When to Say NO to a Hypnosis Client

Filed under: Hypnosis Training

by MHH Team

You should NOT work with every potential new client.

The excitement of a new client is alluring, but it's really important to consider if working with them is a good idea in the first place. This consideration is key to running a successful and ethical hypnotherapy practice.

In this blog post and accompanying video, you'll learn how to identify when a client may not be the right fit for your practice and the importance of maintaining high standards for client selection.

The Risks of Saying "Yes" Too Quickly

The eagerness to say "yes" to every client is like playing a game of hypnotic Russian roulette. Here are the stakes:

  • It might not work. If the work is unsuccessful, the client might ask for a refund (which you may or may not offer). Moreover, the emotional impact of a perceived failure can affect your confidence and self esteem.
  • Reputation at risk. Your professional reputation is on the line with each client. A mishandled case can result in negative word-of-mouth, impacting future client trust and engagement.
  • Ethical implications. You might end up not feeling good about yourself, thinking things like "I took their money and it didn’t work. I should’ve known better." This ethical dilemma can haunt you, affecting your confidence and self-esteem.

The Threshold for Change

The choice to work with a client depends on whether they are at a THRESHOLD. 

Being at threshold means that the client is both willing and ready to change. To be at threshold, a client needs to be able to believe and say three key things:

  1. Something has to change!
  2. That something is ME!
  3. The change has to be NOW!

Click here to learn more about the concept of threshold and its role in hypnotherapy.

Calibration and Congruence

Calibration means carefully noticing a client's spoken and unspoken signals like their voice, how they sit or stand, their facial expressions, how they breathe, etc. This provides a baseline, so you can notice when they deviate from it. 

Being skilled in calibration makes you a perceptive therapist who can understand the subtle signs of a client's nonverbal communication. By calibrating effectively, you can assess if the client is ready to change based on their level of congruence.

Congruence is how you tell if a client is ready. If a client's words, body language, and emotions all match up, then they're ready and willing to change. If they don't match, that may be a sign of trouble ahead.

If a client says they are ready to change, but their body language is incongruent, showing signs of doubt and uncertainty, this could mean they’re not actually at threshold. This is the time to either work on their beliefs, or to dismiss them altogether.

The Discovery Call: Pro Tips

The discovery call or meeting with the client, either online or in person, is very important for evaluating whether they’re on threshold. It's also a great opportunity to describe the process and set expectations for the actual session. To navigate this phase effectively, use these strategies:

  • Look for congruence: As we mentioned earlier, you want clients who are at threshold, ready to change and showing full commitment. In your first meeting, calibrate and look for signs that they truly mean what they say.
  • Ask about their motivation: Ask why they want to change. Genuine motivation is a good sign, but outside pressure suggests they might have doubts. For example, if a client says they want to quit smoking, it must be their decision, and not their friends’ or family members’. That’s the only way they’ll be at threshold.
  • Make them convince you. Get the client to convince you they’re ready. Challenge them by asking if they’re truly ready and energized to make a change. Remember to always be calibrating. Real commitment will show through their efforts to convince you.
  • Test for financial commitment. A client's readiness to pay for their change shows their commitment. Charging a small fee for the initial call can weed out less serious requests.

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More Practical Tests for Evaluating Client Readiness

When determining whether a client is truly at threshold, it's smart to employ a variety of practical tests. These tests can provide tangible indicators of a client's commitment and readiness for change. Let's explore some effective methods:

The Smoker Test

A unique, but telling test involves asking clients who smoke to refrain from smoking before their appointment. This request is not just about testing their ability to resist smoking; it's a demonstration of their overall willingness to make changes. If a client shows resistance or pushback against this request, it may indicate a deeper reluctance. Observing their reaction to this simple request can reveal much about their readiness for transformation.

Desire Scale

Another practical method involves quantifying a client's desire for change. Ask clients to rate their desire for change on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents no desire at all, and 10 signifies an overwhelming desire for change. This test helps in understanding not just the existence of a desire for change, but the intensity of this desire. It's advisable to work primarily with clients who rate their desire at an 8 or above. This ensures that you are dedicating your efforts to individuals who are not just willing but ready to engage in the transformation process.

Guarantee Seekers

Pay attention to clients who seek guarantees for outcomes. While it's natural for clients to desire assurances, an overemphasis on guarantees can be a red flag. Such clients may not understand that the change process requires active participation and ownership on their part. They might be looking for a magical solution rather than being ready to work through their challenges. While it's essential to provide support and encouragement, setting realistic expectations right from the start is equally crucial.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, your client roster should consist of individuals who:

  • Are ready and eager for immediate change.
  • Acknowledge and accept their responsibility in the change process.
  • Demonstrate a readiness to invest in their transformation.
  • And most importantly, clients who you genuinely believe you can assist in their journey.

Remember, the journey of change is as much your clients' as it is yours. Choosing your clients with wisdom and foresight can lead to profoundly rewarding experiences. Let's embrace this journey with discernment and commitment to make some truly hypnotic magic happen.

You're now equipped with the knowledge of when to say "YES" and when to firmly say "NO" to potential clients. This wisdom is priceless, but what if I told you there's a way to supercharge your ability to make these decisions with confidence?

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"I absolutely love the online course. It completely changed my life and consulting career. The information is the best I've ever seen. You guys are incredible at what you do. I love the course so much."

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Connecticut, USA