I’ve been running my own hypnotherapy practice for more than five years, although I first learnt hypnosis 30 years ago. Running a hypnotherapy practice is quite unique – we are not medicare recognised, and we also fall outside the scope of allied health, at least in Queensland. Whilst some of us work in amalgamated natural health clinics with a spectrum of other types of practitioners, many of us work alone.
While I love being a hypnotherapist, after working in academia and government, and I could not imagine doing anything else, it is not an easy career path. It can be quite isolating and the booking fluctuations can make the practicalities of life difficult to achieve at times. On occasion I have tried to find a slot in external practices but it has not gelled for various reasons:
Noise issues – I have come into trouble with noise issues, and have found that I can better control the noise from my own home based hypnotherapy practice. I mean, who wants a practice fire drill going off in the middle of a session? I shared a space with a chiropractor once whose clients were often big, burly sports people needing help with their aching bodies. They were generally loud. Other times kids would come in for treatment with an injury and try telling a child to keep quiet when they are sitting in the waiting room. You can see the problem.
Session length – while the booking systems at amalgamated clinics are often very efficient, aimed at maximising time and fitting in more clients, it is not always possible, for me at least, to stop a session on time. I aim to compete the session on time, but I cannot leave a client in a state of vulnerability if the session has prompted a deeper level of healing at an untimely moment. I always leave a buffer between clients for this reason, and that buffer is usually longer than allocated in the system. So I end up taking bookings outside the clinic’s system.
Referrals – many practitioners will join an amalgamated clinic to benefit from referrals by other practitioners in that clinic. In order for practitioners to cross refer, they need to understand what I do in my hypnotherapy practice. The problem I have found is that what I do can be quite intense for coworkers to experience. It is one thing to receive a massage from a coworker practitioner and another to explore issues around vulnerability, anxiety, self-worth, personal habits and other information that they might wish to refrain from sharing with a co-worker. Fair call too. So it often ends up that they do not understand what I do, and cross referrals go out the window.
So, ultimately, joining a clinic with other natural therapists found me essentially working in isolation, the very issue I have found in my home based hypnotherapy practice, and why I wanted to join a clinic in the first instance. Perhaps one day I will find my place with other health professionals, whether accredited by our medical system, or otherwise.
Home Based Hypnotherapy Practice
In my practice there are also certain challenges – the main issue being last minute cancellations. Unlike a busy doctors surgery, self-employed practitioners are left high and dry when clients cancel without enough notice because it makes it difficult to fill the space at short notice. This is why cancellation fees are charged, just like with renting holiday accommodation – same deal, and this is why most practitioners only take bookings with a down payment. This is something I have avoided but will soon be implementing. Paying in advance, just as you would on AirBnB means that no-one else can take your place, and likewise, that your spot is paid for.
Moira’s Last Minute Cancellation: I recently had a last minute cancellation from a prospective client, let’s call her Moira, who decided not to attend because she thought it might rain. We are not talking about the flooding downpours that the East Coast of Australia is exposed to – just a bit of rain. She actually lived within walking distance. When she made the booking she told me she wanted to walk her dogs to the appointment to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. I suggested that it was not a great idea as her focus needed to be on the session, rather than wondering if her dogs were ok, tied up outside. She agreed.
Then Moira phoned one hour before our session was due to begin to tell me that she needed a better umbrella, and that until she gets one she won’t be coming to have hypnosis. In fact it did not rain that day, at all. Moira was unable to take responsibility for her own actions. She felt that it was rude of me to suggest that she should keep her appointment, due to her lack of notice, and to get soaking wet – keeping in mind, it did not rain. She also ignored the option to take a very short taxi ride in order to keep the appointment in the unlikely event of rain. Lack of taking responsibility sits behind most last minute cancellations in my experience, and lack of commitment. You need to be serious about your intention to feel better or you will not commit to it. Simple. You might begin to understand now why most practitioners only take bookings with a down payment.
Inappropriate behaviour: Another downside of running a home based hypnotherapy clinic is inappropriate behaviour. Bringing your dogs to the clinic doesn’t really fit this category but it’s not far off. I have allowed it before as the client had an emotional dependence with his dog, it was a therapy dog, and that’s different. It was not simply a matter of convenience to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, as it was with Moira.
Inappropriate behaviour can include sexual innuendo, violence, bullying and the like. I once treated a client for anxiety and our first session was so successful that by the time he came back the next week, he had decided to make a pass at me. Either he was trying out his new found confidence or he somehow interpreted my success with his issue as personal, as though I existed for his benefit. I do not. While the content of what we discuss often is personal, let’s bring a littler mutual respect into the equation and ditch the ego centricity. When someone treats a practitioner as an escort you can guarantee that they do not understand mutual respect.
Lateness: “Oh you work from home so it’s OK if I’m late”. Ah, no. Hypnotherapy practitioners have bookings and we also have other things to do to keep our practices going. If you are avoidably late it simply means that you do not respect our time, and then what sort of state are we going to be in when you eventually get here? We are going to be worried about running late for the next client and we are going to be frustrated that you are not valuing our time. Our service may strive to be 110% but feeling worried, frustrated and devalued, we might only get to 99%. So it’s not good for anyone.
Most people though are wonderful and it is an absolute pleasure to assist them on their path. So, if you are serious about getting better, book a session and let’s get started. Horizons Clinical Hypnotherapy Sunshine Coast