Five Steps to Prepare Clients for Their Initial Hypnosis Session

Hypnosis, as we know, can be highly beneficial in addressing many types of challenges. However, it can also be intimidating and mysterious for those new to the practice. That may be due to someone’s already-heightened anxiety, religious upbringing, bad past experiences, or simply because this is their first experience with hypnosis.

Regardless of the reason, many of your clients and potential clients will come to you with some fear or hesitance. Adequately and sensitively preparing them for their initial hypnosis session will make them more comfortable and ready to achieve a hypnotic state. Here are five steps you can take to help prepare clients for their first hypnosis appointment:

1. Explain in detail what a session will look like.

Hypnosis will be new to most of your clients. Their initial appointment may even be their first therapeutic experience of any kind. With that newness naturally comes some uncertainty. This apprehension is especially likely from clients coming to see you for anxiety or depression who may already be reaching the limits of their resiliency. Painting a picture of what they will experience transitions the appointment from feeling like a leap into the unknown to a walk down a familiar path.

Walk a new or potential client through a typical session, including as much detail as possible. This conversation allows them to know what to expect. Anything that fills in the blanks about what they will experience can help. Before an appointment, this includes describing where they will sit or what your office looks like.

Then explain how a hypnotic trance might feel. For many people, hypnosis might seem like giving up some control. The more you can help them feel in control of what will happen, the less anxious they will feel. Through your hypnosis lessons you learned what hypnosis looks and feels like. Sharing that understanding with your clients will ease their nerves.

Walk them through your induction process. Explain how much they may or may not recall about their session. Outline how they might expect to feel afterward. Create a sense of the experience so they know what they can expect.

Inform them that the experience differs by client and sometimes by session with each client. Even though that’s the case, you can still provide examples of expected outcomes. You might explain that some people are acutely aware of drifting into a trance, and others don’t feel it happening. Some people recall everything said in the session, and others don’t. This kind of information gives them a sense of clients’ ranges of feelings and experiences with hypnosis. Hearing about other people’s experiences can cut through the overwhelm.

2. Tell them how to prepare.

When a client is anxious, it can be easy for them to get stuck on the details. They fear doing something wrong or embarrassing themselves. For this type of client, you want to be very clear about how they can prepare for the session. You might even provide a “First Session FAQs” document beforehand. This document can include how early they should arrive for their appointment, how and when they will make payment, what clothing you recommend they wear, where they can park if driving, and any other rules or guidelines you have for your practice.

Taking as much of the guesswork as possible out of that first meeting will provide great comfort to a nervous client.

3. Let them know that each experience is individual.

While outlining what to expect is helpful, it can also be beneficial to let your clients know that with hypnosis, there isn’t one specific reaction or process.

They may fear saying something embarrassing, becoming overly emotional, or even resisting the hypnotic trance. Reassure them that whatever they experience, it’s normal and acceptable. It’s all part of the process.

Many first-time clients will fear making a mistake or failing. “Am I doing this right?” is a common concern. You lift that performance anxiety when you reassure them that there is no “right” and that the process works differently with everyone. Explain that hypnosis isn’t something they need to get right. It’s a natural process through which you will guide them, and both of you will act and react as needed to whatever happens within that process. Once they understand that, they will not only feel less worried about making a mistake, but they will also be in a better state to receive hypnosis.

4. Discuss confidentiality and judgment.

Depending on the challenge you are addressing with your client, they may disclose incredibly personal, painful experiences and feelings. Make it clear to them that your office is a judgment-free zone and that any traumatic or embarrassing details are fine to disclose to you. Reassure them that whatever they share stays between the two of you.

Your client must believe you are a caring guide on their journey to wellness and healing. Demonstrate your compassion, trustworthiness, and empathy for them. Making yourself and your office a safe space will make the process less intimidating and enable them to work through traumas and deep-rooted challenges.

5. Ask them to imagine being hypnotized.

A pretend or imagined trance may be helpful for particularly nervous or hesitant clients. Instead of just asking them to relax, you might ask them to imagine what it would feel like to be deeply relaxed. That small layer of separation can make it easier for them to get past their hesitancy.

You aren’t yet asking them to do anything; you’re simply asking them to imagine doing something. And by asking them to lead with their imagination, you are allowing them to explore what the experience will be like before they mentally commit 100% to it. Generating a pretend trance can pave the way for an actual trance. They may find there’s little difference between the two.

Taking the time to properly prepare clients for their first session can increase their comfort and ability to reach a hypnotic state. These steps will help clients before or during their first appointment. They can also help alleviate the fears and hesitancy of potential clients who aren’t ready to book a session with a hypnosis business until they know what they will likely experience. Often, getting through an initial session is the biggest hurdle for your clients to receive the help they need, so anything you can do to make their first experience easier is a win.

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Five Steps to Prepare Clients for Their Initial Hypnosis Session

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