When you want to learn something new (or even add to your learning), it is natural to seek information about your learning options and how much each option will cost. This blog explores some key points you might consider in your search for hypnosis or hypnotherapy training and development. It will look at a range of options and consider some of the pros and cons of various pricing strategies, including super cheap and mega expensive training courses. In the examples, we focus mainly on online training (and even a little about books), but much of this information can be applied to in-person training too!
Introduction – you have lots to consider
A great place to start your search for hypnosis training is with you! Think about what you want to use hypnosis for and what you need to learn in order to do that. It can be good to recognise what you already know and how that knowledge might contribute towards your goals. Being clear initially about what you want to do means that you can target your search more accurately. There are vast differences between learning some cool hypnosis skills to use in the pub or at a party, and hypnotising 20 people in front of a large corporate audience, or working with a therapy client who has a serious issue.
You might also think about how you learn best (reading/watching/practicing) and what you are prepared to invest in your development, not just financially, but in terms of effort, time and travel. Also consider the significance that this new learning will have for you. If it is something that you’re only likely to use ‘once in a blue moon’, you are likely to invest less overall than if you’re looking for an entire career change, or serious hobby, as an example.
Where do you look?
In modern times, a ‘Google search’ is often most people’s first action when wanting to find something out. This is a great, free, source of information. However, it is rather like a giant pick-and-mix, as a vast range of material will be listed, often according to how popular (note, not how accurate or relevant to you) a website is. For example, a search today with the word ‘hypnosis’ came back with over 103 million results. Even more complicated is that the order of what comes up on your list is influenced by a vast number of factors including previous searches, which browser you are using, where you are located in the country and many other subtle points. Anyone can publish a website or page on hypnosis, even if they know little, nothing, or, perhaps worse, have strongly biased or erroneous view on the topic. If they put a lot of effort into ‘search engine optimisation’ (SEO) then their website will come up before others, irrespective of whether the others have more accurate content.
Also, when using Google it’s worth being aware that some results you will see (often at the top of your search) are sponsored/paid for, and could potentially be less directly relevant to you. For example, a Google search today for ‘stage hypnosis course UK’ had four paid adverts for hypnotherapy schools, none of which actually teach stage hypnosis. So, it’s often worth skipping the ads and looking at the regular (‘organic’) listings. There is a lot of great free information available online, it’s just about learning how best to find it in amongst the less-relevant stuff!
Prior to the instant nature of an internet search, you may have sought information from a book. These ‘ancient relics’ still exist (and continue to be quite popular), and outside of Amazon.com they can be found (for free or low cost) at your local library! Did you know you can request a copy of a book and even if the library haven’t got it at that moment, they can likely source a copy for you? If you are less patient, then e-books offer ‘instant gratification’ and are also more transportable, whether on a kindle or other e-reader, your phone, tablet or laptop. If you prefer to use bookmarks or even a pencil or highlighter, then used books can be another inexpensive option if you are on a budget. For the ‘foundations’ of hypnosis, an older book is likely to offer you something similar to a newly written one. However, keep in mind, that just like with websites, anyone can publish a book. So, even if a person knows nothing about hypnosis, they could still write and publish a book on the topic. This is even easier in these times of self-publishing. So, it can be good to check out the credibility of any author and always look at book reviews on Amazon (even if you’re only intending to buy a second hand copy or grab one from the library).
Back to the computer, and online videos are yet another popular source of information about hypnosis and videos on YouTube are free to watch (well apart from ‘spending time’ watching the adverts!). Many excellent hypnotists and professional hypnotherapists have YouTube channels and it can be an unlimited source of useful information. However, yet again, just like websites and books, there are no entry criteria in terms of knowledge, skills or qualifications in order for people to put material up on YouTube. This can be less problematic once you have some training as you will understand the key concepts and be able to be more discriminating in your selection of informative videos. For a complete novice however, there is a risk of being led into poor practice and misconceptions. It can then be harder to re-learn a safe, effective and ethical way of using hypnosis than to learn it right in the first place. Just a little something to be aware of. A great place to start on YouTube is our own YouTube channel and also the HypnoTC YouTube channel (our sister company).
