One obvious risk to patients is the insufficiently trained therapist. The inadequately trained therapist can cause harm and distort the normally pleasant experience of hypnotherapy. A second risk for patients is the unscrupulous practitioner who may be both inadequately trained and may have some hidden agenda. These rare individuals are capable of causing great harm to the patient and to the profession. As mentioned above, the patient should carefully scrutinize their chosen therapist before submitting themselves to this dynamic form of therapy.
There is also a range of options available, from one-on-one meetings to phone sessions to CDs and tapes. McGrail and Grossman agree that while potentially useful, recordings are not usually as effective as personal sessions. And there’s no shortage of opinions on the best ways to quit smoking; the gamut runs from hypnotherapy to Zyban and Nicotine Anonymous.
Hypnosis, when using proven therapeutic procedures, can be a highly effective form of treatment for many mental, psychosomatic, and physical disorders. For example, through the use of regressive techniques, an adult patient may mentally voyage back to a point in youth that was particularly troublesome, allowing the healing of old emotional wounds. Another patient can be led to understand that emotional pain has been converted to physical pain, and that the pain can be eliminated once the source has been addressed. Or, a person suffering from chronic pain can be taught to control the pain without use of medications. There are a number of techniques for correcting dysfunctional behaviors such as self-destructive habits, anxiety disorders, and even managing side effects of various medical treatments and procedures.
Check for understanding and emotion. Make sure the recipient hears and correctly interprets the intended message. Look at the facial expressions: Does he/she look surprised, shocked, confused, angry, or ambivalent? Invite the recipient to ask clarifying questions or have them paraphrase the message to check for understanding. Also invite them to discuss how they are feeling. You might say, “You look rather surprised. How are you feeling right now? Are you clear on what’s expected? Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?”
ABSP certification requires a doctorate degree, plus either a license to practice or a certain amount of research/publications. The ABSP also requires candidates to pass the Board Certified Sports Psychologist Examination, as well as have a certain amount of practical experience, research experience, or outstanding contributions to the sports psychology field.
According to Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus, speaking for Psychology Today, hypnosis is a “genuine psychological phenomenon that has valid uses in clinical practice … hypnosis is a state of highly focused attention or concentration, often associated with relaxation, and heightened suggestibility. While under hypnosis (i.e., in a hypnotic trance), it seems many people are much more open to helpful suggestions than they usually are.” The suggestions made in a therapeutic setting get deep into a person’s brain, beyond their conscious thinking, leading to behavior change and the ability to overcome challenges that might otherwise seem insurmountable.
The Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles describes the job of the hypnotherapist: "Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client's problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning. GOE: 10.02.02 STRENGTH: S GED: R4 M3 L4 SVP: 7 DLU: 77"