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Why Is the Initial Consultation So Important? What Factors Will an Ethical Therapist Cover at This Time?

Essay by   •  November 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  2,233 Words (9 Pages)  •  3,163 Views

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The initial consultation is always important in therapy. This essay will determine the reasons why the initial consultation is so important and will discuss the factors that an ethical therapist will cover during that time. The initial consultation is probably one of the most crucial aspects in hypnotherapy as it can determine the dynamics involved in, and the eventual success of the hypnotherapy. The initial consultation can be a very powerful tool for both the client and the hypnotherapist. First impressions will be formed during the initial conversation between the client and the hypnotherapist. It is where the client can tell the hypnotherapist about themselves and can also learn about the hypnotherapist therefore leading the client to decide whether hypnotherapy is the right cause of action for them.

Potential clients may be hesitant, nervous, and or sceptical about the idea of hypnosis. They may have certain preconceptions of hypnotism from how it is often portrayed in the media and for entertainment purposes etc and so the initial consultation enables the therapist to walk the client through the processes involved in hypnotherapy and to explain how it can help the client and hopefully alleviate any fears that the client may have so that the client feels comfortable and safe. The initial consultation will also set out the foundations of the relationship between the client and therapist that is hopefully based on trust and understanding so that the client and the therapist both achieve the best results from the therapy.

During the initial consultation it is important that the client feels comfortable and calm and often the consultation room plays a role in how the client will feel during the therapy session. Many therapists will opt for two similar chairs for the talking part of the session and will perhaps opt for something more comfortable for the hypnosis part such as a reclining chair or a long sofa etc, something that the client feels comfortable with and can relax in so that the best results can be achieved for the hypnotherapy session. The environment and décor will also play a roll in how well the therapist will be able to relax and respond to the therapist.

Whilst it is important for the client to feel comfortable around their therapist and for the client to be hypnotised in a comfortable environment it is also important for the therapist to maintain professionalism at all times and for their consultation room to be appropriate as well as comfortable for the client. It is imperative that the client understands that he or she is there to see the therapist in their capacity as a professional therapist. Milton Erickson (1901-1980) believed that the unconscious part of a human's mind was always aware of what was happening regardless of whether the client was in a state of hypnosis or not. As a result, he believed that suggestions could be made which would have a hypnotic influence on the client to some degree.

Erickson (1901 - 1980) was known for being quite the practical joker and it was not uncommon for him to slip indirect suggestions into his everyday conversations etc so what may have seemed to be a normal conversation to some was actually the influence of hypnotic suggestion to one's subconscious mind. Erickson would also exploit his clients even when he or she was not present with him in the consultation room. Masson (1988) criticised Erickson and questioned the accuracy of Erickson's studies. Masson believed that Erickson's behaviour towards his clients was often inappropriate and unprofessional as a result of his cruel and crude jokes and "therapist-as-boss" attitude.

As we discussed earlier whilst it is important for the client to feel comfortable with their therapist it equally important that an appropriate and professional relationship is built between the client and therapist that is based on trust and understanding and a suitable environment that is not too relaxed is important to achieve this. whilst the client should feel able to relax, he or she should understand that the environment in which they are surrounded in during the therapy session is an environment in which professionalism is maintained at all times. Whilst it is important for a good first impression to be formed during the initial consultation, should the client not feel comfortable around their therapist then it will not matter what type of décor the therapist has chosen.

Whilst the initial consultation is important for the client to assess whether hypnotherapy is appropriate for them it is essential for the therapist as it provides them with the chance to get to know their client and for the therapist to establish whether hypnotherapy is suitable for the client. It is also a chance for the therapist to also establish the most appropriate course of action to achieve a successful state of hypnosis. During the initial consultation the therapist can gather as much information as appropriate about the client that is essential for the therapy to take place. The therapist will establish whether they will be able to work with the client effectively and more appropriately they will be able to establish whether the client is known to the therapist in any other way and whether they are sexually attracted to their client or not. The initial consultation is also an opportunity for the therapist to find out about the client's personal background and medical history. It is important for the therapist to establish whether the client is on any medication, particularly anti-psychotic and antidepressant medication, and to find out about the client's family history and to gain an understanding of the client's relationships within his or her family, and establish whether there is anything to be concerned about.

The initial consultation will enable the therapist to establish whether the client has ever undergone any type of therapy in the past and also determine the reasons why the client has chosen to undertake hypnotherapy. The therapist will be able to determine what the client hopes to achieve from the hypnotherapy. The client may have had particular experiences throughout their lives that have led them to the hypnotherapist and it is important for the therapist to ask the client whether they have ever experienced any problems that have affected their self esteem etc. Once the therapist has established the reasons why the client has chosen to undertake hypnotherapy and whether the client is a suitable candidate etc the therapist can draw up a contract and discuss payment and the most appropriate time in which to carry this out is during the initial consultation.

We are all individuals and unique in our own way. Each client that presents

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