Hypnosis course options
So, outside of the free stuff, where can you get decent quality information and training in hypnosis? Well, luckily, in most parts of the world, there are a range of options. Most people will think of attending a course and may look at local options first. However, hypnosis is rarely taught (sadly) at your local adult education college, hence your search may take you to the internet in order to look at event providers (e.g. Eventbrite in the UK), individual trainers websites, and professional associations listings of events.
Are attended classes a good starting point? Well, for many people they can be. Particularly if you learn best in a collaborative class environment. However, live classes might not be provided on a convenient date, and the cost (and practicality) of the travel and potentially accommodation can soon add to the overall cost of the actual course. It’s also worth keeping in mind that you are also likely to get your training in relatively large (e.g. full day) chunks, so if you only have limited available study time, this can be an issue. Another thing to be aware of (in the UK at least), the same as with websites, books and videos, anyone can set up a hypnosis training course and advertise it – there are no laws to prohibit this. However, as attended courses are generally more of an investment, people tend to check out the trainers a little more thoroughly. If the trainer has no evidence of knowledge, skill and experience, they are unlikely to get many bookings. We highly recommend, if you are looking to become a hypnotist as a profession, whether for therapy or entertainment, that you do (at some point) take a live training course or at least engage in 1-to-1 mentoring alongside your book/online training, to ensure that your practical skills are sufficient for you to work safely and effectively. This is especially important for hypnotherapists, as working with clients who have emotional/behavioural issues will often require a great deal of practical experience and face-to-face supervision – this is why our own hypnotherapy diploma course is over 450 hours in duration (as an example).
Another option, and one that is becoming increasingly popular, is to find good quality online hypnosis training courses. This is a great option for several reasons. Firstly, as online training is predominantly video-based, the training website will often have some information about the trainers which is easy to check out. Also, you’re likely to get an overview of each online course and perhaps even an extract or sample to judge if it is right for your needs before you sign up – another great opportunity to check whether the trainer is right for you too. Then, when you sign up, you are able to study at a time and place and for the duration that suits you best. An online course tends to be less of a financial investment than a live, attended course, so if you are unsure of whether hypnosis/hypnotherapy is a direction you want to take, then you are making a more appropriate investment in finding out.
Even if you are generally accustomed to learning in a class environment, online courses certainly have their place (and often have a peer support group too, such as our very own ‘Hypnotic Learners’ Facebook group, meaning you get to interact with other students and also your tutors, just as you would in person). By developing your hypnosis foundation knowledge beforehand using online courses, you will generally get more out of any subsequent online or attended hypnosis courses because you will have established a framework on which you can build new knowledge. Whatever your starting point, whether you have no knowledge or a vast knowledge and years of experience, there is still more that can be learned that will add to your skills and understanding.
Super quick and ultra-cheap online options – pros and cons
It can be tempting to get a cheap or quick solution to a training need. A quick search (yes, on Google again) found online hypnosis, hypnotherapy and stage/street hypnosis courses starting at around £13 upwards (GBP). Particularly if it is just a passing interest, cheap may initially be an attractive option. However, a cheap course on a broad topic (such as hypnosis or hypnotherapy) will often be shorter and have less relevant content than you might need in order to get started. It is true that with the benefits of scalability (so a course can be far reaching), that online training costs can be significantly lower than attended classes (as no teaching room is required, the teacher doesn’t have to travel to class, etc.). However, you must always keep quality of training in mind. Not all online hypnosis training courses are created equal.
Also, with those ultra-cheap courses you are unlikely to get ongoing support. Which is fine if you already know enough to filter good information from bad, and if you are tech-savvy enough to be able to download and engage with the course content, but otherwise, you might be left to ‘sink or swim’, with only a (non-hypnotist) customer service representative on the phone to assist you. As the cheap ‘no frills’ courses are often just a collection of notes and possibly videos that you automatically download, there is generally little in the way of engagement with others on the course (e.g. a student forum) and you’re also unlikely to be offered individual mentoring with your tutors. This lack of peer/supervisor support can lead to weak motivation, poor skills and a high ‘drop-out’ rate. This is why we (and some other great online hypnosis trainers) have designed our training platforms to meet all the needs of the avid online student, and to support your ongoing development and success moving forwards.
