It’s a good idea, if you’re a working hypnotherapist actively seeing clients, or if you have trained, but have taken some time off, to engage in a ‘skill audit’ at least every year, to ensure that what you’re doing is still working and that you’ve not slipped into any ‘bad habits’. Also, it’s worth noting whether there are any ‘new approaches’ out there that could benefit you and your hypnotherapy practice. Sure, the stuff that you learned during your hypnotherapy training may be great at helping the majority of clients (hopefully), but it’s good to keep an open mind when it comes to tools that you want in your therapy toolkit.
So, going back to the first point, it’s all too easy when you’re seeing clients day-in, day-out, to simplify your techniques and scripts so that they’re quicker and take less cognitive processing (for you) when using them during a hypnotherapy session. However, just because something’s easier, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. Many long-term hypnotherapists can get stuck in just such a ‘rut’ without even realising it. The mind likes simple routines, and by leaving out ‘tricky parts’ over and over, we can end up doing things completely differently (perhaps even less effectively) than the way we learned in the first place. It’s like parallel parking our cars, if you remember and stick to how you were taught to do it by your professional driving instructor, you can often park perfectly in one attempt. But when we try and ‘make things easier’ by not checking our mirrors first, or not aligning our car in the right position beforehand, it can in fact make the whole process less effective (and perhaps make even more work for ourselves)!
This is why taking a little time to ‘check in with yourself’ every 6 to 12 months can be a good idea. If one of your tutors or peers were to watch you working with a client, would they think you’re being as effective as you could be? Would they recognise the techniques that you’re using and understand the purpose of them? You might think it’s ‘easy’ to get sloppy, but the side effects are not so easy to stomach. For instance, it’s not easy to receive negative feedback, nor to have clients returning more often because the session wasn’t effective. Especially when you know they might have responded better if you’d been on your ‘a-game’. Engaging in regular hypnotherapy supervision is a great way to get this kind of feedback from a third person perspective and to help you work on keeping your hypnotherapy skills fresh and effective. Because we all want to be as effective as we can possibly be, for the sake of our clients and our business reputations.
As well as keeping a check on your core knowledge and practical abilities, it’s also worth keeping an eye out for any new techniques, scripts, models and approaches that you feel could benefit you and your practice (or that could disadvantage you by not knowing them). It’s great to have a broad range of hypnotherapy skills and techniques to use in any situation, but also, some clients may look at your competitors and notice that they offer ‘more’ than you, and then choose to work with them instead of you (yes, it does happen)! For instance, some hypnotherapists might offer Ericksonian hypnotherapy, cognitive hypnotherapy or analytical hypnotherapy… Others may offer rapid inductions, some support their hypnotherapy skills with other therapies such as EMDR, Counselling, REBT, NLP, etc. or specific techniques such as ‘regression to cause’ or the ‘fast phobia cure’. Indeed, there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hypnotherapy techniques and models out there. Many of these models and techniques are made up of ‘standard approaches’ that are often taught on good hypnotherapy practitioner courses (so perhaps, if your initial training was high quality, you already have all the ‘building blocks’ in order to break down those techniques and replicate them yourself). That said, it’s still worth keeping your ear to the ground, and as a part of your career as a hypnotherapist, it’s generally recommended that you should get at least 16 hours (2 days) CPD training per year. Continuing your professional development will certainly benefit you in the long run, and is a great way of testing yourself and stopping your skills from going ‘stale’.
Sometimes learning new hypnotherapy techniques and models can be pricy, however, a great way to get a ‘taster’ is to attend hypnosis/hypnotherapy conferences. Many of the people that are selling their models and ‘new approaches’ will attend these conferences and let you know about what they’re offering. This gives you a chance to make an informed decision about whether to take your training further (sometimes you can even take a training course with one of the presenters at the conference itself), as well as a chance to see how a vast range of different hypnotherapists work. It’s also a great way to network with other therapists and even make some new friends in the industry. On this topic, both Kate and myself will be attending, speaking and presenting courses at HypnoThoughts Live 2019 in Las Vegas (Kate is offering a pre-conference EMDR course and I’m offering a post-conference stage & street hypnosis course), and we also frequently attend the UK Hypnosis Convention too, along with a whole plethora of other big names in the hypnosis world. So, perhaps we’ll see you there!
In closing, don’t let yourself get into poor habits. It’s better to challenge yourself and keep things fresh, than to get lazy and offer a sloppy service. It’s good to learn new skills and to refresh skills that you already know, but keep in mind that not all of the ‘new hypnotherapy techniques’ on offer are as ‘groundbreaking’ as they might seem, so do some research before you spend your hard earned money!
We hope that this blog on keeping your hypnotherapy skills up to date and current has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher