Building a relationship of trust and rapport between the hypnotherapist and client starts from the very first meeting. A complimentary consultation is often the first step in the process, giving both client and therapist the chance to determine if they are a good fit for each other.
It is in this initial meeting the client’s goals and challenges are discussed. The focus is typically on a specific problem to be resolved, with weight loss, smoking cessation, stress and anxiety relief, and pain management being common issues.
The hypnotherapist needs to be clear that his role is not to “treat” the client as would a psychotherapist or mental health counselor. He must at the same time determine if the client presents an issue or problem outside the scope of hypnotherapy that may require in-depth psychological counseling. If so, the hypnotherapist is professionally bound to refer the client to a mental health specialist.
The initial consultation is an excellent opportunity for the client to ask questions about hypnotherapy and find out more about what actually takes place during a session. By addressing the client’s questions and concerns early on, the hypnotherapist can dispel unfounded worries or fears and improve the likelihood that sessions with the client will be productive and successful.
A common misunderstanding among first-time clients is the expectation that their desired behavioral changes will result by having something “done” to them as passive recipients of hypnosis. The truth is that hypnotherapy works best when the client is physically, mentally, and emotionally engaged and responsive when in hypnosis, which takes practice.
Learning how to effectively use hypnotic imagery and suggestions is a bit like learning a new language. In-session work is therefore best reinforced when supplemented by regular self-hypnosis outside sessions. Through repetition and practice new beliefs take hold.
And readiness and anticipation of change occurring can in fact be very powerful facilitators of the belief change process. As clients begin to see results, their confidence grows as does their expectation of further change to come, creating an energy and excitement that drives a virtuous behavioral feedback loop.