Why is the initial consultation so important? What factors will an ethical therapist cover at this time?

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In this essay I will be discussing why an initial consultation in hypnotherapy is so important. I will be talking about the questions a hypnotherapist should ask their client and the ethical factors and contraindications the therapist should be looking out for. Whether a person is aiming to improve their self-esteem or reduce their anxiety the hypnotherapist will need to understand the client before proceeding with the therapy. I will show that an initial consultation is always a huge must before carrying out proceeding sessions on a client but there are also cons on regards to the factors that the therapist may face.

The initial consultation begins from the very first time you have contact with a client from either the initial contact or the first time an enquiry is made via a phone call or email. The purpose of the consultation is many faceted. It is the time for a therapist to explain what hypnosis is to the client and answer any questions that may arise. It gives the therapist an opportunity to establish a rapport with the client, gain them confidence and assist the client to perform several simple exercises to put them at ease. The establishment of rapport is amongst the most important objectives of the consultation and many believe that the success of the therapy depends upon it. In order to build the all important relationship the client needs to feel respected, heard, understood and liked by the therapist which is why it's important for the therapist to remain professional at all times. The therapist may advertise a free initial consultation, if they do, it should be made clear that only the first half hour is free, then if both the client and therapist are happy to continue, the client must then pay for the therapists time. This can be considered a con to some as the therapist is giving away their free time and the client may lose confidence and then never come back again. However, as stated previously it is important to build up rapport so the client cam be in a better frame of mind on regards to the therapy.

Before the therapist can decide the correct route to therapy it is necessary for them to conduct an assessment of the client during the first consultation. It is important that the goals of therapy are clarified by the client during the session and are based upon the information elicited from the client. The goals are usually attainable, realistic and appropriate to the client’s emotional state. Goals that are too ambitious or introduced prematurely can increase anxiety and may even threaten the client. The initial consultation is an important time for the therapist to get to know the client and to understand them so that when the therapist carries out the hypnotherapy sessions a hypnotic script can be tailored to suit the client. It is also the time to discuss the treatment schedule and a time, if appropriate, for an initial session of hypnosis to prepare them for what it is like and also to give the client some relaxation after completion of the administrative part of the initial consultation.

It is important that the relationship between client and therapist never oversteps the boundaries of a professional relationship, it is necessary to build a relationship with a client but this relationship may never become anything else, if at any time the therapist suspects the relationship is becoming anything but client and therapist, they must end any treatment and refer the client to another therapist. A therapist can also use the initial assessment to make sure they do not already know the person they are about to treat, this is called a dual relationship. The therapist must also ensure they do not have any other personal feelings for the client. General conversation can often get a client to consider things that they may not have considered previously. The presenting condition is often not the real issue and it may take time for the client to realise and put into words other issues they may have....
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