How to Become a Hypnotherapist

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Hypnotherapy is a popular and clinically proven method of improving physical and mental health. The process is used effectively to treat everything from sleep disorders to anxiety, encouraging weight loss, quitting smoking, alleviating chronic pain and easing irritable bowel syndrome.

how to become a hypnotherapist

Hypnosis works through a process involving suggestions to the patient for relaxation, calmness, and overall well-being. The hypnosis lasts for the duration of a session, but can also be recalled by the patient later under certain conditions. The hypnotherapist guides the patient to contemplate pleasant experiences or offers verbal cues that draws the patient into a trance-like state. From there, behavior modification techniques can be used to bring about positive change in a patient’s wellbeing.

Hypnotherapy can also be extremely effective in boosting confidence and self-esteem, and dealing with sexual dysfunction. Clients can experience improved performance and achievement across many disciplines, including business, education and sports.

Fundamentally, hypnotherapy works by increasing the power of suggestion to bring about change. People receiving successful hypnotherapy treatment become more susceptible to new ideas and ways of thinking through hypnotic suggestion. The goal is to implant better ideas in the mind of clients and encourage thinking that moves them closer to their goals. For therapy to work, the client must be actively open to the desired change.

Virtually all other forms of psychotherapy depend on the conscious mind to work on creating positive change. But if the conscious mind gets in the way of positive change, hypnotherapy drills down to the subconscious level where the conscious mind cannot interfere. Hypnotherapy can be especially effective in helping clients overcome what is known as a false belief, which is the notion that the client cannot do something or change something that could lead to a better life. False beliefs often implant in childhood and become so firmly entrenched in a person’s mind that a journey into the subconscious is necessary to root out the false belief and replace it with positivity. This is where the hypnotherapist’s work can be game changing for clients.

You can enjoy great professional satisfaction as a hypnotherapist because you are helping people work through their traumas, depression, and anxieties. You will guide them to the joys and satisfactions of life that typically elude them. 

You can also choose to specialize in a particular niche. Perhaps your goal is to help people with weight issues or to overcome crippling addictions that impact their personal and professional relationships. You will literally lead clients to another state of consciousness where they will learn to break bad habits and overcome long-term conditions that have had a negative impact on their lives, perhaps for years.

It typically requires many sessions over a period of time to bring about lasting behavioral change in a client, which means you are establishing an ongoing client relationship not a “one-and-done” transaction. By explaining up-front that multiple sessions are common, the hypnotherapist can get a commitment from the client to make the effort and do the therapeutic work.

If helping people overcome tendencies that are not serving them sounds like it is up your alley, read on to discover how you can become a hypnotherapist. 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this chapter on becoming a Hypnotherapist:

  • How Much Can You Make
  • Training and Certifications
  • Professional Groups to Join
  • Career Options
  • Finding Clients
  • Helpful Tips for New Hypnotherapists

How Much Can You Make?

The national average is $85 an hour for hypnotherapists, according to the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. Individuals in private practice can make as much money as their time and client base will allow. Private practice fees for an hour of hypnotherapy currently range from $150 to $200 an hour.

Training and Certifications

A bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field is the basic prerequisite for pursuing training in hypnotherapy. Some states require practitioners to hold a master’s degree and pass a state-certified exam as well. Check the requirements for your state before choosing a program of study. The patchwork of regulations governing hypnotherapy vary widely. Even in states where hypnotherapy is not regulated, the practice may still fall under other laws for therapists, such as marriage therapy or Substance Abuse therapy. It depends on the services you are offering and the client’s condition being treated.

hypnotherapy training and certification

The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists stresses the importance of graduating from an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Once you know your state’s requirements you can evaluate different hypnotherapy training programs. Dozens of online and in-person training programs are available, so check accreditation carefully. A national certification in the field is best because it will be recognized wherever you go.

NBCCH therapists include licensed substance abuse therapists and substance abuse counselors, chiropractors, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, psychiatric nurses, physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, physical therapists, school counselors, clinical social workers, and pastoral counselors.

The NBCCH recommends these clinical hypnosis training programs. Most offer basic, intermediate and advanced training programs, although completing a basic course can get you certified so you can begin practice.

For other hypnotherapy certification and training programs, you can find a directory here.

You’ll need a terminal degree (MD or Ph.D.) to apply for professional certification with the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, which is widely considered one of the top professional organizations in the field. Student memberships are also available and cost $95 annually

To give you an idea of what a hypnotherapy session is like, watch this video on using hypnotherapy to relieve the emotional pain of past experiences.

If you have any questions about hypnotherapist licensing requirements, this state by state directory is a great resource..

Professional Groups to Join

The American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists is the premier organization supporting the profession. The application process includes proof of a minimum of 100 hours of certified training in hypnotherapy. At least 50 of the hours must involve in-person training with an instructor. Membership is $180 per year.

hypnotherapist professional groups

Benefits of joining include access to business development resources, ongoing education and networking opportunities with other members.

The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis is another organization to join if you hold a medical or doctoral degree or are in school pursuing such a degree.

These are some other industry associations that focus on supporting Hypnotherapists as well as Hypnotherapist communities on Facebook.

Career Options

You’ll find hypnotherapy jobs at private and public mental health clinics throughout the United States. Use online resources such as LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter and to locate opportunities near you. Public health departments sometimes offer hypnotherapy as part of their suite of services, although the pay tends to be lower than private-sector employment.

You can also use your connections in professional organizations to learn about job openings.

Finding Clients

The Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy suggests these steps in drawing more clients to your hypnotherapy practice:

  • To attract the right person, you need to be the right person. Focus on personal wholeness as a primary form of advertising. People are attracted to the positivity of an individual who’s got his or her life together.
  • Build and maintain a strong website with quality content primed for search engine optimization (SEO). This is how people will find you.
  • Make regular presentations focused on your work. Public lectures, networking groups and “lunch and learns” are all good ways to market yourself in the community.
  • Network and connect with other people. Try to introduce two people to hypnotherapy every day.
  • Hypnotherapy – Aside from the many other ways to market your practice, if you are not succeeding then we cannot recommend enough “Hypnotherapy for the Hypnotherapist.”
finding clients as hypnotherapist

The other big question is whether to accept insurance. There are advantages and disadvantages of accepting it versus not accepting it. There is no right or wrong answer. It is just about what works best for you based on what you are most concerned about solving for in your practice. If you would like to make your services available to the broadest possible audience, accepting insurance will deliver that outcome for you. If you would like to minimize the amount of paperwork and administration that you are engaged in and minimize delays in when you receive payment, not accepting insurance will likely be your preferred path.

Helpful Tips for New Hypnotherapists:

Top tips for launching a successful hypnotherapy business, according to internationally renowned hypnotherapist Sheila Granger:

  • Focus on a niche as an example sleeplessness, weight loss, or smoking cessation.
  • Spend wisely on marketing and advertising, concentrating on places your potential clients will find you.
helpful tips for hypnotherapists
  • Offer to give talks and presentations to groups. Your community probably has many special interest groups, charities, local organizations and informal groups who would be happy to host your talk on the benefits of hypnotherapy.
  • Join a local business networking group.
  • Make sure all your marketing material – website, logo, business cards, brochures – present the same brand image so you are easily recognized.
  • Offer giveaways and discounts to charity raffles and local events.
  • Offer current clients a discount for referrals.
  • Make healthcare professionals in your community aware of your services. Hypnotherapy is a widely recognized addition to medical treatment.
  • Use customer feedback to promote your success stories and create press releases to publicize them.