Written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks
Whether you are practicing your hypnosis skills with friends, practicing your new skills or building on your experience, managing your session time has many benefits and avoids some of the pitfalls that poor time management can lead to. This blog explores what you can do to effectively manage your session time.
Why manage your hypnosis session time?
Just imagine for a moment that you are sitting in the waiting room of your dentist. Your appointment is for 10am. Being punctual, you are there 10 minutes early, to ensure you are settled and ready for your appointment. You read through the leaflets, you read through the magazines, you even go through all your emails or social media posts. Time ticks past. Each time you check your watch, you start to get a little more ‘something’… perhaps angry, perhaps unsettled, maybe even anxious. That calm state you may have arrived in is starting to transition into something less positive. By the time you actually go in to see the dentist, you may be anything but calm. The dentist then has to work harder to build rapport. Interestingly, they may also need to do some work rebuilding trust. Starting late can affect our trust in a professional. After all, if they were professional, surely, they would be able to manage their time. Furthermore, it could be perceived that they consider themselves more important than you and that their time is more important than yours; because you can wait for them to be ready.
With your dentist, though, as long their technical skills are good, you may overlook their timekeeping. After all, the previous client may have had problems, or there could be other reasons for the delay. However, with a talking therapist, hypnotist, hypnotherapist or even a friend, keeping someone waiting can have an adverse effect on rapport and ‘therapeutic alliance’. The forming of a therapeutic relationship goes beyond liking or trusting the person you are working with. This is nothing new. Although Sigmund Freud initially kept a professional distance from his clients (physically and therapeutically), later in his career he started to appreciate the benefits of a connection between the therapist and the client.
In contrast, Carl Jung, a colleague and then opponent to Freud, considered that there should be free discussion between therapist and client and that this exploration of thoughts and feelings was important. Further on, in psychology development, Carl Rogers and ‘humanistic theory’ directly considered the relevance and importance of person-centred therapy and the therapeutic relationship. You may already be familiar with one of his key concepts of ‘unconditional positive regard’ (UPR).
Time management considerations
Coming back to starting on time, hopefully it is clear that time-keeping is important for rapport. There are some useful strategies that you can employ to help be successful in your time management. Firstly, rather than being on time, whether to your friends house where you’ve agreed to do an impromptu ‘street hypnosis‘ type demonstration, or to the therapy session, be early. Certainly, if you are seeing a client or practice partner, it is far better to arrive early, so that you can settle and be calm at the start, rather than arriving flustered, and so they can do the same.
You might wonder whether you could start your session early if your client or practice partner is early. It can be best to ask them, rather than assume. They may have wanted a few minutes to collect their thoughts or to attend to some emails on their phone in peace. If your client doesn’t arrive on time, it can be useful to have a policy of using the remaining time in the scheduled session. Thus, if they are 20 minutes late for an hour’s session, they get 40 minutes. This helps maintain professional boundaries and encourages clients to work to be punctual.
Just as it is important, and respectful, to start on time, it is equally important to end on time. However, ending on time can be more difficult. It needs the therapist or hypnotist to plan and think ahead. If you have a very talkative client or practice partner, it can be a challenge to cut them off at an appropriate point. Far better to notice when you are perhaps 10 minutes before the end of the session and announce this, so that they know to tell you the most relevant parts. Why not just run on? Well, there are several reasons why you will do well to finish on time. If you over-run it can be stressful for your client.
Firstly, from a practical perspective, the person you are working with may have another commitment, or may have paid for parking, or have a train to catch. As soon as they are aware of time issues, they will start to become less and less focused on you and more and more focused on the passing of time.
Secondly, you can over-work your client or practice partner. Whilst you may be thoroughly enjoying doing whatever it is you are doing, for clients and volunteers, it can be hard work, intensive or overwhelming. Just imagine spending an hour going into and out of hypnosis repeatedly as someone practices their inductions. With the fractionation effect, they will end up going deeper each time. By the end of a session, they could just want to go to sleep! For therapy clients, working on issues can be intense, and if you push on too much, you can move from collaboration and co-operation through to exhaustion and resistance. That resistance then can build after the session and there can be a reluctance or holding back in future sessions. You want to keep your therapy clients engaged, and avoid disengagement by ‘overworking’ them!
Thirdly, from a practical hypnotherapy perspective, stopping on time gives you time to write up your notes before seeing your next client. If you are hypnotising friends, you are unlikely to be writing case notes, but you might do well to take some time to reflect on what you did, what went well, what didn’t, what you learned and what you could do differently in future. The same reflective process applies to client work, but you are also likely to write up more detailed notes about the client’s issues and goals immediately after the session. It’s important to allow time for this.
By effectively managing your time, whether as a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, you are clearly defining the parameters for the session and both you and the person you are working with can commit to that known timescale, resulting in more engagement and potentially stronger outcomes. We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog on managing hypnosis session time, and 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