If you’re a hypnotist or coach looking to run online sessions for your clients, this is your ultimate resource. The world has changed, the Internet has evolved, and it’s entirely possible to do miraculous work for your clients without ever being in the same room. Online hypnosis sessions are here to stay. And it has the power to transform your business.
Keep reading because we’ll show you exactly what you need to know. This is what we’re about to share with you regarding online hypnosis or coaching sessions.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Hypnosis Sessions
There are numerous reasons for competent hypnotists and therapists to be working online. Sometimes in cases like worldwide lockdown (as in COVID-19) it’s the only change work available.
However, there are lots of positive reasons for seeing online clients too.
Online work protects the client’s privacy; especially when working with uncomfortable issues. That’s because it’s much easier to discuss sensitive issues with the dissociation that an online session automatically provides.
Also, a client may feel embarrassed even entering a hypnotherapist’s office. There is still a stigma attached to hypnosis in some circles, and this is bypassed by working online.
Convenience and Logistics
Working online avoids the cancellations that bad weather can cause. When I worked out of a clinic in Toronto in the 1990s, I often had sessions fall through because of blizzard conditions. Online sessions are far less likely to fall through; especially when the client is paying in full at least 24 hours in advance. In these days of digital calendars, nobody misses appointments because they “forgot”.
It’s noteworthy that the last point applies to the hypnotist too! If I have clients scheduled and look out the window at horrendous weather, there’s no stress for me because I’m not going to be traveling anyway. As long as the internet stays on, I can head up to my office and make money by helping people.
When you don’t have to travel to see clients you save a lot of time. When I worked in Toronto’s Beaches area I had a great office, but it took me about half an hour to get there, park, grab a Starbucks and get organized to start work. Now I just head upstairs to my home office and I’m ready to go in 3 minutes. This lack of prep time means I can schedule clients back to back, because there’s no chance of someone arriving in the middle of another person’s session.
No external office or clinic means you save money. You save money spent on travel and parking. And if you work out of a home office, there’s no rent to pay, unless you decide to pay yourself!
Prompts and Notes
A great advantage of online work is that you’re able to set up prompts and notes that the client cannot see. In my early days of using Clean Language, I had a set of cheat cards laid out on my desk. They helped me remember the highly specific questions I need to ask.
With all you need right in front of you, it’s simple to take notes, keep track of the session, and bring it to a positive resolution.
You Can be Global
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of seeing clients online is that they can be anywhere in the world. My friend Karl Smith, who’s a brilliant hypnotherapist and trainer, says “Don’t be the Village Hypnotist!” In other words, don’t stick to working with clients in your immediate neighbourhood. If you do, you’ll be limiting the number of people you can help, and you’ll make a lot less money too. You’ll also be competing with the hypnotist down the road.
When you become an internet hypnotist/hypnotherapist, the entire world is your oyster. Provided you can speak the same language as your client, you both have good internet connections, and any time zone differences can be accommodated, you’re ready to go. I’ve personally worked with clients all over the globe, including France, Ireland, Portugal, Oregon and China.
Perhaps the most powerful incentive to seeing clients online is this:
You can make a really good income.
That’s because there are more than 7 billion people in the world, and more going online every day. This is a really huge pond to fish in, and there’s more available work than we can all possibly do.
A friend of mine works online and sees four or five clients a day. If he charges $200 per session, that’s over $150k per year without ever having to leave home. And if you only want to see a couple of clients a week, you can give yourself a $14k annual raise in your spare time!
So there are a lot of positives in seeing clients online, but I haven't mentioned the obvious benefit of being able to help a lot more people than you can when you see only local clients.
There’s a real joy in helping someone transform their life; even when they’re on the other side of the planet.
The Prerequisites for Online Sessions
Before you start filling your calendar with dream clients, make sure you’re prepared.
Your Ten Point Checklist.
