National Hypnotherapy Society | How to Tell Others that you are…

So, you have decided to take the plunge and take on some hypnotherapy treatment to get on the path to changing your life for the better. Whether it’s to nullify a nasty habit, face down a phobia, or cultivate some confidence, you are ready for a positive change. However, you may need to communicate this to other people in your life. It could be a spouse, a friend, or your employer when you’re asking to take some personal time. For whatever reason it may be, it can be a challenge to bring up the subject. Not only because acknowledging that you need help with a problem can make you feel vulnerable, but also because hypnotherapy is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. Some members of the public may find it hard to separate the therapy from the stage magician, so bringing up the subject isn’t always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. Below we have some advice for anyone wondering how to start the conversation.

Be prepared for opinions

Everyone forms their own opinions about everything. Opinions are an instinctual survival technique wherein we take in the experiences of ourselves and others about something, and then form a judgement on whether or not it is a threat. We form opinions about what food is safe to eat, what authority figures to look up to or to avoid, and which friends can be relied upon. Hypnotherapy is a modality that many people can be for or against, depending on their knowledge and the opinions of others around them. Facts are the enemy of opinions, and people can feel threatened if their opinion is challenged. Therefore, when talking to others about hypnotherapy, it is wise to be prepared for opinions ranging from positive, to disbelieving, to outright fearful.

If you encounter a negative opinion, it is important to listen from a point of understanding and be prepared to have them disagree with you. It may be helpful to ask them more about their opinion, and how it was formed. Do they associate stage hypnotists with hypnotherapy? Have they seen inaccurate and negative portrayals of hypnosis in the media? Understanding the source of their concerns can be a helpful way for you both to understand their position, and if there would be any benefit to attempting to change it. Unfortunately, opinions cannot easily be changed if there is an emotional component to them, so it is worth making a judgement call on if it is beneficial for you both to explore the topic further and debunk any myths or to let the subject drop without causing tension to rise between you.

Learn about it yourself

If you are planning or need to talk to someone about the hypnotherapy that you are receiving, it is wise to approach the conversation from a position of knowledge. If you take the time to learn the basics of hypnotherapy, such as the common myths, the history, and some of the approaches, your confidence in the subject will shine through when discussing it with others. Think of the questions that first came to mind when you thought about hypnotherapy and ask your hypnotherapist about them. Having armed yourself with knowledge, when talking about your hypnotherapy treatment with loved ones you will be able to confidently explain the topic. If someone is doubtful of hypnotherapy, you need to be able to reassure them so that your information and opinion have more validity in their eyes. If you can’t easily answer their questions or give a reasonable explanation of what benefits you are getting from the therapy, then your lack of confidence can transfer to them resulting in doubt.

Find resources that can help

There are a great many resources to be found online that give all different kinds of information about hypnotherapy, aimed at different audiences. If you take a look through our previous blog posts, you may be able to find something that you can share with a loved one who wants to know more about hypnotherapy. For example, our March 2023 blog discusses the frequent worries that people have around hypnotherapy, such as what to expect and how safe hypnotherapy is. Our February 2023 blog talks about some of the different types of hypnotherapy and the different approaches that they have to help someone.

It is important to check the source and quality of any online information out there about hypnotherapy. There are people out there who can go overboard both positively and negatively about hypnotherapy and what it can do. You may stumble upon websites that claim hypnotherapy to be a miracle cure of all things, which is both unrealistic and damaging to the legitimate capabilities that hypnotherapy has. You may also find opinion pieces about a parent who is certain that their child has been hypnotised by a new boyfriend into not speaking to them anymore, and that therefore hypnotherapy is evil and dangerous. The internet is something of a wild west of information, be it factual or false, so it is important to source your information from somewhere trusted and reliable. Looking on websites such as the NHS guide to hypnotherapy or, well, our website, is a good way to have access to information supported by research and facts.

If someone feels strongly about hypnotherapy one way or another, you aren’t going to change their mind. However, if you take the above guidance, what is most important is that you know what you want and that the others in your life should be able to understand that you are taking steps to improve your quality of life. If you arm yourself and others with good-quality resources, evidence, and information, then you can allow people to make their own informed decisions about the journey you have undertaken and support you as best they can. Who knows, then they start seeing you grow, heal, and thrive, and they may see just how powerful hypnotherapy can be in front of their very eyes and want to try it for themselves.