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Choosing A Hypnotist: 6 Mistakes To Avoid

Apr 8, 2008
Every day you're hearing more good things about hypnosis. How hypnotherapy can help in weight loss, quitting smoking, and increasing positive behaviors to improve job performance--and your supervisor's assessment of you. How hypnosis can enhance your home life, social networking, even your love life.

You've read how an athlete used hypnosis to improve sports performance, or heard that a friend used it to stop biting her nails or spending too much time thinking about her ex.

(By the way, I'm using the terms "hypnosis" and "hypnotherapy" interchangeably here to mean "hypnosis with therapeutic value rather than entertainment.")

You're intrigued. You want to try it. You decide to find someone to hypnotize you. But how do you make sure you pick the right person?

Avoid these six mistakes and increase your chance of making a great choice:

- Mistake 1: Choosing a hypnotist because he was great on stage.

On stage he was impressive: large and in charge. The volunteers he used in his stage show seemed to bow to his will without question. So wouldn't he be great at getting you to stop smoking?

Well, maybe. But maybe not.

One of the key talents of a stage hypnotist is assessing audience members so he selects only most easily hypnotized--and those who are quite willing to reveal themselves in public and on stage!

They are chosen because the hypnotist has determined that these particular people will act dramatically, impressing you with his power to influence human behavior with simply his "command."

That's entertainment. A show. Created to amaze and entertain.

Yes, hypnosis is powerful. But in the hypnotist's office and in your normal life, the change made may not appear as dramatic as the one stage participant had. Not immediately.

But as you go about your days, you will begin to see the subtle power of hypnosis to help you achieve what you need in your daily life.

I think that's better than clucking like a chicken, don't you?

Choose a hypnotist not for stage drama, but for her effectiveness with problems or habits like yours. Onstage presence does not always translate to in-office effectiveness in helping people with your issue. (Yet some stage hypnotists do very effective work in-office). Find out before you make an appointment.

- Mistake 2: Choosing a hypnotist because she has a cool website.

Is it cool because of the design? The bells and whistles? Or the content? Does she sound knowledgeable? (Judge her knowledge, not her website designer's taste level.)

That done, vet her further by phone. Will she answer your important questions? It's unfair to keep her on the phone for too long; she has clients to see. But would she be willing to talk a bit at a time convenient to both of you? Good.

Will she give you a free 15 minute phone consult? Excellent.

It's fair to want a sense of whom you're dealing with before arriving at the office. If the call goes well, be willing to pay for one session. Once you've met and begun work on the issue, decide if you want to continue and even purchase a package of sessions if available.

- Mistake 3: Choosing a hypnotist because he has the biggest ad in the phone book.

That means one thing and one thing only: he was willing to pay for a big ad. Nothing more and nothing less. Many successful hypnotists do no advertising at all and still have a great client base. Others prefer to nurture positive word-of-mouth and also pay for advertising.

So while an ad catches your attention, and usually lists the hypnotist's specialties, a chat is still necessary to get more information, both verbal and intuitive.

- Mistake 4: Choosing a hypnotist who lists 150 things she specializes in.

No one is a specialist in everything. And you don't need someone who specializes in everything.

What you need is someone who has insight into your issue and, even more, a willingness and talent for listening carefully to you. That is how she will be able to understand your difficulty and assess which approaches, tools, and attitudes will be most useful in helping you.

- Mistake 5: Choosing a hypnotist simply because you heard him speak somewhere.

Listening to someone's talk on hypnosis can give you some idea of his understanding of the subject, and how people work. But it's possible he's a good speaker but a poor practitioner.

After being impressed with a talk, call for a brief, private phone conversation to assess him: his attitude, how he listens, what his immediate thoughts are about your situation, and his ideas for helping you. Only then should you commit to the first appointment and go from there.

- Mistake 6: Choosing a hypnotist who pressures you to commit now because her calendar is filling fast.

Pressure worries me. It's okay that she tells you she's busy and it's hard to get an appointment with her. That can be important information. It tells you what you need to do to make sure you can get in.

But if you're beginning to feel like you're in a used-car lot, don't take the bait. Tell her you'll think about it, hang up, and do more research on her--and on other hypnotists in the area.

Remember: She is the practitioner. You are the potential client. Hear her out, ask questions, be gracious, and then make the decision that feels right to you.

Using hypnosis could be one of the best decisions you make in your life, so choosing the right person is crucial. You need never be afraid to seek clarification--if it's done respectfully, with openness and a desire to learn more. 2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Lapidus-Saltz is a mind coach who uses hypnosis and other techniques to help people break unproductive habits of thought and action, and create productive new ones. Based in Chicago and an expert at phone sessions, she specializes in smoking-cessation and issues of love and relationship. For more info on her programs visit http://www.nonsmoker4life.com and http://www.hypno-attraction.com or call 312-640-1584 for a brief consultation during business hours, Central time.
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