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I’d love to get some feedback from you on this one. After years of calling myself a “Hypnotherapist” I am considering changing the title I use to “Consulting Hypnotist.” I have my concerns of course, but I think that there are enough good reasons to change over to the new title to get me to do it. In fact it may be the best thing I can do for the vast majority of my clients. I am beginning to think that calling myself a hypnotherapist, and suggesting that they need my services suggests that there is something wrong with them, that they are actually ill, when they are not.
First my concern; I wonder how it would affect business if I dropped the title of hypnotherapist? Would potential clients perceive the same value in going to a “Consulting Hypnotist”, as they would in seeing a “Hypnotherapist”? I wonder would students attend my school if I offered certifications in hypnotism, and graduation from my certification courses resulted in becoming a Consulting Hypnotist? It really is about perceptions, isn’t it? And of course, perceptions determine behavior. And, my potential clients’ and students’ behavior, choosing my Center, or not, determines the success of my practice and school (meaning my business). This is a significant concern. I like being successful and living well.
Where did I get this idea of changing the title that I hold out to the public? It was a couple of years ago, maybe three, when I was at the National Guild of Hypnotists convention. During the keynote address by Dr. Dwight Damon, the president of the NGH, where he announced the idea and encouraged everyone to consider the name change. I immediately had mixed feelings. Why would he come up with such an idea? Here’s the problem, there are powers out there that would love to put an end to hypnotists doing their work. And, as a result of their efforts, some states now regulate the terms “therapist” and/or “therapy.” Other states are now considering the same kind of regulation. So, it makes sense that the leadership of National Guild of Hypnotists would want to promote a title for its members that all of its members could use. It would also make it less complicated as they work to keep hypnotists able to practice in all 50 states.
Perhaps selfishly, I thought because of the liberal environment where I practice (it is perfectly legal for me to use the terms “hypnotherapist” and “hypnotherapy” in California) it would be best for me to continue to stick with the old way. I was at the time conflicted as to what to do, so I stuck with the old title. I thought it was probably a good idea for those who had to change their titles to do so, but I was resistant.
Then it hit me today, really, the title “Consulting Hypnotist” is a better way to go, and here’s why. In my practice as a 5-PATH(R) hypnotist, and a 7th Path Self-Hypnosis(R) teacher, I have always taken the stand that there is nothing wrong with my clients. The majority of the clients I worked, with… Wait a minute! Let me restate that. Really, the majority of the clients that my whole staff, and all of my graduates worked with, were simply normal every day people with normal everyday problems. Sure, from time to time we worked with clients who had bonafide medically or psychologically diagnosed illnesses, which were referred to us by professionals in psychology or medicine, but mostly it was not the case.
So then, as I think about it more critically, and rationally, I see that if one is not ill, then that individual does not need therapy! Therapy is for making the ill or injured healthy and or whole. What most people need is a good hypnotist, which he or she can consult with, who can work with them using his or her hypnotic training, skills, and help them overcome normal issues in life, like bad habits. We, as professional hypnotists, can even go beyond that and help you to achieve more in life by providing motivation, and so on. The more I think about this, the more using the title of Consulting Hypnotist makes sense to me.
With this in mind, I think that we should seriously consider the name change, and then make a great effort to rewrite the terminology that we use in our profession and remove the word “therapy” from it. Here are some examples that I would like to propose.
The NGH has already suggested that its members stop using medical and psychological terms in their literature and when they speak to their clients. See the National Guild of Hypnotists Code of Ethics and Recommended Standards of Practice.
Does this mean that hypnotists would no longer do therapy? I say that if someone is trained to do therapy, and if he or she is licensed to do therapy, or working under a referral from someone who is able to diagnose, then of course, a hypnotherapist can do therapy, where it is legal to do so. And, he or she can call it that. For example, if a psychologist or doctor referred his or her client or patient to me, to do “hypnotherapy” on for a “phobia” (or other diagnosed illness) then I would certainly do so. If a professional who is licensed to make such diagnosis and referral applies that label, and asks me to do therapy, then I will. In fact I will call it therapy, and I will call the problem a phobia (or other diagnostic label), because it is according to the patient’s or client’s doctor or psychologist.
In all other cases, I shall shun the terms “hypnotherapy” and “therapy”. I think I will change my title. I shall be a Professional Consulting Hypnotist! And, I shall do the work of hypnosis or hypnotism, whatever you want to call it.
So, what do you think about that? Do you think I will lose clients? What do you think I should do about my school, should I leave it up to my grads as to what they call themselves? What shall I put on their certificates, hypnotist or hypnotherapist?
I believe by making the change I will do what is best for me, my clients and the profession as a whole. I believe my practice and school will still thrive!