We often receive enquiries from members about running their own group sessions and what an excellent way to generate more business, spread the word about the benefits of hypnotherapy and help others at the same time.
If you're new to group presentations the prospect can be a bit unnerving at first but once it's over, the feeling of euphoria (and relief) is second to none. Below are a few tips to help you prepare.
- Practise what you preach. Yes, that means using self-hypnosis to overcome any doubts about your ability. Presumably you are already a successful hypnotherapist, so you'll know the procedure of creating and utilising anchors and positive affirmations. You've used them on your clients, so now experience the benefits for yourself.
- Always remember, the majority of lay-people know very little about hypnosis. Most of them will think of stage hypnosis and some might even ask if you'll make them ‘cluck like a chicken' (believe it or not, I'm still asked that question by clients). Use this opportunity to educate your participants about the benefits, quote examples from your own sessions but be careful not to identify anyone, discuss success stories and any humorous tales relating to your sessions (changing just enough details to protect confidentiality).
- Be prepared to answer questions and always do this honestly, admitting if you need to understand something in greater depth.
- Keep your body language open and help to put your group at ease. Remember, they probably all have at least one issue they'd like help with and are hoping you have the key to helping them with it.
- If you have any sceptics in your group, be welcoming towards them. Encourage their questions and above all, never get defensive.
- If you're unable to answer a question directly, write it on the whiteboard and make a point of returning to the subject later.
- Before commencing your session, explain that some people might not be as receptive as others so if they're not able to fully relax and enjoy the session, ask them to be considerate towards the others and to remain silent if possible.
- Having your group close your eyes to begin with invites co-operation. Most people find it easier to visualise when their eyes are closed but contact lens wearers could find this a little uncomfortable. Remember that some people are also able to visualise with their eyes open. You will be able to tell if they're ‘going along' with the session by the glazed look in their eyes.
- In a large group you'll usually have one person who appears to resist, will keep their eyes open, look around at the rest of the group or be generally disruptive. This is the one person who might unsettle you the most, but don't let them. Everyone else is responding nicely, so you must be doing really well. Congratulate yourself.
- When the session is over, encourage participants to discuss their experience so that the rest of the group can exchange notes.
- Remember to take lots of business cards, brochures about your practice and other marketing material.
- Give your group participants a small gift; this could be a laminated card with some affirmations relevant to your demonstration, a short hypnosis session on CD or something else that can be kept to remind them of your session.
- Remember, word of mouth is always the best recommendation. Make sure all your attendees have something positive to say about you.
- On the odd occasion when a session doesn't work, clients (and group participants) are more likely to blame themselves than you.
- At the end of the session you may find that some clients step back, waiting for an opportunity to talk to you privately. If you have time, try to address their concerns at the time rather than asking them to phone you. It has probably taken a lot of courage for them to discuss their problem.
If you need ideas on how to commence the actual hypnosis demonstration, there is a Group Induction script on Hypnotic World that you can download at: https://www.hypnoticworld.com/hypnosis-scripts/inductions/induction-group