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Dealing with “Chatty” Clients – And, Not Doing Counseling

Posted Under: Hypnosis Blog

I’ve been watching a discussion on one of the Discussion groups on Yahoo Groups. They are talking about how much talk should go on between hypnotherapists and their clients. Generally hypnotherapists do not do talk therapy or counseling, and relay on the hypnotic techniques that they use to help their clients succeed. I was asked by one of my course graduates to comment on this for the group. I decided to pass what I wrote along to you folks as well. By they way you can join one of hypnosis related discussion groups. My contribution to the group is below.

How much one needs to talk to their clients to build trust, and determine what is going to be done in the therapy process can vary quite a bit depending on the kind of hypnosis the hypnotist does. For example, if you exclusively do direct suggestion hypnosis where the therapy is limited to ready scripts, or creating custom scripts or playing recorded sessions through headphones then you would do less talking. Mainly you would do an intake to find out what behaviors need to be changed, then do a pre-talk to improve your client’s ability to become hypnotized, which would including answering questions about hypnosis. Of course, this is not “therapy” but rather discussion about hypnosis.

But, if you have a greater range of therapeutic techniques at your disposal you may want to talk more with your client so that you can determine which techniques you would use. For example, a hypnotherapist may need to determine whether or not, based on her experience and training whether or not age regression or parts therapy should be used to help the client, or if direct suggestion or EFT would suffice.

On the other hand, if you use a systematic approach like 5-PATH™ then you will tend to do less talking with your clients, and as a result better avoid doing “talk therapy,” “counseling” or “psychotherapy” with your clients. Limiting the talk time makes your sessions more efficient if you can do without it. The “5-PATHer” is able to have the best of both worlds. That is she can spend the minimum amount of time just talking, and focus her attention on doing the hypnotherapy. Even though you, as a 5-PATHer has a wide variety of techniques at your disposal including, direct suggestion, covert testing and convincing, age regression, informed child technique, forgiveness therapy, and parts therapy, you do not need to spend much of your pre-hypnosis interview time talking with the client because you are already confident that you will be successful in helping your clients by using the system that 5-PATH™ is, which enables one to use these powerful techniques in an optimized and effective way.

So having said all of that, let me say that when I get a client who wants to talk too much, I’ll say something like, “For right now, at this stage of the process what I need is a “thumbnail sketch” of the problem. For now, all I need to know about is when you first became aware of the problem and what you have done about it since that time. Also, if you could tell me what has worked in addressing this issue and what has not; that can be useful too. Right now we just need an overview, the 5 minute version, and then I’ll have an idea of where we should go from there.” This lets my client know that she will get a chance to talk about the problem later, and she will likely become willing to stick to the minimum of chatting about the problem from that point on. I think that some version of this will work no matter what approach you use.

However, if my client starts getting too chatty once again, I can just remind her “for right now, all we really need is the short version; we will get into more detail later on.” Not that this works for me because I use 5-PATH™ and when we get into the age regression and parts therapy work, the client does get lots of time to talk about the history of the problem. So I am not misleading them, but rather taking control of the therapy process so that I can be most effective and efficient.

I would submit that we need to communicate with our clients in a way that we would like to be treated if we were in their situation. Just because we are not doing “talk therapy” doesn’t mean that we don’t talk to our clients. Rather, the hypnotherapists does not think about this time as a time in which she is doing therapy, but rather getting just enough of a history of the problem in order to determine how the hypnotherapy will be conducted, and also as a time when trust and rapport are built so that the hypnotherapy can proceed effectively.

I hope that helps out. If you are new to the concept of working with clients in a systematic way, I recommend that you learn about 5-PATH™ by going to And, by the way, you may also like to know that I am going to be teaching again at the NGH convention this year. I hope you will consider attending my Advanced Hypnotherapy Course, the Week of Power and get your certification in 5-PATH™ and 7th Path Self-Hypnosis® while you are at the convention. Learn more about it at

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