Hypnotherapy as a Career?© by Roxanne Louise

Initial Training Required, Personal Attributes Required, Applications of Hypnosis, Professional Training Programs, Professional Organizations, Licensing and Laws, Income in Hypnosis

 "The article below was written some years ago. Most information has stayed the same. But income that can be expected in the hypnosis profession changes with the times, the region where hypnosis is being practiced, and the specialty. For an update on licensing and laws, refer to Dr. Scott Giles at the National Guild of Hypnotists. See http://ngh.net. "

Do you want to empower others and really make a difference in their lives? Would you like to learn something that can only make your current personal and professional life better while it builds from a part-time to full-time income? Are you looking for secondary income or are you looking for a fascinating, satisfying, lucrative occupation to replace your current job? Hypnosis as a career offers tremendous

  • Freedom,
  • Personal satisfaction and
  • Money.

Today many people are concerned about the uncertainties in the corporate climate. Buyouts, layoffs, corporate transfers, recession all make the average man aware that he probably will change jobs and even occupations several times in his working life. Inflation, tax increases, and problems with the Social Security system also create worries about being able to maintain an enjoyable life style after retirement. People are looking for back-up support, and especially for self-employment opportunities now more than ever. Self-employment offers the freedom to set your own schedule, allowing you to work from home or have an outside office. Work where you want, when you want, with the people you want. Be your own boss, set your own wages, and target the area of expertise that interests you most. Hypnosis because of its incredible personal satisfaction, relatively short basic training, high hourly income, and vast applications and adaptability to any background and life style, is of interest to many.

Hypnosis training can help you to:

  • powerfully direct and heal your own life,
  • improve your position and functioning in your current career,
  • set up and conduct group seminars and training programs, and
  • establish a private practice.

Initial Training Required

Rather than require any particular prior educational background, hypnosis builds on the education and life experience the individual has already acquired. The initial training to get started is about 100 classroom hours plus up to 200 additional hours for outside study and casework supervision. Classes are geared to working people and are held typically on weekends, sometimes evenings, or an intensive two weeks or more. From there the graduate will start reading and take further training as time and interest dictates.

Personal Attributes Required

People considering hypnosis as a career need to have or develop a

  • positive attitude.,
  • open and inquisitive mind,
  • possibility thinking.
  • creative problem solving abilities,
  • strong people skills,
  • good listening and communication skills,
  • flexibility,
  • intelligence and the ability to think on their feet,
  • common sense,
  • sincerity,
  • integrity and ethical conduct.

Hypnosis professionals must not think of their clients as victims of their luck, circumstances, and experiences. Rather hypnotists need to understand how the mind creates reality and how it can be positively directed. Change the mind and you change the life.

Hypnotists need to be positive, open to possibilities, options, and new ideas. They need to be flexible and creative problem solvers. They need to like people in general and to have a sincere desire to help those that come to them. As clients are especially influenced by the attitudes of the therapist while in hypnosis, hypnotists need to firmly believe that the client can solve his problem and achieve his goal. Hypnotists need to believe in the essential worth of their client and help to bring it out. They need to help a client see their own strengths and options, and to build on the positives and the possible. Hypnotists help a client become unstuck by shifting perspective from viewing something as an insurmountable problem to a positive growth experience.

Hypnotists teach clients the art of positive dreaming, how to set realistic goals that motivate, how to establish a do-able plan of action, and how to monitor that plan regularly. Hypnotists need to believe in and uncover the innate wisdom of the client himself to heal and direct his own life.

Finally, because teaching is always best by example, hypnotherapists and indeed anyone involved in the helping professions must be committed to their own personal growth, development of their potential, and healing their own unresolved issues and denied needs of the shadow self. What is unhealed in the therapist tends to be projected onto the clients as a mirror.

Applications of Hypnosis

Hypnosis can be used in widely divergent. How a graduate functions in the field, the types of clients he sees, the kind and depth of therapy administered, depends on his other prior or additional training, skills, and interests. Successful professional hypnotists have come from every walk of life and educational background.

Those without any prior training in counseling, therapy or psychology establish a general practice dealing with self-improvement: enhancing self-esteem, creativity, sales, career, education, performance skills and goals, reducing stress, eliminating phobias, managing fear such as fear of flying or public speaking, eliminating negative habits such as smoking, overeating, nail biting or bedwetting, instilling positive habits, setting and establishing goals, attracting relationships or other desired experiences, reducing or eliminating pain, preparing for childbirth, and enhancing health. Some work one-on-one in a private practice, and others enjoy leading group seminars, corporate or professional training programs. Some enjoy the fun and very lucrative work of conducting hypnosis stage shows at colleges, cruise ships or resort hotels.

