As a hypnotherapist, it is easy to get sidetracked by the suggestions we give, the depth or the trance and the effectiveness of our post hypnotic suggestions. However, just as important as informing the client about what they hypnotherapeutic experience will be like, is to educate them about the role they play in their session of hypnosis.

Sometimes, clients can misunderstand what hypnotherapy can do for them. There is an inaccurate perception that hypnotherapy will make the changes the require happen. That the hypnotherapist will exert their magical power over the subjects mind and that they will become comatose with the power of the hypnosis itself. Then when they awaken they will be transformed. They will feel and be like a new and different person.

This is a not the real experience of hypnosis. The real experience of hypnosis is actually much better, because in the example above the hypnotherapist is doing all of the work. I don’t know about you, but if I do 100% of the work, I want 100% of the credit for having done it; but this would be very disempowering for my clients. Imagine if I were to take the credit for their change. There’s no pat on the back for them for a job well done. And what would they do next time they were faced with a similar challenge? Sort it out for themselves? No. They can’t because they didn’t figure out how to do it last time. I fixed it last time so they will need to come back to me. This doesn’t create clients for me, it creates dependants.

What works better is when my clients feel fully invested in their change work and take full responsibility for the outcomes. They are responsible for their depth of trance, they are responsible for being open to the suggestions I give them, they are responsible for completing any tasking I give them afterwards. This means that when they begin to see the results happening, they can see those results as the fruits of their own labour. They can feel good within themselves for what they have achieved and they gain the confidence to know, that if faced with a similar challenge again in the future, they have the resources inside of themselves to be able to overcome it.

The difference between these two vastly different experiences is in the reframing of what you do as a hypnotherapist. You must be really clear and honest about what hypnosis can do and what it cannot. You must also emphasise to the client his or her own responsibility in working towards the changes that are desired.

Make sure that they understand the spectrum of experiences that people have whilst in trance. Some feel heavy, some feel their body is light. Some heard every word but lose what I have said instantly, others think they heard no words at all. Tell them what will happen at each stage of the session. How you will dim the lights (if you do) how the chair reclines (if it does) right up to the end of the session. Let them know what they will hear when it’s time for them to come back to awakened consciousness. Tell them how they will feel when they get there.

The better educated your clients are the better the results you achieve will be and the more you will empower your clients to achieve.

By Gemma Bailey