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Two golden rules for choosing hypnosis training

Follow these 2 golden rules to pick hypnosis training that actually works!


By Joseph Kao

I’ve been fascinated by hypnosis since I was a boy. I made my first forays into hypnosis in the school library – which got me promptly ejected by the librarian! Back then I had to piece things together from books published in the 1950s. It was great fun, but I soon realised that if I wanted to get really skilled at this I would need some proper hypnosis training. And some years later I began looking into how I could train to be a hypnotherapist. And what a confusing choice of courses I found!

There were courses in hypno-analysis, cognitive hypnotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy, past-life regression, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), alpha waves, rational-emotive therapy, Ericksonian hypnotherapy, you name it. The list of possible qualifications was endless. How on earth are you meant to decide?

I plunged in the deep end, and now, after a decade of attending hypnosis training courses and later assisting and teaching on them, I am clear about the two golden rules for selecting a hypnosis training course.

  1. Ask questions!

    A hypnosis training course is not just an investment of money, but also of a great deal of time and energy. And you do need to be wary. Some ‘trainers’ have never actually run their own professional hypnotherapy practice - they’ve simply taken some basic courses, and then set up a training company. But they might have some very persuasive advertising, so take everything the brochure says with a pinch of salt, and get clear answers on these points:

    • Experience – what have they got under their belt? Have they run a hypnotherapy practice?
    • Look and feel – does their style suit you? Try to get a CD, or a DVD, of them teaching so you can ‘test the water’.
    • Pricing – how do they compare?
    • Syllabus – is it an encyclopaedia of hypnosis trivia – or a practical, coherent approach designed to teach you how to use hypnosis rather than know the names of 175 different techniques?
    • Reputation – what do others say?  Visit online forums and review sites to get a more objective view.
    • Demonstration – do they demonstrate what they teach? If they won’t show you what they’re describing, be wary.

  2. Know what you want to do with your hypnosis skills (and follow through!)

    Sounds pretty obvious, right? I’m guessing you want to be able to use hypnosis to help others in some way, and perhaps to help yourself too. These are worthy goals, but you need to be careful – there are two pitfalls awaiting the unwary.

    • Pitfall 1: ‘Just one more hit’

      At their best, seminars can be life-changing events where you are taught by knowledgeable, charismatic trainers, surrounded by supportive people, with laughter, maybe some tears, and insights galore. But the purpose of a good hypnosis training is for you to then practice and use your new skills in your life.

      What can happen is that for some people the supportive atmosphere of the training room, and the charisma and confidence of the trainers, can become an end in itself. They begin saving up for their next seminar, and the next one, and soon become ‘seminar junkies’, going to one training after another to get their ‘high’.

      This is why it’s so important to remember what you want to do with your new skills and then follow through with that plan.

    • Pitfall 2: ‘But I still don’t know enough’

      Many people who’ve attended a perfectly decent hypnosis training course still worry that they’re not ‘good enough’ to practice. Hypnotherapy is not a mechanical procedure, and there is no ‘one right way’ to work with a client. This means you need to be able to tolerate uncertainty. Also, some trainers give the impression that masters of hypnotherapy like Milton Erickson always succeeded (he didn’t), creating impossibly high standards to live up to. This makes many people feel insecure about their abilities and decide that they need more training.

      But almost no-one feels total certainty and confidence when starting in a new field.

      Confidence comes from practicing and building up experience. In time, you may well want to learn more hypnotic skills from further training. But don’t wait until then, or hope that the next training will be the one where you’ll suddenly magically feel ‘ready’. After a course, start applying the skills right away - the confidence will come the more you practice.

    So, research your training options well, be clear about how you want to be using your new skills, and follow through on that plan. This will keep your attention focused on building a future where you are making your own and other people’s lives better, and where any hypnosis training you take is just a stepping stone to that future, not an end in itself.

You can learn How to Stop Anyone Smoking with Mark Tyrrell on our Smoking Cessation Training Course (online).

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