At all times, it is the responsibility of the hypnotherapist to remain client-centered. It's important that the session centers around the client and their needs. The session is not about the therapist, their views, opinions, or their imagination of what the client is experiencing.
Leading vs. Guiding
Leading questions and comments are those where the hypnotherapist offers their own visions, descriptions, or assumptions. Guiding questions and comments are open-ended and allow the client to come up with the details. It is important to stay away from leading questions and statements, as they can create false memories and also disturb your rapport with your client.
For instance, if you ask your client, “Was that your father that walked into the room?”, your client imagines their father coming into the room, and then decides whether it was or was not. They can still say “No” if it wasn’t him. However, in years to come, if they think of that event again, they may question if their father had come into the room because somewhere in their mind they have remembered picturing that. It doesn’t mean they will develop a false memory, but in the rare case that it does, do you want to be responsible for implanting that idea?
As a side note, if someone wants to work with you and states they are searching for memories that will be used in a lawsuit, please refer them to a qualified forensic hypnotherapist. Any information that you glean from a session, if you are not an approved provider, would be thrown out of court.
Back to leading questions:
Leading questions would include those that add specific details, such as:
- Is that building a house or a barn?
- Are you sad to learn that?
- Was that a shocking experience for you?
- Did that occur when you were three years old?
- Would you like that to go away?
The easiest way to remain client-centered is to use the following open-ended questions during the session:
- What do you notice?
- What is that experience for you?
- What do you observe?
- What happens next?
- And then what?
- Where would you like to go?
- What would you like to do about that?
- How does that make you feel?
- Is there anything more?
- When did that occur?
- When will you be able to do that?
- What outcome would you like to have?
- Is there anything more you would like to do concerning this issue?
A Word of Caution
Hypnotherapists heal; we do not cure. Be aware that cure is a word that is legally used only by licensed medical practitioners. Additionally, hypnotherapists cannot diagnose, prescribe, or evaluate. Again, these are the purview of the medical community.
Please watch the following video on staying client-centered.
Please watch the following videos (Part One and then Part Two) in dealing with language Issues in practice.