If you have an emotional problem or need help to change something, you might choose a hypnotherapist, or you might consider choosing a counsellor to help you. But which therapist would be best?
Today there are so many different therapists.
They have a range of training and experiences, and some have better results than others. But their results can be based on more than the modality they use to help you. Often the therapist, rapport building, trust and working alliance can also make a big difference in the effectiveness of therapy.
Deciding on a hypnotherapist or a counsellor may also depend on the problem, your access to services, and your finances.
I am a hypnotherapist and a counsellor, so I will help you to answer this question.
But let’s first consider the differences and similarities between a hypnotherapist and a counsellor.
What is a hypnotherapist?
A hypnotherapist has been trained to help with various emotional, physical and sometimes spiritual problems. They help you to focus your attention, concentrate and use visualisation with suggestions to make changes. For example, a hypnotherapist can help with anxiety, IBS, habits, fears and phobias, performance issues, weight management, etc. But they don’t usually deal with people with psychosis.
They can help adults and children. Hypnotherapists can work with individuals, in groups, couples, or in an office. This can be face-to-face or online.
They are people who use hypnosis as a therapy to help you, so they are not the same as a stage hypnotist. Stage hypnotist’s intention is to use hypnosis with entertainment to make you laugh.
A hypnotherapist is a complementary therapist. There is no mandatory training, but in the UK, there are national standards that training schools use as a framework. This means training can vary from a short time to months or years, and the content can vary in depth and focus. Some hypnotherapists train with overseas training schools. And some do online courses.
Initial training is usually vocational training, leading to certificates or diplomas, but there are some academic routes. It is possible to have an MSc in hypnosis. However, most hypnotherapists work to a diploma level, although some also have other academic qualifications, such as psychology.
Hypnotherapists can specialise in certain areas, such as pain management, or favour a specific way of practising. For example, some hypnotherapists do regression (take the person back in their mind to an incident or time when the issue is claimed to have first started), some practice conversational hypnosis (eyes open), and some may be called solutions-focused or Ericsonian hypnotists.
Most hypnotherapists have some counselling skills training and must listen and understand what the client wants.
Often hypnotherapists are members of a professional organisation that abides by a code of conduct. The Professional Standards Authority accredits the bigger, established organisations. UK membership organisations include the National Hypnotherapy Society, the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council Register(GHR), and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CHHC).
Some UK hypnotherapists are also registered with international hypnotherapy associations.
Many hypnotherapists are also trained in other supportive or medical professions. For example, some might be qualified as doctors, nurses, dentists, Reiki practitioners, art therapists, counsellors, psychotherapists or psychologists.
Hypnotherapists usually have supervision when they start working, and many will continue with supervision, but this depends on the person’s needs or the professional body’s requirements.
Hypnotherapists keep up to date with continuing professional development (CPD). The amount of CPD depends on the hypnotherapist and their professional body. Thirty hours a year or more is not uncommon. This information must be logged and can be called upon to check that the person is meeting the requirements of their professional body.
Most hypnotherapists in the UK and worldwide are private practitioners, although a few places in the NHS will employ them. As they are in private practice, fees vary. As many practitioners offer packages and additions to their services, it isn’t easy to compare them by price, so their training, experiences and service should be considered.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that not everyone responds to hypnosis similarly, so they may have different results.
What is a counsellor?
A counsellor or psychotherapist is a person who has been trained to provide therapy to people with a wide range of emotional, physical and spiritual problems. They are often referred to as a talking therapist. I like to say they are also a listening therapist as they do a lot of listening.
Like hypnotherapists, they can help with fears, phobias, relationships, and physical problems. In addition, they will deal with many mental health disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia, learning difficulties etc.
There are some specialist counsellors; for example, couples, children, and Christian counsellors. Other general counsellors deal with most areas.
Counsellors are trained in many different ways. They usually attend a training organisation specifically for counselling, or they could go to a college or university.
Counsellors train with different philosophies. For example, some are Person-entred, Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT), or Psychodynamic therapists. Some are integrative or pluralistic and use various approaches depending on the presenting issue. There are hundreds of different types of counsellors.
The same as hypnotherapists, there is no mandatory training. Their training can also be online or in person, taking weeks, months or years. It is common for counsellors in the UK to train for at least three years and incur at least 100 practice hours to be registered with the main professional bodies.
