the first true relaxation in years.
Whilst everybody has heard of stop smoking sessions and hypnosis for weight loss, how many know about warts, pain relief, stuttering, blushing, anger management, eczema, psoriasis, bedwetting, sports performance, and surely not for help with fertility? All of those areas can be effectively treated, along with much else besides.
Hypnosis can also be used to maintain mental health through self-hypnosis courses and/or relaxation courses and can be a real indulgence. All of this can be far from obvious to the layperson, so you need a starting point where you can obtain good, impartial advice.
This is why anybody considering hypnotherapy should first approach one of the regulatory bodies that exist, for advice and direction to therapists in their area. The General Hypnotherapy Register and The National Council for Hypnotherapy are amongst the largest and are happy to confirm that a practitioner is properly qualified, and insured.
Hypnotherapy Directory only advertises therapists who are members of these organisations, or who have otherwise proved their credentials. Some operate further specialist registers, such as the CRSST at the General Hypnotherapy Register, which is a list of therapists specialising in stop smoking therapy.
This gives you a base from which to start, and the professional bodies can also advise whether it is appropriate for you to be consulting a hypnotherapist in the first place. They make no money from advising you, so you can be confident of impartial and fair advice.
Having established a therapist’s credentials, and satisfied yourself that hypnotherapy is an appropriate avenue for you to explore, the single most important factor in choosing a hypnotherapist is quite simply how you think you’ll get on with them, and with the techniques they use. The relationship you will have with the therapist, aimed at solving your problem(s), is known as the Therapeutic Alliance, and the happier you are with your therapist, the stronger this alliance will be.
You’ll get a strong flavour of what the therapists are like individually, from their leaflets and websites. You will also read a lot about the different techniques that hypnotherapists employ from these sources, and it is time for you to go with your instincts again, as therapists themselves often don’t agree about which technique is best employed, and where.
Narrow the field down to one or two of your favourites, and then go along to meet him/her/them, or ring them for a chat. Most therapists offer a free initial consultation, so there’s no need to be out of pocket, and then go with those instincts of yours, choosing whoever you feel most comfortable with.
Do remember, the amount of experience a therapist has is not always a guaranteed indicator of their effectiveness. There are excellent, well qualified and highly effective new therapists out there, and there are long-established, but out of date and complacent old therapists. Treat testimonies from previous clients with suspicion (the National Council for Hypnotherapy disallows their use), because they are easy to fabricate, and hard to get substantiated.
Finally, the hypnotherapy community itself struggles to agree on which of the myriad qualifications are the best to have, and many of the often great streams of letters after practitioners names, refer only to membership of professional organisations, and are not qualifications at all! So, as a layperson, stick with this procedure and don’t be too influenced by the alphabet soup after many of our names!
- Approach a professional body to find out if hypnotherapy can help you, and if so, who is qualified and insured in your area.
- Study the available information about these practitioners, and choose your favourite(s).
- Contact your favourites and allow yourself to be guided by your instincts, who will you get on best with?
- Try not to be impressed with long lists of letters after names, or especially client ‘testimonies’.
Get the best result for you, and when you find the right hypnotherapist, you can be confident that you won’t regret it for a minute!
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