Category Archives: hypnosis


“Acting responsibly is not a matter of strengthening our reason

but of deepening our feelings for the welfare of others.”

Jostein Gaarder, Sophie’s World

A short time ago there was a story aired on Australian television about a 10 year old child who had recently been certified as a hypnotherapist.

She had completed a 2 and a half day course that her parents, who are also hypnotherapists, gave her for a Christmas present and apparently is going on to do a more advanced course as she has family and school friends lining up for therapy.

The story raises several ethical concerns which were only partially addressed by the spokesperson for one of the Hypnotherapy Associations.

1. It should be noted that the training organization involved is neither a member of the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia nor the Australian Board of NLP who both list training organizations that set industry standards and hold members and training organizations accountable for their behaviour.

2. A two and a half day training course, costing just AU$119 (early bird price), is not enough hours of training to belong to a professional association, (minimum of 400 hours of training, Police check, WWC check, Level 2 First Aid, minimum of 10 hours professional supervision and 20 hours of CPE and Professional Liability Insurance) – it could not possibly equip someone, let alone a child, to deal with an abreaction.

3.  A ten year old child is, if Piaget’s theory of Child Development is to be believed, in the third stage of their cognitive development. Whilst the child is able to show that they have organized, logical thought, it is not until around 12 years of age when they begin to master abstract thought. In the third development stage, (Concrete Operations) the child becomes less egocentric and more aware of others and is able to order objects in a logical sequence. As the child matures, around the age of 12, they will move into the fourth stage of cognitive development, where they develop abstract thought and the ability to reason. …..Although parents of teenagers may care to disagree on this point!….. Development in each stage is gradual, and in this fourth stage (Formal Operations), the child will move from using complex thinking in their personal decision making to more complex thinking about global concepts and idealistic views in later adolescence.

4. There is then the ethical dilemma of a child working. There are minimum age requirements in most states of Australia, except NSW where this story originated from.

5. This then raises more questions:

  • Are the sessions pro bono or is there some kind of payment?
  • What is the legal liability should there be any issues arise?
  • Is the child supervised when working? (both for the safety of the child and the people she is seeing)
  • Are adequate records of the sessions being kept?
  • Have the parents of the child’s classmates (who are also minors) given permission for the hypnotherapy?

Whilst this has been discussed on private hypnotherapy forums, and a wide range of opinions have been offered, with both positive and negative responses, ultimately it is the general public’s perception that matters.

Teachers and parents that I have talked to are genuinely worried that this has been allowed to happen. There is great concern for the mental and physical safety of both the young girl and her “clients”.

At the end of the day, this reflects on the Hypnotherapy profession as a whole. Whilst there is a peak body that represents professional Hypnotherapists, the HCA and to a lesser extent, the ABNLP, (whose recognised trainers offer a component of Hypnotherapy in their courses) who are both working to preserve the integrity of this therapy, there is a small group of people operating outside the system who seek their “five minutes of fame” in the spotlight at expense of honest, hardworking and reputable therapists who hold themselves accountable by membership of an association, regular supervision and continuing education.

Clinical, Spiritual or Stage Hypnosis?

What’s the difference? Isn’t it all Hypnosis?

Well, yes …. and no….. Clinical Hypnotherapy is just that… Therapy. It is usually related to an ailment such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Migraine or an anxiety or an unwanted behaviour, such as smoking or weight issues and has a therapeutic outcome. A client can also be induced into a very deep trance state which enables surgery and is being used more as a drug free alternative in childbirth.

Spiritual Hypnotherapy can also have a therapeutic outcome, especially if a client’s current symptoms can be relieved by past life or lives between lives regression. Is it real? Is it a metaphor? For some people it is very real and the life described has been authenticated.  A search on YouTube will enable you to watch some Past Life documentaries, where children have been able to describe their previous lives with uncanny accuracy.

Stage Hypnosis is an art form. Somewhat frowned upon by the Clinical crowd, in fact many associations don’t allow their members to perform, the methods used to elicit the hypnotic state are worth investigating for the serious hypnotherapist.

“All the world’s a stage……” and every session of hypnotherapy or hypnosis is different, both for the hypnotherapist and client. Delving into the subconscious is like removing the stage paint or mask to find the true person underneath. If the outcome is achieved through therapy or fun or time travel, then it’s a job well done!

Marketing yourself and your Hypnotherapy Practice

If you have read the E Myth, you will be familiar with the different roles you might play in setting up a business.  And if you are a Hypnotherapist setting up your practice, you might find yourself having to wear many different hats.

Can you do it all on your own?

To an extent you can do some of it, but there might come a time when you need a fresh set of eyes or some help in areas where you don’t really have the expertise. You then have to make the choice between spending time … which if you are getting busy seeing clients will cost you money…. or spending the dollars on the services of an expert.

One way to keep the costs down is to create a group to engage an expert in a particular field and for Hypnotherapists based in Melbourne (Australia), I have a Marketing expert who is happy to work with a group of 8, meeting you every 3 months to mastermind your marketing strategies.

To express your interest in this, contact me via the form below and I will get back to you regarding venue and price.

Melbourne Chapter of IACT

iactsealbw-lgThe Melbourne Chapter of The International Association of Counsellors and Therapists, very ably run by Pete Smith, current President of the Newton Institute and founder of HypnoEnergetics, will have it’s first meeting in a new venue in Melbourne’s South Eastern Suburbs.

The aims of the chapter are to feature each member’s business and provide a space for networking between complementary therapists, as well as having an educational component.

A Supervision component for other professional organizations, can be provided if required.

