How To Become A Hypnotherapist – The Complete Guide (2021)

9 min read

Hypnosis is one of the world’s oldest sciences. Amazingly, ancient hieroglyphics show that Egyptians were using hypnosis as early as 3,000 B.C. 

There is evidence that the Greeks and the Mayans understood it and used it as well. The word “Hypnos” in the Greek Language means “Sleep”.

Let’s dive right into it.

What Does A Hypnotherapist Do?

Franz Mesmer, a physician from Austria, was the first to take hypnotherapy into his clinical practice, around 1770. This is why we associate the term “mesmerizing” with hypnosis.

Since the time of Mesmer, hypnotherapy has been an alternative form of medicine, highly popular for its quick and precise therapeutic benefits. 

A hypnotherapist is a qualified professional who helps people who want to change and better themselves. Hypnotherapists can address ailments that general medicine has trouble with.

Hypnotherapy is an internationally-recognized therapy technique for treating mental and psychosomatic issues. It uses hypnosis to break through to the subconscious to better understand the foundation of the issues a client is facing.

There are many different techniques generally using two methods, suggestion or regression. you can become a hypnotherapist in either one or both modalities.

Ericksonian hypnotherapy (or indirect, metaphorical hypnosis) describes a very specific technique. It is named for its creator, Milton Erickson, who used indirect suggestion, metaphor and storytelling, rather than the direct type of suggestion originally used.

In certified clinical hypnotherapy, the patient is focused and aware of their environment.  People describe hypnosis as a pleasant, calming, clearly remembered experience which involves a state of relaxed consciousness.

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Important To Know If You Want To Become A Hypnotherapist

  • Flexible scheduling is ideal to keep a hypnotherapy practice balanced. You decide the number of clients you need to see in a day.
  • Some psychological background is important to become a hypnotherapist.
  • Having a dedicated hobby helps to keep their mind clear. 
  • Many clinical hypnotherapists practice meditation. Meditating for an hour a day can help hypnotherapists focus better. Your mind is important as a hypnotherapist.
  • A good hypnotherapist takes enough time to get to know their patients.
  • Be a good listener. Analyse what you listen to. 
  • Most hypnotherapists practice their business from home for in person clients or having an online presence too.

Is Hypnotherapy A Good Career Choice?

If you’re passionate about understanding the human mind and providing real, lasting results to your clients, training to become a hypnotherapist is an exciting prospect.

Qualified health care professionals have success using clinical hypnotherapy to explore and address a wide variety of health and well-being issues, alleviating their clients suffering.

Hypnosis is used within many types of clinical practices, such as:

  • Behavioral medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Traditional medicine 
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sports medicine

Some practitioners who incorporate hypnotherapy in their practices are:

  • Substance abuse counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Psychiatric nurses
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social workers
  • Life coaches

Many of the ailments clinical hypnotherapy can benefit are:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Addictions
  • Weight problems
  • Anxiety and stress
  • OCD
  • Grief
  • Cancer
  • Childbirth
  • Sleep 
  • Dementia
How To Become A Hypnotherapist
source: unsplash.com (Leilani Angel)

Is There A Demand For Hypnotherapists?

This is the time that we see hypnotherapy is in constant demand. More than ever, people are looking for alternate forms of therapy.

The numbers and trends show this to be true and so do the testimonies of many professional clinical hypnotherapists.

5 Reasons Why There’s A Demand For Hypnotherapists

  1. Mental health is a growing concern in the world today. 1 out of 5 people in the U.S. are facing mental health issues.
  2. 1 out of 25 Americans face a serious mental health disorder right now.
  3. Only 45% of adults with mental health issues receive mental health services.
  4. There’s an increased recognition that mental health plays a large role in overall wellness.
  5. People generally want to solve their mental health issues and get on with their lives. Therefore, bypassing the traditional talk therapies which can be a longer process.
  6. Hypnotherapy training also allows you to expand your practice into new populations with conditions you were previously unable to help people with.
  7. Because hypnotherapy provides fast results, many patients are willing to pay out-of-pocket for fewer sessions than regular talk therapy.

Can Anyone Be A Hypnotist?

If you want to know how to learn to be a hypnotist, the first thing you need to know is that anyone can learn how with a professional education in hypnotherapy training.

It’s an acquired skill that you can learn, just like playing the piano, becoming a black belt in karate, or painting impressive pieces of art. It takes time and dedication.

How well you do depends on your natural aptitude and talent, passion, time, dedication to focus and practice.

Hypnotherapy is all about the subconscious mind, so if this is where your interests lie, then it could be right for you.

It helps for you to portray trust, confidence, authority without being overbearing, and to speak in a way that holds your clients attention in a calm and soothing manner.

To become certified clinical hypnotherapists, you’ll need to acquire a college degree and gain relevant experience. You may also need a medical license and certification, depending on your chosen career path and where you live.

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How Do I Train To Be A Hypnotherapist?

There are many schools teaching a professional education in clinical hypnotherapy. You can simply sign up and take a course online.

You can even start practicing hypnotherapy as soon as you’d like and work towards certification.

There are very few restrictions on your ability to work as a hypnotist anywhere in the world. In many places, such as Australia, hypnotherapy is a self-regulating profession.

In other places, like Washington State, you have to register to become a hypnotherapist, although you don’t need certification. 

These are some guidelines to follow to learn how to be a hypnotist including how to gain certification:

  1.  Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

Although educational requirements vary based on the specific position, professional opportunities may increase for those who hold degrees.

Bachelor’s degree programs in this and related fields are intended to provide a foundation for further training in the theory and practice of mental health and other clinical professions.

Since most professionals using hypnotherapy as part of their treatment protocols have advanced degrees, completing a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, nursing or a similar discipline is often the first step.

