Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, and Hypnotherapists

Choosing a Hypnotherapist

Finding a skillful and experienced hypnotherapist can be a challenging if not daunting and complicated task.  This is due largely to the fact that hypnotherapy is an unregulated field.  Forty nine of our fifty states have no licensing of hypnotherapists.  Indiana has made efforts at licensing hypnotherapists, but at this writing, is still embroiled in political struggles to implement licensing.  Hopefully when in place, Indiana’s system of licensing will provide a model for the rest of the states.

To begin your search for a hypnotherapist, you need to decide whether you want to work with a physician or mental health practitioner who includes hypnosis as a part of a broader practice, or if you want a hypnotherapist who does nothing but hypnotherapy.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Physicians and mental health practitioners at times use hypnosis in treating patients, particularly in psychiatry, however certified hypnotherapists have much more in-depth training.  The physician or mental health practitioner may have attended a weekend workshop and learned how to induce hypnosis but may have virtually no experience in communicating with the mind in its subconscious mode.

The hypnotherapist who has extensive training in working with the mind in its subconscious mode may have little or no training in other specialty areas.

The first question to ask anyone with whom you consider working is “Are you a certified hypnotherapist and by whom?”  The National Guild of Hypnotists is the oldest and largest worldwide non-profit certifying organization cited by Congress in the Congressional Record of May 11th, 1993 as the foremost hypnosis organization in the country.

Whomever you choose, s/he should be certified by the Guild or some other institution or organization recognized by it and have had a minimum of 100 hours of training – not just a weekend seminar.

Another area to explore is how much experience the prospective therapist has had in your area of need.  How long have they been in full-time practice?  What are their specialties?  Do they have experience in addressing the problem you want to address or in attaining the goal you want to achieve?  How many clients for this have they treated?  How many successfully?

Another question particularly helpful with ‘lay hypnotherapists’ (that is, hypnotherapists not practicing hypnosis in a licensed field such as medicine or mental health) is “What is the law regarding the practice of hypnotherapy in your state?”  In Illinois, it is PA473.

The reason it is important that any prospective hypnotherapist know the law is because hypnotherapy must be practiced in strict conformity with it.  Be suspicious of anyone who doesn’t know the limits of their practice.

Finally, if you are satisfied with the responses to all other questions, ask yourself one final question. “Am I comfortable with this person?”  Attempting to work with someone who maybe highly qualified but with whom you have no rapport or with someone you don’t feel you can trust will only serve to interfere with your progress.

What is Hypnosis? | What is a Hypnotherapist? | Choosing a Hypnotherapist | Why does Hypnotherapy Work? | Pain Management through Hypnosis | Hypnosis and Phobias | Hypnosis and Human Memory | Hypnosis and Sports Psychology | Hypnosis and Stress Management

Referring to this article:
“Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy, and Hypnotherapists” was written by G. Edward Riley, M.Div., CH, Certified Master Hypnotherapist, and C. J. Newton, MA, and published in the Find Counseling.com (formerly TherapistFinder.net) Mental Health Journal in April, 2001.

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