Q: The biggest problem we face as one-on-one therapists (as opposed to running seminars and teaching groups) is that we help people so quickly that we need ongoing referrals to stay in business. Unlike Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, or Kinesiologists, who can schedule their clients for ongoing sessions, once we have succeeded in helping our clients resolve their issue, there’s no need for them to see us again. If we could sell our clients on the idea of ongoing healing it would be so much easier. Any thoughts on this?
The biggest problem you face is social conditioning.
We have all been conditioned to make “Somebody-Else” responsible for our healing. Got a headache? Take a pill. Got a tumor? Cut it out.
All healing is self-healing. But people don’t know this. And so, they come to us with the same, outdated expectations that they carry into the doctor’s office. i.e., “It hurts here – make it go away.” (And the faster and cheaper the better.)
Remember the scene in the movie, the Matrix, where Cipher is making the deal with the Agent to reinsert himself into the Matrix? He says, “I want to remember nothing. NOTHING! Oh, and I want to be rich. Somebody famous, maybe.” There it is in a nutshell. All the masses want is a better quality illusion.
The lure of external solutions is seductive and relentless. Watch the shopping channel – you’ll see what I mean. Healing isn’t a destination – it’s a journey. It’s the journey of a lifetime. Spiritually speaking – it’s the purpose of the lifetime.
Unfortunately, social conditioning leans toward fixology . . .
This makes it a marketing problem.
How do you convince a person that their silver-bullet-solution is a myth? How do you sell them on healing as a process? Or do you even bother to try?
The concept of healing as an ongoing process is a hard-sell for anyone who is still immersed in the mundane level of consciousness. They just want the pain to go away so they can go back to doing what they were doing whatever caused the pain in the first place.
These folks can benefit from hypnotherapy. But let's face it. They’re not our ideal clients. It's up to you to create your ideal clients. That requires an ongoing process of educating the client.
You have to teach the conscious mind of the client how to think differently. Then, teach their subconscious mind how to feel better. Which, when you think about it, is simply marketing.
Fortunately, there are many individuals who have already bought into the idea that we are each personally responsible for “creating” our own reality. They have accepted that this brings a greater level of responsibility. They “get it” – that they’re responsible for their own consciousness and, therefore, their own healing.
With these folks you can work miracles.
The solution is to identify your ideal client. Successful hypnotherapy begins with getting the right client for you. To do that you must clearly identify WHO your ideal client is. Then, speak to that one person.
Ideally, "that" person already “gets” that healing is a do-it-yourself job. They realize they can't do it alone; they need your help to get results that last. They “get” that it’s a process.
They’re invested in being successful. In some cases, so much so, that some clients mistakenly think their problem is evidence of how “messed up” they really are.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It's just that they just don’t understand how the Mind works. I often respond to this belief by saying, “Hello? Welcome to Planet Earth!" If you’re on the planet you’re bound to have issues. The question is – What are you doing about it?
What we can do is reassure the client that there’s really nothing wrong with them. We can teach them how it’s all just part of the human condition. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. They don't have to continue to struggle with the problem because you can show them a way out of the problem.
The way out is through.
Consciously embracing the Journey of becoming more self-aware and therefore more “healed” opens the door to considering how one might accomplish that. Just to be clear, my definition of “healing” is to make happy. It's restoring the body-mind to a state of well-being. This requires a highly individualized approach.
Healing hypnosis isn't a paint-by-numbers protocol. It's about adapting to the needs of each individual client. That's how you get lasting results.
How do you make a living as a healing practitioner?
Back in 2003, when I was studying Analytical and Cognitive Hypnotherapy, the healing solution was a two-phase approach. First, get a client through the initial healing program to take care of the symptoms. Then, schedule them in for regular follow-up sessions.
This was a valuable lesson for me. Here's why.
1. Healing can take time.
A once-a-month “tune-up” is not unreasonable when the issue has been around a few years. For example, if the person has been struggling with yo-yo dieting for the past 30 years they're going to need support integrating the underlying change in identity required to make the results permanent. Establishing an attitude of healing as a process can go a long way in terms of helping a client to stick with a program long enough to get the results.
This takes all the pressure off of you.
While your clients continue to move in the direction of increasing well-being, you are growing a base of satisfied customers who will refer clients to you. This allows you to enjoy a more sustainable practice.
2. You won't know unless you test the results.
The way to make a living as a healing practitioner is to deliver on your promise of results. That's what people pay for. They don't pay for hypnosis. They pay for results. The way to get a lasting result is to test to ensure that the client can hold onto the results.
The only real test of the results is in the client's daily life.
Now think about this. Most people see their hairdresser at least that often. Why not you - their mind-body healing practitioner?
3. The client is responsible for the results.
Most people will argue they can't afford your fee. Most of the time, it's just a perception that is coming out of their en-cultured belief system (B.S.). For example, they "can't afford" to resolve the free-floating anxiety that's been messing up every area of their life. Meanwhile, they're driving this year's model hybrid SUV.
It's about priorities.
It's not their fault. They were taught to value things over peace of mind. But if a person is truly strapped for cash, offer them an alternative. Offer to teach them tools and techniques that they can use on their own. You can teach them self-healing methods like self-hypnosis and tapping. Then, it's up to them to keep up their practice.
The client is responsible for their own healing. YOU can't do it for them. All you can do is guide a process or teach a technique.
You can teach self-hypnosis in one-on-one sessions. But it’s more profitable and fun to teach self-hypnosis groups. Plus, group sessions will get you more clients.
Once your students get to know you and like you they'll want to work with you in private to address deeper, more intimate issues. When that happens you'll have clients who are ready to do the work necessary to be successful working with you.
4. You need referrals.
Regardless of how you go about it, keep in mind that self-healing techniques like self-hypnosis and tapping tend to fall to the wayside once the client is feeling better. We all have busy lives. And when the client gets busy with the concerns of everyday living they forget about you.
It's up to you to stay "top of mind."
An easy way to do this is to have a follow-up system. Make sure you're staying in contact on a regular basis. This alone will get you referrals. For example, you can send out an email or a monthly newsletter. Keep it short and sweet – some tidbit of relevant information and, perhaps, a link to something inspiring, fun or entertaining. Youtube videos are always great to share.
Another great resource is e-cards. For about a buck a month you can send your entire client list an e-card. Remember them on their birthdays. Wish them well on holidays.
Staying in touch will ensure you stay "top of mind." That way, when they bump into something – which, sooner or later, they will – they’ll know what to do.
They'll call you!
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