A Good Rapport: Why It’s Important in Hypnosis And How To Build It

The relationship between you and your client is the foundation of therapeutic hypnotism. Like most relationships, the client-hypnotist relationship will fail if it doesn’t have trust. You must cultivate and nurture an authentic, safe rapport as a central element of your hypnosis relationships. Let’s look at ways to establish and maintain that rapport.


Mirroring is a subtle form of mimicry that helps to put someone at ease. It’s a behavior many of us do without even realizing it, and it can be a crucial component in relationship-building with new clients. If they cross their legs as they sit, you cross yours as well. When they put their hands in their lap, you do the same. As they lean forward during the conversation, you move forward, too. You may also adopt similar speech patterns or cadences. All of this is mirroring.

Mirroring creates an empathetic understanding with the listener or observer. It shows them you are like them in some way. That can hasten the building of trust and client rapport. Mirrored behaviors can also create a sense of familiarity, allowing nervous clients to feel at ease. Be mindful that you can overuse mirroring. It should seem natural. The most effective mirroring goes unnoticed on a conscious level. The client may be unable to say why, but they know they feel comfortable with you.

If they notice you copying them, the mirroring will not only be ineffective, and it may feel forced or manipulative. Be subtle. If your client has an unusual speaking pattern, adopting that will not only be obvious, it may seem like you are mocking them. You will create the same problem if you copy every gesture. Proceed with caution and keep your mirroring subtle and natural. Doing so will help your hypnosis client by creating a sense of shared experience and trust.


It’s important that your clients see you as a trained wellness practitioner. That means you need to convey yourself at all times in a professional manner. Professionalism doesn’t mean being impersonal or uptight. You can still be casual and relaxed, but you must have boundaries and standards.

Imagine that you went to see your doctor, and he greeted you by slapping you on the back and telling an inappropriate joke. You would likely feel quite uncomfortable. Not only is this unexpected behavior that would shatter your expectations for the appointment, it might also make you question his competence. The same is true for your interactions with your clients. By all means, be personable and approachable, but use language that is not overly casual and use slang sparingly. Avoid controversial subjects or anything that might make them uncomfortable.

Professionalism goes beyond just how you speak and what you say. You want to dress in a way that conveys the serious nature of your work. That means clothes that are clean, modest, and in good repair. You don’t need to be in a stuffy suit or a shirt buttoned up to your chin, but you do need to avoid looking unkempt or inappropriate.

Be punctual and hold your clients to a schedule. Follow up promptly and check your correspondence for errors before sending. Your hypnosis business should feel like it runs smoothly and effectively.

All of this conveys a sense that you are a competent professional who clients can trust. That’s part of the rapport that will help you effectively hypnotize your clients.

Personal Touches

Behaving professionally doesn’t mean you need to be stuffy and impersonal. If your client feels as though there is a wall between you and them, it may hinder the hypnotic process. You can create a sense of rapport by demonstrating that you respect and remember your client as an individual.

Use their name as often as is appropriate. Ask about the important details of their lives. Give them space to share brief stories about what has happened since you last saw them. Follow up with details mentioned in previous sessions. How is their new dog settling in? Did they enjoy the trip they’d been so excited about?

You may even want to jot down a few notes about personal details you can bring up in the future once the client has left your office. When they return for an appointment, you can review those notes. Just make sure to be discreet. If your client sees you review your notes before you ask about their children by name, not only will you have revealed that you don’t remember that detail, but your attempt to be personal may then come off as manipulation.

Easing Tension

Clients may be nervous or uncomfortable when they come to their session. If you can immediately break that tension, building and maintaining rapport will be easier. You can do that by telling a joke or making a pun as you settle in. Laughter naturally relaxes us, and shared humor creates a subtle, empathetic moment.

You don’t need to be naturally funny. Humor can be a natural part of the change process, and it requires that rapport is already in place. The greatest benefit of humor is that it’s dissociative, and it can help the client view their situation from a very different perspective.

This approach will be ineffective if it feels unnatural or like you are following a formula. It will go from building rapport to creating discomfort. However, if you can effectively work in some light humor, it can help develop the relationship with your client. And if humor’s not your thing, you can also ease tension with a quick personal story or genuine compliment.

When it comes to therapeutic hypnotism, the rapport you build with your client is almost as important as the hypnosis itself. Your hypnotherapy training centers on the hypnotic process, but don’t neglect client relationships. Focusing on building and maintaining a trusting, empathetic relationship with your clients will improve your hypnotic process. There are many ways to create and sustain this necessary rapport. Experiment and find those that work best for you, and remember that different approaches will work better for different clients, so be flexible.

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