Preparing for a hypnotherapy session - what do I do?

So, you’ve made a big step towards investing in your well-being. You’ve realised you need some help, reached out for support, and booked a hypnotherapy session. If this is your first time trying hypnotherapy, (or any type of therapy) you may feel a little daunted. So what do you do now? 


This article will help you to prepare for your session with a hypnotherapist, and to know what to expect, to get the most out of your time together.

Maybe you are seeking hypnotherapy for anxiety, for a phobia, or to overcome limiting beliefs. Maybe you have tried other types of therapy and they didn’t work, or you are on a waiting list for more ‘traditional’ approaches. You might be at the end of your tether, or perhaps you are seeking help as a preventative measure before any potential problems get worse.

Whatever your reasons for choosing hypnotherapy, here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind when preparing for a hypnotherapy session.


Ask questions

It's absolutely ok to make a list of questions to ask your hypnotherapist - because it's incredibly important that you can build a solid foundation of trust with them. Any therapist worth their salt will welcome questions and will be 100% honest, transparent and authentic when answering. Questions you could ask include:

  • What’s been your experience of dealing with X?
  • Which assessments do you use to measure my progress?
  • What motivates you to do what you do?
  • How do you think you can help me?

Building trust, also known as rapport, is the number one most important indicator of success in any form of therapy regardless of the type of therapy, the length of practice, or the qualifications the therapist has. So asking questions, and being happy with the answers, is a great way to build trust in your therapist. It's ok to make them earn it!

Think about what you’d like to get out of the session

Having an idea of your goals, whether it's in therapy or any other aspect of your life, makes it more likely to reach them. Even if your goal is just wanting to be more clear on your goals! Some suggestions for you to consider are:

  • What are you going to hypnotherapy for? 
  • How would you like to think and feel afterwards?
  • What are your expectations of therapy?
  • How would you like your life to change, longer term?

By being clear on what you want to get out of the session, and communicating those goals to your therapist, they will be in a better position to tailor their approach to help you and your unique situation. Don’t forget - everything you tell them is confidential, and they are bound by a strict code of ethics to protect, respect, and honour the information you share with them.

Keep an open mind

Hypnotherapy is different from other forms of therapy in that it works with the subconscious mind. This differs from your logical, thinking brain because our subconscious thought processes are hidden under the surface. So some of the techniques we use may seem a bit ‘out there’ compared to CBT or other talk therapies, for example:

  • We may ask you to visualise certain places, people or memories. 
  • We may invite you to create imaginary scenarios.
  • You might be asked to draw your attention to relevant parts of your body.
  • Your hypnotherapy session may also include tapping on specific body parts, or certain eye movements, depending on the training of the hypnotherapist you choose.

Accessing your subconscious mind is an integral part of hypnotherapy but please don’t feel daunted by that. You 100% cannot, and will not be made to do anything you don’t want to. You will be in control at all times. You only need to go into memories that you are willing to go into, and it will be for a reason, with a particular intention. The right therapist will put your mind at ease beforehand about the work they are going to do with you.


Disclose anything that you aren’t ready to yet

Rapport takes time to build, and it's time well spent. If there is stuff you aren’t ready to share, for example, painful or traumatic memories, you are not obliged to go there if you aren’t ready yet. Working with the present moment, your ambitions for the future, or other less painful memories will be more effective, for now.

Rush to get everything ‘fixed’ straight away

Often when we are in pain, whether it's mental, emotional or physical pain, we want it to just. End. Now. This is entirely understandable! But although hypnotherapy can often be effective in a remarkably short space of time, it's also best to allow healing to happen at an unhurried pace. 

When we feel rushed, it can put the brain on high alert - not exactly conducive to healing. Understanding that healing is a process, and giving yourself grace, and enough time to do so, will encourage and reinforce the feeling of safety that is such an important part of getting better.

Feel guilty for taking time for yourself

Work, money issues, looking after family - it's so easy to put ourselves last. Often if we feel time or money pressure, the first thing to go out of the window is self-care. And let's face it, therapy can be expensive! Does this mean you need to feel bad about looking after yourself? No! 

Think about it this way - if your best friend was in a bad place, and wanted to try therapy, what would you say to them? Would you hold them back, or encourage them?

Or this way, if you don’t get help now, and your problem persists, where will you be in 10 years time? What will the effect be on those around you? If you do get help, and your problem resolves, what would your life look and feel like instead? How will this positively impact those around you?

Now compare the two future scenarios. See how they are completely different?

Therapy is an investment and often the one that you will thank yourself most for in the future. So you can walk into that session feeling grateful to yourself, for putting in the effort, time, and resources to look after yourself. And you may be thanking yourself even more when you walk out!

Other practical things to consider when preparing for a hypnotherapy session

  • Tell people that you won’t be contactable, and turn off your phone for the duration. It's important to be able to relax and focus during your hypnotherapy session - you don’t want to be disturbed by your phone ringing or pinging with notifications when you are with your therapist.
  • If you are working online, make sure you are in a room with a good internet connection, enough light, and somewhere comfortable to sit. Ask other people in the house not to come in. You may need to arrange for someone to look after your children or pets so they don’t interrupt you when you are with your hypnotherapist.
  • Schedule in a few minutes to relax and regroup after your hypnotherapy session before going back to your day. Giving yourself a buffer of 5-10 minutes before going back to your busy day-to-day life will allow you an opportunity to reflect on and integrate the work you have done together. 

Going for therapy can be scary, especially if it's your first time, you are out of your comfort zone, or you have problems with trust. But good therapists are very caring by nature, and by definition, they are there to help you. By feeling prepared, and knowing what to expect, you will feel empowered to get the most out of your time in hypnotherapy. You have got this!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, Greater London, W1B 3HH
Written by Ella Matthews, DipCHyp, HPD, NLPPrac, MPrac, CNHC
London, Greater London, W1B 3HH

Ella Matthews is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Health Coach with a passion for helping people out of emotional, physical and mental pain. Working online, she enables people to step out of limiting beliefs, move on from trauma, connect safely with their bodies, find peace in the present moment and create a future full of joy.

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