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Table of contents
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 How to get the best out of this book Why this Guide is essential reading The benefits of a career in hypnotherapy What is hypnosis? What is hypnotherapy? Types of hypnotherapy Applications of hypnotherapy Frequently asked questions Training as a hypnotherapist Qualifications in hypnotherapy How to become a hypnotherapist A good course or a bad course? Finding a trainer Regulatory bodies The hypnotherapy profession in the UK Self employment Summing up 3 4 6 9 12 13 15 17 20 22 29 33 35 38 42 44 47
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication. However, some information may become out of date while it is still in print and contact details for organisations and individuals may change. Information about training should be regarded as a guide only and verified direct with specific organisations before acting on that information or parting with money. The editors and publisher will not accept any responsibility for any action taken as a result of information published in this book, or for any loss or damage of any nature whatsoever. The contents and opinions in this books are not officially endorsed or approved by any professional organisation, nor has such endorsement or approval been sought. All references to “ he” or “him” should be taken to refer to both genders. These words are used for brevity and are not intended to be genderspecific.
Chapter 1 How to get the best out of this book
People rarely read reference books or guides in their entirety. This is a shame because there is often useful information which they never come across, that could help them in their decision-making. This book is crammed full of useful facts, invaluable information and thought-provoking ideas. Whether you’re completely new to hypnotherapy or you already have some knowledge of the subject, you are likely to come across information which is new to you if you take the time to read each page. That, after all, is why you bought the book – to learn more. You might discover previously unknown facts or questions you’d never thought to ask. Take the time to read this book from cover to cover. If you do so, you’ll understand how the hypnotherapy profession in the UK operates and how you can train and succeed as a hypnotherapist. You’ll then have a great advantage – you’ll know more than most people about hypnotherapy. The key to becoming a succcessful specialist is knowing your subject better than your competitors. This is your starting point.
Chapter 2 Why this Guide is essential reading
Media personalities such as Paul McKenna have made hypnotherapy popular with the general public. By demonstrating exactly what can be achieved and in general terms how it’s done, they’ve demystified hypnotherapy and removed many of the fears and misconceptions which used to exist. The result is that demand for hypnotherapy has never been higher and there is an acute shortage of good hypnotherapists. Note the words used above because they were chosen with care.... “there is an acute shortage of good hypnotherapists”. Hypnotherapy is a ideal treatment for stress and related conditions, and is used to deal successfully with a wide range of emotional problems. Often clients are in a distressed, fragile or suggestible state. A poorly trained hypnotherapist has the potential to do a great deal of harm. However, the doomsayers who try to portray hypnotherapists as irresponsible have consistently failed to show that the profession as a whole is dangerous, because it isn’t. In the UK a high level committee recently investigated complementary therapies, with a view to regulation, and although hypnotherapy formed part of this review it was not put forward for regulation. Being put forward for regulation was decided on the basis of risk to the public the more risk that a therapy poses to the public, the more
need there is for regulation. A good example of this is those practitioners prescribe remedies. The fact that hypnotherapy was assessed and not considered a high risk treatment is very good news. The majority of therapy-related problems are caused by dogmatic theories, such as the nonsense that all problems are related to repressed child sex abuse. That this view is patent nonsense has not stopped many therapists of all persuasions, from damaging their clients by digging for these non-existent memories. This kind of dogmatic nonsense doesn’t form part of modern hypnotherapy and a good training course will steer well clear of it. A good hypnotherapist, can do an immense amount of good, relieving suffering and improving quality of life. It can be a satisfying and financially rewarding career. This Guide shows you what you need to do to set yourself on the path to becoming a good hypnotherapist. Ultimately it’s up to the individual and their own skills but for the person who really wants to learn how to become a successful hypnotherapist there are standards to aim for but also traps for the unwary, which this Guide attempts to point out. That’s why this Guide is being published, to help anyone who is thinking of training as a hypnotherapist find the best trainer for the money they can afford, and to help them avoid some who are, well, best avoided. The Guide will explain the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy and give a brief outline of the different types of techniques used. It will also look at how the hypnotherapy profession as a whole is structured, who sets standards and shows you how to identify those with relevant qualifications and experience as trainers.
Chapter 3 The benefits of a career as a hypnotherapist
Anyone reading this Guide is likely to have an interest in helping others. They will also need to earn a living. It’s just being practical to point that out. This section explains how you can do both.
As a hypnotherapist, your clients will fall into two main categories. The first of these, and by far the largest, is that group of people who come for help because they’re emotionally distressed in some way. Their problem might be fairly trivial and recent or it might be serious and of longstanding duration. It might, in fact, be wrecking their lives, preventing them from doing every day tasks such as going out to the shops. The second group of people will be seeking some form of personal development. Perhaps they want to understand why they behave in the way they do, or would like a little more self-confidence. One thing you can be sure of: your day-to-day caseload will be incredibly varied and you’ll never be bored. When you as a hypnotherapist successfully treat a client, the feeling of fulfilment is enormous. Just use your imagination for a moment. Two weeks ago, your client was phobic about stepping outside her front door. Her husband was at his wits end
and on the verge of leaving her. Her children, though sympathetic, led separate lives in which she couldn’t participate. Her life was a misery. Then she came to see you. She was white and sweating because she’d had to step out of the house and you could see how desperate she was to attempt this. She told you about all the psychotherapy she’d tried and the various medications she’d taken, none of which had helped. She told you how unhappy she was and that you were her last chance. You treat her. Two weeks later, she bounces into your consulting room wearing a new outfit she bought earlier that week when out on a shopping trip with her teenage daughter. She and her husband are planning a second honeymoon in Spain. Does this give you satisfaction? Of course it does! If you like the s ound of helping someone like this then a career in hypnotherapy may be for you.
