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What do you do when hypnotherapy fails?

By Jenny Lynn

Hypnotherapy failing? Can't be so. Anyone who's been in business for six months or more knows that hypnotherapy can fail. It can fail because not everyone responds to it and perhaps because you aren't yet proficient enough to know when to use it and when not to use it.

What do I mean with that? Well, sometimes rapport building is more important than any intervention you make. If you haven't done your rapport building so that your client trusts you, you could do hypnotherapy interventions till the cows come home and still your client would be untouched by it.

Jenny Lynn
Jenny Lynn
BA, PGCE, High dip SACH Hyp, GHR (reg), MHA, LNCP

is an integrative therapist using psychotherapy, counselling and hypnotherapy.
Jenny is based at Great Dunmow, Essex and been in professional practice for nine years, providing training for seven years in her specialism, Chronic Fatigue.
She is a m
ember of General Hypnotherapy Register, a licentiate member of National Council of Psychotherapists
member of Hypnotherapy Association
amd a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy registran. She has been employed by the NHS to provide hypnotherapy for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /ME and has run a general  hypnotherapy clinic at a GP surgery.

Jenny's website can be found at

This essay has reproduced with kind permission of the author from Jenny Lynn's blog

If you don't know how to maintain rapport and to guide your client to where they need to go, not where you want them to go, then you'll fall out of rapport and end up with an unhappy client. Gaining rapport is important. Maintaining it is even more so but can be quite tricky.


So how do we cater to our clients needs as they change and grow AND maintain rapport with them? It's like asking you to cook the dinner, wash the floor, do the ironing oh and manage the kids all at once! And to be egalitarian, this is not just women's work!

Let's take an imaginary client. You've done your analysis, your regression, your inner child work and suggestion and the client seems to have grown and reports feeling less burdened. You prepare to let him go and in the next session he tells you he's slipped back and feels as fed up as he did a few sessions before. Heart sink! What do you do now?

Well, if you'd been in rapport throughout your sessions and understood the pitfalls of personal development you may have been able to anticipate this coming. And I'll tell you why.

Many people who have hangovers from the past that stop them being happy in the here and now, have also created circumstances in the here and now that reflect their histories. For example, a man who considered he had to marry someone because of his inability to speak up for himself, and realises he felt bamboozled into it, still has an unhappy marriage to deal with. Does he sort it out, divorce her, or develop some other strategy to stay within the marriage while feeling better about himself? These are big questions. Therapy doesn't stop at sorting out self esteem issues from the past.

So after a run of good sessions, your client comes in saying they feel worse than ever. What do you do? Do you do another analysis or do you listen as to what maintenance factor is that is contributing to his former patterns? In the above client's case, the maintenance factor is his marriage which he is unhappy in. How do you support him?

Are you going to refer him on to marriage guidance or to another service? Or are you going to change approach and start working much more on his challenges in the here and now?

If you want to understand more about working in the here and now then you need to be aware of how to work in a cognitive kind of style integrating it with a range of models and approaches. That means, challenging a person's thinking and belief system and clarifying with them what it is they want to achieve.

It also means trusting when a client has reached the end of a process with you and will come back for more whenever they are ready to.

© 2009 Jenny Lynn – all rights reserved