Hypnotherapy Ethical Dilemmas

Hypnotherapy Ethical Dilemmas

“We can help……...!”  if we remember this phrase for the rest of our careers, we will rarely give false hope . What we do is hard to quantify, its difficult to measure, but we know it works for the majority of our clients. But we cannot ever promise results, its too reliant on the client working towards their own goals to be able to measure the therapists result, we just help them get to where they want to be. Any websites or general advertising needs to offer “help” to find solutions to problems, not a guarantee of an end result. We should avoid using percentages to describe the success rates, we should never suggest that everyone is “fixed” as this could well cause not only disappointment, if they have felt no benefit, but also this could damage their feelings of self-worth as they could well feel they have failed in some way.

But……… we need to give hope and encourage the client to use their intellectual brain to find solutions and stay positive, so maybe the phrase “I feel confident I can help you” or “I feel you have the strength inside you, to allow us to work together to help you make your life better” may be more appropriate.

How do we ensure that the client is getting value? The answer there lies with both the client and the therapist. We could assume if they turned up again to the following appointment, they are feeling some benefit. But it could be because we told them that they needed between 8 -12 sessions and they feel obliged and feel that this is how it should be. Having a good working relationship should allow the client to believe they can be honest as to when therapy is over, it may be prudent for the therapist to ask when the client may feel they are ready to stop, based on scaling or maybe when a phobia or symptom has gone. We should strive to ensure that the clients only have the number of sessions that they need and not one more.  We can of course suggest that a course of therapy may need to extend if we truly believe it is the right thing to do, but the client has the final decision.

There may be times when the therapist decides that therapy comes to an end. This could be because the client doesn’t engage in the therapy, it could be they regularly cancel or don’t show up for appointments. Maybe it is felt that the client is fulfilling an emotional need for something, rather than attending our sessions for a specific symptom, we cannot become paid friends to chat to, or allow the clients to get emotionally attached to us, we should leave no trace on their lives…

At times we may have a client who comes to us as a last resort, they may have been to a number of different therapies with no results. They could be very dismissal of every other therapy that they attended. Our views of these other failed attempts at therapy cannot be encouraged, we are only specialists in our own field and cannot suggest otherwise. Our methods encourage positive actions, positive interactions and positive thoughts, this in itself should and does not conflict with other principals of therapy, so we have the tools to find good in anything they may have tried before. Acknowledging that they know what hasn’t worked and they are strong and resilient enough to keep seeking help is already singing from our hymn sheet, so we should embrace this.

We should also bare in mind our limits of expertise in all areas, if deep down know we cannot help, after seeking advice from a supervisor, we should refer the client to someone more qualified. The person in front of us has come for help, we need to ensure we do just that and if telling them that we can’t help is the right thing for them, we must find the strength to do it. Our clients should never be viewed with pound signs on their heads………

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