How much time interval should there be between the first and second hypnotherapy session when the first session not very productive? Normally, during the first session, the client will achieve some new understanding and clarity. Allowing a week interval between sessions then helps the client to process the inner changes going on.
But what if the client was unable to get some tangible results from the session? For example, suppose the client has cultural differences, doesn’t really grasp the concepts, and the whole first session is spent teaching him how to feel his feelings. So we haven’t actually done any hypnotherapy. We’ve just talked.
The client wants to do the work but the session time is over. Sending him away for a week doesn’t seem fair to me and I am concerned that leaving things this long may result in the client devaluing the process. – All-We-Do-Is-Talk.
What’s the purpose of the time between sessions?
This is the question you need to ask yourself – what’s the purpose of the time between sessions?
The purpose of the first session is to lay the groundwork for the client’s (and your) success. That’s why we take the time to educate our clients about the process before beginning hypnosis.
What happens following that session will tell you how best to proceed with the client.
The healing process begins before the client arrives in your office.
The therapy begins with first contact with the client. Usually this occurs over the phone. But it could be anywhere you have the initial conversation with a prospective client.
Taking the time to do a little preliminary educating and testing over the phone, before scheduling a client, will ensure that you know what to expect during that first session. This will allow you to plan for the client’s first session, accordingly.
The goal of my first session is to create the ideal client. This takes the pressure off myself and the client to do anything more than lay the foundation for the work we will do together. And the client knows this in advance because I tell them what’s going to happen during that first session.
Some clients have anxiety about the hypnosis. Informing them about what’s going to happen in their first session allows them to relax about coming to see you.
For example, what’s going to happen?
- We’re going to spend some time getting to know one another.
- I’m going to take a history of the problem.
- I’m going to teach them what they need to know to be successful working with me – how the mind works, how hypnosis works, and how I work.
- I’m going to guide them through a short hypnosis session.
Healing isn’t an event.
My objective is to ensure the client understands that healing is a process. It’s not an event. They need to understand that, working together, we will accomplish a great deal during that first session to set them up for successful healing. That’s the purpose of them coming to see you, right?
What you accomplish in that first session really depends on the client. It might be a little. It might be a lot.
Some people come in with a readiness to just roll up their shirt sleeves and dive into work. Others are more timid; unsure of what might happen. Wherever a person is at is okay because a client-centered approach means adjusting the therapy to the needs of the client. Not the other way around.
If the client doesn’t grasp the basics then that’s where the work must begin. So, they’re not holding up the process by needing more time. They are the process.
The Subconscious Must Protect
Always keep this in the front of your mind – the Subconscious Mind’s Prime Directive is safety. Your job is to work with the Subconscious Mind. You must respect and satisfy its wishes. And until the client feels safe with you, and trusts the process, their Subconscious will not give you permission to proceed.
If allowing the client to talk for the entire first session is what is needed to provide that level of security, then that’s the needed therapy. In this case, you simply employ waking hypnosis.
The fact is, most of the time, hypnotherapy is not the first solution people turn to. Usually it’s not until they have exhausted all other options that they pick up the phone and call you. By then, they’re at wits end and feeling pretty defeated.
Often they’re frustrated because nobody has taken the time to hear them. Doctor’s appointments are often scheduled 5 minutes apart. Psychiatric sessions are usually limited to 15 minutes. Counseling sessions are usually 55 minutes.
Imagine pulling out all the stops and just letting the client have all the time they need to just get it off their chest. It can be profoundly healing for a person to be given permission to talk about their issue without feeling judged or pressured to fit into the therapeutic model.
I have had plenty of clients who have talked and cried their way through the first session. Now, I get them tapping. At the end of the session, I just have them close their eyes, and rest for a few minutes, while I pour in suggestions to empower the client, and to reinforce positive expectation toward the work we will do together in future.
Does this heal the problem?
Of course not. What it does is set the client up to be successful working with you.
Your ideal client is someone who:
- will follow your instructions
- feels safe enough to tell you the ugly truths they’ve never told another soul
- will let themselves feel their feelings to feel better
- will go where they need to go to find their healing
Obviously, this isn’t a single-session approach. It’s a client-centered approach. That’s the difference.
The time between sessions can be just as valuable as the session itself.
From a business perspective, it’s more convenient to schedule client sessions a week apart. And in most cases, this seems to allow sufficient integration time. But there are no hard-and-fast rules about how much time is needed. How could there be? The problem is in the mind of the client. So is the solution.