Those with further training and those who already possess therapy skills use hypnosis to locate and heal the source of problems quickly and yet very effectively. Problems after all are not in the conscious mind, which can be reached through ordinary talk therapies. How many times does a person know all the reasons not to do something, but feels compelled to do it nonetheless? Entrenched problems are rooted in the unconscious mind, which is the province of hypnosis. Even diseases and physical ailments have a psychological component that can be dislodged through hypnosis. Hypnosis aims to locate the first event that created the problem and deal with it with a multiple number of techniques. Once the problem is removed, emotions healed, and the attitude shifted in a positive direction, the mind is filled with positive programming that allows the person to quickly move ahead. Things that used to bother the person don't bother him nearly as much. While remembered, previously painful events no longer stop him from rebuilding his life and enjoying what there is to enjoy now. Mistakes are viewed as valuable learning experiences leading to greater future success.

Those with medical training such as paramedics, dental and medical assistants, nurses, dentists and doctors use hypnosis on-the-job to ease pain and therefore prevent shock, to speed up healing, to stop bleeding, to shorten labor, to lessen medication needs, scarring and complications. Hypnosis can be used in place of anesthesia for operations. This is a lifesaver as some people are allergic or otherwise at high risk with anesthesia. Babies are also at risk from drugs given to the mother. Chances of fetal anoxia (brain damage caused from low oxygen supply) are reduced if anesthesia is limited or eliminated during delivery.

Hypnosis is a vital part of Mind-Body Healing. Anything that reduces stress frees up energy for the body to heal. Progressive Relaxation done at the conclusion of yoga classes or stress management seminars is a form of hypnosis. Guided Visualizations, which are so powerful in healing the body, solving problems, or achieving any goal, are also a form of hypnosis. However, hypnotists most powerfully assist in the healing process through methods to locate and heal those events in the client's life that are most upsetting. With some methods such as Age Regression or Past Life Therapy the client may relive the past either from a distance as on a movie screen, or personally as if they are happening again. Some methods such as Gestalt Dialog, Parts Therapy, Inner Child Work, or Archetypal Hypnotherapy are metaphorical. Other methods such as Time Line Therapy or Change Decision can locate and heal the problem without the conscious awareness of the client. This is gain without pain, and the way I prefer to work.

Hypnosis is used in the successful treatment of catastrophic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. It has brought about cures and saved lives that traditional medical thinking considered hopeless. Hypnosis educates medical personnel on the powerful effect professional authority has upon the patient's belief system and subconscious mind, and the importance of exercising this authority. As Drs. Deepak Chopra and Bernie Siegel have pointed out, more people die from the diagnosis, the way that diagnosis is delivered, and the attitude, beliefs and expectations of the physician, than from the disease itself. Proper training of the medical staff in even an introductory course in hypnosis can prevent these needless deaths. Unfortunately, although hypnosis is recognized by both the American and the British Medical Association and recommended as part of the medical curriculum, it is not taught in all medical schools, and then is only offered as an elective with hours less than that recommended by most professional hypnosis organizations.

Non-medical personnel can work in hypnotic childbirth and pain management by getting a medical clearance on the client first. Medical clearance is important because while pain can be caused by stress it can also be a symptom that requires medical attention. For example, that headache could be from stress at your job but it could also be caused by a tumor. Hypnoanesthesia (hypnosis for pain management) and Hypnobirthing (hypnosis for childbirth) are fields that require an additional weekend or two of classroom training of beyond the basic hypnosis program.

Those involved in teaching, training and coaching find hypnosis a powerful help in the learning and performance process. Classroom teachers use it to help students quickly internalize information, to calm down before examinations, and to better focus on tasks. Coaches use it to boost performance. Hypnosis used in sports is traditionally called "sports psychology."

Hypnosis can be used to develop artistic ability as well as to enhance the skill and performance of speakers, musicians, actors, athletes, salesmen, soldiers, and indeed all jobs. Indeed, since the true definition of hypnosis is "peak concentration," performers and athletes are utilizing hypnosis all the time. Hypnosis helps performers and others reach that place of focus, concentration, and flow quickly and dependably. Hypnosis can cut through writer's block. Inventors, executives and managers use it to generate ideas and solve problems. Edison regularly used self-hypnosis. Even without being intimately knowledgeable with a specific talent or skill, hypnotists are able to assist others in the performance of that talent or skill.

Police officers use hypnosis to elicit further details from witnesses or criminal suspects. Cases have been solved as hypnotized witnesses better described their assailant or gave the license plate number of the get away vehicle. This field is called forensic hypnosis and requires additional hypnosis training after the basic program. Each state and sometimes counties have their own protocols on how hypnotically obtained material can be introduced as evidence in a trial. Guidelines are very strict regarding the hypnotizing of witnesses and the introduction of either the testimony given consciously by previously hypnotically refreshed witnesses, or of their testimony obtained while in the hypnotic state.

Hypnosis training can be applied to teaching self-improvement courses such as stop smoking, weight loss, stress management, goal setting and success principles, and more. Many corporations as well as colleges and adult schools offer them. If you are currently involved in personnel or management, hypnosis training can effectively add to your current training programs.

Professional Training Programs

In shopping for hypnosis training, we suggest that you look for a program that offers a minimum of 8 to 10 full days for a total of 100 classroom hours--the time recommended by most hypnosis organizations as necessary. Additional time will be needed for outside reading, homework, and case studies. After completion of that, the student would have the skills to begin a practice. However to master the subject of hypnosis, further reading and continuing education needs to become a regular habit. Hypnosis is multifaceted. It is good if your teacher is willing to assist you with the inevitable questions that come up after graduation as you work with clients. It is even better if the hypnosis school offers casework supervision.

An introductory weekend course is a good way to find out if a perspective student wants to go on to a full program in hypnosis. However, a weekend course is no longer accepted by most hypnosis organizations to become a recognized member nor allows you to function as a hypnotherapist.

Choose a school that provides lots of time to practice whatever techniques are demonstrated. Practice internalizes the information and integrates it in a way that is yours for a lifetime. Without this graduates end up doing nothing. Practice is crucial--the chance to do it again and again. It takes time to be familiar with a wide variety of common problems and techniques for solving them. Each client is unique and must be addressed as such. By having a variety of tools, the hypnosis professional can shift from one to another until he finds the one that does the job. Any given problem, overweight especially, can come from a very different root cause. You need to know how to find the underlying need that a negative behavior serves, use the subconscious to constructively deal with that need, and get the inner mind to agree to switch.

Finally, we suggest that you pick a training program that helps you to grow personally as well. While every hypnotherapist needs to know how to handle a wide variety of problems, it is advisable if he eventually develops an expertise.

Hypnosis is rarely taught in colleges or graduate schools of any kind. Usually, hypnosis is taught by private schools of hypnotherapy, individuals in private practice, and national hypnosis organizations. Even the Association of Clinical Hypnosis, an organization that requires that members be a physician, dentist, chiropractor, or psychologist, only offers a 4 day course--wholly inadequate by the standards of most hypnosis societies.

For many years, Roxanne Louise taught a professional training program approved by the American Board of Hypnotherapy, and the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association. For information on her program, see Hypnosis Classes. 

Professional Organizations

There is no overall professional hypnosis society that recognizes and certifies hypnosis professionals. Rather there are at least a couple dozen organizations in existence nationally, most of which are private businesses. See the section of Hypnosis Organizations for a list of the largest or best known ones. Most hypnosis organizations have annual conventions with additional training open to members and non-members alike. Hypnotherapists individually need to seek out and affiliate with at least one or two professional societies that offer the most to him. Membership lends credibility as a professional. It enables the hypnotist to pursue valuable ongoing education and networking, and to build and protect the profession itself.

Licensing and Laws

There is currently no national certification body for hypnosis that is legally recognized. There is also no state licensing for hypnosis as a separate career. Various hypnosis organizations especially those in COPHO (the Council of Professional Hypnosis Organizations) are actively working to write the laws and get legal recognition in some areas. Licensing is done on a state by state basis. Washington state has registration for hypnotherapists. Unfortunately, the use of hypnosis is restricted to psychologists and medically licensed personnel in a few states. Expect licensing or registration to occur sometime in the future.

Periodically there are turf wars over the rights of various professionals to exist. Hypnotherapists in the past have had to battle for their right to exist with physicians. Since the mid-nineties, psychologists who themselves only won out the battle with physicians in the past twenty or thirty years, have in several states have tried to make hypnosis the sole province of Ph.D. licensed psychologists, physicians, dentists and chiropractors. This is actively being fought by hypnotherapists, but unfortunately, the psychologists were able to appropriate the use of hypnosis to themselves in a few states.

