Hypnotherapy is hard enough to explain to people sometimes, but add in the word ‘online’ and you will usually be guaranteed some puzzled looks.
“How do you hypnotise someone over Skype?”, I’m often asked. My reply of “Oh, I don’t usually” doesn’t seem to help things along either!
But online hypnotherapy is something that I have grown to not just practice, but to enthusiastically promote in my work with the human mind.
In this article, I share my journey from skeptic to evangelist and share reasons why I think clients should be choosing online hypnotherapy and why therapists should be offering it.
I hated the Idea
As someone who has always embraced technology as part of my approach to Advanced Hypnosis, online hypnotherapy should have appealed from the start. But, to be honest, I hated the idea. Then I found reasons to hate it some more.
Firstly, it seemed like a poor second to in-person hypnotherapy. Being a hypnotherapist with an established practice on HARLEY STREET, I had a bias towards what I viewed as the ‘Gold Standard’.
There is a fair amount of snobbery around any clinical work and, the way I used to view it, it was a sliding scale from in-person Advanced Hypnosis on Harley Street at one end to ‘home office relax-o-therapy’, anywhere outside the M25, at the other. My opinion of online hypnotherapy was so low as to not even be on the scale!
Keeping an open mind, I booked a few ‘research’ sessions with other hypnotherapists and even did some training in ‘hypnotherapy via Skype’. Now I really hated it!
Clunky and awkward, I felt it took all the worst bits of hypnotherapy and magnified them. The wifi connection, and therefore the Skype connection, even failed mid-demonstration during the training I attended. This was framed positively in the way that only works on training courses and never in the real world of clinical practice.
I love self hypnosis and hypnotic audios. I’ve always provided post-session audios to my clients.
Like many hypnotherapists I saw these as a safety net. A way of topping up the suggestions, keeping the client on track. I found they could be fairly generic and still very effective provided they at least touched on the theme of what the client was looking to achieve.
In short, the client received specific tailored suggestions in-person and then topped-up with generic suggestions using the audio.
Note, I have also never been a fan of recording the session itself and giving that to the client because it’s never as good as going away and taking the time to professionally prepare it. Rushed and full off fluffs is what typifies this approach from my experience.
Increasingly though, clients would mention how important the audio had been, how it got them through or, more importantly, ‘back on track’ after a wobble.
This is where bias comes in again on the part of a hypnotherapist. When we are selling in-person hypnotherapy, it’s both an ego and business thing to play down the importance of the audio to the process. After all, why pay £££ for hypnotherapy if you could just buy an audio?
It is true that, though many people do get a great result, generic audios alone are not as effective as any type of tailored hypnotherapy. On a very simple level they miss out the ‘-therapy’ part of the hypnotherapy!
This was the start of me accepting that a big part of what made my approach ‘work’ was not just what I was doing in-person during the session itself.
Listen to the river
The nature of having a fairly globetrotting, international clientele meant that I’d often work with someone and they would later be living abroad.
Sometimes a person might be struggling with a relapse into a bad habit or simply wanting to work on something new, but could not make it in to the clinic in person.
On these occasions, I’d make a custom audio and send some guidance via email as to how to apply it. Without even knowing it I was intuitively making the whole process mirror my in-person approach.
Crucial to making this work each time was the advice around reframing identity and ‘picking a day’ to commence the audio. This day marked the change in direction, similar to the event of attending an in-person breakthrough session.
What impressed me was how high the success rate was for this remote approach. Sometimes clients would ask me to produce another audio because the nature of an issue or their goals had changed. Again, the results were excellent.
Putting it all together
The 1-2-1 Skype session replaced the in-person ‘pre-talk’ and the tailored hypnotic audio replaced the in-session suggestions. One of the most important factors in the positive brainwashing of hypnotic suggestion is ‘mental rehearsal’ and the use of the tailored audio really heightens the effectiveness of this.
With my method, there is no actual ‘you are feeling sleepy, etc.’ hypnosis on the 1-2-1 Skype call itself. I believe that unless a client has an incredible level of belief / buy-in, plus patience, this remains a nice idea, but generally poor in practice. I only provide actual ‘eyes-closed’ hypnotherapy during a Skype call for a very small number of clients.
However, that is not to say that I don’t use conversational hypnosis and suggestion during all of my Skype sessions. Just like my in-person sessions, there is no such thing as ‘just a chat’ with a hypnotherapist! Every part of the process is designed to guide you into new ways of thinking and behaving.
Benefits of Online Hypnotherapy
Online hypnotherapy also brings some bonus benefits in its own right.
Provided a person can make the time difference work, anyone, anywhere in the world can now access hypnotherapy with me. All they need is a device that can run Skype and some headphones to listen to the audios.
It has also opened my services up to clients with disabilities who cannot travel to a physical clinical location easily or indeed at all.
Comfortable & Relaxing
One paradoxical problem of in-person hypnotherapy is that, especially for people new to hypnosis, the process of attending is not necessarily a relaxing experience. Myths and misconceptions about hypnosis (and hypnotists!) can make the whole experience seem quite daunting and a bit scary.
Plus, the more professional and ‘clinical’ a practice becomes, the more likely it is to set off a bit of ‘white coat anxiety’ in even the calmest person.
By being able to engage in online hypnosis via 1-2-1 sessions from the comfort of your own home, the above is massively reduced if not eliminated completely.
There will always be new ways to evolve both the art and science of changing minds, but right now online hypnotherapy is one of the most exciting areas to be working in.