Finally, as online training is now available on a global basis, the training provider’s reputation and relevance to the profession will often indicate the quality of the courses they provide. This will have an impact not just on the learner but that learner’s clients. Whether therapy clients or clients who’re booking hypnotic entertainers, the ease of accessing information means that clients may want to check out who provided your training. If they find that you were trained by a bargain-basement course and a trainer with little-to-no training credentials, will they have confidence in your skills and abilities? Perhaps not… So, cheaper isn’t always better!
Mega long and/or hugely expensive online options – pros and cons
On that same ‘online hypnotherapy training’ Google search, some of the results were promoting online courses that were certainly not cheap, some costing upwards of £1000+. So, if you are not looking at the super cheap options, does this mean that ‘luxury’, ‘longest’ or the most expensive options are then automatically the best? Well, possibly not. They may have a longer duration, more frills, and perhaps even online exams, maybe even accessible and relevant support. Yet if part of the price relates to content that isn’t right for you, then you maybe be paying for stuff that you don’t actually need. As a common example, there are many online hypnotherapy courses that also cover other therapy modalities as well as hypnotherapy, such as a hypnotherapy + counselling course, or a hypnotherapy + reiki course, etc. Also, by ‘paying a lot’ for an online training, you may be lulled into an unrealistic perception of your practical skills, believing that a large investment should equate to fast and effective skill development. However, this is unlikely to be true most of the time. For example, you could watch £1,000-worth of ‘high quality’ videos on how to drive a car, yet until you actually put the methods you’ve learned in place, sit behind the wheel, and get practical experience, you are unlikely to master the technique. Whatever training you engage with, it’s likely to require an additional investment of hours, perhaps even days and weeks of your time, developing your practical skills and integrating your learnings. Unfortunately, paying more isn’t a shortcut to avoid this!
Hopefully, whichever online courses you are looking at, they will have a transparent pricing structure. Some online training (and live training too) has been known to have additional fees, recurring payments and even hidden costs. This could be as simple as an examination or certification fee (I was once charged such a fee, AND extra for postage of my certificate too), or it could be more costly, such as mandatory 1-to-1 sessions with a tutor. Ideally, you want to know all of the fees up front so you can ensure you’re getting the best deal. Also, check how long you will have access to the teaching material for. Some courses are time limited (e.g. must complete within a year), others have time-limited access whether you complete or not. If the material can be downloaded, you may wish to find out if you get free updates if the material is reviewed, or whether you would have to pay for it. Finally, another possible hidden cost is the ‘time-limited certification’. Some online certificates say that the training is only valid for certain a period of time (e.g. 1 to 3 years), meaning you’d need to ‘re-certify’ after that time. Look for a provider who is transparent about exactly what is offered, at what cost and by whom.
Optimising your learning experience
Some of the advantages of online courses may be made even better by making sure that you optimise them thoroughly. Firstly, there are likely to be a significantly larger number of courses to choose from when you look at online hypnosis courses, particularly if you consider international training providers too. This means that you can pick the course that most closely suits your needs and preferred delivery style. Creating a shortlist can help and then checking out the fine details about what you will get, how and by whom can assist you in selecting the best option for you, as well as being able to compare costs vs. content.
The next possible advantage is availability. Most online courses can be started at any point. However, where there is time-restricted training e.g. webinars and online focus groups, this may be more limiting, so it’s worth finding out that you are 100% able to ‘attend’ all aspects of your chosen training beforehand, otherwise you might miss out on essential components. Again, this is where courses that give you lifetime access to training materials can be more beneficial.
Also, speed is a factor. Some online courses have guideline ‘hours’ that tell you how long it will take to complete the course (or how many hours of video and manual pages there are). This offers great flexibility in terms of fitting your training in with your real-world life. However, it can be tempting, for some, to blast through the course to get to the end. As a result, you may only gain a superficial knowledge of the course material. If the course doesn’t have built-in checks of learning and understanding, then you could add these in yourself to ensure that you are really getting the most out of every single piece of information. Remember, particularly with a well-designed and well-supported course, there are real people behind the course that you are doing who will truly want you to succeed and develop as a hypnotist, I know that we certainly do!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on hypnosis training costs and options. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks