What makes a great hypnotherapist?

On a regular basis, I speak to people who are set to benefit from hypnotherapy: they have a compelling need to make those changes in their lives, they take responsibility for the outcome and they’re looking forward to enjoying the benefits. Often, they get a bit stuck at this point as they try to find the right therapist for them at that time.

So, what make a hypnotherapist the right hypnotherapist for you at the moment?


The over-riding factor is your gut instinct: rapport between therapist and client is so important in achieving the best outcomes. What are your feelings as you look through their website and speak to them?

Beyond that, consider the following – any credible hypnotherapist would be happy to confirm any of these:

  • They are open about what certifications they have, from where and what continuous professional development they do. Remember that the term ‘diploma’ is, in itself, meaningless. The key things to look for when assessing a certification are how much work did it take to obtain, who accredited it and what competence does the accreditor have?
  • That they are required to undertake a level of continuous professional development.
  • They are members of recognised professional organisations. There are many of these – The key thing to look for is the organisation’s affiliation with the National Council for Hypnotherapy and / or the Complimentary and Natural Health Care Council.
  • That they have Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII). This is not to expect anything to go wrong but it does give a degree of assurance as to the quality of their qualifications. Each broker offering PII to hypnotherapists has a list of certifications they accept as being suitable – and they are pretty shrewd about who they insure.
  • They have lived experience of the issues you have chosen to resolve.
  • They are clear about their overall balance between therapy and hypnosis.
  • They allow you to set your own goals and they work to your (rather than their) agenda.
  • They encourage and support you to become proficient in self-hypnosis and managing your wellbeing for the long term.
  • They are happy to share content, resources and references with you to give a deeper understanding of what they, and you, are doing.
  • They focus on you achieving your goals efficiently – there are no signs of them spinning things out for extra sessions.



Visualisation and hypnosis.

Hi – and a warm welcome to those who have recently followed this page. In continuing to build this place of useful learning, I’m going to share some short excerpts from the excellent ‘How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body’ by David R. Hamilton, PhD. I’ve become increasingly fascinated with visualisation since a number of my clients have reported ‘collateral’ benefits e.g. less aches and pains, reduced alcohol consumption and just ‘feeling better’. I can highly recommend David’s book.

At the outset, we need to be clear on two things. Firstly, the plural of anecdote is not evidence. One person’s experience won’t necessarily map over to another’s. However, the evidence does suggest the emergence of common themes – that regular trance / meditation can provide health and wellbeing benefits. Secondly, complimentary approaches are intended to be deployed in addition to any medical care being received: not as an alternative.

From David’s book:

‘’Six Visualisation Pathways

1. A person’s practice impacts their immune system.

Visualisation seems to impact the immune system, and in a selective way. People visualising their immune cells multiplying or their immune system destroying invading pathogens or cancer cells tend to have increased immune function. Thus, visualisation of the immune system might assist in the healing and recovery of a large number of medical conditions. In addition, whether a person visualises the action of the immune system or not, if there’s a positive effect on health, it may be that the immune system has been stimulated in some way as a direct or indirect consequence of the visualisation.

2. Direct effects via the nervous system.

When a person repeatedly visualises something, it creates physical changes in the brain through neuroplasticity. For rehabilitation from a stroke or improving performance at a sport, this is accompanied by a physical change in the body, particularly in the region that a person’s attention is focused upon, but also on other systems of the body that are relevant to the change.

In effect, there’s a cumulative effect of a person’s consistent focus, just as muscles grow cumulatively stronger as we exercise them. It’s likely that this will increase blood flow to an area visualised, which will carry nutrients, growth factors and immune cells to the area as required.

3. Direct effects via neuropeptides.

Just as feelings of stress produce stress hormones, so some mental and emotional states produce different hormones, or neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are substances that play roles in the body as well as in the brain, hence neuropeptides.

