With hypnosis and hypnotherapy becoming ever more popular in today's modern world, it can be difficult to know how to choose the right practitioner.
Here are a few pointers to help you should you be considering working with a hypnotherapist or professional consulting hypnotist.
Qualifications & Associations
To begin, check out the practitioner's qualifications. Unfortunately, there are far too many hypnosis practitioners who have received inadequate or only the minimum degree of training. Some 'schools' even offer their qualification on the basis of a few correspondence lessons and the payment of a fee, with little or no classroom time or hands-on experience at all.
All reputable hypnosis practitioners will have their qualifications clearly listed on their website. Look for people who are accredited members of hypnosis organizations that operate independently of specific schools or groups of schools. Accreditation with a professional body means that the therapist has accomplished a substantial level of training, and has the required experience to treat clients in a professional and competent manner.
You can check the association's website to see whether membership is open to all suitably qualified hypnotists, or exclusively to graduates of the association's school or affiliates, since these will have obvious business interests in the association.
In the USA, organizations such as the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA), and the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (ACHE) are amongst the foremost associations to which qualified practitioners can belong.
In the UK, some of the key organizations to which reputable and well-trained therapists may belong are the Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (APHP), The General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR), the National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (NRPC), and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).
In both the UK and the USA, therapists are required to fulfill continuing professional development (CPD) requirements in order to maintain membership in these associations.
An excellent way to find a fully professional, competent hypnotist is to ask around. Check with doctors, family and friends, and ex-clients who have visited a hypnotist or hypnotherapist and got results.
Don't be afraid to call around and ask questions. You should exercise the same care in choosing your hypnosis practitioner as you would in choosing a new car. Talk to the therapist. Above all, make sure you feel comfortable talking to him or her.
Key Questions To Ask The Hypnotist:
What kind of experience do you have in treating my kind of problem? How long have you been in practice? What are your professional qualifications? How soon can I see you? What are your fees? Will you teach me self-hypnosis as part of the treatment?
Key Questions To Ask Yourself:
Does this practitioner seem genuinely interested in my problem and me? Does he or she seem knowledgeable and professional? Am I treated with respect? Do I feel accepted? Do I feel heard? Does his or her office feel like a professional haven?
It's best not to be overly concerned with the per session rate of a good hypnotherapist or consulting hypnotist. A really low fee may sound attractive, but it really is the total number of sessions that will count in monetary terms. Think of how much you'd be prepared to invest in things like your teeth, your eyesight, and your vacations. In the most human of terms, becoming well can make even a relatively high fee seem like a real bargain.
In a truly therapeutic relationship you are heard, accepted, understood and guided to strengthen your inner resources. The hypnotherapist is your ally. Not your friend. Not your business partner. Not your guru. And certainly not your lover.
How Many Sessions?
Perhaps the most frequent question asked to any hypnosis practitioner is: how many sessions will it take? While any competent hypnotist will be able to give a rough guide - often in the 2 to 6 session range for most problems - no one can predict in advance the exact number of sessions a problem will take to resolve. It depends on the way the person responds to the therapy, and to many other variables.
Be assured that hypnosis, when employed by a fully trained and experienced practitioner usually speeds up the therapeutic process enormously. Even highly complex issues that might otherwise take months or even years to resolve can often be dealt with in a matter of weeks, provided the hypnotist knows what he or she is doing.
This is something of a pointless question. Which practitioner would tell you his or her success rate was a mere 5%? And how and when is the success to be verified? And consider this: even if the success rate of a practitioner is 95%, this tells you nothing about your chances of success. For any number of reasons you could fall into the negative 5%. It's much better to rely on other factors when deciding whom to go with.
You Can Change
If you truly want and are ready to change, be assured that you can change. And a good consulting hypnotist or hypnotherapist can guide you to the success you deserve.
In a positive therapeutic relationship you will feel accepted, listened to, and understood. A good therapist will guide you and help you strengthen your inner resources. Keep in mind that the hypnosis practitioner is your ally. Though friendly, he or she cannot be your friend. Nor can they be your guru, or your partner in business. And it goes without saying that they certainly cannot be your lover.
You owe it to yourself to work only with a truly competent, expertly trained and fully qualified professional hypnosis practitioner.
In the right hands, hypnosis is a wonderful and powerful means of bringing about real change on a permanent basis. Remember to do your research, call around, and then - trust your instincts.
Peter Field is a leading British hypnotherapist. His hypnotherapy Birmingham and London clinics help people from all over the UK. Peter is also the best-selling author of 'The Chi of Change', a book on the fascinating world of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.