What happens during The Free Initial Consultation?
At OId Town Hypnotherapy we offer a one-hour free initial consultation to all prospective clients, either in clinic or online. This short video explains what to expect during this consultation.
The Initial Consultation is a free session of up to one hour that we offer to people who might be looking for help but would like to understand more about what we do.
As Hypnotherapists we are very aware that there are still many myths and misconceptions around exactly what hypnotherapy is and how it works. There are also various types of hypnotherapists who practice in different ways.
At OTH we believe it’s important to give people the opportunity to come along for a free hour, meet their therapist, ask questions and talk through the process without having to make a financial commitment.
The initial consultation is an informal and friendly meeting and involves the therapist collecting information about the individual and we have a form to do this. The information we collect starts off with basic information – address and date of birth for example. This information is inputted into our computer system after the initial consultation and used to create the client record. We do not give your information to anybody else, and all records are protected and secure under the data protection legislation.
We then collect some more in-depth information that helps us to determine mental health. We will ask about things like quality of sleep, level of exercise, the client’s family situation, health conditions and medication. We will ask if the client is suffering from certain aliments that are often linked to anxiety such as irritable bowel syndrome or migraines or even conditions that are contraindicated for treatment with hypnosis. All this information gives us an insight into the individual and how they are coping with life and also the type of personality they are so we can tailor their treatment.
We then get into what has brought them to the IC and what their hopes are. We always phrase our questions in a solution focused way so instead of asking ‘what is the problem?’, we would ask ‘how would you like us to help you?’ and ‘what would you like to achieve by coming here?’.
Unlike other therapeutic interventions, we do not need to know the details. If, for example, a client is experiencing panic attacks that they believe started due to an abusive relationship, we won’t be asking them to expand on the details of the abusive relationship. We always look forward not backwards, and a bit later in the initial consultation we explain why we work this way. For many this is a huge relief. They may have been over and over challenging life events by the time we see them and are keen to move forward.
The next bit of the initial consultation often tests our therapist’s creative ability as we draw a diagram of the brain and explain the neuroscience behind our approach. We explain to the client why they are feeling the way they are feeling, why their sleep may be disrupted and or they are perhaps craving sweet food or why they are having panic attacks or low moods. We talk about neurotransmitters and the things we need to do to create the healthy ones that help to cope with life. In my experience clients usually find this part of the session helpful.
Once we have done the science bit, we open a discussion on hypnosis and what the client already knows about it. We explain how we use hypnosis therapeutically and how that may feel. We answer any questions the client may have about hypnosis.
At some point we will introduce the client to our client booklet. This is also free, and it is a consolidation of the initial consultation for the client to take away and digest. It is a lot of information to take in and the booklet enables the client to refresh their memories. It has a special section at the back for clients to report progress and bring into each session. It also gives details on how to download a therapeutic hypnosis track, a really important part of the therapy and also completely free.
We will also discuss the housekeeping bit – prices, cancellation policies etc.
We wind up the session but asking if there are any questions the clint has that may help them decide if they want to come back. If they feel ready we invite them to book in for their first session. At this point we ask them to sign the ‘therapy contract’ and this covers details that we have already discussed. To download the audio track, the costs per session, the cancellation policy, confidentiality etc.
If we have a child as a potential client, we encourage the parents to come for the initial consultation before we meet the child. The child version for the initial consultation is quite different and we believe it is important the parents understand the process. The only other exception is smokers, who attend a one-off two-hour session. In this case we are always happy to have a chat on the phone before they attend to answer questions.
So that is the initial consultation. Designed to answer questions, build rapport and collect information for the client and therapist. Clients usually leave upbeat and excited to begin.
If you are considering about booking in for the free initial consultation, this is what to expect. I hope you’ve found it helpful.