Well, here you are. Perhaps you are just beginning to consider hypnosis as a way to reach your goals, or perhaps you have long been aware of the mind-body-spirit connection and are just now trying to decide which hypnotherapist is best for you.
Over the next several blog posts, I will pose several considerations for you to consider in making your decision.
Training and Education. Hypnotherapy is not, in the United States anyway, a regulated profession. That basically means that anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist, no license is required. However, there are several organizations which certify hypnotherapists, and each of these organizations has its own internal set of standards for certification. When interviewing your potential hypnotherapist, ask them about the training standards of their certifying organization:
How many hours of instruction did they receive in hypnosis and therapeutic techniques? Standards for this range from 60 (including in class supervised practice) to 400 hours for clinical hypnotherapists. Each certifying body will defend their standards (for example, an organization that requires less hours of training specifically in hypnosis, may have other requirements such as a minimum of a Master’s Degree in Psychology or Counseling, or even a medical degree). Your hypnotherapist should be able to explain why they feel that the training they have received qualifies them to help you with your particular situation.
How much ongoing training is required to keep their certification? Continuing education is a must in every profession to remain at the cutting edge of their field. New understandings of the mind-body-spirit connection, psychological principles, and methods of alleviating emotional and physical discomfort are made every day. A good hypnotherapist will actively participate in ongoing training to strength existing skills and learn new ones. Most certifying organizations require between 15 and 30 hours of continued education every 2 years.
Is there a minimum educational level? As a non-regulated profession, there are no set minimum educational standards for training as a hypnotherapist. Many organizations set a standard of a minimum of a high school diploma, others require graduate, post-graduate, or even medical school training as part of their certification requirements.
Look for hands on, in person, supervised training. It is virtually impossible to learn to be an effective therapist of any kind by simply watching DVD’s, reading books, or doing exercises without supervised training and immediate feedback. You may be comfortable with less hours of training in hypnosis specifically if your chosen therapist has a background in other types of counseling or therapy. However, you should be aware that a school that offers a high school graduate 250 to 400 hours of classroom, supervised instruction is quite likely setting a higher standard than many undergraduate programs in psychology or counseling.
While your choice of a hypnotherapist will take into account their educational and training levels, it certainly will not be based completely on that. We will explore other considerations such as experience, techniques, and philosophy of treatment in future blogs.