A Good Definition of Hypnotherapist
Many people become confused about just what a hypnotist should be able to help with. And the hypnotherapy profession has struggled with distinguishing themselves from people who are hypnotists without medical hypnotism training. In fact, many hypnotists with barely basic training in hypnotism refer to themselves as hypnotherapists, which I feel is very misleading. And then you have people who use hypnosis as an adjunct to some other therapy…for example, psychotherapists using hypnosis (without medical hypnotism training) and calling themselves hypnotherapists.
Hypnotherapy is a specialty and people who use hypnotism as an adjunct to their other work are generalists.
I think the best definition I have ever heard for the title ‘hypnotherapist’ was provided by Dr. Fred H. Janke and it goes as follows:
A clinical hypnotherapist is someone who has been trained in using the art of hypnosis together with therapeutic intervention to bring about improvement or healing in a variety clinical conditions and negative behaviours. This is much more complex than simple deep relaxation and requires sophisticated training in a variety of therapeutic protocols. A well trained hypnotherapist will be able to apply knowledge and training to establish and manage the subconscious “root cause” of negative behaviours such as fears, phobias, anxieties and addictions. A well trained hypnotherapist will be trained to identify and contend with resistance to change. The therapist will be equally able to intervene and benefit a patient in matters of acute and chronic pain as well as assisting in a variety of medical and surgical procedures, including maternity care and childbirth. The hypnotherapist will be able to affect the over-all well being of a patient including interventions that improve post-operative wound healing and even be able to impact the healing and pain of complicated individuals such as burn patients. A clinical hypnotherapist therefore needs to have training that is high-level and erudite. The training should include the opportunity for an adequate amount of hands-on supervised experience and should be followed up with refined and mature mentorship. Thus a clinical hypnotherapist, trained in clinical intervention, is very much more than a simple hypnotist.
Dr. Fred H. Janke, B.Sc, M.Sc, M.D., F.C.F.P., F.R.R.M.S is a University of Alberta Associate Professor and Director of Rural Programs, Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta. He is a great champion of hypnotherapy and advocates for the distinguishment between hypnotherapist and hypnotist.
A hypnotist may be able to do many wonderful things to help a client, but without the indepth medical and clinical hypnotism training should not be tackling situations requiring such training. I advise all people who are seeking help with hypnotherapy to diligently check credentials of all practitioners they are considering.