Many of the hypnosis groups have banded together in an organization called COPHO. Some hypnotherapists have joined the AFL-CIO, and are using union model legislation to push to obtain registration on a state by state basis, and thereby pave the way for 3rd party insurance payments. Washington has registration, and Florida has some restrictions.

In New Jersey in a deal worked out between hypnotherapists and the Board of Psychological Examiners, psychologists gave up their attempt to pre-empt hypnosis for themselves. However, they claimed that they alone besides physicians and a few other licensed mental health professionals can work with phobias, and labeled mental health problems including ongoing depression. Pain management requires a medical approval before proceeding. However, hypnotherapists (called hypnocounselors by NJ Psychologists) can work with psychological disorders if the hypnotist is part of a treatment team including themselves or if the client is referred to the hypnotist by a psychologist or physician. See NJAC: 13:42

For up-to-date information on regulations on hypnosis in your state, contact one of the large Hypnosis Organizations that are part of COPHO for example, the National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Hypnotherapy, or the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association.

OUTDATED FEES but rest is still useful -- Income in Hypnosis - survey done 2005?

To get a better idea about fee schedules, we conducted a sample survey more than 10 years ago among our colleagues in the US and Canada. You will now have to do a sampling in your own specialty and area to be current.
At that time, we found that in the USA, hypnotherapists charged between $40 - $200. Most people then as now worked in a time frame of one hour to an hour and a half, but some worked in two-hour blocks, especially for regression work. Some charged by the hour and others by the session. For example, one person may charge $200, but it is for a 2-hour session. Another person may charge $185/hour but see you for 2 hours, and charge you $370. Another may charge you $90 but is for a session that lasts for an hour and a half.

Fees may not reflect the quality of the therapist but more the location and the pockets of the clientele.

We found outstanding therapists in many areas charging less than beginners in southern California, for example. I know of experienced hypnotherapists in New Jersey charging $50, $65, or $75/hour or $90 per session of about an hour and a half or even two hours. I know of other highly skilled hypnotherapists in Virginia and Florida charging $70-75/hour, while others in southern California or the San Francisco area charging upwards of $200/hour. I know of someone in NYC charging $250/session.

Fees are sometimes on a sliding scale according to the client's income. Some therapists have lower rates for children or students.

A hypnosis trainer in southern California recommends that her graduates begin charging $100/ hour. I recommend that my graduates in NJ start with $50/hour. A therapist in Cincinatti, Ohio told me that some beginners there start out charging $50/hour and work up. Brand new graduates in metropolitan Minnesota may start off with $30-50/hour for straight suggestion work, and $60-100 for regression that takes longer. In Houston, one therapist thought that $75/session was reasonable for beginners to charge, but experienced hypnotherapists there get between $45-$200.

Fees are also dictated by the training, reputation and expertise of the hypnotist.

Average fee schedules are also difficult to obtain because of the wide variety of ways that hypnosis graduates function. For a start, some use their training in conjunction with their regular job, i.e., counseling, nursing, pastoral care, personnel work, corporate seminars. They use all the principles of hypnosis and suggestive therapy in what we call "open eye trance work", but never call it hypnosis. Some may even have the clients close their eyes, but call it "visualization", "relaxation response", or some other name. Their fees are determined by their other job title, and not outside of their salaried job description. If the client/patient is charged, it is done by the hospital, clinic, or company, and charged for "counseling", "coaching", "consultation", or "private therapy".

Some hypnotherapists are already well financially compensated in other ways, do hypnosis only part-time, consider it more as a hobby, and think of any income from clients to be loose change. They may have taken just the minimum education, do only straight suggestive therapy, and even work only from scripts written by others. Others may be highly trained but consider their work part of public service to a select population, i.e., cancer or AIDS patients. They may accept donations, turn donations over to a charity of their choice, or set fees that are on the lowest end of the scale.

Whereas full-time hypnotherapists tend to go onto further education, affiliate with professional organizations, develop expertise in specific areas over time, and pursue what they do as a business. Specialty training, additional certifications, educational degrees, and expertise, all justify higher fees. Because hypnosis is how they support themselves, they demand appropriate compensation for their skills and training.

While some full-timers continue to just do straight suggestive work, others are involved in techniques such as age regression to root out the causes for problems, and may employ a wide variety of creative problem solving techniques. Such work is much more time consuming, takes a lot more energy and training to do, and is therefore, more costly, in general. Hypnosis in this way is a fine art tailored precisely to the individual. Instead of scripts, the hypnotherapist, ala Milton Erickson, creates the therapy and the techniques on the spot out of everything that the client is presenting. Such therapists tend to be on the higher end of the middle to the high side of the scale in their area of the country.

