Getting the most from your first hypnosis session

If you have never been to a hypnotist before, you may be wondering, “What will happen during my session?”

Previewing your session

You will have received an email with directions to the office, so it will be easy to find the building and a parking space. You’ll come into my first-floor office, where I will welcome you in the reception area. Depending on the day of the week, you may meet one of the other practitioners in the adjacent offices. We’ll go into my office, where we’ll be working.

You’ll fill out some new-client paperwork if you’re a new client, and sometimes if you’re a returning client.

You’ll pay for the number of sessions we discussed during your consultation, and we’ll finish scheduling the remainder of your sessions (if you’re coming in for more than one session).

We’ll answer any questions that may have occurred to you since your consultation, and I’ll gather any additional information.

Prior to the hypnosis session, we’ll do some receptivity exercises, which will

  • determine the methods of hypnosis that are best for you,

  • allow you to enter the state easily and deeply, and

  • strengthen and improve your hypnotic abilities over time.

Supercharging your session

Hypnosis is based on relaxing the conscious mind and allowing the subconscious room to work. Going into hypnosis is a simple and pleasurable process. In fact, everyone goes in and out of hypnotic states multiple times every day, spontaneously. It’s simply part of how our brains work.

When you go to a hypnotist however, you want to get the most out of your hypnosis session. You have a limited amount of time, and you want every moment to be productive. Here is a checklist of questions to ask yourself so that you are set up for success.


Come to your session ready to focus.


  • Do you drink a lot of water, coffee, tea, or alcohol? Avoid drinking large amounts of liquid immediately before your session.

  • Is your clothing comfortable? Wear something that is loose or that can be adjusted. At home, before your session, put on the clothes you intend to wear, and sit in a comfortable chair or lean back on a sofa or bed. In that relaxed position, are you free from pressure around your neck, arms, midsection, and legs?

  • Are your shoes comfortable when you’re reclining? If not, can they be removed easily?

  • Are you wearing jewelry or hair accessories that become uncomfortable when you lean back? Does anything itch, pinch, or poke you?

  • Do you know how to turn your cell phone off or put it in airplane mode? Check YouTube or ask a friend or relative to show you. Jot down the steps. Don’t lose precious session time trying to figure this out!

Removing these distractions will prepare you for a relaxing and powerful hypnosis session!

Finding the right hypnotist: Part 2

Finding the right hypnotist:

A checklist

Part 2: Questions to ask your hypnotist
(Read Part 1)
Now that you have an idea about some of the things that are important to you, it’s time to make a list of questions to ask your hypnotist.
  • How long have you been doing hypnosis? How long professionally?
  • If they haven’t been practicing for long, I would follow up with another question: What percentage of your training was done in person? I like this question more than, “Where did you get your training?” because it indicates they have done more than online classes. (There are some exceptional online classes that actually deliver more than many in-person trainings, which is why I think a combination of in-person and online trainings are ideal.)
  • Do you have a business license? Although municipalities have different requirements for who must have a business license, a hypnotist who has one demonstrates stability and professionalism.
  • Do you have insurance? If they say no, walk away.
  • What professional, business, or community organizations do you actively participate in? Hypnotists who are members of these types of organizations can offer several benefits.
  1. First, the practitioner has met a certain standard of educational or other requirements, so they have demonstrated quality. The National Guild of Hypnotists, the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association, and other professional organizations have membership requirements.
  2. Second, as active participants, they demonstrate a desire to improve their own abilities and make a contribution to their profession and their communities.
  3. Third, active members of these types of organizations are more capable of making knowledgeable referrals. Just as we occasionally need to find a new auto mechanic, hairdresser, or dentist, it’s nice to know someone who is plugged into the professional community.
  • Can you tell me about someone you’ve helped who had an issue like the one I’m facing?
  • What is your process for working with a new client?
You may have additional questions if you are looking for someone with a certain specialty or expertise, but these questions provide a nice base.

Finding the right hypnotist: Part 1

Finding the right hypnotist:

A checklist

So you want to be hypnotized!

Once you decide it is time for a hypnosis session, the next question is, who will you work with? Whether you have been doing hypnosis for years or are just starting out, you will need to narrow the field.

If you are new to hypnosis, you may think hypnosis is a one-size-fits-all process. You go in, the hypnotists “puts you under,” tells you to do something (quit smoking, lose weight, speak in public with confidence), and you walk out “fixed.”
This scenario has some truth. You do go into the hypnotist’s office. The hypnotist does talk to you and lead you into a trance state. The hypnotist may supply some suggestions designed to eliminate the problem behavior and install new responses. It can happen in as little as one session. However, the process is more layered and personal than television, movies, and myth would lead you to believe.
The great news is, there are a lot of excellent hypnotists in the Portland/Vancouver area.
Here are some tips for finding the right person for you.
You can gather information with a lot more confidence when you start by asking the right questions. Some questions you ask your hypnotist; some questions you ask yourself.
Part 1: Questions to ask yourself
Let’s start with you.
Have some ideas about what you want… or don’t want.
There are no wrong answers to these questions. In fact, instead of drawing conclusions, use these as jumping-off points.
  • What do you want to be different in your life? Some people want to change just one thing, like quitting smoking or drinking alcohol or gaining more self confidence. Others have a long laundry list of things they want to change. Some just want to feel better in general. Wherever you are starting out is fine.
  • Would you be more comfortable with a male or female hypnotist? This might not matter to you, or it might matter a lot. I recommend following your gut instinct. I also recommend calling at least one hypnotist in each category and talking to them on the phone, because even someone you choose not to work with can give you information that will be valuable in making your decision.
  • How important is location? Some people want the hypnotist’s office to be easy to get to. Again, this may not matter to you. After all, if you can be free of the problem in two or three trips, you may not care about the length of the trip or whether there’s plenty of parking nearby. On the other hand, if you want to eliminate a fear of driving, you may want to seek out a hypnotist close to your home, office, or public transit.
  • What strong convictions do you hold about science, healing modalities, or spirituality? If you do, what are they?
Continue to Part 2: Questions to ask your hypnotist