The financial rewards
For some strange reason, those interested in training as a therapist are embarrassed about discussing money, as if it is somehow obscene to think about it when you are working to help people. The bald fact is that everyone needs money. Those people who are interested in working part-time as a hypnotherapist and have a day job will still need to equip a room in their home and buy essentials such as stationary. For those wanting to work full-time, you have to earn enough to live on and to buy those little luxuries which make life enjoyable. In short, you have to charge clients for your services. There’s nothing wrong with this. You’ve paid for your training, put in the hard work, brought your life experience
to bear, and you are providing expertise which can bring about dramatic improvements in their quality of life. One question often asked is – “How much can I earn?”. The answer is, it depends entirely on you and your circumstances. If you’re competent, near a large town or city and are prepared to work hard, the rewards can be considerable. Even if you live in a rural area and work part time, a good reputation will spread and people will be prepared to travel to see you.
Financial rewards and self employment
Because you’ll be self employed, the hours you work and what you charge is entirely up to you, based on what is normal in your part of the country (eg, hypnotherapists in London can reasonably charge higher fees than those in the north of England). What you’re doing is taking control of your earning power. You decide how many hours a week you are prepared to work. Of course, this can vary at different times of the year. If you want – and can afford – to work less during the summer school holidays, then you are free to do so. Don’t forget that you’ll have expenses, especially if you rent a consulting room. However, most rates are reasonable and of course you allow for this when you set your fees. As you’re self employed you can also undertake other income-generating tasks like giving talks. You could also contact local GPs to see if they have a room in the surgery they could rent out one day a week and refer people to you. The opportunities are as extensive as you are prepared to make them.
Chapter 4 What is hypnosis?
If you’re thinking about a career in hypnotherapy, it’s a good idea to start with the basics and ensure you understand exactly what hypnosis and hypnotherapy are, because the terms are often used interchangeably, although this is not in fact accurate.
Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness. What is altered? Our brainwaves. There is an actual, measurable change in brainwave patterns when someone undergoes hypnosis. This might sound faintly sinister but in fact it’s entirely normal. Human beings have different brainwave patterns at different times throughout the day and night, depending in what they are doing. High levels of activity are associated with a specific types of brainwave pattern and sleep is associated with a different pattern. In fact, it’s quite common for people to experience a mild state of hypnosis without “undergoing hypnosis”. Imagine, for example, that you are driving down a motorway. Traffic is light and there’s very little to disturb your concentration. You can feel your eyes glazing over. You might drive for several miles on mental autopilot without being fully conscious of any actions you take, like perhaps decreasing your speed slightly or shifting position in your seat. You are in a mild state of hypnosis. Your brain wave patterns have altered to ones which are
appropriate for less activity and stimulation. You are in fact in an altered state of awareness, generally referred to as highway hypnosis. You come out of this altered state of awareness as soon as it’s necessary for you to do so, if, for example, you need to step on the brakes. Your mind is simply less concerned with externals because nothing very interesting is going on and lowers its activity level. This is known as the hypnotic state or, more often, as the trance state. It can be induced accidentally (see above) or can be induced deliberately by someone using hypnosis. Someone in an induced trance state will usually feel pleasantly relaxed. They will be fully aware of a that is ll going on around them but don’t feel any immediate need to exert themselves more than is absolutely necessary. They will be more focused on what’s going on in their own minds than in the outside world, and that’s why this trance state can be used for hypnotherapy, as will be explained in the next chapter. They may also be more suggestible than usual. Again, this can be put to good use therapeutically. They can wait to be brought out of the trance state but can do so themselves simply by opening their eyes, speaking or making the decision to “wake up”. That phrase - “wake up” - is often associated with hypnotherapy but in fact is highly misleading as the trance state is not the same thing as sleep. However, the client will often have their eyes closed (although this isn’t necessary) and using the words “wake up” or “waking up” when they emerge from the trance state is as good a description as any. One useful phrase to describe the trance state is “a state of relaxation”. As such, for most people it’s highly enjoyable.
Knowing when someone is in the trance state
You might think that this can be faked, that someone can pretend to be in a trance in order to fool the hypnotist or to be kind and make them feel they’ve succeeded in inducing a trance. In fact, there are specific physical signs people show when they enter into a trance and some of these are not under our conscious control.
Hypnosis and suggestibility
When someone is in a hypnotic trance they become more suggestible, that is, they accept what is said more readily. This is what makes hypnotherapy so effective a therapeutic tool. Obviously, the hypnotherapist has to take care not to misuse this susceptibility but in the right hands, the most remarkable results can be achieved.
CHAPTER 5 What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is the therapeutic work done while in that altered state of awareness. To put it another way, hypnosis is the tool; hypnotherapy is the work carried out using it to provide therapeutic benefit. So what is hypnotherapy? Hypnotherapy is using the fact that clients are focusing on their internal state – their minds, emotion and imagination – to help them understand what they are thinking and why, and where appropriate to help them change their behaviour. It’s often possible in this way to reach thoughts and emotions which are normally “below the surface” for the client or which he feels difficult to face outside the trance state. Note the word help. A good hypnotherapist helps nudge the client gently towards a goal or goals they wish to achieve. The hypnotherapist must never try to control the client or to force changes and must never, ever try to impose changes which the client has not specifically requested. What the hypnotherapist is doing is carrying on a conversation – and sometimes negotiations – with the client’s unconscious mind. It is an “enabling” therapy, helping and supporting the client to eliminate or manage that which is distressing them or motivating them to achieve specific goals. The client can hear everything the hypnotherapist is saying and is perfectly capable of deciding not to answer or to resist, if they wish to do so. Hypnotherapy is unique in that it alone seeks to communicate directly with the subconscious mind.
