How to choose a Hypnotherapist in Australia is a very good question and also a very important one. One big reason is that Hypnotherapy is not regulated in Australia. What this means is any person who does a weekend course can technically start a Hypnotherapy business.
This is really a scary thought considering people see Hypnotherapists for mental health challenges and many times disclose very personal information. If a Hypnotherapist did not undergo a high level of training they will most likely also take on cases that fall outside their scope of practice.
Things to consider
Legal and Ethics:
When choosing a Hypnotherapist it may be useful to know whether they were trained in legal and ethics as part of their education. This will mean they know what approaches to avoid, how to handle abreactions, who they must refer on to another therapist, and what to look out for i.e. risk of harm to self or others, etc.
An example of this is false memory syndrome. This is when someone sees a hypnotherapist to find out if something terrible happened to them when they were a child which they cannot normally remember. This leaves the client open to be led to believe something that is not in fact true like saying whilst the client is in a trance “is it your uncle you are seeing in the room?” Now the client has to imagine this and then match it with the memory of what happened. If there were no memory to start with this becomes the only image the client’s brain now has of the event and could then become his/her believed but false memory.
As mentioned before there are also legalities when it comes to your scope of practice, what clients you are not allowed to see and need to refer on unless you are a qualified Psychologist or Psychiatrists.
How information is obtained and stored is also important due to privacy and confidentiality. What information may be shared with other authorities and in what situations is equally important.
Registered training organisation (RTO) and Government accredited Hypnotherapy training:
If your Hypnotherapist were trained by a registered training organization (RTO) and obtained their government accredited diploma you will know that legal and ethics are covered and they are aware of how to deal with the abovementioned situations.
You may ask how you would know if the Hypnotherapist holds a government-accredited diploma? The diploma will appear on The Australian Government’s Training website firstly and it will also have a unique code i.e. 10791NAT Diploma of Clinical Hypnosis and Strategic Psychotherapy and each module will also have a code. This particular diploma is provided by The Institute of Applied Psychology (IAP).
These courses are recognized by the Australian skills quality Authority (ASQA).
Hours of training the Hypnotherapist undergone:
The number of hours the hypnotherapist spent in training is important so you can have peace of mind that your Hypnotherapist has done a good amount of study and in-class practice. This may also mean specifically around the mental health challenges you may be seeing them for.
There are courses out there that are just a weekend or 2 weeks in total and then some of the students start a Hypnotherapy practice straight after.
With some of the government accredited diploma courses there are around 1400 hours of study in hypnosis, psychotherapy, and counseling. This is to ensure the level of understanding, as well as competency, is met. Government accreditation also means the education provider undergoes regular audits by ASQA to ensure the content of the courses remains of a high standard so that the therapy you receive is the same.
Must your Hypnotherapist belong to an association?
Checking that the Hypnotherapist belongs to an association like The Australian Hypnotherapist Association (AHA) and that they are on the register of the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia (HCA). This register is where Private health funds check to ensure the Hypnotherapist is on the list before approving claims. The register is updated monthly to ensure it is up to date at all times. You can find lists of the associations’ members on their website but you can also contact them for more information.
Do note though that not all members of an association may have completed a government-accredited diploma. They would however have completed training that satisfies the association’s educational requirements. They are also required to keep up to date with CPD points (Continual professional development) and one-to-one and group supervision sessions with an approved supervisor.
Some private health funds will accept any Hypnotherapist with association membership and some will only accept those with government-accredited diplomas from an RTO.
Traditional vs modern hypnotherapy:
This is a topic by itself but I will keep it brief and to the point.
Choosing the right Hypnotherapist is a task by itself and when you find one you are happy with you want to know they will be able to help you overcome the issue you go to see them for right?
You may find some Hypnotherapists read from a script, some are more authoritative in their language and others tailor the session around your unique challenges and interests and are more permissive in language.
The latter is the more modern approach compared to the more traditional script reading approach. It may be quite evident which will probably have the better and more lasting outcomes and this is correct, a tailored approach unique to you will be more useful to you especially for lasting results.
It may then be a good question to ask your potential hypnotherapist what approach they use. Some may just say Ericksonian but this in itself is not enough. It is in the Hypnotherapists’ skills of tailoring each session unique to you instead of a pre-written script where only a minimal few parts are adjusted to include some sentences which are unique to you. After all, we may have similar mental health challenges but your experience of it is different from the next person.
Choosing a hypnotherapist with a special interest:
You may want to see a hypnotherapist for deeply rooted issues that you otherwise could not resolve with more traditional therapies like Counseling for example. You may not want to revisit painful past events by talking about them at every session. People usually seek out hypnotherapy as it is known as more of a brief therapy which is solution and outcome focussed with a future orientation.
It may be useful to look for one who has a special interest in a particular area i.e. anxiety, depression, quit smoking, phobias, trauma. You may also find some hypnotherapists who actually overcame some of these challenges themselves with the use of hypnotherapy which could aid in your level of connection with your hypnotherapist.
I am sure there are some other points you can look out for or things that may be really important to you specifically that I have not listed. The information I added here should at least get you started in the right direction.
Clinical Hypnotherapy is an evidence-based and highly effective alternative therapy for mental health challenges. Some of these challenges include anxiety, stress, depression, phobias, insomnia, weight loss, quit smoking, lower or stop alcohol consumption, and PTSD.
I hope this helped and you find a hypnotherapist that is just right for you!
Genine Raats – Founder at EcoMindz – Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master NLP practitioner