This gives an example of the type of questions that commonly get asked about hypnotherapy on social media. I’ve copied over the original post and my response:
Hypnotherapy after breakup. Is it working? I have questions.
I was recently broken up with after 4 years. I’ve been severely anxious and depressed (diagnosed with GAD and social anxiety) lately. A few weeks ago, I saw a psychic/life coach/hypnotherapist. She did hypnosis on me and recorded it and said to listen to it every day for 30 days. The things she says are like “You will let go of people who do not serve a purpose in your life anymore. You will be filled with confidence. etc”. So I have a few questions:
1. Is this legit? Can this actually help?
2. I haven’t cut contact with my ex. Is this limiting the ability for the hypnosis to truly work?
3. I know I need to truly let the suggestions take hold of me. But what if I don’t truly believe my ex doesn’t serve a purpose in my life? I don’t want to let go.
4. She told me if I miss a day of hypnosis I have to start over. I’m on day 12. I missed day 11. Is this true?
5. Do you know of any hypnosis videos to help me?
My comments will echo some of the others from accredited hypnotherapy practitioners:
Anxiety and depression are the most common reason for my clients asking to see me – almost all are experiencing anxiety, or one of its myriad manifestations (psychological, behavioural, physical or a combination of these). Many are pleasantly surprised at their progress and enjoy the forward looking – Solution Focused – approach.
I am writing from the UK and am aware there of very different regulations between the UK and the USA (and indeed between states within the USA). In the UK ‘hypnotist’ is not a reserved term so, essentially, anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist. This makes it difficult both for prospective clients and accredited practitioners. As a prospective client looking for the optimal therapist for you one key check can cut through an awful lot of bull: check their professional indemnity insurance. As a general rule, insurers have a good understanding of the areas they cover – they know which qualifications, training schools and accreditations are – and are not – worth the paper they are written on. While a therapist having PII will not, in itself, guarantee that you have found the best therapist for you, it will give you a level of assurance. If a therapist does not have PII – you really do need to understand why not. On a related issue this also serves as a good ‘acid test’ for assessing the real value of the myriad of training courses out there. If you’re considering a particular course, ask an insurance broker if they would insure you on its strength.
Depending on any individual client’s needs, there could well be a high degree of overlap between hypnotherapy and life coaching so I don’t see anything surprising there. Their ‘psychic’ claims are, bluntly, concerning. The main purpose of hypnotherapy is to help you identify your chosen future (which could be anywhere on the spectrum between specific and general) and identify how you can use your (and develop further) capabilities to achieve that desired state. I don’t see how any psychic ability would be of benefit to you in your situation – unless you’re happy to pay someone to tell you what they think you want to hear.
Genuine hypno’s do not ‘do hypnosis on people’: when working hypnotically (half of the time my clients spend with me is not – formally – in hypnosis). Hypno’s create and hold the ‘space’ in which the client can ‘do the work’ – if, and as, they choose. It would be highly unusual – and questionable – for a hypno to make a suggestion of their own volition I.E. to think they know what is best for you. At best this is arrogant and could be entirely counter-productive. You are the expert of you!
Giving clients downloads, and be-spoking them for each client is very common – especially as we now have the means to make good quality productions on our laptops. I do encourage my clients to listen to my downloads – preferably on a daily basis. The difference between clients who do this and those who don’t is very easy to see. I can get the ethos of the message ‘every day for 30 days’ to encourage a good habit formation. Missing a day is unlikely to be a problem. The concept of ‘starting over’ after missing a day is simply BS.
The use of ‘you will’ looks poor. Preferable would be something more like ‘I AM using my unique set of skills….and abilities…and wisdom….to achieve X’ and better still would be to have you develop your own image / representation of what success means to you: this can then be used to get you up to speed with some form of the SWISH pattern which you can make your own with your own self-hypno practice.
Letting go of ‘stuff’ from the past is a very common thing to do. Some do this in a very direct way. Personally, I tend to take a more metaphoric approach: neither is better or worse than the other – the issue is what is best for you. NB – you will only let go of what you are good and ready to let go of.
Is this legit? – hypnosis, for many, proves transformative in their personal development.
Is this practitioner legit? – that’s not for other genuine hypno’s to say as the full facts aren’t available.
A therapist could have the conversation with you about your future relationship – or otherwise – with your ex. The extent of the benefits is largely down to your ‘threshold’, motivation, clarity of outcomes and expectations. Hypnosis is not a magic wand. It is a highly valuable skill which can accrue significant benefits. A fundamental issue here is to use your time with a hypno to become adept at your own self-hypno practice. This paves the way to your own long-term practice and hypno becoming a routine element of your personal wellbeing.
Pre-prepared recordings are entirely hit or miss – and there is little correlation between cost and quality. The issue here is to be clear about what you are trying to achieve and realistic about what you are going to get for free.
Happy to pick up on any of the issues here.