Before I share some tips on choosing the right therapist for you, I’m going to congratulate you because if you’re reading this, you’ve already taken the most important (and the hardest) step to overcoming your problem. You’ve taken the decision to look for help with it, which is a decision that many people hold off from for a long time whilst they struggle on with their issue – until something motivates them to take action to change.
Since I began practising as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist 9 years ago I’ve been told many times by clients that when they first began to look for a therapist it was difficult enough to take that decision to get help. However once they did, they felt overwhelmed at the number of different approaches, therapists and letters after the name and found it hard to know what might be the best approach for them and their particular issue. I’m not going to list all the different therapies available and what I think of them (!) but I will share some advice on what I see as the most important factors when you’re choosing to work with someone;
How well are they trained?
This is particularly important if you’re seeking help with a therapist in an unregulated profession such as Hypnotherapy. There are many different training schools offering diplomas in Hypnotherapy and the quality of the training can vary enormously. A good rule of thumb is to look up where your therapist trained, and have a look at the details of the diploma course. Make sure the students are trained in person for at least one academic year, and that they are supervised, and have case studies to complete as part of their training. Another tip is to look at the training provider’s website. Check whether their courses are accredited by an independent regulatory body rather than an organisation registered to the same business address as the school they are accrediting! (yes, this exists I’m afraid).
Are they a member of an independent regulatory body?
Your therapist should be a member of a professional organisation which holds it’s members to high standards of practice. In an unregulated profession this is not compulsory, but a good therapist should have this in place. The largest independent regulatory body for Hypnotherapy is the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy)
Are they guaranteeing results?
If the answer’s yes – my advice would be to avoid them. The first reason is that no therapist can guarantee that you will get the results you want, because they are not in control of the outcome – the client is! For a therapist to make guarantees about their own effectiveness, they would need to be keeping a lot of data, and following up with every single previous client on a regular basis to ensure that this data is correct, and that would require every previous client to be happy to keep giving this information. This really isn’t realistic! Secondly, this kind of marketing is all about the therapist themselves and how amazing they want you to think they are. A good therapist is focused on you, the client, not themselves.
Do they offer a free initial consultation?
We are all different and it’s very important to make sure that you feel comfortable with your therapist and have good rapport otherwise you’re unlikely to get the results that you want. Good therapists understand this and will want to have an opportunity themselves to find out about the issue and advise on whether they feel they are the right person to help you. Do your research and ideally set up more than one consultation call to allow you to compare and contrast.
Do they feel ‘pushy’?
Therapy works best when client and therapist have a relationship based on trust and respect. You should never feel pressured to book sessions – if you feel that you’re being ‘sold’ to, it suggests that the therapist is more interested in taking your money than making sure he/she can help you.
Are they asking you lots of questions?
A good therapist should be curious about your issue and keen to understand how you’re experiencing it. The initial consultation should focus on you and your issue and you should feel at ease, understood and clear on how they can help you. Rapport, or ‘clicking’ with your therapist is so important, so be discerning before you book in!