Chapter 6 Types of hypnotherapy
The most commonly used forms of hypnotherapy are: Suggestion therapy Suggestion therapy is where suggestions are given to a client’s unconscious mind in the trance state in order to help him achieve his stated goals. These suggestions may be direct or more subtle (known as indirect suggestions). Direct suggestions are exactly what they sound like, eg. a suggestion that the client no longer wishes to smoke cigarettes. Indirect suggestions are more oblique, eg. putting the suggestion to the client in the form of a metaphor. The hypnotherapist using suggestion therapy often reads from specialist pre-written scripts, to avoid error or ambiguity. Analytical therapy Analytical therapy is where client and therapist work together, while the client is in the trance state, to understand which memories, behaviours or emotions are causing present difficulties, and then using the information uncovered to adjust the client’s thinking or approach to a more positive state. This type of approach generally involves the hypnotherapist in questioning the client gently and guiding him to an understanding of his behaviour and the hidden reasons for it.
Regression therapy Regression therapy is where the client is regressed to a childhood or pre-childhood state (ie, in the womb), or to a past life, in order to uncover reasons for present behaviour or distress. This is considered a specialist branch of hypnotherapy and requires specialist training. Parts therapy This is where the client communicates with different “parts” of his personality, each representing one aspect of his personality or problem. The theory is that the client can be brought to view the behaviours or problems from a different perspective but the process is somewhat depersonalised – and thus emotional barriers overcome – by it taking the form of a discussion between “parts” as opposed to an analysis of the client’s conscious mind. Again, this requires specialist training. Finding your own path The different types of technique form starting points from which you can grow and develop as become more experienced. The emphasis in your practice should always be that your work is research and evidence based. Over time you’ll find what works for you. The emphasis on research and evidence to support your work is important: there are still too many involved in the therapy field whose beliefs are nothing more than dogma. For example, some will tell you that you must have analysis. One of the authors of this book will tell you that analysis is rarely necessary, based his nearly 20 years of experience. This however so could be a separate book in its own right, so we’ll leave that there and hope that the point has been made. Just because someone says its so, don’t make it so. Be prepared to question and challenge.
Chapter 7 Applications of hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy can help with an extraordinarily broad list of conditions. Some hypnotherapists choose to specialise in certain conditions while others take a more broad brush approach. Treatment of some conditions requires advanced training and membership of the correct professional bodies – the following list is not exhaustive.
• Addictions • Allergies • Anger management • Anxiety • Bereavement and loss • Body image or size problems • Chronic pain • Compulsive eating and food cravings • Concentration • Confidence improvement • Creativity • Decision making • Depression • Dreams and nightmares • Eating disorders • Exam nerves • Guilt • Insomnia • Loss of energy • Obsessions and compulsions • Panic • Past life recall
• Personal growth • Phobias • Post-traumatic stress • Relaxation • Self-esteem • Sexual problems of psychological origin • Smoking • Skin problems • Sports – improvement of performance • Stage fright • Stress, tension and worry All medical problems and physical symptoms must be referred to a medical doctor. Hypnotherapists should always remember that they are not medical practitioners and must never attempt to diagnose a condition. Increasing numbers of doctors these days are only too happy to work with hypnotherapists to help their patients and welcome an approach from hypnotherapists. Remember also that self-diagnosis of a medical condition by a client is not to be relied upon. They may genuinely believe they have, for example, irritable bowel syndrome but they are no more qualified than anyone else to make that diagnosis (unless, of course, they are medically qualified).
Chapter 8 Frequently Asked Questions
Anybody who has any interest at all in hypnotherapy, whether for themselves or as a potential career, often has misconceptions about hypnosis and hypnotherapy as a result of TV, the media or even word of mouth. It’s useful to clear up some of these points at this stage. Below, therefore, are some of the most commonly asked questions.
Can you make people bark like a dog?
Only if they wanted to before they went into the trance state! You occasionally find subjects who have an exhibitionist nature and are happy to follow suggestions of this type. These are people you w see on TV hypnotist ill shows. These people are specifically identified as having extrovert personalities, extreme susceptibility to hypnosis and a willingness to go along with whatever the hypnotist suggests. They form a very small minority of the population. The overwhelming majority of the population would not follow a suggestion of this type.
What happens if I can’t bring a client out of trance?
It never happens. The client will always come out of the trance state. Any good training course will explain how and why. This is something which often worries new students but there really is no problem here. You gain the confidence to induce the trance state and bring people out of it very quickly.
Can you hypnotise people into committing crimes?
Hypnosis is a tool used by human beings. Not all human beings are saints, and not all who use hypnosis are trained professionals. Hypnosis has famously been used as a component in the commission of some crimes, including at least one murder committed by a medical doctor. In the same way that hypnosis has been misused as a tool by some people, so have butter knives, which in safe hands can quite safely be used to butter a slice of bread. That the victims of these ‘bad hypnotic operators’ were naturally highly suggestible goes without saying. This does not however mean that hypnotists are going to rule the world, because each of the cases where hypnosis can been used in the commission of a crime are not very common at all. In the case of the murder a doctor suggested that his wife’s headaches were getting worse and worse, and encouraged her to keep taking medication for the increasing pain until she died from an overdose. These instances are, however, extremely rare. The average high street practitioner will not want, nor be able to, hypnotise someone into committing a crime.
What’s the difference between hypnotherapy and psychotherapy?
Hypnotherapy can and often does involve using psychotherapy techniques. These are used while the subject is in a trance state. Psychotherapy when used by itself doesn’t involve the trance state and relies on communicating with the conscious mind as opposed to the unconscious, so the trance state has to be induced first. Many hypnotherapists realise the value of a training in psychology or psychotherapy and go on to further training, although it is perfectly possible to become a good
hypnotherapist without doing this. It depends entirely on the type of approach the hypnotherapist wants to adopt. One other important difference is that successful psychotherapy, when used on its own, ie, without a trance being induced as part of the treatment, can often take months, if not years, to produce the desired result. Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, can bring about dramatic improvements after only one session or it can take as many as ten sessions in a more complex case. This however does depend on the therapist, the client and the therapy being offered. The time spans are therefore totally different which is one reason why hypnotherapy is so popular. Clients who have a condition which is relatively easy to treat can often see positive results almost immediately.
