I do not consider hypnosis to be a highly regulated field. Of course, we have a Code of Standards and our Guild and continuing education. However, anyone can pay a few thousand dollars to take an online study course and meet the in-person attendance requirement of a few days or weeks and then be certified to practice hypnosis. You don’t have to have a university degree or even a high school education. Without any experience practicing hypnosis outside of classwork, you can pay a few more thousand for another class and be certified as a Master Hypnotist. On the other hand, you can be a highly educated psychologist with an M.A. or a Ph.D. and advertise hypnotherapy services, but really only practice hypnosis for fifty minutes once a month. None of these situations are ideal.
When seeking a hypnotherapist, the first thing I would ask is how long they have been practicing hypnosis (professionally). Years of experience are what truly make a Master Hypnotist.
Ask how often they conduct the type of hypnosis you require ( for phobias or weight loss, or for relationship issues, or for stress, etc.). Basically, their response should be something akin to “everyday”!
Ask what other services they offer besides hypnosis. Honestly, you want a professional who devotes herself full-time to hypnotherapy. You don’t want someone who will offer you reflexology and read your stars as well. You are looking for a well-educated, highly-trained, and thoroughly experienced professional with whom you feel rapport. You want a specialist, not someone padding their services toolbox.
Make sure you find someone who has your best interests in mind. Depending on the issue which you wish to resolve (which always involves changing your thoughts), you may need several sessions and a great deal of determination (you are retraining your subconscious mind). You may be told that you must pre-pay an astonishing amount for a series of sessions. Hypnotists who run their practices in this fashion are, I suppose, expert businesspeople. But what you want is an expert HYPNOTHERAPIST. The main reason to require a client to pre-pay for a series of sessions should be to ensure their ongoing commitment to working on the change they are making to improve their lives. The theory is that if you have paid a lot of money for it, you will value it and make sure you get your money’s worth! But it should not incur financial distress! Shop around. The highest priced hypnotist is not necessarily the best. Nor is the cheapest.
(I must emphasize here that, for people who have decided to stop smoking, Smoking Cessation hypnosis requires only one session. Of all the hypnosis I do, Weight Loss/Food Addiction requires the most sessions and, for this, I require a commitment of five sessions.)
When searching for a hypnotherapist, find someone who takes the time to understand who you are, your goals, your fears, etc. Someone who listens. My first sessions are two hours long. Subsequent sessions are ninety minutes. I consider fifty-minute sessions too short. If you do not have rapport with your hypnotherapist, change hypnotherapists. All hypnotherapists should provide you with a recording of the session.