If you are suffering from an emotional or mental illness, you need to work with someone who is trained and equipped to help you such as a licensed mental health counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist. But if you are dealing with normal life concerns such as occasional lack of motivation, troubling habits (like smoking or over-eating), relationship or career problems or facing opportunities you want to maximize, then a personal coach, hypnotist or hypnotic coach may be the answer you are seeking.
Certified Hypnotists are not therapists and we don’t use the term hypnotherapist, but represent a distinct, separate profession. Here is the U.S. Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles description.
079.157.010 | Hypnotherapist
Alternate Title: Master Hypnotist | Alternate Title: Hypnotist
Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation
or alter behavior pattern through hypnosis.
Consults with client to determine the nature of problem.
Prepares client to enter hypnotic states by explaining how hypnosis works
and what client will experience.
Tests subjects to determine degrees of physical and emotional suggestibility.
Induces hypnotic techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and an analysis of clients problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning.
This is a national definition of the profession. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, we do not use the term hypnotherapist unless we are also licensed mental health counselors.
Certified Hypnotists and Hypnotic Coaches do not diagnose or treat anything. We refer to a licensed therapist if we believe a potential client’s issue is outside our scope of practice.
We are professionals who are trained to help you analyze situations and think through options. We provide motivational support and hold you accountable for change. Obviously, there are overlaps between what a licensed mental health provider does and the services of a Certified Hypnotist or Hypnotic Coach. And certainly people who would not consider themselves mentally ill go to licensed therapists to work on particular issues.
The National Guild of Hypnotists which has over 10,000 members worldwide puts it this way:
Consulting Hypnotists help ordinary people with ordinary, everyday problems
using individual hypnotism techniques.
A Hypnotic Coach’s work tends to be brief, concentrated and effective. A typical client comes to a Hypnotic Coach because they want to make some important change that has them stuck. A Hypnotic Coach or Certified Hypnotist may work in conjunction with a client’s therapist, particularly when the therapist feels he or she has hit a wall with a client and wants a fresh approach.
In fact, hypnotism and hypnotic coaching are useful anytime a person wants to change the way they think, act or feel. Uses of hypnosis are therefore limitless, but here is a list of common applications:
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Alcohol/Drug Habit Problems
Complementary Medical Support (Under Medical Supervision)
Pain Management (Under Medical Supervision)
Attention Deficit Disorder Coaching
Fears (Flying, Driving, Public Speaking, Performance, Social Fears)
CAREER AND EDUCATION
Test Taking (K-12, College, Boards, Civil Service Examinations)
Bad Break-ups/Divorce Recovery
Difficult Relationships (Family, Friends or Workplace)
Mental Game Improvement (Focus, Concentration, Competition)
Want to try hypnosis and hypnotic coaching
but don’t know where to go to?
Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many people never get to hypnotism because they can’t figure out who to call. And that is unfortunate. For many issues a professional hypnotist should be the first professional to look to, rather than the last.
In any healing relationship, trust is essential. But this is especially important when inviting someone to work with you on your own thinking patterns. You want someone you can trust to not only understand your issues but to have the knowledge, skills and sensitivity to intervene effectively. But how do you find them?
Some physicians refer to Certified Hypnotists and Hypnotic Coaches. Most have no idea to whom they can refer. A few traditional therapists refer to hypnotists for particular issues. Most people choose a hypnotist because a friend has been to him or her and got good results or based on their internet page.
Don’t have a friend who can recommend a hypnotist and your physician doesn’t know anyone? Don’t give up. It is worth continuing to look. Because Hypnosis may be exactly the answer you have been looking for and it is worth the effort to find the hypnotist who is right for you.
And, by the way, don’t worry whether you can be hypnotized or not. Almost everyone can. The only people who typically cannot are those with severe intellectual disabilities or certain types of schizophrenia.
Here are some factors to consider as you look for the hypnotist who is right for you:
Qualifications. Hypnosis is not a licensed profession. Education and training in hypnotism and coaching vary. Most professional hypnotists are certified by national associations with educational and ethical standards like The National Guild of Hypnotists. Time in practice is another indication, but not the sole criterion for a hypnotist’s suitability for your issue. You want someone who has been in practice for a while working with issues similar to yours, but that doesn’t mean a newcomer to the field with specific experience may not be the perfect person to help you achieve your goals.
Life and Professional experience. Find out if the hypnotist’s background is a good match for your life experience and needs. Often hypnotists are best at helping people handle issues they themselves have overcome. At the least find out if the hypnotist has worked successfully with people with your issue. Most hypnotists and other coaches will invite you to talk on the phone or come in for a complimentary consultation where you can get a sense of their background and suitability for your concerns.
Attitude/Chemistry. If you are gay, don’t go to a hypnotist with repressed homophobia. If religion is important to you, find someone who seems to have a spiritual approach. If you are in 12 step recovery, find someone who understands what is involved whether he or she is in recovery themselves or not.
Gender. Do you prefer a male or female hypnotist? Gender may not be a factor in your case or for an issue like quitting smoking, but if it is for you, listen to your instinct.
Realistic claims. Beware of exaggerated claims. No one can guarantee 100% success from any human intervention. Be cautious of those who claim to do so.
Cost. A hypnotist should be clear about how much hypnosis sessions cost and how many he or she recommends for your issue. Most hypnotists will offer you a free 30 minute consultation in the office of on the phone. Why not take them up on the offer?
Very expensive “Programs” and Very Cheap Groups. Beware of attempts to lock you into “programs” for dozens of sessions in advance and thousands of dollars. Generally this is more marketing hype than sound hypnosis. And don’t expect too much from low priced hypnosis groups. Some people get good results from these groups. Many don’t.
How to Research Hypnotists
The internet makes it very easy to get a sense of a hypnotist before you even call. Here are a few tips. Remember you are the boss and are shopping for someone who may become very important to you. Your choice of a hypnotist is certainly at least as important as the issue you are looking to address. Is it important to stop smoking? Finally lose weight and keep it off? Handle that challenging relationship? Get your drinking, anger, fear problem under control? Then spend a little time to make sure you are working with a professional who can and will genuinely help.
I have worked with many people over the years who started with the wrong person and lost valuable time in addressing their issue, sometimes becoming jaded against the possibility of change at all.
Visit their webpage. You will get a feel for them and get answers to many of your questions.
Look at comments and reviews from former clients, especially on yelp.com .
Ask your doctor, therapist and friends if they know anyone they can recommend.
Call a prospective hypnotist and ask questions. Get a feel for them over the phone. Are they rushed or interested in what you have to say? Do they seem to have a solution that will work with you? How many sessions do they recommend? Are they forthcoming about costs?
Take advantage of the offer of a free consultation if you have any doubts. Many hypnotists will gladly either spend time with you on the phone or invite you to come into their office for a 15-30 minute free consultation.
And, if you go to the first session and feel it is not a good match. Don’t be afraid to tell that hypnotist you will not be continuing with them and look for the one that is right for you. Remember hypnotism is about giving you back your own power and you are always the boss.