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How much money can I make as a Hypnotherapist?
   One of the very first questions you want answered when thinking about the idea of becoming a professional hypnotherapist is the potential income. And, rightfully so. No one likes to work for nothing.

   There are two ways in which all therapists work, whether they be hypnotists, social workers or psychologists: work part-time or full-time. Those who have chosen to go into the latter are often consumed by what is called “burnout.” This is because they have no hobbies or distractions to offset their work. Let me give you an example. I was doing as many as six sessions a day during the early 1980s. I had reached a point where I was plain tired of seeing clients. What did I do? I took a course in massage therapy and within a couple of years, I was teaching it as well. You have no idea how relieved I felt.

   My suggestion? If you decide to become a hypnotherapist, enter the field on a part-time basis at first. In no time, you’ll know if you want to do it full-time. In either case, here are the numbers. You can work it out as you see fit: 

Part-time = 5 sessions per week. At an average charge of $90 per session that equates to about $450 a week.Full-time = 20 sessions per week with an income of $7,500 per month. To be honest, few therapists can sustain that number of clients per week, while giving them emotionally high-quality therapy. It is far too draining. 

   My suggestion is that you find a happy medium between full- and part-time. For me, teaching massage therapy one week and hypnotherapy sessions the next worked out well for me. I needed an outlet that had nothing to do with emotional problems.

How many sessions do clients need?
  Most people require somewhere between 4 to 8 sessions to alleviate or overcome unwanted habits and behaviors. While some people believe that it only takes one session to make their world perfect, it is up to you to teach them how the mind works in regards to making permanent changes. In reference to the above question, 20 sessions a week does not mean you’ll be working with 20 new clients. Half of them will be clients already on your schedule. 

Must I be certified and what about qualifications?
 At the current time, no State or organization requires that those doing hypnotherapy be licensed or certified.  It is a misnomer perpetuated by many who do not understand that the concept of hypnosis is a normal, everyday state of mind. That, according to legislators, is impossible to define. Therefore, it can’t be regulated.

   There are a number of hypnotism training schools who advertise that you will be “certified” upon completion of their training. Such certification is an in-house certificate or diploma and means nothing to your potential clients. In that vein, how often have you been impressed by your doctor, dentist or therapists’ school or class standing? As long as they don’t hurt you while administering aid and they have helped you, do you care?

Likewise, your scholastic education is of little value if you wish to be a hypnotherapist. In all my years of teaching hypnosis, I’ve been impressed more by one’s life experience than by how many letters they have after their name. The best therapist is that wise man or woman who shares a cup of coffee with you when you are “down in the dumps.” I’ve personally known many people who have a wealth of knowledge, yet never graduated from high school I had an uncle who only finished 8th Grade and, when he died 20 years ago, left an estate of $11 million; this, after going broke twice in his life! If you’ve learned from life, you can be a successful hypnotherapist. 

Where can I set up my office?
   This question is answered in detail in my training manual. You can set up your office anywhere you’d like. Many professional and lay therapists operate out of their own home. The great psychiatrist/hypnotist Dr. Milton H. Erickson, worked in his home in Phoenix for the last several years of his life. For many years, I did, too. I know of a few who share an office with other licensed or non-licensed therapists. Nearly everywhere you look, companies have unused classrooms and extra space available for minimal rent. A title company once allowed me to use a large room for $25 a day. And, I rented an office in a building owned by a bank, for $250 a month. That’s cheap! 

What is hypnosis?
   At the present time, no one can adequately define hypnosis. Perhaps the legendary psychiatrist/author Dr. Milton H. Erickson best described hypnosis as “a narrowing down of one’s field of vision to a fine point, to the exclusion of all other distractions.” It’s not unlike attempting to define electricity. All we can say is that it works. Why does it work as it does? Therein lays the mystery.
Perhaps, trance is a learning process between teacher and student. In a trance, one’s senses are greatly heightened and the subconscious mind becomes dissociated from the conscious. Though fully aware of one’s surroundings, a client’s only concern is the suggestions and ideas given by the hypnotist. No two people experience hypnosis the same way and, quite often, a client will not go into a trance the same way each time (s)he is hypnotized. In sum, it is a state of total mental and physical relaxation, to the exclusion of any distracting, external stimuli.