Do clients always know they’ve gone into the trance state?
No, not always. A very good hypnotherapist can induce trance without using a formal induction (that is, a specific procedure or script). The trance may be so light that the client simply feels relaxed and never realises that they are in the trance state. This should, of course, never be done without the informed consent of the client to entering the trance state.
Chapter 9 Training as a hypnotherapist
You’ve read the book to this point – so far so good. Hypnotherapy looks fascinating, the list of conditions you can help with is impressive, you can see that it might interest you as a career or a part-time activity, but……. how do you find a good training course? A good training course should not be defined as what other people tell you is a good course – after all, trainers have a vested interest in selling you their own course. So every course is going to be the best thing since sliced bread, according to the trainers. Some trainers will even go so far as to denigrate other trainers. That should tell you all that you need to know about them, so we don’t encourage you to help their bank balance. The best course should be the best course for you. One that suits your existing life experience, circumstances and budget. Let’s explode a therapy myth here once and for all. There is no correlation at all between how you train as a therapist and how effective you will eventually be as a therapist. Anyone who tells you that you have to follow a particular training route to become a therapist, or to avoid others, simply has not done their research. Either that or they are repeating parrot fashion something that they were told by someone else, usually the person who trained them in the first place. So when you start looking for a course, don’t opt for the first one which sounds good. Ask some of the questions you’ll find in this book.
The remainder of this book moves from giving you an overview of hypnotherapy as a profession and as a therapy to looking at how you can train, how to sift out the poor quality courses (which are a waste of time and money) and how the hypnotherapy profession operates. Is it regulated? Are there accepted standards? This is where things become slightly murky and, frankly, a trap for the unwary and/or innocent because – as you’ll see – hypnotherapists are good at producing a good message to the public which sounds impressive but which in fact can mean very little. That’s why this e-book has been written. If you’re interested in training, learn how to pick a good course. If you’re interested in seeking a hypnotherapist for personal development, learn which ones have good skills and which ones simply have impressive-sounding qualifications which are all but meaningless. Those qualifications make a good starting point…..
Chapter 10 Qualifications in hypnotherapy
The first thing you need to know is that in the UK there is no one recognised qualification in hypnotherapy. There is no single governing or regulatory body. Each trainer or college offers their own qualification and the vast majority of these aren’t assessed or accredited independently. Hypnotherapy, in the UK at least, is practised under common law. That means that the ordinary law of the land applies, such as legislation about fraud and negligence, rather than any laws which are specific to hypnotherapy. Any training you receive is entirely dependent on the skills and integrity of the trainer or training organisation and often on the qualifications they’ve obtained, which can – or should – tell you much about their level of competence. Standards of training vary wildly from the excellent to the abysmal. Some training organisations have even been researched and exposed on national television. Yet, how do you know which ones are good and which ones are bad? Many potential students – and also individuals seeking hypnotherapy – are heavily influenced by the strings of letters after a hypnotherapist’s name. Good heavens, with that many qualifications the hypnotherapist just has to be good, doesn’t he? Actually – no! One does not follow on from the other. It’s cheap and easy for someone to take several low-level courses and gain the right to use those precious initials.
They sound marvellous. However, the courses might each have consisted of ten pages of badly photocopied material of little value. But the person taking the course would still have the right to use those initials and claim the qualifications. This is assuming they pass the course. There are some colleges where you never, ever fail a course. There are even colleges which send you the certificate along with the material and “trust” you to do the work. Are you starting to feel disenchanted? Good. That means that you’ll be far more critical from now on. Hypnotherapy deals with the mind and the emotions and people can be damaged by poor hypnotherapy. If this book stops even one person from falling into the hands of a cowboy, it will have done its job.
De-coding the qualifications
So what kind of qualifications will you see?
The first group of qualifications are those which bear no relation whatsoever to hypnotherapy. These are qualifications which the person has gained in the past. They may be hard-earned and of value within that particular subject area but not relevant to hypnotherapy. They simply add to the string of initials. The most usual ones are BA or MA. These stand for Batchelor of Arts or Master of Arts. For those who haven’t been to university or who aren’t familiar with the UK educational system, a BA is the qualification given when someone passes a basic arts-based degree course. The MA is the next step up, a Masters degree, usually involving two years of specialised study.
These qualifications are usually placed first in the list, so our theoretical hypnotherapist – let’s call him A. N. Other, would present himself to the public as A. N. Other, BA, MA. That already sounds impressive, and it is. He (or she) has gained two recognised degree qualifications. As such, they deserve respect. The trouble is, our theoretical hypnotherapist gained these degrees in textile design……. There’s some justification for including non-relevant degree qualifications like these because they are (or at least should be) indicators of intelligence. However, taken at face value they can be highly misleading. The first thing to do when de-coding initials, therefore, is to ask what degree subject A.N. Other took. If it’s entirely irrelevant, why is A.N. Other including these in a list of hypnotherapy qualifications. Here are a few more genuine and reputable qualifications you might come across. Some are relevant, others less so. BSc/MSc This is the science equivalent of the BA and MA. Meaningless unless you know the subject. It could be space science. Ph.D This tells you the person has a doctorate. In what? You won’t know unless you ask. It could be absolutely anything. These days a PH.D can be bought off the Internet for a few dollars – be wary… One of the authors was taken aback to find another hypnotherapist in his area ask to be referred to as Doctor in future. It turned out his PH.D had been ‘awarded’ by an Internet university (diploma mill) for life experience and it was therefore essentially a worthless bit of paper. Implies a medical qualification but doesn’t
necessarily mean this. Doctorates can be bought from America over the internet. See above for comments. P.G.C.E. Postgraduate Certificate in Education. Trained as a teacher. Minister of religion. This qualification can be bought from America for a few pounds over the internet. Beware! In the USA many hypnotherapists are also ministers of religion due to the unique legal situation in many states. A higher engineering qualification.
