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Mind Matters: Hypnotist vs. Hypnotherapist

21 April 2018  

All about hypnotherapists and hypnotists.

Q. What is the difference between a hypnotist you see on TV and a hypnotherapist?

A. A hypnotist describes a person who guides a subject into an altered state of consciousness: There are many altered states of consciousness that come under the heading of hypnosis that can be achieved through various methods called inductions. Anyone who attempts to hypnotize a subject can call him or herself a hypnotist. There are many armature hypnotists out there, they can cause serious problems for their unwitting subject. I always recommend that people do not allow anyone to hypnotize them who is not fully qualified. It should not be used for fun and games. The hypnotists you see on TV and at night clubs are entertainers, and not administering to the subjects needs, but to demonstrate how hypnosis can be used to release inhibitions and perform for an audience. Most scenes in movies and TV wherein hypnosis is shown to be employed seldom if ever depict appropriate or even legitimately and professionally applied methods; they are unrealistic and misleading.

The hypnotists who engage large groups in hotel rooms, for example for stopping smoking, cannot legitimately claim to be hypnotherapists in that situation. Also the common “one shot” approach they employ has very poor statistical and long term results for the vast majority of participants for many reasons. One being that not everyone will be hypnotized by the same method of induction, another is that not everyone will act on the same suggestions given in hypnosis to change behavior. 

A hypnotherapist is a person trained and fully qualified to employ hypnosis for therapeutic purposes, such as helping people overcome various behavioral problems, addictions, pain and other issues, and facilitate positive change as well as healing. Unlike a stage hypnotists a good hypnotherapist will not take a generalized approach. Each client is treated as in individual. The word therapy is indeed an indication that the hypnotist does genuine therapy, and that means he or she does all that is necessary to resolve the issues, that is the causes of the problems. They know that hypnosis is a tool and how it is used will make all the difference between good and satisfying outcomes or disappointing ones.

I suggest you go to my website and listen to the lecture “Introduction to Hypnosis,” and also other information on that site to answer your questions. The better informed you are the more realistic your expectations will be.

Q. Where would a person look for a qualified hypnotherapist?  Is there an association like Better Business Bureau?

A.  The Better Business Bureau (BBB)  does not qualify hypnotherapists, they simply do their best to assure people get legal, ethical and fair and honest  business treatment.The BBB though could tell you if  a hypnotist or hypnotherapist has been complained about for wrongful or misreading business practices.

There are many professional organizations who train hypnotherapists, some obviously better than others; and others who have a registry of those qualified and certified as hypnotherapists. Not all hypnotherapists are members of those organizations. There are many hypnotherapists who have been through courses and been given their diplomas. However, that does not mean they are necessarily the best one to meet your individual needs. So when seeking a fully qualified hypnotherapist you need to find one who is experienced as well as having a realistic and comprehensive approach.

Too many hypnotherapists attempt to cater to those seeking a quick fix, and use a generalized approach. That means you are lucky it it works for you. Always seek a hypnotherapist who tailors their treatment plans to the individual's needs and creates inductions and suggestion formulations specifically to the individual's psychology and many other important factors. A well qualified hypnotherapist would have a realistic in depth and comprehensive approach to guiding his or her client toward their goals, and who also makes sure that all the issues that underlie their problems are resolved on all levels of consciousness.