Thinking about becoming a hypnotherapist...

1. Do I have to set up my own business?

Hypnotherapy is a flexible business, and that's one of the best things about it.

It is common to open your own office, or to rent an office space in a healing center or counselor's cooperative center. However, you can also work under the umbrella of another business, and be a staff member of an established hypnotherapy group, a chiropractor's office, a medical clinic, a psychotherapy practice, or alternative healing group.

2. Do I need a medical or counseling degree?

In the United States, hypnotherapy is an unregulated profession (some would say it is a self-regulated profession), meaning you do not require a license to offer, provide and charge for hypnotherapy services. This is based on the fact that the American Medical Association stated in 1951 that hypnosis is a safe process.

You do not need any other degree or medical certification to be a professional hypnotherapist. If you have a degree or professional experience in the medical, counseling or other industry, then it can only help you. Many medical, counseling and therapy professionals choose to augment their practices with hypnotherapy. Since hypnotherapy schools in many states offer hours that count toward the required continuing education hours in the medical industry, hypnotherapy is a great compliment in the learning as well as the practice.

3. How do I choose a good school?

Whenever you learn a new career skill set, you will be required to learn a lot of information quickly. You will want to be sure you are comfortable with the class materials and especially the instructors. There really won't be time or energy for personality or trust conflicts with your instructors, so be sure you like them before investing your money in an expensive course of schooling.

Most schools offer several opportunities to get to know the school and instructors before you sign up. Open houses, short introductory courses and free class auditing programs are all good ways to check things out, and you should take every opportunity to thoroughly check out your school.

Indicators of a oustanding school include:

* well established, has been doing classes in the same town for years;
* has had the same president or director for some years now;
* has more than one qualified instructor on staff;
* has an open house day or evening with presentations, meet the staff, etc.;
* is open about showing you the course text books and class materials (though probably won't let you take them home until you sign up);
* offers continuing education credits for nurses and psychology professionals;
* can provide you with the names and phone numbers of several graduates as referrals.

4. A word about weekend workshops
A good course in hypnotherapy basics, certifying you as a CHT (certified hypnotherapist) will be 50 hours in length, too long for a quick weekend seminar. Yet, because hypnotherapy is an unregulated industry at this time, people can hand out certificates for even 4-hours of hypnosis training.

Even though hypnotherapists are not licensed, many states have requirements before you can offer professional hypnotherapy. 50 hours minimum training is a good standard to keep in mind, common in many states and professional organizations.

NGHrecommends 100 hours of training before you open your doors as a professional hypnotherapist, and that level of training usually takes about a year to obtain. This lets you get well acclimated to the process, read many books on the subject as well as your text books, practice with many different people, develop your own specialty, and experience many different kinds of circumstances. 100 hours will give you a strong level of confidence when you open your doors for business.

That's not to say that weekend workshops are bad or aren't worth the investment - in fact, they may be the perfect way to get introduced to hypnotherapy and explore it a bit before you spend the money on a semester or two of school. However, just keep in mind that a couple of weekend workshops aren't really enough training for a career professional hypnotherapist.

5. How profitable a career is hypnotherapy?

The only accurate answer is that hypnotherapy is as profitable a career as you want to make it. The income that different hypnotherapists generate varies tremendously. Let's talk about an average business first, then consider some flexible business arrangements, and finally hear about some of the extreme examples.

You can do some calculations as to the work required to make your level of income desired. A national average rate for hypnotherapy (2008) is $85/hour. That means that the east coast and west coast rates are more around $125/hour, and some states are closer to $45-$55 per hour. You can research your local market rates by checking to see what hypnotherapists in your area are charging. Do your calculations using the rates of the area where you will have your office.

6. Is hypnotherapy the right career for me?

Being a hypnotherapist means being a "people person," and really caring about people. While the skills to hypnotize a person can be learned by just about anyone, it takes someone with a love of working with people to be a great hypnotherapist.

Clients will need to be comfortable with you and to trust that you are looking out for their best interests and are "on the level." A friendly, sincere and open manner is good to have, and client relations skills can be learned and polished to very professional levels. In this case, professional doesn't mean an artificial separation or distance, nor a polished and rehearsed presentation, but rather an ability to be authentic, caring and sincere with the client at their level, where ever that may be.

If you like spending hours each day in a relaxed, tranquil environment, then you'll like the hypnotherapy office environment. Being aware of people's needs and comfort - such as offering them a glass of water after every session, and giving them time to re-adjust after a deep session - is important, and should come naturally to you already.

Professional standards such as confidentiality, platonic professionalism under all circumstances, and sharing the feeling that there is plenty of time to answer all their questions and explain everything, among other standards, are important as well.

Like any profession, hypnotherapy is more glamorous in the movies and in books than it is in real, daily life. If you have visions of your days being filled with finding reincarnated famous people via past life regression, getting paid to party with hypno-erotic groups, or solving mysteries with the courts and detectives with hypnosis, you'll probably be disappointed. While any of those things can happen occasionally, most of your appointments will probably be about weight loss, smoking, phobias, pain management around disease or healing, and relaxing for healthly stress reduction. Every one of those clients deserve your full attention, interest and efforts, so be sure you can offer that before you "go pro."


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