As an example, love, kindness, affection, compassion and emotional warmth produce oxytocin, a neuropeptide that, as well as acting in the brain, also has physical effects throughout the body. Oxytocin receptors are found in multiple locations throughout the body, including the heart and arteries. Using these, oxytocin impact the arteries, lowering blood pressure, as well as having roles in wound healing. It also impacts the gut and plays a role in digestion.

A person whose visualisations are characterised by these warm, positive emotions is likely to produce oxytocin and thus have beneficial effects throughout these systems. Other mental and emotional states may produce neuropeptides that bring about other specific beneficial effects in the body.




4. A person feels empowered rather than hopeless.

It’s all too easy to feel hopeless when you’re sick or injured, especially if the illness or injury is physically or emotionally debilitating. I often hear people say that understanding the mind-body connection gives them a sense of empowerment: that using their mind is something they can do to assist in the process of moving towards wellness.

It may be that a sense of empowerment produces an as-yet-unidentified healing effect. At the very least, it can reduce stress and give birth to hope. Furthermore, a reduction in stress helps the immune system work more optimally.

5. The impact of positive belief.

Expectation and belief have direct physical effects. Although sometimes dismissed as something that only affects symptoms of illness, research into the placebo effect is revealing that the effects of expectation or belief are much broader the we first realised.

Belied creates chemical changes in the brain and throughout the body, impacting on many more systems that we initially thought. It may be that some of these effects have a direct bearing on the course of a person’s condition, accelerating the move towards wellness.

6. The focusing of a person’s willpower.

I done think we should ever underestimate the power of a person’s will to live. Will to live is a determination to survive and is often characterised by hope of a positive expectation of the future.

Will to live can impact a person in many ways, not just in their psychological state. But it can reduce stress and fear, and may also stimulate a person to make necessary, sometimes subtle, but significant changes required for their health. Visualisation can impact on a person’s will to live by aiding their focus on health.

Overall, common to all these pathways is repetition: I believe that repetition of a visualisation process refines brain circuits. In other words, repetition causes neuroplasticity. I believe that at some point, given that in some ways the brain doesn’t distinguish real from imaginary, the brain will ‘wire in’ a picture of wellness. In time, perhaps the brain circuits of this imagined wellness become more dominant than those related to the presence of illness.’’


Ask Yourself: Which of the key points in this excerpt will I immediately apply to improve my life…change my circumstances…and make a difference somewhere…to someone? What is going on in my life…that has gone on too long…and what will I do about it…now?

Hypnotherapy – A day in the life.

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 Response:

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.

Your questions:

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.


Solution Focused Hypnotherapy

”Hypnotherapy, for me, really shines in the treatment of conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and many other stress-related conditions. Interestingly, the very conditions which standard prescription medication struggles to deal with….. Hypnotherapy can be more than just a supportive add-on therapy, softening the impact of conditions like depression, eating disorders, anxiety & IBS. it is a real standalone treatment in its own right, often acting more rapidly and effectively than antidepressants, the current drugs of choice for such issues.”


A brilliant quick read by Solution Focused Hypnotherapist Claire Noyelle


A Pharrmacist’s View


Ask yourself: What is the greatest area of chaos in my life and how will I impose positive order upon it? What components of my daily life have become much too orderly and rigid and how will I open doors to a bit of creative chaos?

Stress – are you the one in three?

‘’Studies have shown that one in three adults suffer from the effects of unmanaged stress. Many of us don’t even realize how stressed we actually are. We often become accustomed to being tense. So we think of it as normal. Stress damages our health, our work, our relationships. It destroys families, businesses, and lives. And it costs companies staggering amounts every year in health costs, absenteeism, and poor performance. In fact, stress built up over a long period can reduce our ability to regenerate. Which means less energy and tolerance to combat daily stress. This is the serious, silent threat.’’

How stressed am I?

Ask yourself – How will I take action today…to begin to utilise my own resources…both in the interest of my own future…and those important to me…and as I do…what will I continue to notice…that becomes a useful feedback mechanism?