Training can be through the academic route meaning that the person may have a degree, master’s degree or PhD in counselling. However, most people go through a vocational qualification route. At level four or five, counsellors can be employed by charities, the National Health Service (NHS) or private organisations to provide counselling.
Counselling practice includes the counsellor doing several supervision hours (1.5 hours a month is common). Counsellors also need to do continuing professional development(CPD) to keep up to date. The amount of CPD will vary according to the counsellor’s needs and the professional body’s requirements.
Professional bodies include the National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS) and the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), but there are many more.
Counsellors can be employed through the National Health Service (NHS), charities, some private organisations or in private practice. Counselling can also be delivered online, in groups, via chat lines, text or videoconferencing systems.
Private counsellors usually charge less than hypnotherapists and usually charge by the hour. Clients will need more sessions compared to hypnotherapy. Six to twelve counselling sessions would not be unusual; in some cases, clients may see counsellors for years.
Finally, in counselling, finding the right person who works in the way you feel most comfortable is essential.
Now consider why you might choose a hypnotherapist rather than a counsellor.
1. Potential for faster results
The number of hypnotherapy sessions is usually much less than counselling because hypnotherapists focus on one main issue and do not need to understand a person’s life history. Also, as hypnotherapists are mainly private practitioners, you will get an appointment much quicker than going on an NHS waiting list.
The aim is to remove barriers to change by helping the person to reframe fears and phobias, let go of self-limiting beliefs and develop their potential. Some hypnotherapy is specifically focused on solutions. So hypnotherapy might be for you if you want a fast result.
Added to this, sometimes, as some hypnotherapists are also counsellors or psychologists, they incorporate Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) into their practice as this has been shown to get better results for some people.
2. Good at dealing with subconscious blocks
Hypnotherapy helps access the subconscious mind, which is thought to be the source of thoughts, feelings, and unwanted behaviours. It, therefore, quietens the conscious mind that keeps analysing the problem, making the person feel stuck.
Directly addressing negative patterns, deep traumas, and beliefs helps speed the process.
Some hypnotherapists may regress the client to a source of the problem.
3. Effective habit change
Hypnotherapy is best known for changing habits, such as stopping smoking. But it can also help nail biting, picking, hair pulling and many other habits and addictions.
Changing a habit with hypnotherapy in one session is possible, but three to six sessions would not be uncommon, depending on the problem.
4. Enhances self-development
Hypnotherapy helps self-development in so many good ways. For example, you can remove your fears and self-limiting beliefs, help to make decisions, set goals, visualise success, develop more confidence and self-esteem and change negative beliefs about yourself.
People come to a hypnotherapist to improve their exam performance, language skills, or anything that makes them anxious.
It helps in career progression as well as developing relationships.
5. Hypnotherapy can help you relax
Hypnotherapy is well known for helping people relax their minds and body through positive suggestions. Although relaxation is not necessary to hypnotise you or to get the results you want, it can be good at helping you to calm down if you are someone who says that you can never relax. This will promote a sense of well-being.
In conclusion, hypnotherapists are great in helping you change something or accept something you can’t change. The five reasons presented here show the areas that can help you, but hypnotherapy has many more benefits.
However, many people are still sceptical about hypnosis as they don’t know much about it or imagine it will be like stage shows. If the person is not convinced of the benefits of hypnosis, or if there are deep-seated mental health problems and psychosis, counselling may be the alternative option.
Counsellors are also great. They listen and show empathy for your problem. They help you unravel your thoughts and feelings, which may take a long time. Counsellors are also great at listening if you need to get something off your chest and feel supported and not judged.
There are many more considerations, but the important thing is that you should feel that the therapist you choose is the right person for you. So take your time to choose. Get recommendations and gather information.
Using hypnotherapy instead of traditional counselling can offer unique benefits. Don’t dismiss hypnotherapy because you have heard all the myths surrounding it. Find out more by contacting a hypnotherapist for a free consultation.
Hi, I’m Linda for Awaken the Change. I have trained as a hypnotherapist, counsellor, psychologist and coach. I help clients with various issues, but I specialise in helping people in a rut to let go of anxiety and develop their true potential. Contact me for a free initial consultation and learn how I might help you.