I’ll admit it, for the first few years after I completed my training as a hypnotherapist, I would squirm when asked what I did for a living. Not because I’m not incredibly proud and happy with my career, but because I would nearly always be then faced with the same comments and questions. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE talking about my job, I am enthusiastic about helping people and a complete geek when it comes to chatting about how the brain works, and hypnotherapy, I can talk about it for hours… try me! But often when you say you’re a hypnotherapist, people do take it upon themselves to ask some quite silly, and dare I say it, clichéd questions. I do dare say it because speaking to my peers; we’ve all had the same questions asked on numerous occasions. Now sometimes you just meet people who are a bit rude, can’t do anything about that; but also, a lot of these questions have been fuelled by cringy representations of hypnotherapists and hypnotists on TV and in films, so it’s sort of understandable.
That being said, I don’t want to discourage people from asking questions, as it’s human nature to be curious and it’s also a brilliant subject and I want you to know more. I am very proud of being a hypnotherapist and am happy to share my knowledge. So, with that in mind, here are a few dos and don’ts when asking a hypnotherapist questions:
So can you really hypnotize people?
Yes. Otherwise I would be a lollypop lady, or a ballerina. What you’re trying to do is find out if hypnosis is real or not; but it comes across as if you’re asking if I’m a fraud or not. This is rude. You’ve just told me you’re an accountant and I haven’t asked you if you can really do maths.
Can you turn me into a chicken?
Oh my Lordy, this is so original! No hypnotherapist has ever heard it before! No. Nobody can turn you into a chicken, stage hypnotists can maybe people believe for a short time that they are chickens for entertainment purposes, but I’m not a stage hypnotist. This question is based on your own misconceptions about hypnotherapy and not on any willingness to understand what I do. When my job revolves around helping people overcome anxiety, depression and trauma; it’s pretty irritating to be constantly asked about chickens.
I don’t believe in hypnosis.
God for you Simon, I don’t believe in quantity surveying. Next.
Can you make me stop eating chocolate?
Now this question isn’t too bad, depending on how it’s delivered. If you actually want help with a food addiction or compulsion, disordered eating, or are looking for help for making healthy eating changes, then I am happy to give you my business card and you can book a consultation, as hypnotherapy is excellent for making long term changes to your health. Am I going to take you into the kitchen, wave a magic wand and “make” you stop eating chocolate? No. No more than I’m going to “turn you into a chicken” I’m afraid. Also, chocolate is delicious.
Can you make my husband stop smoking?
I can’t ‘make’ anyone do anything, especially if they do not want to do it. If your husband wants to stop smoking, and needs help, then here is the ol’ business card again.
I went to a hypnotherapist once and it didn’t work.
Alas, I am not responsible for all the hypnotherapists in the world. You’ll find good and bad in every profession and I’m sorry you had a bad experience, and there are a few reasons why hypnosis or that particular hypnotherapist did not help you achieve what you were looking for; but that really has no bearing on my practice. I am happy to give you advice on how to find a good one though!
What kind of thing can you help with?
Hypnotherapy can help with so many things, that asking me this is joy. I don’t mind specific questions about conditions if they are genuine either, as I will either have seen someone before with such a thing, or not; in which case I would be interested to discuss if hypnotherapy can help, or at least find out for you. Tell me an unusual phobia and see me get very excited.
How does hypnotherapy work?
Pull up a chair, top up our drinks and let me tell you all about the wonders and workings of hypnotherapy!
What’s been your most interesting case?
Now I have very strict rules (as all therapists do) when it comes to confidentiality; so never expect names, places, ages or even the gender of my clients but I do love an interesting case, I’m also immensely proud of the work I do, so enjoy talking shop, as long as you realise that I have to protect my clients privacy above all else.
Is hypnotherapy right for me?
An excellent question, and something everyone should ask before deciding to see a hypnotherapist. I, and I imagine most hypnotherapists will be happy to advise you, chat to you, or even arrange a phone call at a private and convenient time (I try not to do party kitchen consults for obvious reasons).
Can I come and see you?
Yes you can! Here is my card.
If you have a burning question to ask me about myself or hypnotherapy (and it’s not in the don’ts) then please feel free to ask me, you can send me a message via my contact form or email and I promise I will be happy to answer.
As long as it’s not about chickens.