Those who work in age regression or past life regression usually charge more because that type of work requires longer sessions. Some charge by the session, and others just multiply their hourly rate.

Those in private practice in rural or poorer communities are on the low end of the scale. So are those who live in towns where the population is unaware of the real benefits of hypnosis. Therapists in those areas need to do a lot of public speaking to educate the general public. Perceived value generates higher fees. This may explain why hypnotherapists in affluent and "hip" southern California charge more in general than those elsewhere in the country.

Highly visible corporate trainers or prominent hypnosis trainers in large metropolitan areas charge the most. This is because of the law of supply and demand, the pockets of the clients, and therefore, the price that the market will bear. For example, one highly visible trainer in California who has been featured repeatedly on television, boasts of charging his private clients $1000 an hour.

Packages: Some hypnotists that have set programs such as smoking or programs that require follow-up like weight loss may sell a package that depends upon their estimate of how much time will be required. Such packages may include tools, i.e., reading material or tapes, and sometimes a guarantee of returning for additional sessions at no further charge within a set time frame. For example, one hypnotist in Texas charges $200 for a stop smoking session, but allows the person to return for additional help free of charge within a one-year time.

When I see someone to stop smoking, I see them initially for two hours, and I expect them to quit after that initial session. But I see them again two days later for an hour to teach them self-hypnosis and other tools. I see them a final third time one week after the first appointment, and take just a half-hour to check on their progress and how they are following the program. I have a package fee for this which includes a tape and handouts, but which is less than if calculated separately.

Group sessions, i.e., for smoking, are a way to make a huge profit. Usual fees for 2-3 hour hotel group stop smoking or weight loss seminars range between $35-50 per person. The attendance may be 50-100 people or more. However, the overhead for hotel fees and advertising is very high, and the competition for group stop smoking/ weight loss seminars is sometimes fierce. My colleagues that do a lot of this work take out a 4" X 4" ad in the daily papers, submit it on 3 different days to advertise multiple locations. This can run thousands of dollars. However, some people do such seminars as a fund-raiser for the PTA or police benevolence leagues. The organization pays the advertising (usually in-house), provides the space, and the hypnotist and organization split the take 50/50. Others may do a smaller group of 10-15 people in their office, and advertise it in the very cost effective Penny Savers, which is a weekly advertising magazine sold in many supermarkets.

Stage hypnosis is well compensated. One stage hypnosis trainer, suggests that his graduates start out charging $500 per show of 60-90 minutes, and work up to $2000 or more.

Book and product sales are an additional way to make money. The average retail price for hypnosis tapes is between $10-15. Reproduction costs for tapes can range from $.50 to $2/tape depending on quantity, box, label, etc. Most books can be purchased at 30-40% off plus shipping. Almost all seminars will have product sales in the back of the room or at the registration desk. This may involve the additional expense of hiring an assistant to handle, but is sometimes done by a spouse, friend, or the presenter himself. Many private therapists also make and sell their own generic tapes, i.e. stress management, reinforcement tapes for smoking cessation, or weight management. However, tapes of the session itself are included as part of the session fee. Some therapists may purchase other people's books and tapes at wholesale and sell them to their clients at retail.

Financial success as a self-employed hypnotist depends upon developing a steady stream of referrals through client satisfaction and networking with other professionals. It requires a lot more than being competent at inducing trance, giving great suggestions, or even doing marvelous transformational work. It requires good business management and administrative skills, bookkeeping, secretarial work, sales, marketing, good business sense, and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make the business successful. Those that make a lot of money continually apply themselves. They constantly monitor what is going on and work on improving not only their effectiveness with their client, but also on improving any client tools, products, handouts, brochures, advertising, public image, and visibility. They continuously promote themselves. They regularly generate new markets, and expand their skills and expertise. And most importantly, they also handle their own self-esteem and money issues. Those who don't do all of these things may only do hypnosis part-time, they don't stay in the field at all, they stay but complain, or they consider it a ministry. The truth is that a lot of money can be made in hypnosis.

The only accurate way to find out about what you can reasonably charge after graduation is to survey hypnotherapists in your area. Charge somewhat less than seasoned therapists with the same training, but not tremendously less. If you study with a local instructor, he or she should be able to recommend an initial fee to set after completing his program.

Hypnosis-AS A Career