So this weekend, as well as having a Christmas boys night out, attending a Church Christmas play with my family, having a lunch with some of my school friends and much more besides, I was very busy… Wherever we went, people asked me about my work… Even people that have known me for years do keep on asking me about it… And when they ask, it often brings questions up for me to ask too…

Over the years, I have learned to accept the fact that at parties, I get cornered by people wanting to know about hypnotherapy. There all kinds of things I can say and do that instil huge amounts of intrigue and keep people fascinated for hours… Such is the thought process and very nature of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

Heck, if you then start pointing out the subtle body language that people are displaying at the party and how the group dynamics would be classified in psychotherapy, they’ll be entranced. (The irnoy being that I’ll become a monopoliser, though there’ll always be at least one resistant rebel in the room).

When discussing it, people tend to assume you have no therapeutic issues of your own. And it tends to start begging the question – would you go to see a hypnotherapist who smoked heavily to help you stop smoking? Would you go to see a hypnotherapist who was HUGE to reduce your weight? Would you want to work with a therapist of any kind who had not been in therapy themselves? It is a tough call, because maybe they are less believable, or some might think less effective, yet there are equally convincing arguments for being able to show someone how to do something without having to have done it yourself, aren’t there?

If I were to ask you to think of a doctor who’s never been a medical patient, or to imagine a teacher who’s never been a pupil, would you think that unusual? How would you know what those jobs entail if you’ve never seen it from the other side, much less any side? Then there’s the notion of influence and adoption of ideas. How would you know what you’d want to emulate, reject or revamp? And lastly, and most curious to me: How can you believe in the work of therapy and sell it to your clients — without actually having experienced it in some way? So do hypnotherapists need to have had hypnotherapy?

I am not sitting on either side of the fence as far as this blog entry is concerned, I am just asking questions.

Personally, I have had all manner of therapy. As a younger man dealing with my own demons, I rejected many kinds of therapy before I found hypnotherapy helped me in a number of ways and as such wanted to become a hypnotherapist. Despite a vast amount of academic study and additional training that I have been through over the past 20 years, it is the therapy I have been through and my own client sessions that have taught me even more.

That said, over the years of training people to be hypnotherapists, I get a very different sense when it comes to those that have not had therapy themselves…. A few are just incredibly emotionally healthy, with resiliency and resourcefulness that could match or beat any of the winners of ‘I’m a celebrity, get me outta here’ (with or without the insect eating). A few have taught themselves self-help skills that didn’t come so naturally to me in the early days. A few come from families where you keep problems close to your chest. And then there are those who feel much more comfortable caring for others than being cared for by others.

In the long run, I don’t know if a background as a ‘therapee’ will matter. I know what I like and what I don’t like, but then, most people learn that in other ways for themselves. just because my journey brought me to where I am, that does nto necessarily mean it is the same journey that all should go on, does it? In the end, I do not think clients really know the difference.

It is an interesting debate… Enjoy your Monday 🙂