For more information about IACT and how to join go directly to their website

The next meeting will be Monday 14th April at 7.30pm. If you would like more details and to RSVP please use the contact form below….




How to conjure up fear and anxiety with one simple word


Time flies
There is nothing more tragic than to see respected therapists reacting badly at the word supervision. It’s as if they have suddenly been transported back to a very early childhood experience where they are standing outside the Principal’s Office for an imagined misdemeanor.
Watch them puff up and bristle ….

listen to the comments….”I don’t need to report to anyone what I am doing”, “It’s the association gouging more money from me”, ” I don’t need anyone telling me what to do” and so on…..
Perhaps if the word supervision was substituted by any or all of the following:

  • supporting
  • mentoring
  • guiding
  • suggesting
  • guiding

then there wouldn’t be the emotional response that is currently being observed amongst many hypnotherapists, newly required to have regular supervision.

Here is a definition of Supervision 

and another

and another

With many Hypnotherapists also familiar with NLP, it’s time for a reframe. To take a leaf out of one of Tony Robbins books, they should be familiar with CANI (Constant and Never ending Improvement)

” CANI is a true discipline. It can’t just be practiced every once in a while, when you feel like it. it must be a constant commitment backed up by action.  The essence of CANI is gradual, even minute, continuous improvement that over the long term sculpts a masterpiece of colossal proportions……

Many people never feel secure because they are always worried that they will either lose their job, lose the money they already have, lose their spouse, lose their health and so on. The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself in some way, that you are increasing the calibre of who you are and that you are valuable to your company, your friends and your family.”

Sacred Contracts

I had to make a trip to 2544758628_e2aa8dc5b2the other side of Australia to complete some business and wanted to take a book with me to read. Quite easily, I could have bought something at the airport, but as I was gathering up the necessary documents to take, my eye fell upon Caroline Myss’ book “Sacred Contracts”. I read it many years ago – so trusting that it was the right book to take – packed it.

I read just 22 pages on the 4 hour trip there.

I was stopped by this passage in Chapter 1 and would like to share…..

” Ultimately we make choices every day – consciously and unconsciously – that implement the terms of our Contract, keeping us on the path or getting us back on the path. We can also choose to enlist the aid of archetypes, spirit guides, and even the grace of God through prayer and meditation to attempt to fulfill our agreements more expeditiously.

If you do not choose to believe in a literal prebirth contract, or in reincarnation, or even in the power of grace, you might want to view your life metaphorically, as a journey you have agreed to take.

In past-life regression therapy, for instance, patients are invited under hypnosis to reenter the events of previous existences.

Yet the leading proponents of this method have shown that the vivid stories do not need to be viewed as literal events in order to be emotionally beneficial, but can be seen symbolically. People who “remember” past life wounds, beliefs, revelations and family histories invariably feel that they have gained from the insights these memories provide into their own unconscious and their life situation.”

Back to School

examsAs the Australian summer holidays draw to a close, teachers and students are preparing to return to school.

For many, both adults and children, this is a time of high stress and anxiety.

New friendships, new routines, new shoes…..

If there have been negative past experiences around school friendships or learning outcomes, then there is often what is called “Anticipatory Anxiety”.

  • dry mouth
  • “butterflies” in the stomach (even upset stomach)
  • insomnia
  • memory problems

….. all signs of stress.

A stressed mind can’t learn efficiently.

It’s like having all the programs on your computer open at the same time – it slows the processor down!

When you are relying  on all your senses to help your subconscious to decide whether to run away or stand and fight, your primitive reflexes take over and stress hormones are produced.

Hypnotherapy is very effective in helping with stress responses and with school anxieties. Using the power of the imagination to “re-imagine” unlimited scenarios and specific therapies to revisit and defuse previous events, a qualified Hypnotherapist can assist in improving learning outcomes and making the social interaction easier.


The days of the Hypnotist swinging a fob watch or pendulum have long gone…or have they?

Both are useful devices for catching the attention of the client and also to tire the eyes. The relaxation felt as the eyelids close and one of the senses is put aside for a moment.

Many Hypnotists/therapists use the tried and true Elman Induction and I have been lucky enough to watch Dave Elman’s son, Larry perform the induction at a conference. What a difference to reading about it! He explained the history of fractination and gave some tips on how to make it more effective.

Another addition to this induction is the “Eye lock” – a subtle test that the client cannot fail.

With the eyelids closed, ask the client to look upwards to above their eyebrows and a point on the crown of their head, then after a suitable pause ask them to open their eyes. If they have followed the instructions, their eyes won’t open. If they open their eyes, tell them to gently close them again and feel the relaxation.

There are many variations on getting the conscious mind out of the way. Some Hypnotists use counting out loud from 100 down and have the numbers disappear, others get the client to count “in the privacy of their mind” and still another version used by Cal Banyan is to get the client to start at the number 1 and count (slowly and quietly) up. For the seriously analytical client there is always the alphabet backwards or every 3rd letter…..

Whether you choose to do the arm drop or not, depends on your views about touching the client. Elman used it because the people he developed the induction for were all physicians and didn’t require permission.

Best to get permission (both in writing and verbally) from your client before you start holding their hands and dropping them!

So what’s your favourite or most successful induction?


ImageA lot of the material here has been migrated across from the Ning site that I set up for the Australian Chapter of IACT, so if you have been searching for it – here it is!

All things have a season, so think of that site as an autumn leaf that has drifted off and recycled…..

I figure that anyone interested in Hypnotherapy will find this site and comment if they wish.