- Reliable Internet connection
- Reliable device with video meeting software
- Decent web camera
- External microphone
- Headset or earbuds so you hear your client
- Proper lighting
- Private and quiet space to conduct work
- Method of collecting payment
- Great hypnosis skills
- Plan for running your sessions.
Your internet connection is your communication pathway with your client. It needs to be sufficiently fast to do video meetings, and reliable enough that you can trust it. If you can usually watch YouTube videos or stream Netflix, you should be fine.
Reliable device with meeting software
Your device is what will connect to the internet and run video meeting software. We recommend you either use a computer or an iPad, but preferably not your mobile phone where the screen size makes it harder to see your client.
You’ll need a good web camera so your client can see you well. Most laptop computers have really lousy webcams, so if you use a laptop, consider buying a separate webcam. If you use a high quality mobile device, such as an iPad, the camera is much better and you won’t need anything else.
Audio quality is essential, so you need a good microphone. This need not cost much, but avoid cheap built-in microphones on most computers. You want to avoid that low quality, distant, echoey sound.
Either use earbuds with a built-in microphone, a headset with a boom mic, or any good external mic that plugs into your device.
Headset or earbuds
You need a clear way to hear your client. Please don’t use the built-in speakers on your computer. This, along with the built-in microphone, is the formula for audio disaster.
Instead, use earbuds, AirPods or a headset so the client’s audio is plugged directly into your ears. It’s possible to use speakers instead of something in your ear, but test your setup first. Be sure the audio experience will be great for your client.
Good lighting matters. If your workspace is not already well lit, just get a light source, such as a lamp, and put it behind your camera, so it’s shining light directly onto you. Avoid lighting behind you because this will create an unprofessional dark silhouette image. Your client should clearly see your face.
Speaking of space, you need a comfortable environment where you won’t be disturbed. You don’t want dogs barking, children crying or your spouse’s TV program splashing noise into your work space. Working from home is awesome, but consider your setup and plan appropriately.
You need a way to get paid. This need not be complicated, but there are a ton of options and it’s a good idea to have one or two simple methods for getting paid whereby you can easily send out payment information to clients. We recommend you get paid ahead of time. For many people PayPal works great. It’s trusted, reliable and easy to use.
Great hypnosis training
Make sure you’re well trained. Your clients are counting on you to have the necessary skills to help them. If you’ve taken a basic, old-school course that taught you how to read scripts, you might want to consider upgrading your skills. We believe in always learning.
Our flagship online hypnosis program, the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy, is widely regarded as one of the best online training programs available. It’s also incredibly affordable.
A plan for your sessions
Finally, have a plan for how to conduct your online sessions. We’ll give you some ideas in this article, but we also have a full course called The Architecture of Change, which is now included with your membership to the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.
Do the Initial Online Consultation
A good procedure is to see clients before you see them.
What do I mean by this?
Basically, it’s a good idea to have an initial consultation prior to the first actual changework session.
When working out of an office, this is seldom practical. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find clients who want to schedule an appointment, only to see if there will be an appointment!
Obviously, it's inconvenient to travel and meet, only to discover that there will be no actual session; which can happen. For this reason, hypnotherapists who work out of physical offices usually meet clients first via a phone or video appointment. This enables the therapist to determine whether or not there’s even going to be an actual changework session.
But when you’re working online, it’s really easy to meet with your client in advance without any inconvenience to either of you. A fifteen minute talk takes little of your time, and will enable you to determine whether or not you and the client wish to proceed. You’ll be able to ensure that the client’s expectations are reasonable, and that you’re able to help.
You'll notice problems in advance
Importantly, you’ll be able to ensure the internet connection between you works adequately, and that you can both see and hear each other well. This session will make sure the client knows how to meet with you on Zoom or Skype, and that he should shut down all extraneous programs on their computer.
A great time to get paid in advance
This is also the time to explain your fee structure along with any important details on how you accept payment. This prevents any awkward surprises later. If you and the client decide to proceed, we highly recommend you get paid before the session, not after. If the client understands that he is buying your time, not a specific result, there will be no refund demands if something is less than satisfactory.
