How to choose a good hypnotherapist
Therapy is a personal thing....
As individuals, we all have different needs and will have our own ideas of what type of person we would like to work with. That’s good – because there are many types of therapist out there, each with their own personality and way of doing things. For example, my methods, reflected in the training I chose to take up, are scientific and solution-focused, backed by neuroscience and research, whereas other therapists may seem more alternative, using therapy that includes less evidence-based methods such as past life regression, crystals and timelines. As a private therapy client, you have the ability to chose the therapist that seems to reflect your own beliefs - a therapist who will suit you well and to whom you will feel comfortable talking to - but also a therapist who strikes you as knowledgeable in their subject.
Be assured – the right therapist is out there waiting to help you. But to assist you with that first step, here are some practical tips to consider when making your choice:
1) Check that the hypnotherapist is registered
There are no mandatory requirements for hypnotherapists to register with a professional body in the UK, however most qualified, experienced and practicing hypnotherapists do register, as a commitment to showing they work towards providing their clients a professional and ethical service. While professional bodies vary in their requirements for registration, most demand evidence of training, professional liability insurance, and a number of continuing professional development hours and supervision contact hours per year. Members must also adhere to a strict code of conduct.Examples of the larger professional bodies are the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNCH), which is the governmental-recommended register and recognised by bodies such as the NHS and Royal College of Midwives as reflecting professionally accredited practitioners. The National Council of Hypnotherapists (NCH), the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR) are also prominent professional bodies – there are many, so simply ask which ones the hypnotherapist has joined. If your hypnotherapist offers other therapy skills such as psychotherapy or (like myself) Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, you may find they are also registered and accredited by similar professional bodies, such as the National Council of Psychotherapists, or the UK Association for Solution Focused Practice.
You can ask over the phone, look on their website, or if going along for an initial consultation, hopefully you will see their certificates displayed in their practice room.
2) Word of mouth recommendations
As a society we have been making huge steps in feeling more comfortable talking about mental health and wellbeing. People are becoming more comfortable about asking for help or talking about therapists with whom they have worked. If you can find a recommendation, it's worth following up.....but remember to make sure that you would also be comfortable with that therapist. If your friend is into reiki and crystals and you are a facts-based science fan, it's likely another therapist would be better, as you have to have complete confidence in whichever therapist you choose. Ask them why they recommend that particular therapist as that will help you understand if it's a good recommendation for you. Is it based on personality, methods, price or distance....or is it that they are related or in a business networking group?
3) Be wary of guarantees
I’m going to say something a bit controversial here – professional clinical hypnotherapists should not give you guarantees, so be wary of any hypnotherapist who makes such promises. It’s simply not necessary and it is both a confidence and marketing tool and a therapist using these tools is often just desperate to get people through their door.
The hypnotherapist themselves might be excellent, confident in their tools, with many pleased clients and successful outcomes – but guaranteeing a treatment or session will work is another thing. Hypnotherapy is a collaboration, not something that is ‘done to you’, and each issue and client is unique. In the same way a doctor cannot guarantee a medicine will work, neither can a professional clinical therapist guarantee successful results for every client using their tried and tested methods.
4) Ask as many questions as you need.
Hypnotherapists are passionate about what they do and will want you to feel involved and comfortable. I have never, ever minded spending time on the phone with a person enquiring about therapy. It's important to remember that a therapist should also be asking you plenty of questions too!
Do you need to ask about their methods and techniques? What kind of hypnotherapy do they use? Are you looking for a particular type of hypnotherapy (Clue: if you're looking for regression of any sort, I'm not your person!)
However I will say that the hardest question for any hypnotherapist to answer will be ‘how many sessions will I need?’. Unless it is for a specific issue (such as a phobia or smoking cessation), it is next to impossible to say, because every single client and issue is different. The hypnotherapist may not have more of a clear idea until they have started working with you. It’s worth noting that the brain learns through repetition, particularly when building new templates – generally the foundation of hypnotherapy work.
Professional Clinical Hypnotherapists (should) have invested much in their training and professional practice and as a result, are experts at using their tools. Their fees may also reflect their experience and how 'in-demand' their services are in the area.
You need to choose a price that is right for you, but also one that reflects the usual price range in your area, unless the hypnotherapist has a specialism that is in demand. This is quite rare. It’s also worth checking the length of time that you get for each session. Generally it is 50 minutes, but others might stretch to over an hour. At the Solution Focused Studio we offer a minimum of 60mins of therapy time. Some hypnotherapists may offer concessions and a few private health insurance companies will pay out for hypnotherapy consultations.
Also find out about payment methods, as not all hypnotherapists take credit cards.
A therapist charging a very high hourly rate is not necessarily a guarantee of quality. I have trained alongside less experienced therapists who were open about the fact that they were setting their practice rates high to attract 'high net worth' clients. I have also worked alongside therapists who spent thousands investing in a plethora of courses and decided charging twice the hourly rate would recoup their investment before they had even started to practise. As a potential client, speak to a few therapists and work out an average cost for the area.
6) Does the hypnotherapist offer a free or reduced price initial consultation?
A free or reduced price consultation is an excellent way to find out if you feel you can work together and learn more about how the hypnotherapist works. It’s important that you both develop a good rapport together to get the best results. For example, we offer a half-price initial consultation that includes a complementary CD/MP3, an explanation of the brain and how issues can arise and we gather the information we need to make a better assessment of the situation. Others may even charge you more for this session as they view the first session as the most important.
7) Are you comfortable and happy with the venue?
Can you get to your therapist without being late? Is there parking and is it free?
Hypnotherapists often see one client after the next, so make sure you feel there is adequate parking or transport, as they are unlikely to be able to overrun. Is the therapy setting clean and professionally arranged? If the therapist works from a clinic, is their waiting area confidential and discreet?
A large number of hypnotherapists work from a studio at home because it provides a friendly and comfortable environment for clients who don't want to feel they are heading into a clinic environment. Teenagers and children often do better in a relaxed, home-like setting where there might be toys and distractions to fiddle with while listening to the therapist. These are all questions you can ask on the telephone or scope out at the initial consultation.
8) What are your gut feelings?
Each hypnotherapist will have their own approach and personality. Are you looking to work with a male or female therapist and will it matter? Will you work better with someone who is very quietly spoken and soft-natured, or more business-like? Does your therapist talk too much about themselves and their spectacular outcomes? Is your therapist non-judgemental, respectful and able to gently challenge things like negative language and thoughts? It is important that you feel comfortable as you need a will good working relationship for the best results.
Hypnotherapy is a widely used therapy and has helped many people, covering a broad spectrum of issues. You will find therapists in private practice, or operating as part of wider health/wellbeing organisations, and hospitals. By deciding to seek help, you have already made a big step – hopefully with these tips, finding the right therapist for you will be a great experience!
Should you have any questions about hypnotherapy or finding a therapist, you are most welcome to contact me via my website and I will be delighted to help, or refer you to someone who can.
The most important issue is that you are comfortable with your therapist and feel able to develop a good, open, caring, productive working relationship. In a later blogpost I'll be talking about what can help you most when you are a client - after all you'll be looking for the most effective and efficient results, and this requires the motivation and commitment of both parties in the client-therapist relationship. Good luck!