The list could go on and on but you get the idea….. don’t take these qualifications at face value. They may be valid indicators of academic ability but they may also simply show an aptitude for a specialised subject with a low academic content, and one which is of no relevance whatsoever. Professional qualifications You can often be on safer ground here, as long as you can de-code them. The same comments apply as above. Ask exactly which profession the qualifications refer to, when the qualification was obtained and – where appropriate – in which country, and ask who the awarding body was. Qualifications awarded by private college First of all, what are private colleges?
Private colleges are those which, loosely speaking, are not run or financed by the state. All colleges offering hypnotherapy qualifications are private colleges. The one exception to this is where hypnotherapy is offered as a module in, eg, a qualification in complementary medicine. In such a case the whole course typically takes three years and costs many thousands of pounds and hypnotherapy will form only one part of it. These three year courses at staterun colleges and universities are becoming increasingly common. Private colleges offer their own qualifications. perfectly legal. This is
However, these qualifications can be prestigious within the hypnotherapy profession or virtually meaningless. They also form the bulk of the string of letters after hypnotherapists’ names. The most usual ones are: Dip. Hyp You’ll see many variations on this, such as Dipl. Hypno, Dip. Hypno and so on, all indicating that the person has passed a diploma course in hypnotherapy. The same as above but the qualification is a Certificate, almost always of a lower standard and content level than the diploma. More
Ask which college awarded this qualification. questions are suggested later in this book.
You might also see letters which suggest a qualification in psychology. These usually contain the word “Psy” or similar.
Memberships This is where the fun begins and where a hypnotherapist can really pad out his string of letters. There are a huge number of associations to which hypnotherapists can apply for membership. Some examples are: B.S.E.C.H British Society of Experimental and Clinical . Hypnosis M.A.P.T. Member, Association of Professional Therapists
These are two examples selected at random to illustrate a point. Some of these associations are highly reputable and individuals have to commit to a code of practice before being admitted. With others, you only have to part with a cheque. Some – in fact many – are only open to those who have done the training courses offered by that college. In other words, the college trains you and then you become a member of an association run entirely by that college. But it does sound good………
These actually mean something in most cases. They are voluntary awards for special achievements within the hypnotherapy profession. They can’t be bought: they have to be earned. It’s fair to say they are genuine statements of achievement and ability. Some organisations allow you to join as a Fellow, ie, you are granted fellowship status straight away, but this is usually based on proof of extensive experience and/or high achievement within the hypnotherapy profession.
Even if you don’t remember the details, come away from this chapter remembering one thing – question all qualifications. Who awarded the qualification? Is it relevant? There’ll be a short section later in the book specifically on reputable associations which good hypnotherapists often belong to, and the guidelines for professional behaviour which they lay down.
Chapter 11 How to become a hypnotherapist
This is a potential minefield. There are a considerable number of training organisations and individuals offering hypnotherapy training. Not only does the standard vary enormously, but some courses are skewed towards one particular approach, eg, Freudian, Ericksonian etc. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what these terms mean. Indeed, in many ways that’s the point. If you don’t understand what is meant by a Freudian approach and sign up for a training course which is directed in this way, you will learn this and never have the opportunity to explore other approaches. You may not understand that there are other approaches as it’s human nature for someone to promote their beliefs as the only ones which really work.
As explained above, in the UK there’s no one official qualification in hypnotherapy at this time. That means that anyone – even someone who has never studied or practised hypnotherapy – can set themselves up as a trainer and sell courses. This means it’s absolutely crucial that anyone considering taking a training course asks some searching questions of the trainer about their credentials and experience to teach the subject. These days, many trainers came to hypnotherapy by a recognised route, ie, they themselves did a training course.
If so, ask which one and check out that training organisation. On closer inspection, some of these offer a less than adequate service. Note, though, that many hypnotherapists who’ve been in practice for some years won’t have been down this route, simply because the explosion in the number of training courses on offer is relatively recent and they simply weren’t available in the past. They’ve learned “on the job” or by working with an established hypnotherapist as a kind of apprenticeship. For these hypnotherapists, ask how long they’ve been in practice and the type of conditions they treat. Ask them – in fact, insist – that they justify their status as a trainer. Above all, don’t be impressed purely by strings of letters after that trainer’s name. As you’ve already seen, these can be meaningless.
Taught courses versus distance learning
The most common training routes these days are via either a taught course involving theory and practice, or a distance learning course. The taught courses might be short and intense, eg, a two week residential course. The advantage is the intensity and the opportunity to practice newly acquired skills. The disadvantage is the cost, which can run into thousands of pounds. Another form of taught courses are those which take place, eg, one weekend a month. These tend to be more heavily lecture-based combined with some practical work. These form an attractive option for some people but others find that working a five day week, doing an intensive two days hypnotherapy training and then going straight back into
another five day week simply too onerous. There is also often a problem with family commitments. The third option is distance learning. Here, student and teacher communicate by mail or (these days) email and the student works through a text which is provided by a trainer. The advantages are that the student studies in his own time and at his own pace. Thus, training takes place when it is convenient to him rather than when it’s convenient for the tutor. Another advantage, especially when doing distance learning by email is that the student can ask questions at any time and is not restricted to a small proportion of the tutor’s attention during one weekend a month. The disadvantage is the lack of supervised practice. At first sight, this seems a major drawback. However, that is to ignore the fact that hypnotherapy is a skill. The basic technique of putting someone into a trance is extremely easy and can be taught in minutes. Hands-on training courses place great emphasis on supervising the induction of the trance state but this is in fact the easiest part of the training and supervision is unnecessary. You can buy a book and learn this yourself, practising on friends and relatives. The skill of hypnotherapy lies in asking the right questions of the client while he’s in the trance state and generally being empathic. This can’t be taught. You either have an empathic personality or you don’t. A good distance learning course will discuss approaches and techniques but after that it is down to the personality of the individual. Moreover, how can you practice this? There is no evidence whatsoever that practice-based tuition produces better hypnotherapists than those who study by distance learning. This is one of the great myths that is has no basis in fact.
