How to become a hypnotherapist

How to become a hypnotherapist

This alternative job fits the bill for:

  • Part time jobs
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Hypnotherapy (using hypnosis to help people heal themselves) is not the same as hypnotism (using hypnosis to make people think they are a chicken). Heather explains what her job as a hypnotherapist entails, and say most courses won’t let you in before you’re 24 so you should make sure you life your life first…

Name: Heather Macdonald

Career title: Hypnotherapist

Norwich hypnotherapy (Heather’s website)

What made you want to go into this profession?

I was always fascinated by hypnosis as a child and found my first book on the subject at eight years old. It wasn’t until my second year in college when I suffered from insomnia and dreadful nightmares that I actually experienced the phenomena… I had been having trouble with bad dreams and sleeping and ended up visiting a lovely gentleman who lived near by. He simply relaxed me by speaking to me for a while and the problem stopped, not only that but my confidence increased and I never looked back.

Do you need training or work experience?

Yes. You need to learn the process and have a certain amount of understanding of how peoples’ minds work. Training usually consists of nine or so full weekends with a month in between, during which time you complete the practical side of the course and the required case studies.

Is it easy to separate your ‘real’ life from your ‘job’ life with this career?

I find that it’s easy for me to do this as I have my own office away from my home, but many therapists start off working from their house which can be very intrusive. It’s down to the individual how much you allow another experiences to affect your life.

Do stereotypes exist for your job and if so do you think they paint a fair picture?

“Look into my eyes not around my eyes look into my eyes…” Thank you, Little Britain!

Yes, stereotypes exist as people will always think of the Stage Hypnotist, the charismatic individual who can make the most sensible person walk like a chicken. But not only is the chicken not part of a stage act, the entire image is inaccurate.

A hypnotist is someone who uses hypnosis in entertainment.

A hypnotherapist is a person who uses hypnosis in psychotherapy.

They are two very different things, though the skill is the same.

What is the most satisfaction you get out of your job? On both a deep and a shallow level? Has the job changed you? What are the perks?

Seeing someone get better or be able to cope independently is always gratifying. On a more shallow level, I’ve finally made my Mum proud of me. I was a bit wild when I was younger and I put my parents through hell. I don’t think anyone thought I’d settle down and get a proper job. I suppose doing this job has made me appreciate what I’ve got as you meet people who’ve been dealt a really crappy hand in life. It makes you realise there’s always someone worse off.

Is there a sexy uniform?

If you want to wear one there could be but generally no.

Hypnotherapists come in all shapes and sizes. Some wear suits, and can be very clinical whilst others lean to the more flamboyant approach. I’m a ‘jeans therapist’; I dress casually as I find it helps my clients to feel more comfortable and I prefer to work in a professionally informal situation…

Do you have a lot of strings to your bow?

Yes! Hypnotherapy is actually an all-encompassing term, it simply means ‘Psychotherapy used under hypnosis’. As well as the basic hypnotic suggestion “you feel better now. More confident and relaxed” I use cognitive behaviour therapy, Neural Linguist programming, Gestalt therapies, counselling skills, and various other techniques including a few I picked up whilst working in theatre. It all combines together to build a very thorough and effective therapy.

What is the most satisfaction you get out of your job? On both a deep and a shallow level?

I love my job, knowing that I have been able to help someone overcome a personal issue and change their life for the better is an amazing feeling and seeing the difference in a client over the course of the therapy is wonderful. I am always impressed at the power we have to heal ourselves, and to be able to help another reach their potential and exceed both your and their expectations is quite humbling.

Has the job changed you?

Yes definitely. Even my training helped me get over some old hang-ups and I now find I have a great deal of faith in myself and other people. I am not afraid to be who I am.

What are the perks?

I work the hours I choose so I can schedule clients to fit in with others things I would like to do.

Downside of the job:

You hear some awful things and it can be quite distressing… but remembering that it is your client’s issue, and not yours, helps to keep you separate from their emotion.

How physically or mentally demanding is the job? Long hours?

You can work whatever hours you choose and fit it in around your schedules.

It can be both physically and mentally draining though, as you need to retain a positive approach for both yourself and the client. Hours of being constantly enthusiastic can be hard work – but it’s worth it and you always feel better for it.

Most hideous career moment to date?

I had a rather unpleasant man come in for a consolation, he was a bit grim and I ended up throwing him out. I did feel a little shaken by the experience but in the end it was just funny.

Most glorious career moment to date?

Every time a client leaves their last session and I see the huge smile on their faces.

Do you meet or interact with interesting people and if so, who …? Is there a freak-factor?

Yes! Colleagues can be fascinating and work in all areas of not only therapy but metaphysics and psychology. I’ve met and worked with psychiatrists, homeopaths, kinesiologists, Peruvian healers and flirt coaches, all of whom have wonderful outlooks on life…

Is there a danger factor?

Only in that I work in an office by myself. But that is my choice and a person can choose to work in whatever environment they wish.

Do you meet fit, clever, solvent gentlemen in your line of work?

Oh yes, most definitely!

Can you still see yourself doing this in 20 years’ time?


What advice would you give young women who are interested in this career path?

Live life, go out there and enjoy yourself, say yes to every opportunity. You need a certain amount of life experience to be able to do the job and most courses won’t accept people younger than 24 so you may as well explore the world in the meanwhile.