Graduate from an accredited institution. The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH) stresses the importance of graduating from an institution recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

  1. Obtain a Graduate Degree

In order to apply for NBCCH certification, prospective practitioners need to have a master’s degree. In some cases, however, the National Board states a doctoral or medical degree may be required.

Students also need to complete 60 hours of hypnosis coursework, including supervised practice. Since graduate programs in medicine and mental health focus on clinical theory and application, students receive on-site training with clients and patients to assist with gaining valuable clinical experience.

Choose a specialty. Choosing a specialty is one way to develop a professional practice and confidence. Just a few areas of specialization include athletic enhancement, cancer support, grief support, memory and recall, phobias, past life regression, sleep issues, smoking cessation and weight control.

  1. Gain Clinical Experience

The National Board (NBCCH) states that after completing a medical residency or other graduate program, hospital and mental health internships and fellowships may assist with gaining relevant experience.

These programs are intended to assist certified clinical hypnotherapists with their chosen specialties, including therapeutic applications for hypnosis and hypnotherapy. In addition, clinical experience is usually required to obtain state licensure or certification.

Begin the certification process early. Prospective hypnotherapists who have completed a minimum of 30 hours of training may begin the certification process, according to the NBCCH. While other requirements still need to be met, meeting this eligibility will be documented.

Earn continued education hours. The American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (AAPH) states that hypnotherapy schools tend to provide opportunities to gain experience. This can assist with obtaining certification hours as well as expand knowledge of the field.

  1. Become Licensed or Certified

According to the AAPH, some states make clear distinctions between hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and medical practice for legal purposes. If a hypnotherapist isn’t a state-licensed medical professional, then they may not claim to diagnose illnesses, conditions or practice medicine.

In the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana and Washington, for example, a hypnotherapist needs to be state registered. California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Utah also have specific state and local requirements.

Some states, such as California, require a practitioner who touches their clients to obtain a license as a massage practitioner.

For certification, prospective hypnotherapists may consider options like the National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (NBCCH), National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist in Public Service (NBCCH-PS) and National Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Hypnotherapy (NBCDCH) credentials offered by the NBCCH.

There are also national board certification options related to specific fields, such as social work, psychiatry and neurology, sleep medicine and pastoral counseling.

Review state guidelines. State regulations tend to vary, and some states may not require licenses or certification. Before pursuing a position or opening a private practice, it’s important to review the state regulations.

  1. Keep Certification or Licensure Current

It may be necessary to meet continuing education requirements. This can include time for classes, seminars or sitting for an exam.

Hypnotherapists who do not yet hold certification from the NBCCH may want to consider this route, as the NBCCH indicates that due to increased use of hypnotherapy, this credential may assist with demonstrating professionalism and career advancement.

Do You Have To Be Licensed To Be A Hypnotherapist?

Like any other skill, hypnosis comes with its own responsibilities.

In America, hypnosis is an unregulated profession. You don’t need a license or certification, you just need to meet certain criteria.

That criteria can vary from one state to another, so it’s up to you to find out what the rules are where you live.

In Australia, technically, anyone can practice hypnosis or hypnotherapy.

According to The Australian Hypnotherapists Association (AHA), the country is working towards what it calls Voluntary Self-Regulation.

Europe, consisting of around 50 separate countries, each have their own rules and regulations regarding certification.

In the end, it’s your responsibility to find out what the local or national requirements are where you live, and to abide by them.

Hypnotherapist
source: unsplash.com (Ryan Searle)

Certified Hypnotherapist Credentials

Several trade groups and professional associations self-monitor and evaluate the hypnotherapy industry. The International Hypnosis Federation (IHF) and the the Association of Counsellors and Therapists (ACT) are two examples.

These governing agencies set baselines for what it takes for someone to practice hypnotherapy.

To become a certified hypnotherapist, the basic guidelines are about 250 hours or more of coursework and in-person training.  

When you pursue a certification course, you gain a whole host of relevant skills. A certified hypnotherapist will be able to:

  • Demonstrate expertise in the workings of the subconscious mind
  • Personalize hypnosis to help clients reach their goals
  • And utilize in-depth hypnotherapy techniques for stress relief, addiction, weight loss and so much more

These are just a few of the skills certification offers. And fortunately, anyone can pursue certification. There are no prerequisites. All you need is dedication and desire to learn.

Certification is a confusing affair in hypnotherapy. The confusion lies in some acronym overlap, experts are sharply divided on what’s most meaningful, or whether you need it at all. 

Here’s a rundown:

  • CCHT, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist — The nonprofit American Council of Hypnotist Examiners insists on 300 hours of instruction for this certification.
  • ASCH, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis — Sixty hours of ASCH-approved hypnosis education is needed to qualify for full certification. Most members aren’t board certified in hypnosis, but all are required to be licensed health care professionals.
  • CHT, Certified Hypnotherapist — Earned through the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association, this certification requires a minimum of 120 hours of training and proficiency in performing and explaining basic hypnotic procedures. No health care licensure is needed to get this type of certification.
  • SCEH-ACE, Active Commitment to Excellence — This certification from the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis requires at least 40 hours of training in approved workshops, a minimum of two years using hypnosis and a commitment to excellence based on a written plan. All members must be licensed health care professionals.
  • CH, Certified Consulting Hypnotist — The National Guild of Hypnotists Inc. — the country’s oldest and largest certification body — requires a minimum of 100 hours of hypnosis training to receive this certification.

Certified Hypnotherapist Salary

The median annual salary in 2018 in the U.S. for certified clinical hypnotherapists is $73,960.

Practicing therapists who add a certification for hypnotherapy to their practices can exceed $100,000 annually.

This complete guide for how to become a hypnotherapist can be your number one resource to help you get started on the path toward a rewarding career in clinical hypnotherapy.

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