The other advantage is that distance learning is generally cheaper, which is a major consideration for many people wishing to enter the profession. Be warned though. You should receive a substantial text to work through. A college which produces fifty pages of badly photocopied basics is not giving you sufficient information. Ask how much individual support you’ll receive and why the trainer feels he or she is sufficiently experienced to train you. If the trainer won’t answer these questions – move on.
Chapter 12 A good course or a bad course?
Let’s assume that you’ve explored a few training organisations and you’re trying to make up your mind whether the training, which sounds good, is in fact going to equip you for a career in hypnotherapy. What do you look for?
The basics of a good hypnotherapy training
Firstly, you should receive clear instructions in how to induce the trance state. The training should go beyond this, however, and explain how to deepen a trance and discuss whether the depth of trance is in fact important (it isn’t). In other words, the tuition should go beyond a basic “how to”. You are not a robot: you need to understand what you are doing and why. Your training should be eclectic in approach. That means it should not follow any one technique or approach to the exclusion of others. You may opt to follow a particular path later in your career but at this stage you need to be introduced to as many different approaches as possible, and be helped to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. Avoid any course which describes itself as following any one method, individual or particular path. Look closely at the experience of the trainer. Do they really have a breadth of experience or are they two years out of training themselves? Is the trainer prepared to answer your questions? Do they sound defensive when doing so? Do the answers satisfy
you or does the trainer talk a lot but give out little information? Do the answers inspire confidence? Are they a member of a reputable professional organisation? This means they’ve committed themselves to following certain ethical guidelines and are subject to disciplinary action if they breach these. Do they run their own association? If so, what benefits does it bring to the student or newly qualified hypnotherapist? The advantages to the trainer are obvious: you will have to pay a fee to join. What are you getting in return? Is this all a money making exercise or is the trainer genuinely interested in raising the standards of training? Use your common sense. If the printed material or website is of poor quality, with spelling mistakes and typos, ask yourself how much real effort the trainer is putting into this – and note that this is before you part with any money, when he has a real incentive to impress you with his efficiency and accuracy. What is he going to be like after you’ve handed over a cheque?
Quick hypnotherapy training
You may see training courses advertised which assure you that you can be qualified and earning within days. If you do one of these you may be qualified, you may be earning – but will you be any good as a hypnotherapist? Remember, you’re going to be dealing with people’s minds. Any good training course is going to involve substantial reading and studying and is not going to be completed in that kind of timescale. Short courses such as this may be suitable for someone with a lot of experience who is looking for a paper qualification but does not need to do a full course of training.
Chapter 13 Finding a trainer
How does someone wanting to study hypnotherapy actually find a trainer in the first place?
Your first port of call may well be magazines which specialise in, or at least cover, alternative health and complementary therapies. There are several of them on the market and a quick visit to W H Smith or similar should provide you with a selection. Be aware that the overall tone of the magazine will attract certain types of trainers, for example, those magazines leaning more towards the mystical (angels, fairies etc) are likely to be where hypnotherapists with a more mystical interest will advertise. If your interests are more mainstream, go for the more specialist magazines. These will contain weighty articles and are most likely to be available in specialist health outlets such as health centres or by subscription. They are likely to cover a range of different related therapies but are read by professionals and not the general public.
A presence on the web is a must these days for anyone selling anything, and this includes training courses. Whatever you want to study, you can do a simple search and find a trainer. However, be aware that there may be no relationship between the attractive appearance of the site and the
ability of the trainer. All a visually attractive site often means is that they have a good web site designer. Look for sites which include a biography of the trainer/s and which state his/her experience. Another good indicator is where the site contains general information about hypnotherapy and is not just a sales window. Do they publish a full table of contents? Are there links to other relevant sites, or articles? All of these indicate that the trainer has some knowledge of and enthusiasm for his subject. Having checked all those, have a think about the string of letters after the trainer’s name. Are these relevant? Credible?
The price at which a training course is offered for sale can be a good indicator of its quality. If a course is particularly cheap – ask yourself why it is priced so low. Tutoring a student through a course is extremely time consuming and it’s unlikely that a trainer is doing this as a charitable exercise. Could it be that the price is low because you receive very little material or a low level of student support? Equally, if a price is extremely high, ask searching questions as to precisely what you receive which is worth the extra money. This might take the form of extras such as CDRoms and thus the higher price is justified. Vague statements such as “we’re proud of our course and think it good value for money” should be treated with caution. All trainers should be proud of the courses they offer and they should all be good value for money. Precisely what justifies that course costing substantially more than similar courses?
Being realistic, students will have a price barrier. They can afford just so much and no more. However, buying a lowprice training course may not be a good use of that money. It might be worth waiting, and saving, for one which will give you the training you need to be a successful practitioner rather than buying a course which leaves you partially trained and without clients.
Does the course information include a reading list? If not, ask whether the course text is comprehensive and covers all the material. If there are no recommended books with the course, it is unlikely to be adequate if it is less than 200 pages in length, and ideally it should be far longer.
