Should I choose hypnotherapy or counselling? This question is something I get asked all the time. I think it would help if I outlined what each one can do for you individually.

Counselling is a process that psychologically empowers you to take back control of your own life whilst you can work through issues and problems. You share your inner most thoughts and feelings in a non- judgemental, safe and confidential environment with an empathetic counsellor who can help you. It helps you to process any unwanted thoughts and feelings that are causing you emotional pain. By talking to someone who is not directly involved in your situation, it helps you to see things from a fresh perspective. Counsellors do not tell you what to do but instead help you to navigate your way around feelings and thoughts so you can feel empowered to make your own decisions.

If you need to talk about what is bothering you counselling is perfect. It gives you the space to do that. You usually have therapy over a number of sessions and this can be for weeks or even years. However, I have a few clients that may contact me for one off sessions when they just need to talk through a one off issue and I may only see those clients once or twice over a year.
Hypnotherapy is more solution focused and is usually over less sessions. People generally come with a specific issue they want help with. Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious part of the mind that holds our beliefs and you take back that control by using hypnotherapy to change those outmoded beliefs and negative thought patterns.

Some people can feel nervous about hypnotherapy because of tv programmes where members of the public have supposedly had their mind taken over but in actual fact it is nothing like that at all. Hypnosis is a natural state to be in and hypnotherapists cannot make you do anything you do not want to do. However, there are some clients that hypnotherapy is not useful for. If you suffer from psychosis then hypnotherapy is not advised and there are plenty of alternatives.

I have knowledge of CBT, NLP and EFT and this is very solution focused too so if hypnotherapy is not for you there are other solution focused options. (I have written another blog about NLP and EFT if you need more information on this).

However, when clients ask me whether they need hypnotherapy or counselling, depending on the issue they are coming with I nearly always direct them to counselling first, unless they have been to counselling before elsewhere. There are a few reasons for this. If I had to use weight loss as an example, if eating is a coping mechanism, until the client recognises why they are overeating then the weight loss hypnotherapy is unlikely to work. This is why my questionnaire is so long for weight loss! You need to understand your inner processes first which is why counselling for some people is better, otherwise you are sticking a plaster over the problem. Having said this, there are many who come for weight loss that do not need counselling beforehand, so it depends on the individual. If someone has anxiety, we usually do counselling work first to establish where that anxiety came from. After the counselling is completed, then the hypnotherapy can be so much more effective.

By the time the client is ready for hypnotherapy I have a far greater rapport with the client and because of this the hypnotherapy is far more effective. However, it can be powerful for one off sessions, where a client may need confidence for a performance or a driving test or a job interview, or a fear or phobia of the dentist, or they may need it for pain relief as a few examples.

I hope this blog helps you in understanding the choice between the two therapies but if you do need to contact me for more information please do not hesitate to get in touch. I always do a free, 10 minute consultation on the phone with each potential client to ensure I am the right therapist for them and to ensure I am offering the right therapy depending on the presenting issue.