Does a person become unconscious, asleep, or fall into a zombie-like trance?
   One becomes much more alert and discriminatory when in the state of hypnosis, then when one is not. This is due mainly to the narrowing down of their field of vision. Even in the deepest state, a person is quite aware of his environment, and will accept or reject suggestions of his choosing. However, the subject is rarely concerned with his/her surroundings.

Will I reveal my innermost thoughts and secrets?
   Very few people speak while in a state of hypnosis, unless specifically asked to do so. Even then, due to the fact that the subject can still hear, think, and make decisions, one does not reveal any private secrets. The subconscious mind always protects the conscious from harm in any situation.

Can I be hypnotized against my will?
   This intimidating misconception has been perpetuated in dozens of movies and books. It cannot be done without the consent of the subject. A person must give permission before being hypnotized or it simply will not work. This prompts the question; if your client is defying you to hypnotize him, then why is he in your office in the first place? While it is a fact that one’s attention can be diverted to such an extent that they can go into a trance-like behavior, few hypnotists are clever enough to pull it off. Even in such a case, the subject is ‘going along’ with it.

Is it true that only adults can be hypnotized?
   Actually, most children between the ages of 8 and 18 are very good hypnotic subjects. They have not yet formed opinions about such things, nor have their minds become cluttered by misconceptions regarding hypnosis. They are usually very curious about the concept. Children under 8 do not need a formal technique, as they are in a trance most of the time. It isn’t until about the age of 8 or so, when concrete thinking begins to set in and they begin making value judgments.

Can a person be made to do an immoral or anti-social act while hypnotized?
   There has yet to be one recorded instance when anyone has been able to prove that hypnosis induced someone to do anything they would not normally do. However, if a person is inclined to commit an immoral, criminal or anti-social act, all a hypnotist can do is amplify that desire. A normal person’s conscience will override or reject any adverse suggestions. Remember, this idea comes straight out of a movie where an actor is placed into a trance upon hearing a special code-word, thereby making him commit a crime. It makes for great entertainment, but it is not realistic.

Are weak-minded people easier to hypnotize?
   To the contrary, the more intelligent a person is the easier they are to hypnotize. This is due to their ability to concentrate intently, plus their desire to always learn new things. People, who are mentally disabled, in a depressed state or suicidal, are already in a profound trance. In each case, it would be hard to hold their attention for the length of time necessary to hypnotize them. At the far end of the spectrum, if a subject is too intellectual, he may try to analyze everything the hypnotist says or does. This makes it more difficult for them to comfortably respond to suggestions. With such individuals, a different technique would be employed.

Do I have to be in a deep trance in order for the suggestions to be effective?
   This was once thought to be the case. Research has found that even in a light to medium trance state, suggestions for improvement can be highly effective. Often, a client will say, “I don’t think I was hypnotized because I heard everything you said.” This is a true statement. If their mind was not able to hear the suggestions, then it would have been a waste of their time and money.
Even in the very deepest state, a subject may deny being hypnotized. Yet, they find themselves responding to the suggestions, post-hypnotically. It is frequently a waste of energy trying to achieve the deeper levels of hypnosis. These states are generally reserved for conducting age-regression or when preparing a patient for surgery.

Can a person get stuck in hypnosis?
   If a subject is left alone, after being inducted into hypnosis, only one of two things will happen. Should the hypnotist become incapacitated in some way, the subject will either drift off into a natural state of sleep and awaken when his body has fully rested, or he will spontaneously rouse up. Both conditions occur because the rapport which developed between hypnotist and subject was broken. Since the state of hypnosis is created by words, there can be no trance without the sound of the hypnotist’s voice to keep it going.

How can hypnosis help in daily life?
   Hypnosis is a normal state. Suggestions can be offered to help overcome a poor self-image and daily performances can be greatly enhanced. Hypnotherapy can dramatically alter or eliminate unwanted habits and behaviors; stress and tension can be reduced; athletic ability increased; chronic pain reduced, fears and phobias erased; menstrual cramps eased; impotence, frigidity and other sexual dysfunctions can be quickly alleviated. This is only the tip of the iceberg as to the myriad of actions which can be improved, eliminated or modified.