A chance to build rapport
Rapport with your client is crucial for effective changework. Use this consultation process to build strong rapport! Listen carefully, smile, and build the client’s confidence. No matter what modality you choose to use, it will have a much higher chance of success if the client likes you.
An opportunity to begin your client intake process
Be sure to take some short notes too. Write down some of the exact words and phrases your client uses when explaining his specific problems and desired outcomes. These will be very useful for the changework session, as you’ll use them to re-establish rapport and do elegant work.
Send Your Client Instructions for the Online Hypnosis Session
Following a successful consultation, you’ll need a process to follow by which you send your client instructions for the first actual session. You may wish to re-send these same instructions as a reminder for any future sessions.
Here’s what we suggest you include in the instructions.
- The confirmed date and time
- Video meeting link
- Suggestions for space / setup
- Payment instructions with a firm deadline
Setup a template in your email program, or have a Google Doc that you can copy and paste as needed. This makes things really easy and fast.
We suggest you use Zoom for client video sessions. It’s been a rock-solid tool for everyone we know. It seems more stable than Skype or FaceTime, and it has great scheduling built-in.
It’s also completely free to use for meetings of only two people, which is all you’ll need for individual online hypnosis sessions.
Just setup the meeting in Zoom and copy the date/time and the meeting link into the client confirmation email.
If you did a video consultation already, you’ll know if they have webcam issues, horrible lighting, poor audio or any other technical problem. It’s useful to include a gentle reminder of what you expect the client to have prepared, technology and space wise, just in case.
They may do the initial consultation from home and then scramble for a quiet space last minute and decide to do hypnosis with you from their parked car. We've seen that happen, and a lot of other less-than-ideal setups.
Sometimes a client will lock herself in the bedroom and prop her iPhone on some pillows while sitting on the bed. That's not comfortable for very long, and it's best to set expectations for the client to plan space in advance
Remind your client to have a glass of water to quench thirst, and to use the bathroom before the session. These are all considerations to maximize comfort and minimize distraction.
It's also a good idea to ask your client to come to the online hypnosis session with "Do Not Disturb" activated on their mobile device OR to close down all unnecessary programs on their computer.
Finally, you’ll give your client clear payment instructions and a deadline on when payment is due. We suggest you implement one of the following policies:
- Payment is required 24 hours in advance
- Payment is required within 48 hours of booking the session to lock their place in your calendar.
How to Run the Online Hypnosis Session
Okay, so all’s gone well so far. You had a productive pre-session with your client and both decided to proceed. Your client has paid you promptly and completed your intake forms.
Client, not patient.
Did you notice we’re saying client instead of patient. That’s because unless you have the proper credentials, you cannot say patient.
We recommend you always err on the side of caution. Ecology first is a great motto!
Go through the checklist
So now your session is beginning. Your client has shown up on time as expected and you’re ready to go. This is the time to go through a checklist with the person who’s buying your time.
- Is the client comfortable and in a private space where he won't be disturbed by other people (including children) or pets?
- Is her mobile device or computer set to "do not disturb" with all unnecessary applications closed?
- Explain what happens in the event of a disconnection
One of my online clients had a large cat that wanted to climb all over her. Another had a German Shepherd that barked when she wouldn’t let it into the room. Work with the client to deal with these potential disruptions before you begin the session.
Make sure you have a plan that covers what both of you will do if the internet connection drops. You might want to simply ask the client to hold steady and do nothing for up to 10 minutes until you come back online.
On this note, it’s important that you make sure your client is clear that nothing bad will happen if you’re disconnected. Much of this is accomplished through a positive attitude. If you are clearly not concerned, the client won’t be either.
This is also the time to deal with the obvious. Since it will be perhaps an hour that you’ll be spending together online, it’s important to use the washroom if necessary.
