1. Think about what you’d like to get from your sessions
Going to a session because you ‘fancied trying hypnotherapy’ won’t get you much, other than an experience. Think about what you’d like to be able to achieve or do differently, or what problem you’d like to be able to solve. Be open with your therapist about the issue, and any linked issues. For example: “I’ve been having problems with sleeping and I am worrying about my job”. Or “I need to lose weight as I’m worried about getting diabetes.”
2. Go because you want to be there, not because someone else has asked you to
Research tells us that people who are motivated to change have the most success. If it’s your wife, husband, family or friends that have pushed you to attend a therapy session, this doesn’t have the same effect. Dealing with issues often needs the time to be right. Part of that timing is to go when you’re ready, not when someone else is ready.
3. Choose a hypnotherapist you feel you can trust
Few people would choose a builder or a dentist based solely on their website. Choose your hypnotherapist as you would any professional. Check out their credentials. Are they on professional registers that show a level of competence. Anyone can claim to be a hypnotherapist (yes, there are probably some good ones who have no qualifications), so look for evidence of a professional and ethical approach. Do they specialise in what you need? The General Hypnotherapy Register, the National Council for Hypnotherapy and the National Hypnotherapy Society are the main professional organisations. They maintain a register of members and show qualifications and locations. Finally, is the fit right? Once you’ve identified two or three potential therapists, speak to them on the phone. Don’t expect the therapy to start on the phone – they’ll only have limited amount of time – but do they understand you? Do they ask helpful questions and listen well? And do you feel confident in them afterwards? Choosing a therapist you trust and like will have a major impact on your likely success.
4. Come ready to try things out
Don’t expect to have things magically happen without you having to do anything. Hypnotherapy is capable of some incredible and seemingly magical results, but a lot of issues require further effort to enable the effects to embed. For one thing, you might need to test out whether they work and to keep practicing them. For example, hypnosis might enable you to feel relaxed when being faced with your phobia. But until you are exposed to it, how do you know if it works? Equally, it often helps to gradually build up to facing your major fear. So, you may get homework…
5. Do the homework
No-one expects to see a personal trainer at the gym once a week and expect to get fit. The same goes for CBT and hypnotherapy sessions. In between sessions you may be given ‘homework’. This gives you a chance to try out in real life the techniques you’ve been given. This has two benefits: it builds confidence as you get to see progress; and you will better understand the challenges and strategies you need to help with implementation. You may be asked to complete a diary to record events and your feelings, so you can better understand a pattern you have developed, e.g. what triggers over-eating.