Chapter 14 Regulatory Bodies
Earlier in this book there was associations and regulatory bodies. Good examples are: General Hypnotherapy Register P O Box 204 Lymington SO41 6WP Tel/Fax: 01590 683770 http://www.general-hypnotherapy-register.com/ General Hypnotherapy Standards Council P O Box 204 Lymington SO41 6WP Tel/Fax: 01590 683770 http://www.ghsc.co.uk/ Any code of ethics should include most and ideally all of the following statements. This is the Code of Ethics for the General Hypnotherapy Register, reproduced with their kind permission. Please note that this Code of Ethics may be amended or expanded at any time and readers should therefore check back to this link for the most up-to-date version: All Registrants undertake to:
1. Provide service to clients solely in those areas in which they are competent to do so and for which they carry relevant professional indemnity insurance Remain aware of their own limitations and wherever appropriate, be prepared to refer a client to another practitioner (regardless of discipline) who might be expected to offer suitable treatment
ensure that wherever a client is seeking assistance for the relief of physical symptoms, unless having already done so, that the client be advised to contact a registered Medical Practitioner 3 Confirm that they will never knowingly offer advice to a client which either conflicts with or is contrary to that given by the client’s registered medical advisor/s. (N.B. If the therapist has doubts or concerns with regard to a client’s prescribed medication, they should, always with their client’s permission, contact the medical advisor personally) Confirm that they will never knowingly offer advice to a client which either conflicts with or is contrary to that given by the client’s registered medical advisor/s. (N.B. If the therapist has doubts or concerns with regard to a client’s prescribed medication, they should, always with their client’s permission, contact the medical advisor personally) Accept that any client referred to them by a registered Medical Practitioner (or other relevant agency) remains the clinical responsibility of the Medical Practitioner (or agency) and therefore to agree to keep that Medical Practitioner (or agency) suitably informed of the client’s progress Maintain strict confidentiality within the client/therapist relationship, always provided that such confidentiality is neither inconsistent with the safety of the client’s family members or other members of the public nor in contravention of the laws of the land Ensure that client notes and records be kept secure and confidential and that the use of computer records remains within the terms of the Data Protection Act Obtain written permission from the client (or if appropriate, the client's parent/s or legal guardian/s) before either recording client sessions or discussing undisguised cases with any person whatsoever. ("Recording" in this context means any method other than the usual taking of written case notes. "Undisguised" in this context means cases in which material has not been sufficiently altered in order to offer reasonable anonymity to all relevant parties). With particular reference to the use of CCTV equipment, all clients must be fully informed when such equipment is in operation and as above, written permission must be obtained prior to the commencement of any client session. (N.B. Wherever possible, the practitioner should ensure that such a recording is vision only - i.e. without sound) take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the client and any person who may be accompanying them 9. Ensure that their workplace and all facilities offered to both clients
and their companions will be in every respect suitable and appropriate for the service provided 10. Refrain from using their position of trust and confidence to: a) exploit the client emotionally, sexually, financially or in any other way whatsoever. Should either a sexual or financial relationship (i.e. other than for the payment of relevant products or services) develop between either therapist and client or members of their respective immediate families, the therapist must immediately cease to accept fees, terminate treatment consistent with Clause 12 below and refer the client to another suitable therapist at the very earliest opportunity. (N.B. Clarification on dilemmas experienced by therapists in respect of the foregoing may be offered by the GHR on request ); b) touch the client in any way that may be open to misinterpretation. (e.g. Before employing tactile induction or deepening techniques, both an explanation should be given and permission received) 11. 12. Terminate treatment at the earliest moment consistent with the good care of the client Not permit considerations of religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, politics or social standing to adversely influence client treatment Disclose full details of all relevant memberships, training, experience, qualifications and appropriate avenues of complaint to clients, upon request Make no claim that they hold specific qualifications unless such claim can be fully substantiated. (N.B. In the absence of appropriate medical qualifications, no Registrant may utilise the title "Doctor" in a manner that may mislead any member of the public to believe that they are medically qualified and any use of this title must be clearly defined by a suitable qualifying statement.) explain fully to clients in advance of any treatment, the fee levels, precise terms of payment and any charges which might be imposed for non-attendance or cancelled appointments. (N.B. Whilst not obligatory, written material is preferable to verbal statements as this is less likely to give grounds for misunderstanding should any dispute between client and therapist subsequently develop) 15. Present all services and products in an unambiguous manner (to include any limitations and realistic outcomes of treatment) and ensure that the client retains complete control over the decision to
purchase such services or products 16. Conduct themselves at all times in accord with their professional status and in such a way as neither undermines public confidence in the process or profession of hypnotherapy nor brings the GHR into disrepute a) inform the GHR, in writing, of any complaint (of which they are aware) made against them; b) inform the GHR, in writing, of any disciplinary action taken against them by any professional body; c) inform the GHR, in writing, of any criminal offence of which they have been convicted 17. 18. Inform the GHR, in writing, of any alteration in circumstance which would affect either their position or ability as practitioners Ensure that all *advertising shall comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice, accord with the British Advertising Standards Authority and make available all such literature to the GHR on request. (*This includes all material published on websites and in which matter, the GHR reserves the right to decide, entirely at its discretion, whether to allow active links to any individual website from the GHR site). Notify the GHR, in writing, of any change in practice name, contact address, telephone number or e-mail address, at the earliest convenient moment. Make available all relevant information requested as a result of investigation by any appointed Complaints and Disciplinary Officer without hindrance (whether implied or actual) or unreasonable delay and comply fully with all requirements inherent within any Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure to which they subscribe Wherever possible, obtain the consent of an appropriate adult (i.e. parent or legal guardian) before conducting treatment with clients who are either under the age of majority or are classified as Special Needs. (N.B. Ideally, an appropriate adult should be present during such sessions. N.B.2 Where the client is under the age of 16 and requesting parental / legal guardian consent would violate confidentiality, the therapist should employ an assessment of the client's competency to consent to treatment on their own behalf ).