Since you’ve already interviewed the client in advance, you should know exactly what you’re planning on dealing with in the session. You can ask if there are any questions. If the answer is yes, answer them fairly but briefly. This isn’t the time to go into a long saga about a client you had years ago.
If there are no questions, it’s time to begin!
There are numerous methods to create change in a prepared client. All of them are dependent upon threshold.
A person is at threshold when they can convincingly say the following three statements:
- Something has to change
- It has to be me
- It has to be now
When threshold is achieved, your job becomes much easier. Without the subject being at threshold, you’ll feel like you’re banging your head on a wall. They might want to change...but not yet. In any case, if you’ve done an adequate interview, you will have already taken care of this.
So your client is at threshold and you’re ready to help them change. As mentioned, there are all sorts of techniques you can use in a session. But some are better suited to an online session than others.
For example, I wouldn’t want to do anything that required the client to move around very much, which might risk them pulling out a headphone cable, or moving out of frame. Generally, you want your subject seated with the camera centered and their hands in full view.
One of the best tools for online work is of course, hypnosis!
Hypnozing your client online
Hypnotic states are easy to create with an online client, provided you’re using appropriate methods. For example, I’ve done a lot of online work, but I never use the sort of method that requires a subject to stare at something while I keep telling him he’s getting sleepy. That’s simply archaic in the age of the internet.
The most subtle methods involve language alone. Known as conversational hypnosis, this is a way to create trance states through very indirect or even undetected means.
By using carefully crafted language patterns, a skilled hypnotist can induce and utilize trance states, no matter how much distance there is between him and his subject. This is pure Milton H. Erickson, and although considered advanced, can be learned fairly easily with our free online course.
Using catalepsy in online hypnosis
Simpler methods involve the use of catalepsy, a waxy flexibility of the muscles that’s been used hypnotically for well over a hundred years.
A cataleptic hand will float in the air with no effort from the subject. This becomes a visual indicator of what’s happening, and it can be used to easily deepen trance.
Catalepsy is very easy to create, and becomes what’s known as a leverage induction. It’s actually based on a simple concept.
If I need a so-called medium trance to create a floating cataleptic hand in a client, I can use the typical method of inducing trance and then saying something like this:
Your hand is rising! It’s getting lighter and lighter and starting to float in the air! Feel it floating! You want it to get lighter and lighter and lighter and lighter. There it goes! It will soon be floating...etc., etc., etc.
If this strikes you as a lot of hard work, as you brow-beat your client with suggestion after suggestion, you’re correct. It's a very ineffective way of inducing catalepsy, which is unfortunate, as catalepsy is an excellent hypnotic tool with a lot of uses.
Fortunately, there’s a much easier way to get catalepsy and a robust hypnotic trance.
Instead of putting the person in trance and suggesting catalepsy, you do it the other way round. You give your subject very simple directions which causes a cataleptic hand. Then you use that hand to send him or her into a deep trance.
You might ask your subject to lift his dominant hand by grasping it lightly at the wrist. By grasping lightly, the implication is he's not actually lifting the hand or arm. The hand being lifted is unconsciously doing much of the work!
You'd then instruct him to let the hand just hover as he lets go of it. Then instruct him to close his eyes. He's now sitting there, eyes closed, with a hand floating in the air.
Now all you have to do is draw his attention to the feelings in that hand, which is a great way to short circuit a highly analytical person. Now that he’s focused on feelings, you can have his hand sink as he goes deeper.
It’s one of the simplest and most effective inductions you can do online.
Breathing with the eyes induction
Another simple but powerful induction involves what we call Breathing with the eyes. In this method, the subject stares into your eyes on her screen. You preframe that you’re going to ask her to breathe in deeply while opening her eyes wide, and continuing to stare into your eyes.
As she exhales, she is asked to close her eyes and relax deeper. Then she repeats the eyes open inhalation, while imagining it’s getting to be too much trouble to open her eyes.
