Becoming a certified hypnotherapist is easier than you might think. Keep in mind though that it can depend on your preference for training and the country you are based in. In this article, I would like to provide you with a clear roadmap of steps to take on your journey to becoming a hypnotherapist.

Step 1: Understanding the Regulations

Find out about regulations regarding hypnosis in your country. In most countries, the title of hypnotist or hypnotherapist is an unprotected one. What does this mean?

First, let me differentiate between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist. Hypnotists are generally considered stage hypnotists, which is a totally different ballgame than therapeutic hypnosis. The title hypnotherapist refers to a person who uses hypnosis in a therapeutic setting. There are many variants in titles that people can use, and it depends on your country and background which one would be most appropriate for you to use.

Secondly, there are protected professions and unprotected professions. Protected professions are mostly regulated by law. This means that you must meet a set of criteria before you are eligible to practice under these titles. These criteria have to do with certification that is required and membership of certain organizations.

In some countries or states, for instance, you are only allowed to practice hypnosis if you have a license in medicine, dentistry, or psychology. If you would practice hypnosis in these countries without the proper certifications, that is considered illegal. Therefore, be sure to find this out before you sign up for a hypnosis training.

If you want to find out about the legal situation in your country, I recommend reading this blog that is fairly recent by Mark R Davis. He provides information on different countries around the globe as well as links to relevant websites where you can find even more specific information for your country.

Luckily, in most countries around the world, hypnosis is not a protected profession. On the one hand, this is great news because it basically means you can just call yourself a hypnotherapist and start working with clients. But of course, that is not a desirable course of action. Quality and integrity matter a lot, especially in the profession of hypnosis where we already have to deal with a lot of negative misconceptions that put hypnosis in a bad light.

Therefore, in most countries, the profession of hypnosis is self-regulated where professional organizations set standards for quality and ethics in the field. Affiliating yourself with one of these organizations brings credibility to you as a professional and this, in turn, creates trust for your future clients. Professional organizations differ per country. Here is a list of organizations in different parts of the world that you can use for a reference.

Step 2: Do the training with a reputable organization

Finding a professional organization in your country, or an international one, can help in your process of selecting a training. You want to look for a quality training. Quality trainings are usually associated with one or more professional organizations. They are also accredited by reputable organizations. Here are some tips for you to find a reputable training:

  • Online versus offline

When it comes to the theoretical part of hypnosis, online trainings can be a great choice. You can learn at your own pace without distraction. But it must be said that hypnosis is a practical profession. Practice is important. If you want to use the training to become a practicing hypnotherapist, I suggest you look for an offline course where you can actually practice with real people.

  • Direct versus indirect hypnosis

It is important for you to realize that there are two broad streams in the world of hypnosis: direct and indirect/conversational hypnosis. These are two very different approaches. It can help you narrow down your search by deciding which approach fits you better. Direct hypnosis is based on the principles of Dave Elman and uses fast and direct techniques. It is very goal-oriented and, therefore, usually it requires fewer sessions for a person to achieve change. Indirect hypnosis is based on the approach of Milton Erickson. It is more indirect because it uses a lot of metaphors that are tailored to the specific needs of each client and hypnosis is achieved in a gentler matter.

Some other things to look out for:

  • What is the accreditation of the course?
  • Check out the curriculum. Do they teach the things that you are interested in?
  • Find out about the reputation of the trainers.
  • Find out if the school offers ongoing support and mentorship after the training.
  • Contact former students and find out what they thought about the training. More importantly, find out if they were able to start their practice after taking the training.*
  • If possible, follow an introduction course or a webinar to get a feel for the teaching style.
Step 3: Completing Your Certification

After choosing a training program, the next step is to complete it and get certified. Certification adds credibility to your professional profile and builds trust with your future clients. It’s essential to stay committed and complete the training successfully.

Step 4: Practice ASAP

Hypnosis is really a profession that comes down to experience. The more you practice, the more experience you gain. Don’t wait too long before you start charging for your services. You invest time and energy into your customers, and there needs to be a reciprocating energy for this. You might wonder now; will I be capable enough? Don’t I need more experience?

No! When it comes to hypnosis, there is only so much to learn. It can be covered in a week’s time. Learning hypnosis is easy. The hardest part is trusting yourself and really starting to practice. The beauty of this profession is that you are not alone responsible for the outcome. The client needs to be committed.

So, the real thing you need to check before practicing: are you doing it for the right reason? Do you genuinely want to help someone? Can you bring compassion to them?

If the answer is yes, go for it. Of course, when starting out, make sure you begin with smaller issues like helping someone improve confidence or concentration or something like sport enhancement or behavioral changes.

Step 5: Practical Checklist

Get associated with a professional organization that can provide you with ethical and legal guidelines for your practice (this also adds to your credibility).

Here is a small to-do list that I went over before my first paid session:

  • Register with the chamber of commerce
  • Get company insurance
  • Register with a dispute committee
  • Open a bank account
  • Secure a location to hold my sessions

Of course, this list is not comprehensive of everything you need to arrange (also this might be very specific to the Netherlands), but it is really all I did before my first paid session. And as you go, more things will pop up on this list.

That was my small road map for you. Isn’t it easy to become a hypnotherapist? I want to add to this that for me it has been a fun journey. Of course with challenges on the way. But challenges are only uncomfortable in the moment. Afterwards they provide growth and learning to look back at with pride (in most cases). I wish you a meaningful journey.