Well, it firstly depends on how we define ‘Skype hypnosis’.
Just as Google has become synonymous with web search, when we talk about voice and/or video calling over the Internet, we often say ‘to Skype’ even when we may actually be using FaceTime, Zoom or other platform. For the sake of ease in this post, I’ll stick with Skype, Skyping and to Skype.
I’m also talking specifically about hypnosis with a therapeutic goal, i.e. hypnotherapy. I have been on enough boring business and personal Skype calls in my life to say with confidence that such an activity in itself can induce a hypnotic state.
But can Skype hypnosis really be a platform for changing minds, behaviours and outcomes in the same way as in-person hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis Over Skype
There is nothing new about Skype hypnotherapy in being hypnosis carried out with a significant physical distance between the hypnotherapist and the client.
In essence, we are talking about someone with their eyes closed listening to another person’s voice. Thus, Skype hypnosis’ precursor, telephone hypnosis, fulfilled the same function. It also follows that pre-recorded hypnosis audios work in the same way, albeit with even less customisation for the individual.
So surely Skype hypnotherapy would prove to be even better? Add in ‘face-to-face’ video for both the pre-talk and the hypnosis and it should be superior to purely voice-based session, right?
In reality, sometimes less is more.
‘Is That Hypnotic Paralysis or Has the Screen Frozen?’
Here is where practicalities start to creep in. I very rarely conduct the hypnosis itself over telephone, voice or video call because:
- There are so many technical / technological things that can go wrong or negatively impact the session, e.g. it is rare to have a superior landline-to-landline connection, loudspeakers sound terrible, mobile phones cut out, WiFi drops out, systems crash, screens freeze, etc.
- There are more environmental factors outside the hypnotherapist’s control (e.g. people, pets, noises). As above, none of these would be that bad during a conversation, but they are major ‘buzz kills’ for actually achieving the hypnotic state.
- It is much more difficult, if not practically impossible, to fully utilise additional tracks of suggestions, sounds, or binaural beats in the session. It is therefore harder to create a truly immersive experience.
How I Provide Skype Hypnotherapy
I have found from my clinical experience that effective hypnotherapy usually requires two things: 1. a bloody good chat; and 2. receiving tailored suggestions whilst in a hypnotic state.
As my work evolved and I broke free from many outdated industry paradigms, it became clear that neither of the above needed to be done in-person for my work to be effective. In fact, better results were often achieved precisely by virtue of being conducted remotely.
1. The talking bit – This is of course far more than just a good chat when using The Storyworking Method® and it sets up the whole framework of change for the use of hypnosis later. This is improved by being conducted via Skype as most people feel more relaxed and in control whilst in in their own environment . Also, with the ‘visiting the doctor’ vibe removed, I have found people to be more open and expressive discussing their issues via Skype.
So I use the Skype part of my ‘Skype Hypnosis’ for a blend of storyworking, coaching, motivational interviewing and conversational suggestion. There is no eyes closed work in this part since that is done via…
2. Tailored suggestions – I have found custom hypnosis recordings to be the best way to deliver an effective hypnotic experience. They are also more convenient and affordable than a series of in-person appointments.
Why the Criticism of Online Hypnosis?
I’ve seen some hypnotherapists criticise Skype hypnosis, but this seems mostly motivated by fear of change or biases based on how it may affect their existing business model.
Even the most successful hypnotherapists can lack awareness in understanding which parts of their approach have the most positive effect. If you have an expensive office and have spent thousands of pounds and hours learning face-to-face hypnotherapy skills, it can feel like anathema to suggest that a huge number of these things may not be needed, at least in the same way as before.
Many years ago someone said to me, “Look at the word hypnotherapy – it’s about 40% hypno and 60% therapy. Remember that split in practice”.
I’ve found that to be good advice, particular if you share the belief that change work is more an art than a science.
I’ve never wanted the hypnosis part or the talking part or indeed any part to be the key. I’ve only ever wanted to help my clients change through their experience with me. That pragmatism and intention has been the real key to my success in practice.
There will always be a place and a need for in-person hypnotherapy. I have just personally found online hypnotherapy, using The Storyworking Method®, to be equal or superior to in-person hypnotherapy for the majority of issues.