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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Choosing the Right Certified Hypnotist

by John Koenig

A certified hypnotist or hypnotic coach may be the answer for individuals that feel stuck in some area of his or her life, but finding the right one can seem an intimidating and difficult task. Letting someone into our mind can be scary, but rest assured, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and no one can make an individual do something against their will. In fact, any hypnotist, no matter how skilled, is nothing more than a facilitator trained to help people find their own power.

A professional hypnotist can assist with many common issues, including

weight loss (other than diagnosed eating disorders), smoking cessation, stress management, pre-surgery hypnosis, child birth hypnosis, alcohol/drug habit problems, pain management (under medical supervision), attention deficit disorder coaching, confidence building, fears (flying, driving, public speaking, performance, social fears), and more. Additionally, hypnosis can guide people in their career, education, relationships and assist with athletic performance.

Factors to Consider When Searching for a Hypnotist

Qualifications. Hypnosis is not a licensed profession. Education and training in hypnotism and coaching vary. Most professional hypnotists are certified by national associations with educational and ethical standards like The National Guild of Hypnotists. Time in practice is another indication, but not the sole criterion for a hypnotist’s suitability to an issue; newcomers to the field may be the perfect person to help you achieve your goals.

Life and Professional Experience. Find out if the hypnotist’s background is a good match for your life experience and needs. Often hypnotists are best at helping people handle issues they themselves have overcome. At the least, find out if the hypnotist has worked successfully with people with your issue. Most hypnotists and other coaches will invite potential clients to talk on the phone or come in for a complimentary consultation where they can get a sense of the hypnotist’s background and suitability for their concerns.

Attitude/Chemistry. If you are gay, don’t go to a hypnotist with repressed homophobia. If religion is important to you, find someone that seems to have a spiritual approach. If you are in 12-step recovery, find someone that understands what that involves.

Gender. Gender may not be a factor in some cases, or for an issue like quitting smoking, but if it is for you, listen to your instinct.

Realistic claims. Beware of exaggerated claims. No one can guarantee 100 percent success from any human intervention—be cautious of those that claim to do so.

Cost. A hypnotist should be clear about how much hypnosis sessions cost and how many he or she recommends to address the issue. Most hypnotists will offer a free 30- minute consultation in the office of on the phone. Beware of programs that ask for payment of dozens of sessions in advance. Generally this is more marketing hype than sound hypnosis. And don’t expect too much from low priced hypnosis groups. Some people get good results from these groups; many don’t.

Remember a professional certified hypnotist is not a psychotherapist unless otherwise credentialed. When suffering from a genuine mental illness, a properly trained certified hypnotist will refer those individuals to a licensed professional. He or she may work under the direction of a therapist, but has been trained to only practice within a well-defined scope of practice. As the National Guild of Hypnotists puts it, “Hypnotists work with everyday people on everyday problems.”

How to Research Hypnotists

The internet is a good start, but not the only method of research. Following are a few tips to make finding the right hypnotist easier:

· Visit their webpage. You will get a feel for them and get answers to many of your questions.

· Look at comments and reviews from former clients, especially on

· Seek referrals from your doctor, therapist and friends. A few physicians refer to certified hypnotists. A traditional therapist may point you to a hypnotist with a good reputation. You may have friends or family that rave about the results they got in quitting smoking or losing weight with a particular hypnotist.

· Call a prospective hypnotist and ask questions. Get a feel for them over the phone. Are they rushed or interested in what you have to say? Do they seem to have a solution that will work with you? How many sessions do they recommend? Are they forthcoming about costs?

· Take advantage of the offer of a free consultation if any doubts exist. Many hypnotists will gladly either spend time with you on the phone or invite you to come into their office for a 15- to 30-minute free consultation.

Keep in mind that hypnosis is about giving people back their own power. If a hypnotist doesn’t feel like a good match, don’t be afraid to tell the hypnotist you will not be continuing. Then look for the one that is right for you.

John Koenig is a board certified hypnotist who has practiced in Warwick, Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts since 1998. He is also a certified instructor who trains people to become professional hypnotists as a part-time or full-time career. His work has been featured on both NBC and ABC national news and he is the co-author of The HypnoticCoach. Visit his websites at or