What are the conscious and the subconscious?
   Researchers estimate that the conscious mind (generally the left half of the brain) consists of approximately 12% of one’s mind. The rest is called subconscious or, to some, the unconscious. It is further postulated that of that 12%, many people use only half. So, in reality, over 90% of the brain is operating under its own power, so to speak.
   Stored away in the subconscious are the emotions, creativity, imagination, in addition to one’s deeply ingrained habits and behaviors. One’s feelings of love, hate, envy, anger and other emotions live in the subconscious realm.
The right brain is similar to a video recorder, copying everything we see, hear, feel, smell, taste, think and act upon. This is where our long-term memory exists. It also listens to our self-talk, building us up or tearing us down, according to the words we use. The conscious mind helps to reason things out, enables us to speak by putting our thoughts into words and it makes important, life-saving decisions. It also contains the short-term memory which is limited to about 1½ hours.

Are there any religions that disagree with the use and practice of hypnosis?
   Nearly every religion accepts the use of hypnosis as an adjunct to conventional therapeutic techniques. Few have any problems, ethically, with its use as a method of alleviating traumas of the past or overcoming undesirable habits. There are only a handful of religious sects that warn their members not to be involved in the practice or use of hypnosis. These include: the Christian Scientists; a few branches of the Baptist church; and the Church of Scientology.
   Just as a car, knife, gold or a psychological exam can be used for good or evil, depending in whose hands they rest, so it is with hypnosis. While it is extremely difficult for anyone to misuse hypnosis for personal benefit, some investigators have been warned by overly-religious family members that they are delving into a satanic world of evil. The logical reply should be, “If all good things come of God and hypnosis can only be used to improve a person’s life, then how can it be Satanic in nature?” Since it is used primarily for helping understand and then modify one’s behavior, what can be objectionable about that? If helping others is bad, than what is good? Is it good to make anyone suffer until they hopefully find a more acceptable solution? Is that being kind to those we love?

Will a person submit to sexual seduction while in hypnosis?
   There have been many cases in the past 100 years or so, whereby a person has tried to convince a court that they were forced to do something sexually while hypnotized. In only a few cases, in the latter part of the 19th century, were clients able to convince a jury that this was possible. Such convictions were due primarily to legal ignorance of what hypnosis is. That was during a time when it was widely believed that a person was unconscious or asleep when in trance.
   Since those days, the legal system has come to understand the limitations of hypnosis, and has rejected all such suits. The law now suggests that if a person submits to any sexual advances by a hypnotist, then (s)he must be a willing participant. No one is unaware of one’s surroundings while in a hypnotic trance. And, certainly, not unaware that someone is touching them improperly. This would be the same as saying that one is able to sleep through a sexual assault in the middle of the night.

Can one become emotionally unstable as a result of being inducted into a trance?
   Occasionally, an unstable client may experience crying, hallucinations, amnesia and fugue-like states. These may be so fleeting in nature that they evade the attention of the hypnotist or even the client. Countering the idea that hypnosis may be harmful to some people is Dr. Ernest Hilgard, one of the nation’s foremost researchers on hypnotic phenomena at Stanford University. He wrote the following,
Out of every 1,000 inductions, only about 4 or 5 people endured some curious disruption or emotion…these adverse reactions to trance induction or after hypnosis were so rare that the experimenters had no evidence that experiments with hypnosis entail any more dangers than a variety of behavioral studies in the field of psychology. Noted psychiatrist Lewis R. Wolberg also states, More disturbing is the fact that from time to time, ominous admonitions about hypnosis are issued by a few respected members of the medical (and helping) professions. If a person lives on the edge of psychosis, he would presumably be influenced just as easily by an off-the-cuff remark or by watching a television show or a movie.

Will a subject become dependent upon hypnosis or the hypnotist, similar to a drug?
   This assumption is absolutely false. There is nothing about hypnosis itself that exaggerates inherent dependency, nor creates it where it never existed. The real problem is not developing an addiction to it, but in getting a client to practice self-hypnosis regularly. No matter how much they are encouraged, most clients will give up their daily or weekly practice sessions as they begin to feel better about themselves. A person becomes no more dependent on the hypnotist than (s)he will on their family doctor or minister.