During this, you can encourage her by saying things like:
That’s right...eyes getting very tired...relaxing deeply...that’s right…
Once her eyes remain closed, you can tell her to breathe normally and continue to go deeper.
Note that I didn’t say go deeper, but continue to go deeper…
This implies that the subject is already in trance to some degree and maintains the deepening process, rather than have it stop.
Direct Suggestion in Hypnosis - DSiH
There are many things you can do once your subject is in trance. However, it’s your responsibility to ensure that you always look after the subject’s physical and emotional wellbeing. That is your number one priority, and it overrides all others.
For that reason, we never do regression to problems or anything that could cause an abreaction, which is the strong (and sometimes scary) discharge of negative emotions. If I have a client freaking out on the other side of the world and I lose my internet connection, I’m suddenly in dangerous waters.
For that reason, we recommend you stay away from deep emotional issues and keep your work positive and encouraging. There are many amazing changes to be made without overloading your subject with emotional discharge.
Many of these changes may be accomplished through Direct Suggestion in Hypnosis also known as DSiH.
Nowadays, in the wake of much effective regression work, some hypnotists mistakenly believe that regression is always needed, but this is nonsensical. They disparage DSiH as an outdated tool because it’s old; much of it traceable to the work done by neurologist Hippolyte Bernheim, in the late 1800s.
DSiH is indeed an old tool, but so is a hammer, and I see no reason that hammers should be dispensed with, just because of the current date. In reality, you can do much excellent online work with DSiH, without any concerns about abreaction.
In DSiH, the key is in how you structure your suggestions. Here are some good guidelines:
- State the suggestions in the positive - What will happen, rather than what won’t happen. For example: Instead of telling a subject he won’t feel anxious, tell him he will feel calm and relaxed.
- Repeat your suggestions, but not mechanically. Old school hypnotists say the same thing over and over again. But if you find different ways to say the same or similar thing, one of your suggestions is likely to stick. You might tell an insomnia client that he will sleep peacefully through the night - He’ll be comfortable and enjoy a deep refreshing sleep - He’ll awaken restored and feel great.
- Bring in the senses. We refer to this as Visual Auditory and Kinesthetic or VAK. Tell him what he will see, hear, and feel as his life improves.
- Keep your suggestions simple! Use short sentences that are direct and easy to understand. This is not the time to begin speaking in complex metaphorical language.
- Make your suggestions achievable. If someone has a broken limb and comes to you for pain management, it’s probably not a good idea to say that they will be back to normal in 10 minutes. Be reasonable in what you suggest.
- Another thing to keep in mind that can dramatically improve your effectiveness is this: Make sure your vocal tonality matches what you’re saying. If you’re telling a client he’s going to feel empowered and unstoppable when he awakens, but you’re saying it in a tired, bored voice, you are undermining what you say. Whatever you tell the subject, say it like you mean it.
If you are in rapport with your client, your direct suggestions will carry a lot of weight. DSiH is an easy but highly effective way to make all sorts of changes, both online and in person.
Of course there are many other usable techniques for online work, from NLP and EFT to Clean Language and MINDSCAPING. We teach inductions, hypnotic language, and a wide variety of effective methods for online or office changework. These are all available in the Mike Mandel Hypnosis Academy.
List of Best Resources
- Zoom is the recommended video meeting tool
- Logitech is a great brand for webcams, if you're using a PC that doesn't already have a good camera built-in.
- a ring light is a nice option to place behind your webcam if you can't get access to natural light. Always have the light behind your camera, shining on you to avoid a silhouette look. But any lamp will also do just fine.
- Apple Airpods are a great choice for hypnotists using a Mac or iPad for video sessions. They function as the microphone and earbud at the same time, and the sound quality is fantastic.
- An alternative for audio is to use any corded set of earbuds that has a microphone built-in.
- Calendly is our recommended onling booking tool
- PayPal is the easiest way to get paid.