So you’re a hypnotherapist and you’d like your paid sessions to go smoother, and produce great results for your client?
We’ve got ten great tips to help you do just that.
The same ten tips were also covered on our Youtube channel. Watch the video here, or keep reading to follow along.
Tip #1 - Don’t go in with a specific plan!
Let’s suppose you have a client booked and he’s told you he’s afraid of heights. You think back to the client you helped overcome this problem, and how well it all went, and that’s a good thing…
The problem is, you can fall into the trap of a cookbook style session, and automatically default to what worked before. But the reality is, people aren’t recipes! The method that worked in the past might well be the best method to use.
But then again, it might not be your best choice for this person at this moment in time.
It’s essential that you let the client and the context of the session speak to you. A proper interview might lead you in a totally different (and more effective) direction than you expected to encounter.
So remember to be flexible. There are dozens of ways of treating a specific issue. Make sure you choose the best one for the individual in front of you.
That’s because no hypnosis plan will survive first contact with your subject!
Tip #2 - Always start with rapport!
We say that rapport is the glue that holds trance together. Always, always, always build rapport as soon as the client walks through your door, or even when they call you to schedule an appointment.
Once you have rapport, continue to maintain it right up to the end of the session when they leave your office, or disconnect from Zoom.
Remember: One of the most powerful things that causes change in a client is whether or not they like the therapist. So make sure you are likeable, by listening intently and giving the person your full attention, all the time.
Tip #3 - Ask good questions in the pre-talk!
Certain questions are key to understanding and resolving issues. That's what the NLP Meta Model is all about. If someone has developed a nervous twitch or insomnia, you should ask:
What changed in your life at that time? What occurred just before you developed this?
You might discover something interesting, like that was when her dysfunctional brother decided to move in with her. If that’s the case, then the best therapy might be for him to move out again!
Other questions will ask what makes the problem better, or what makes it worse? You might ask the person how he knows he has this problem? This will give you his evidence criteria that will change once the problem’s satisfactorily resolved.
Never assume anything, no matter what you think you “intuitively” know about their situation. In reality, you won’t have all the relevant information unless you ask for it.
Listen to the person! And ask useful questions.
Tip #4 - ABC, Always Be Calibrating!
You need to be constantly watching and listening to your client. If you aren’t doing this but are staring at your notes or some kind of script, you can miss key information.
To calibrate is to notice.
As soon as the subject comes in your office you need to take a mental picture of everything, including things like facial expression, muscle tension, blink reflex, eye-contact, etc.
You’ll also be listening to their vocal pitch and rate, as well as any meaningful pauses in their sentences.
By calibrating them up-front, you’ll be giving them much-needed attention, and will notice changes occur when internal shifts happen.
If you’re working with a subject and their face suddenly flushes, something’s just happened internally; stress or an internal change for the better.
But you won’t see it if you aren’t looking for it, so sit where you can see your subject’s face and posture.
Tip #5 - Always aim for a deep trance!
Somnambulism or deep trance is the working state of hypnosis. This is what hypnotic inductions are for. It’s where the work is done and the change is accomplished, whether you’re relieving pain or clearing a past event.
Of course this is just a model, as is hypnosis itself, but we don’t typically get into that, as we’re interested in results, not arguments about theory.
Time after time we hear people say:
You only need a light trance for all kinds of change work!
This is largely true. But it’s our experience that trainers who often repeat this phrase are great at getting subjects into light trances, but not much beyond that.
We recommend you always go for a robust, deep, and powerful trance, because that’s where the most profound changes happen.
To that end, you should always deepen the trance you create, using whatever method you prefer.
Tip #6 - When in doubt, bounce them out!
Never work with anyone who has issues you are not qualified to treat! If you’re not a psychologist or psychiatrist, you are unlikely to be able to treat depression. (On the other hand, you can help people feel happier.)
Make sure you stay within what you’re legally permitted to do.
So if someone tells you they have trouble sleeping, but comes in with a host of psychiatric disorders and is on numerous medications, you need to bounce them out to someone who’s able and qualified to deal with them.
If you have a bad feeling about any client, you owe it to yourself to refuse to work with them. Ecology first, yours and theirs, is always the first principle.
In fact, it’s probably a good idea to have one or two qualified people available to help the people that you can’t help.
So if the person has issues you cannot legally treat, or makes you uneasy, don’t delay. Bounce them out. It will be better for you and the client if they see someone who can actually work with them.
Tip #7 - Have an appropriate and professional environment
This one should be obvious, but unfortunately it isn’t to some people…
Whether you’re working in an office or online, your environment should reflect your professionalism. That means no dirty ashtrays or full garbage cans, and no laundry in the background if you’re on Zoom or Skype.
The environment sends a message, before you begin hypnosis, or even say a single word.
Make sure your office or workspace reflects the kind of client you want to attract, because if you do good work, referrals will account for a lot of your business.
If you are a New Agey type, then candles and incense are appropriate. But if you’re working in the corporate community specializing in peak performance and financial success, a more medical style environment will likely be a better choice.
Whatever style of office or room you decide on, make sure it’s clean and neat, and reflects the kind of person you are, and the kind you want to work with.
Tip #8 - Take good notes!
Don’t trust your memory! It will lie to you.
“Oh no, I just run the session and it all goes great without notes!”
You’re wrong. You can do much better with bullet-point notes.
Take notes as your client explains their situation. Write down anything that jumps out as significant. This will help you formulate your hypnotic suggestions.
Does it come out in the pre talk that they had a friend who died recently?
Write it down.
The key is to write and be as thorough as you can, while still looking at, and listening to, the subject.
“Oh I just record the session and review it later…”
Good for you. But reviewing it later won’t help you with the information you need to pay attention to now.
If they have a clear issue like a phobia or pain that you have their doctor’s permission to relieve, ask how bad the fear or pain is out of ten, right now…
Write the number down and circle it. When you get their new number at the end of the session you can show them how much they’ve improved.
So pay attention to your client, but take point-form notes at the same time.
Put the notes somewhere safe so you can look at them before any follow-up appointments.
Tip #9 - Future Pace
To future pace is to check what you’ve done to make sure it worked.
We are astounded by the number of hypnotists who run an intervention and then never check to see if the problem’s resolved. It’s as thought they’re afraid to check in case it didn’t work.
But if your intervention hasn’t gotten rid of the issue, wouldn’t you rather know right now? Do you really think it’s better to work on a fear of cats, and then get an angry and terrified phone call later, because they saw a cat in their yard and freaked out?
If you don’t test your work, you are setting your subject free into the world, and just hoping it’s worked, which is both irresponsible and ridiculous.
So to future pace the problem you might tell the person to imagine a cat wanders into their living room. Ask what will happen.
Calibrate their answer. You’re hoping for a congruent response that says no big deal.
If they look or sound distressed, you still have work to do.
Tip #10 - Always end the session by asking “What’s next?”
This is a very powerful technique that puts the continuance of the changework in the client’s hands where it belongs. It empowers the client to apply whatever you’ve done as they go out into the world.
Let’s say you’ve helped a man who came in for a fear of public speaking, and at the end of the session, you ask him: What’s next? He should respond by telling you how he’ll jump up at that meeting when it’s his turn to speak, and easily convey his information to the group.
Asking what’s next is also a kind of future pace. If the public speaking client answers the question with uncertainty, or says that they think they might be okay now, the work isn’t complete.
Asking What’s next? really hands the client the ball, but it’s up to him to score the points now, and that’s what the question indirectly implies. You are handing the client the controls of his own life.