Choosing a Hypnotherapist


This article assumes that you have decided to go for hypnotherapy to resolve some issue such as giving up smoking or losing weight, and seeks to answer the question, “How do you select an appropriate hypnotherapist?”

You should check with prospective hypnotherapists that they belong to a reputable professional body with a code of conduct and a complaints procedure.

Unfortunately, there is a bewildering array of professional bodies and qualifications for hypnotherapy. In recognition of this, the government set up the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council (GHSC). This body has specified minimum qualifications, and has a code of conduct and a complaints procedure. If you are thinking of seeing a hypnotherapist, make sure that they have GHSC accreditation as a minimum: the letters ‘GHR’ will appear on the literature of a registered practitioner and ‘GHSC’ for a validated practitioner.

Having said all that, word of mouth is probably the most effective way of selecting a hypnotherapist, as long as it is someone that a friend of yours has seen, rather than someone that you have heard of in the media.

Beware of the hypnotherapist with the one-size-fits-all approach; rather, look for someone that treats you as an individual, with warmth and respect.

Qualifications and experience are important aspects to consider. However, the crucial factor is the quality of the relationship you have with your hypnotherapist; improvement is much more likely to take place if the therapeutic relationship is right.

In order for hypnotherapy to work, you need an approachable hypnotherapist that will hear what you have to say, identify with your concerns, provide insights, tools and techniques to help you move forward, and keep you safe from harm.

Of course, you can’t tell whether you will have a good therapeutic relationship until you actually meet your hypnotherapist…

The Initial Appointment
The first appointment is an opportunity for you and the hypnotherapist to get to know enough about each other so that you both can make an initial feasibility assessment. The hypnotherapist needs to decide whether they have the skills to deal with the issues you are presenting, and you need to make a decision about the quality of the therapeutic relationship.

This doesn’t mean that the hypnotherapist is not working hard – sometimes one session is all that is required for fundamental improvements to happen, and, with all this in mind, the hypnotherapist will often charge you for the initial appointment.

Hypnotherapists should be open and trustworthy. They should be able to put you at your ease within minutes of meeting them. The hypnotherapist should be the sort of person to whom you might be prepared to confide anything. You should find the hypnotherapist easy to talk to, even if you are a person of few words.

By the end of the initial appointment, you should know:

how much the hypnotherapist charges
a little about how hypnotherapy works
what to expect when you are hypnotised
the duration of the sessions
if more than one session is planned, how many sessions will be required, how frequently you will meet and when reviews will take place.

Making a Decision
You are now in an excellent position to make a decision about the hypnotherapist, and I suggest that you consider the following questions. The list might seem a little daunting at first sight, but don’t be put off – seeing a hypnotherapist can allow you to make fundamental and far-reaching changes to your life in a short space of time:

First and foremost, did the hypnotherapist make you feel comfortable? Did you find it easy to talk to him/her?
If not, it’s not going to work out and you should look elsewhere.

Was the hypnotherapist open about what was going to happen and how long it would take?
If the hypnotherapist is not involving you in decisions, how do you know that they are appropriate?

If the hypnotherapist responded to what you had to say, did it make sense?
Any remarks the hypnotherapist makes in response to significant things you have said should help you clarify your thoughts.

Did the hypnotherapist understand where you were coming from? Did you feel any pressure to fit in with the hypnotherapist’s map of the world?
If the hypnotherapist can’t meet you in your map of the world, she/he isn’t going to be able to help you.

Did the hypnotherapist talk over you, talk when you were trying to think, talk about themselves, or try to get you to agree with them.
You are only going to be able to move forward if the focus is on you rather than on the hypnotherapist.

To summarise, make sure that the hypnotherapist is qualified and experienced, and belongs to a professional body with a code of conduct and a complaints procedure. The quality of the therapeutic relationship is paramount, and a little extra effort shopping around for the right hypnotherapist will pay dividends in the long term.

Happy hunting!

By David Allen

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