Besides, you can’t make a person heal any more than you can make them relax. All you can do is facilitate a process.
What happens following an emotional releasing session is the Subconscious Mind goes into a reorganizing process. It’s kind of like defragging the hard-disk on your computer. The hypnotherapy session deletes some old, outdated, unwanted thought and emotional debris. This creates space which you can then fill with suggestions.
The Subconscious Mind then goes to work optimizing the “disk space.” So, a lot is going on between sessions. And the client will very likely notice this. In fact, I always wrap up with suggestions which encourage the client to notice what comes up between sessions. What happens between sessions gives me the information I need to guide the healing process effectively.
Change doesn’t happen during the session.
Change happens between sessions, in the client’s daily life. That’s when post-hypnotic suggestions take effect. And healing with the mind is about changing erroneous perceptions.
When change occurs at the Subconscious level, the Conscious Mind needs time to integrate and accept the new level of well-being. This takes some getting used to. I learned this the hard way …
While attending a week-long training course I signed up for a series of back-to-back regression sessions. When I returned home to discover I felt “off”. And this out-of-sorts feeling hung on for about six weeks. Then I figured it out.
What was “off” was that I didn’t feel anxious anymore. I was so accustomed to feeling on-edge (a pattern established when I was 1 year old) that resolving it felt like something was missing.
Something was missing! The fear!
But nobody had explained this to me. So, I didn’t know what to expect.
Stuff is going to be shifting internally as the Subconscious Mind works on integrating change. How long that takes is anybody’s guess.
Stephen Parkhill, author of Answer Cancer, worked routinely with clients who had been sent home by their doctor to die. These cases were a race against the clock if there was any hope of eradicating the disease.
Obviously, life-threatening conditions won’t wait. So, in this case, sessions would need to be scheduled as frequently as possible. But you also need to gauge the client’s available energy reserves. It takes energy to do the healing work of regression to cause therapeutic hypnosis. This is not a passive process.
The time between sessions is how you test the results.
It’s the only real test. You send the client back into their life and find out whether the results stick.
Sometimes there’s more “gunk” to clean out. If so, it needs time to come to the surface. Situations in daily life can act as triggers for unresolved emotional conflicts. And the people closest to the client are usually the ones to do it.
I have found that clients who are overwhelmed by their emotions benefit from more frequent and/or longer sessions. They need relief and they need it now. But once we get some of the pressure off, and they’re holding their own between sessions, they do fine with weekly appointments.
The client needs “soaking in” time.
When the client is making good progress, seeing results, and unearthing rich resources and insight, I start spacing their sessions further apart. This allows them to benefit of having more “soaking in” time. It also allows time for the client to be confronted with more situations which, in the past, would have been a problem.
This just reinforces their belief in their ability to achieve real and lasting change. Ultimately, that’s what will ensure they hold onto the changes.
Suggestions can wear off. When the underlying cause of the problem has not been addressed, you’re looking at about a three-day window. Emotional healing work requires regression to cause because suggestions tend to wear off very quickly. So, if you’re dealing with an emotional issue, direct suggestion alone will tend to wear off around day 3 following a session. So, the client will feel great following the session. They’ll go back to their everyday life. Then, one of two things will happen.
Either something will happen to trigger them. Or the old, familiar feelings will start to resurface as the suggestions lose their effect.
You can adapt to the client’s schedule.
When I was a 5-PATH practitioner, I only did direct suggestion work in the first session. But I found that I could “accelerate” a client’s program by doing back-to-back sessions. For example, if a client was coming in from out of town, I would book two sessions on the same day. One in the morning. The second after lunch.
The morning session would be dedicated to laying the foundation and setting the client up to be successful working with me. Then, I would send them off for an extended lunch break. This break would be the client’s “soaking in” time.
Because the first session was direct suggestion work, there was no need to test the results. I didn’t expect to see a result because suggestions were centered around creating an expectation of successful resolution through the deeper work we do together – not as a result of the first session. That way, when the client returns for the next session, whether it be a couple of hours later, 3 days later, or a week later, they would come in primed and ready to dive into the age regression work. As a result, the regression work goes much easier for both the client and me.
So that’s it.
The time between sessions isn’t set in stone. But your first session will always be more productive if your objective is to create the ideal client.
Tangible results may not be immediately possible. But if you create a client who understands that healing is a process, who has realistic expectations regarding what’s required, and is ready, willing and able to do the work necessary to be successful working with you, the results will come.