Chapter 15 The hypnotherapy profession in the UK
The hypnotherapy profession in the UK is made up of: • Independent hypnotherapists • Registered hypnotherapists • Therapists outside main stream hypnotherapy but who use hypnotherapy occasionally or without realising it • Professional bodies and trade organisations Independent hypnotherapists Independent hypnotherapists are those who work as hypnotherapists but who do not belong to any group or organisations. There is no requirement to be registered anywhere, except the tax office, when working as a hypnotherapist. The tax office need to be told within three months of setting up a business or it is an offence. This, incidentally, is a rule which applies to anyone setting up a new business in the UK, whatever its nature. Registered hypnotherapists Registered hypnotherapists, as the title suggests, will hold membership with at least one of the professional registering bodies. A registering body will publish its criteria for membership and anyone who can meet that criteria can apply to become a member. There are wide differences between these bodies. The registration criteria
ranges from very stringent to simply being able to afford the registration fees, as discussed previously. Therapists outside mainstream hypnotherapy These are therapists who primarily practice another therapy but who also on occasions incorporate hypnotherapy into their work. These might be eg stress managers or trauma specialists. Professional bodies and trade organisations These, as discussed previously, are independent bodies who act for their particular membership and some of whom, on occasions, work together for the benefit of the hypnotherapy profession. These are likely to become of greater importance over the coming years as governmental pressure and pressure from other outside bodies to regulate all “alternative therapies” increases. At the moment, hypnotherapy is self regulating and likely to stay that way for the immediate future. The more effectively hypnotherapy can regulate itself as a profession, the less likely it is that the government will intervene. Self regulation also includes disciplining hypnotherapists who breach specific codes of practice or who cross a line in a way which any sensible person would regard as misconduct. Without doubt, there are a few hypnotherapists each year who do this. By and large, these cases are dealt with within the profession. Regulatory bodies are well aware of the potential dangers to clients and to the hypnotherapy profession at large and in general are more than willing to act where such cases are brought to their attention.
Chapter 16 Self employment
In order to become a successful hypnotherapist, the individual needs certain personal qualities and strengths. In fact, they need two different sets of qualities and strengths. The first relates to their role as a therapist. The second relates to their position as a self employed person, running their own practice and controlling their own finances. The latter is one of the main reasons why so many people train and qualify as hypnotherapists yet never practice, or only do so for a short time. Their therapeutic skills are good but they are simply unable to handle the business aspects of their work.
Qualities as a therapist
The main quality is empathy, that inbuilt ability to understand the feelings of others in a non-judgemental way. If that doesn’t exist, then it’s best to consider another career. Another needed quality is the ability to listen. Hypnotherapy almost invariably involves an interaction between client and hypnotherapist, with the hypnotherapist responding to what are often tiny verbal and visual clues given by the client. This also involves the ability – or at least a willingness – to concentrate for up to an hour at a time. The hypnotherapist should be a good listener. Any session should be focused on the client and not an occasion for the hypnotherapist to talk about himself and his interests.
He or she should also ideally have some analytical ability, although this isn’t necessary for suggestion therapy. However, the deeper analytic skills involves analysing what the client says and using that information to progress the session. If you feel you have these qualities, you may well make a good hypnotherapist.
Qualities as a self-employed person
Here, the hypnotherapist needs a different set of qualities, some of which are quite different to those needed in the therapeutic role. First of all, he or she has to be sufficiently self confident to work alone without the daily and hourly support of colleagues. That person needs to be able to handle the aggravations and knocks of working life without an immediate support system (though of course a supportive family helps). They must be self motivated, able to undertake those mundane tasks which aren’t necessarily pleasant, like filling in a tax return. This is often the greatest stumbling block to success in self employment. Unpleasant or onerous tasks are put on the back burner until they start to cause real and stressful problems. The self employed person needs administrative skills. There will be paperwork and mundane tasks like filing. He or she will also need a flexible approach to the requirements of the working day. A neat and orderly diary of clients may be thrown into chaos by a late arrival but the hypnotherapist must be flexible enough to cope with this without causing stress to himself or showing stress to the client.
He or she must also be prepared to sacrifice family or social life upon occasion. At various times there will be deadlines to meet – filling in a tax return is again a good example – or the client in distress who can only attend during the evening, or at any time that is convenient for you? It also helps to have a good sense of humour. When things go wrong you can laugh or you can cry. People who can find something funny when the world around them seems to be falling into chaos are the ones who survive and flourish. The practical skills of self employment can be learned. Your local Business Link will direct you towards basic accountancy and business management courses and these are often free. The Inland Revenue run an excellent series of workshops, again free. Only you can decide whether the freedom from routine which you gain by becoming self employed will bring greater benefits to you than the extra stresses it can bring. If you have the personal qualities which would enable you to cope, it can seem the best move you’ve made in your life.
Chapter 17 Summing up
The vast majority of people who train as hypnotherapists feel they benefit from the training. Some, who decide for one reason or another not to go on to practice, still feel they gain great insights into their own personalities and behaviours and apply what they’ve learned for their own self development. Those who do go on to practice become members of one of the most absorbing professions, where they can help people in emotional and physical distress whilst at the same time earning a reasonable (and sometimes excellent) living. The key to it all is training. You can’t apply or teach what you don’t know and thus you are reliant on your trainer to open your mind to as much information as is possible. Your trainer should educate you in different theories, rather than being dogmatic. If he or she can’t or won’t discuss the pros and cons of different approaches, they either lack the knowledge or are too narrow in their approach. The aim of tuition, after all, is to broaden your knowledge, not to channel it down one narrow path. You need to be able to think around your subject, not merely to regurgitate one theory in order to pass an exam. You’ll be dealing with your clients minds and you need to learn as much as you possibly can in order to become as effective a therapist as possible. Choose your course and your trainer carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about their qualifications and experience.
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