Online hypnotherapy sessions are becoming increasingly popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many therapy clinics currently closed or offering only very limited services. But is online hypnotherapy a real alternative? Is it the same as face-to-face sessions? Does it work? Like most people, due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, I’m spending a lot more of my time at home at the moment, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a look at what online hypnotherapy involves and maybe answer some of the questions that you might have if you’re considering seeking help from an online therapist.
What is online hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis audio downloads have been available to buy online for a number of years now, with MP3 downloads available for pretty much any emotional or psychological issue that you can think of.
A more recent development in the field of online therapy, are therapy apps, where you can access different types of talking therapies on demand via an app on your phone or tablet. For a regular monthly subscription, Apps such as Betterhelp and Talkspace provide access to counselling via text, audio or video messaging. However, most of these apps tend to be limited in the type of therapies they offer, with most focusing on providing counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy. At the time of writing this post, other than pre-recorded hypnosis audio products, live one-to-one online hypnotherapy sessions with a therapist via a subscription based app are not yet available.
Since the introduction of online video software such as Skype, FaceTime and Zoom, many hypnotherapists now provide one-to-one therapy sessions online as well as working with clients in-person. This means that you can benefit from working one-to-one with your choice of hypnotherapist, without having to travel or take time off work to attend appointments. Most hypnotherapy and talking therapy techniques can also be used online, so you can benefit from the same therapies and techniques as used in face-to-face sessions. You also have a much larger pool of hypnotherapists to choose from when it comes to picking a therapist to work with. The right therapist for you isn’t always the nearest; they may be in a different town or even a different country. With online therapy, you can choose the right therapist for you.
Are online hypnotherapy sessions the same as face-to-face sessions?
Yes and no. The online therapy experience can’t be exactly the same as a face-to-face session, simply because you and your therapist are not in the same physical location. When you meet your therapist for the first time, if you are attending a clinic, you would probably shake hands with them, but this isn’t possible when meeting online. However, once you become familiar with communicating via video software, most other aspects of a typical therapy session are more or less the same.
Some therapists (including hypnotherapists) are wary of providing therapy online because they feel that it is more difficult to assess a client’s body language and emotional state over an internet connection. There are also more practical considerations such as client welfare and safety; for example if a client were to become unwell during an online session, how could the therapist ensure that their client received the help they needed? I must admit that these things concerned me to begin with as well. However, just as with face-to-face sessions, online hypnotherapy is a two-way partnership where the client works together with their therapist. With common sense and planning, most of these perceived obstacles can be overcome.
Therapy session location and facilities
Two of the main differences between online and face-to-face hypnotherapy sessions are the location and facilities available. If you’re considering online hypnotherapy, here are some of the considerations to bear in mind:
Online hypnotherapy sessions are usually conducted via video software such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime, so you will need access to a computer, tablet or mobile phone with a suitable webcam and microphone. The computer or mobile device that you are using for your session should be:
- Connected to a reliable internet connection for the duration of each session. Mobile internet can sometimes be unreliable or patchy, so a good WiFi connection is strongly recommended.
- Capable of being stood or propped up on its own without being held. You will need both hands free and the therapist must be able to see you clearly throughout the session.
- Fully charged with all software up to date.
You will need to have access to a suitable location for your online hypnotherapy session, where your privacy, confidentiality and safety can be maintained. Points to consider when choosing a location for your session include:
- Letting anyone else who may be present such as family or friends, know that you do not want to be disturbed during your session.
- Making sure that you have somewhere comfortable to sit or lie down.
- Ensuring that you can easily see your laptop, tablet or mobile phone without needing to hold it.
- Keeping background noises and disturbances to a minimum to ensure that you can focus on the session.
Does online hypnotherapy work?
Online hypnotherapy sessions can work very well and can help people to make lasting changes, but it’s important to remember that hypnosis is not a magic pill. You cannot be ‘made’ to do something that you do not want to do, even in hypnosis. The only person who can ‘make’ you do anything, is you.
Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference; some people prefer to participate in face-to-face sessions and others prefer the greater flexibility available with online sessions. Whether you choose to work with a hypnotherapist in-person or online, your participation and motivation remain essential, both during your sessions and also when completing any therapy tasks or exercises between your sessions.
If you’re looking for online hypnotherapy sessions, in addition to sessions at the clinic in Leeds, I also provide hypnotherapy and talking therapy sessions online via Zoom. You can discover more by visiting my website here.