get ready for hypnosis

How to get ready for hypnosis?

What do I need to do before a hypnotherapy session?

How do I get ready for hypnosis? Don't worry. Going to a hypnotherapist is no different from going to a physiotherapist or an optician. There is nothing you have to do before your appointment. But there are some things you might want to do.

Know what you want

Your therapist will ask you what you want to work on. ‘I don’t know’ is not a great answer. Nor is, ‘I just want to be happy!’. You will get more out of your session if you are clear on what you want.

Focus on the change you want to get. Think about what you want, what you want to do, what you want to feel after the session.

Ask yourself, ‘What would be a perfect outcome for me?’. ‘If I woke up on the morning after the session and it all worked perfectly, how would I know? What would be different? How would I feel? What could I do that I can’t do now?’ Decide what you want, not what you don’t want.

Don’t overthink your problem. Don’t worry about where it came from, or why you can’t fix it. Any answer you come up with will probably be wrong. If the answer was simple and obvious, you would have found it already.

Don’t say ‘I want to stop vaping’. That puts the focus on the problem. Say ‘I want to be able to deal with stress calmly.’ Don’t say ‘I want to lose weight’. Say ‘Next summer, I want to feel good walking down the beach in a bikini’. That is focusing on the outcome.

If you can’t put it into words, then think of an incident when you felt the emotion you want to get rid of. Tell that story to your therapist. Let your therapist work out what was going on.

If you can’t explain exactly what you want, don’t worry about it. That’s the therapist’s job, not yours. Let the therapist work it out.

However, your therapist is not a mind reader. Do not hold back on things because you feel they make you look bad, or are embarrassing, or can’t possibly be relevant. The therapist has heard it all before, and doesn’t care about what other people think. The therapist is there to help you, not judge you.

Make a list

To get ready for hypnosis, you might find it useful to write out a list. You can send the list to your therapist, but it is really for your own use.

Make a list of all the things wrong in your life. All the things you think you can’t fix. And then beside each one, write why you can’t fix it. This might not give you any answers, but it will help you to get things straight in your mind.

That list will also remind you of all the things you could do, but don’t. It forces you to think about what is stopping you. That should be the focus of your therapy.


Ask yourself ‘If this session could change just one thing on this list, what would that one thing be’? This question focuses your mind on what is important.

Don’t worry if you have a long list of issues. In therapy we usually deal with one issue per session. The therapist will choose the best one to start with.

Any show-stoppers?

Make a remember-to-mention list. These are things your therapist couldn’t know unless you tell them. These might include:

I don’t think I can be hypnotized.
I didn’t feel I was hypnotized last time.
I don’t think I can change.
I get anxious about losing control.
I am so nervous I can’t think straight.
My mind is always busy/intrusive thoughts.
I can’t relax anywhere.
I have chronic anxiety.
I have epilepsy.
I have doubts about… whatever it is.

Feel free to call the therapist in advance and talk about these.

What has changed?

The therapist will want to know, ‘Why now?’ ‘What has changed? How come you want help right now, not five years ago? Is this a new problem, or something you have had for years?’

Think about what made you decide to go to therapy. It might be useful for the therapist to know.


If your session will be online, then you need to think about how to get set up for it. Charge up your phone, lock up the kids, make sure you won’t be disturbed.

If it is an office visit, make sure you carry a note of the time, address and phone number in case you get delayed or lost on the way. If your schedule is tight, tell the therapist.

What not to do.

Don’t ask the internet about hypnosis.

If you have any doubts at all, phone a hypnotherapist. Any hypnotherapist. Call six of them, doesn’t matter. Ask to talk to the hypnotherapist personally. Every therapist, no matter how busy, is always happy to explain what they do and how they do it. You can ask whatever you want. If you are still not convinced, phone another therapist.

Don’t demand miracles.

Think about what you expect to happen. Some people expect too much from hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is safe and effective, but it is not magic. It can not fix everything in five minutes. If you have been suffering from something for ten years, you can’t demand your therapist makes it go away in an hour.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

Hypnosis is different for everyone. There is no correct reaction to hypnosis. If your experience is not what you expected, that doesn’t mean you were not hypnotized.

Some people’s minds go black and can’t remember one word of it. Other people feel awake all through it. How you will feel depends on you, on the style of therapy and on the therapist’s approach. Everyone’s reaction is unique. If you expect to go out like a light, or to be surfing rainbows, don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen that way.

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