No. And No.

That would be an uninspiring blog entry if it ended it there, wouldn’t it?

It is the time of year whereby some of my hypnotherapy students are working on their case studies and this week, one particular student encountered a moderately common problem among case studies, and a less than common, but common enough issue in professional clinical hypnotherapy practice… The client not really knowing what they want to achieve from the sessions. They just want to “get better.” or they want to “be happier.” Sadly, these kinds of wishes are too broad and tend to be tough to measure.

“I just want to get out from behind this cloud!”

What’s more, they are not exactly well-formed or well-defined desired outcomes for the hypnotherapist to work towards.

if the hypnotherapist is not entirely sure on what it is that the client wants to achieve with the hypnotherapy sessions, then whatever interventions are applied are unlikely to be fruitful, and if they do benefit the client, they might have been due to luck or be temporary.

You need to have somewhere to move towards.

Agreed, some clients do not always know exactly what they want, or even where they want to go. As the hypnotherapist, you enquire, ask questions and investigate and explore.

Over recent times however, many schools of hypnosis think it fine to have no direction on a ‘conscious’ level. Many think in terms of ‘magical thinking’ and that the all-seeing, ultra wise, benevolent, demi-God that lives within us will serve us perfectly – the unconscious mind knows what we want, let it sort things out, eh? I wrote about this kind of notion here.

No. Don’t.

I was taught to trust my unconscious mind to know what interventions to provide my clients with, just like Milton Erickson used to do apparently. The client is told by those advocating this approach to trust their unconscious mind to learn what you need to learn from the hypnosis session.  For example, in his 1987 work Therapeutic trances: The cooperation principle in Ericksonian hypnotherapy, Stephen Gilligan advocates this notion. Many other prominent and influential trainers do too.

My advice is that you do not rely on any such notion of trusting your unconscious mind. I wrote about this in more depth in other entries on this blog about the unconscious mind’s very existence.

Rather, I highly recommend that you prepare thoroughly, that you are specific and perhaps systematic in the way you gather initial information which you can then discuss and explore with more questioning should you need to. Then, when you understand the client better, you can agree upon some goals and define outcomes together for the sessions ahead and of course agree upon your treatment plan together, looking at the strategies best suited to achieving those well-defined goals and outcomes.

it is not always the case, but in my experience and professional opinion, when it comes to hypnotherapy, more benefits are gained when there is something being worked towards and an achievement aimed for. it enables and enhances the therapeutic alliance too, making it something which is collaborative and helps empower the client rather than decisions being made solely for them by the hypnotherapist… Or by some invincible unconscious force that knows all…

Is there an unconscious mind at all? Read here.


If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:

1. Has lack of critical thinking held you back and/or is it still doing so now?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or  Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason.
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others to think more effectively? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom lack of critical thinking is detrimentally effecting the success of your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.

Self-hypnosis is a great way to help advance critical thinking. If you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.