An initial consultation is the bedrock of any talking therapy and its importance cannot be underestimated. This is the period of time when rapport is be established (or not). The essentials of the client are garnered, boundaries are established, contract agreed, issues identified and a personalised course of therapy is formulated.
In the essay I would like to examine and discuss the initial consultation in relation to the ethical issues it poses for a hypnotherapist. In order to achieve rapport and obtain all the relevant information that is required to assess and treat a client. It all begins with communication skills, like active listening and awareness of barriers to communication, along with reading non-verbal cues, listening to and interpreting silence, being aware of- and providing- a calm, confidential, safe therapeutic space and having a formal contract. It is also important to have self- knowledge, awareness and to be prepared to continue updating professional knowledge.
An initial consultation is the starting point in which both parties can assess each other. A standard notation form can be used. See Fig. 1. Notation Form
The initial session can be offered at a full/reduced rate, or free - the choice is up to the individual. My inclination would be to offer the first half hour free and include a short Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). Most people seeing a therapist for the first time are most likely feeling anxious and vulnerable. A free consultation is more likely to encourage someone to seek help, if there is no cost, allowing them to make that decision based on their desire for change rather than investing in something they have no experience of. It also serves as an ice breaker and an opportunity to dispel any misconceptions about hypnosis. If they choose not to proceed, I have only lost half an hour but have probably gained something from that interaction
The Hypnotherapy society provides a code of...