Brenda J Titus, CH, MS
I recently attended my first National Guild of Hypnotists Annual Convention, where I had the opportunity to meet several fellow hypnotists whom I immediately considered colleagues and friends. Upon leaving the convention, and as I’ve reflected on it since then, it has occurred to me how important working together, having collaborative relationships both with fellow hypnotists as well as professionals in complementary fields, is to the success of my hypnosis practice and to the profession as a whole. Today I share my thoughts on collaborating with others in an effort to inspire fellow hypnotists to work together toward a state of collaboration both within the field and with other professionals.
Competition vs Collaboration- Networking with Fellow Hypnotists
It could be very easy to consider other hypnotists, especially those who have practices near my own, as competition. Rather than considering them as competition, I like to view them from the perspective of a collaborative relationship, as colleagues. The relationships that I have established within the field of hypnosis largely come from our mutual training through the Banyan Hypnosis Center and our ongoing affiliation with the 5-PATH® International Association of Hypnosis Professionals. As 5-PATHers, we have an automatic foundation and understanding of the work that we do with our clients. We have a shared language and similar expectations about the steps that we take with our clients and the outcomes that we anticipate. Because of this foundation, we have an inherent two-way network of support and mentorship in which any 5-PATHer, regardless of years of experience, has something to bring to the relationship.
In addition to support and mentorship, it is important to develop referral relationships with fellow hypnotists. Referral relationships are valuable tools in the event that a caller isn’t appropriate for your services, but would benefit from hypnosis. I am fortunate to work in a Hypnosis Center, where we have varying levels of experience, expertise and approach, even within the 5-PATH® hypnosis system. Additionally, there are 5-PATHers throughout my region, across the United States, and even in other parts of the world with whom I am connected. They are my first preference in the event that I need to make a referral to another hypnotist because of location, language issues, or even specialized areas of expertise. This is a benefit to all involved. For me, knowing that I am sending a caller, whether they are a family member, friend, or someone who is beyond my own expertise or comfort level to a colleague that I trust not only helps the client receive the services that they need, it gives me peace of mind that they will receive services of similar caliber and quality to my own. For other hypnotists who refer people to me or to other 5-PATHers, the reassurance is the same.
A Team Approach to Working with Clients
Just as important as working with fellow hypnotists, developing a team approach with hypnotists, massage hypnotists, Reiki and shamanic practitioners, as well as chiropractors, doctors and dentists can be a valuable way to grow your business and best serve your clients.
Hypnotists assist clients with “normal everyday problems,” however, approaching more advanced problems such as chronic pain or emotional issues with hypnosis, along with traditional methods of care, can truly bring the client to a more complete state of overall health and wellbeing. Often, the client will be best served by multiple practitioners working together as a team focusing on similar goals. When working with clients who have additional care providers, it is important to get a release so that you can communicate with these providers and collaborate on their care. When you, as the hypnotist are engaged with the team, you are able to direct your work more effectively toward the outcome that the other professionals are working toward. This often reassures and motivates the client to overcome their problem, knowing that they are working on it from multiple angles. Your client’s motivation enhances your success, which could lead to referrals for your services in the future.
After assisting a client with an emotional issue that they’ve been holding onto for years, they may benefit from work to relieve the physical symptoms through massage, Reiki, or other energetic work. It is important for you, as the hypnotist, to be prepared to refer out to other practitioners who can assist clients outside the scope of your practice. Develop relationships with mental health providers, energy workers and massage hypnotists so that you can easily make these referrals. I often make sure that my clients have additional avenues for self-care in place as we do our work together, especially body work such as massage or Reiki. This is especially valuable in my hypnosis practice because we often focus on where the client stores their feelings and emotions in their bodies. After we have done the work to clear these emotional blockages through hypnosis, it is often helpful for the client to physically clear the blockages in their chakras and the rest of their body through Reiki and massage.
Get on the Path to Collaboration
If you haven’t already started developing collaborative relationships with other hypnotists and professionals in complementary fields, there are some simple steps that you can take to get started. Reach out to other hypnotists who have training similar to yours. Participate in message boards such as LinkedIn, or message boards geared toward people trained in your area of specialization. Attend local NGH Chapter meetings, the NGH Solid Gold Weekend and the NGH National Convention. When appropriate, take your collaborative relationship to a deeper level with more personal, one-on-one contact, through email, phone, or in person meetings.
When reaching out to other professionals in complementary fields, make phone calls or office visits, offer to do presentations, always have a business card on hand, and represent yourself and your practice professionally. You might consider offering a group session for the professional’s clients, such as stress relief, self-hypnosis or smoking cessation. In addition to providing an example of the power of hypnosis and what you are able to do for their clients for ongoing referrals, these group sessions often lead to one-on-one client referrals from group participants.
Taking these steps, developing and nurturing these relationships both with fellow hypnotists and professionals in other fields can be deeply rewarding personally and professionally. In addition to having avenues of mutual support, you can increase your effectiveness with your clients and grow your client base. Through collaboration, we as hypnotists are able to help more people more effectively.