I am often asked to comment upon the profession of hypnotherapy; what differentiates practitioners, what are the practices the very best hypnotherapists adhere to? Or, what’s the difference between the wannabes and the pros?
I used to be surprised by that line of questioning and sort of defer answering until one day, a friend asked me a similar question. He said that in a large city like Los Angeles, as opposed to a smaller town where the completion for clients is probably far less intense, there are obviously dozens of people who call themselves hypnotherapists, and like a major league sport, there are probably only a relative handful that are really the best, the tops in their field. “So,” she said, what do they do differently to set themselves apart? How can potential clients find them and know who they are? What would you say is the definitive list of best practices for hypnotherapists in a large place like Los Angeles?”
I thought about it for a moment and realized that there probably are differentiators. Since I know a lot of the best hypnotherapists in Los Angeles, and I know how they work, and how I work, it wasn’t too hard to come up with a list. When I did, she suggested I write an article about it to help people find good therapy. It seemed like a good idea since that’s why the very best hypnotherapists in Los Angeles do what they do; and so here is my list, based upon my years of practicing hypnotherapy and coaching in Los Angeles, and what I’ve learned from my colleagues.
- First, and foremost, the very best hypnotherapists in Los Angeles, or anywhere, put their clients first. Not only do they practice the number one ethic, "Do no harm", they go further. If they don’t think they are a good fit for someone, they defer the case and refer the potential client to someone they think is a better fit in order to ensure the person gets the the very best care possible.
- They are honest. They don’t make hypnotherapy sound like magic as do some practitioners, usually ones who are new or struggling to find or keep clients for some reason. Hypnotherapy is potentially very powerful and is often very effective, but it does take some work and effort on the client’s part to ensure success.
- The real pros don’t feel a sense of competition with one another. There are 17 million people in the greater Los Angeles area, and like any other city or town, almost all of them have “stuff” in their life that they would like to change, so there are plenty enough to go around. Couple that with the fact that no two hypnotherapists in Los Angeles, or anywhere, do hypnotherapy the same way and it’s easy to understand why the best of the best freely cross-refer when they feel it’s best for the client’s success. Hypnosis is merely a state of consciousness, a powerful therapeutic tool. How it’s used is largely up to the practitioner.
- The very best hypnotherapists know that hypnotherapy is both an art and science, so they never stop studying and learning new techniques and methods to support their practice and help their clients get the results they want.
- The best hypnotherapists obtain certification by professional organizations that have credibility. Anyone can “certify” anyone as a hypnotherapist and be legal, but so many certifying entities are just boards that a given school creates. The bodies that actually require a level of training, experience and skill would include: The National Guild of Hypnotists, The Hypnotherapists Union Local 472, and The International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association. This isn’t a definitive list by any means but does include some of the top ones.
- The best hypnotherapists in Los Angeles know and respect their limitations. They don’t take a case that goes beyond their legal scope of practice – vocational and avocational self improvement – which covers about 85% of the potential cases and issues that we work with, and more important, while they always want to grow and take on new challenges, they don’t take a case that isn’t a good fit with their skills and expertise. For example, while I do a lot of pain management and other medically related cases, I never take hypno-anesthesia cases – yes hypnosis can be used as an anesthetic for procedures like surgery, etc – because it’s not one of my areas of expertise.
- The very best hypnotherapists that I know here in Los Angeles absolutely love what they do. I can truthfully say that I look forward to every day and every session with every client.
“So, there you have it,” I said to my friend. “I guess when you look at the list, it’s not really limited to Los Angeles or any specific city or region; the real pros are just that, professionals. They act and conduct themselves in a professional manner. That’s what most clients want, and all clients deserve.”