No place for an ego in hypnotherapy

My fellow hypnotists and hypnotherapists, can we talk?

I mean really talk.

There has been this strange phenomena that I have seen from time to time among live hypnotism groups as well as on chat forums. This feeling that there is only space for one “real” hypnotist or professional hypnotherapist in these groups designed to teach newbies hypnosis.  Some might remove from the teaching groups and classes anyone who fails to go into and maintain a trance. Why? Because it makes the group leader look bad.  This is even worse if this person being removed is another hypnosis professional who is trying to expand their hypnosis knowledge.  Now I can see if we are up on stage and we are performing a show, of course what you do is send the person back into the audience, you don’t kick them out of the venue.

For example, I am a hypnotherapist, but would like to see how street and stage hypnosis performers work as that is very different from what I do on a daily basis.  I admire the stage hypnotists and their ability to have a lot of fun with hypnosis all while I work on breaking bad habits like smoking, weight loss, habit control, and psychological trauma.  I tend to be very willing to allow other hypnotists to practice on me so that I might learn different inductions or understand at a deeper level what the experience is supposed to be like.  I refuse to do to anything to any client something that I have not personally experienced.  I tend to be curious as to how I, as a conditioned somnambulist, do not enter trance with stage, while a standard hypnotherapy appointment will cause me to enter trance as soon as I enter the door and am tagged as being one of the easiest people for students to work on. If I do not go into trance for you, that is no reason to think someone did something wrong. You cannot force a subject into trance.

The fact is this profession is definitely an unusual one and one that tends to have many popular references to us being ego-centric or simply evil.  What benefit is it to us to have that ego?  What benefit is it to act like children?  Ego stands in the way of being a successful hypnotist.

In clinical hypnotherapy, we often remind the client that they are the ones in control.  We just help and facilitate the trance state.  Hypnosis is not something that one does to a person, it’s something that a hypnotist does with a person.  I do not make my clients go into trance while I play them like a puppet.  No!  A person can only do what they wish to do when in trance and both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.  I tend to go into trance with my clients to show that this is not scary and I tend to lead them and coax them in.  I also consider the relationship between a client and their hypnotherapist to be almost sacred.

There is no place for an ego if a client does not want to go into trance.  It does not mean that someone failed as a hypnotist.  It may just mean that the client has something going on and that they might have an issue on that particular day maintaining trance even if they are a conditioned subject who loves to enter into trance… a hypnojunkie as it were, just like me.

I ask my fellow hypnotists for the love of the profession to please not be so cocky.  It just serves no one especially not the profession.  One should try to help our fellow hypnotists better serve the clients that they are supposed to help.  Like there is no place for an ego in psychology, there is none in hypnotherapy.  It’s all about helping the client.


Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist in Augusta, Georgia.  He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype.  He can be reached at or afterhourshypnotherapy @ .