Degree programs in hypnotherapy are scarce and generally not accredited, but some certificate programs exist. If you're interested in a career in hypnotherapy, a viable option is to pursue a graduate degree in psychology that includes training in hypnotherapy. Graduates of such programs can seek licensure as therapists after reaching state requirements.
Often shrugged off as a parlor trick, hypnosis and hypnotherapy have legitimate uses within the field of psychotherapy. Hypnotherapists use relaxation techniques to create a state of deep concentration, which helps clients recall suppressed memories, change unwanted behaviors, overcome phobias or reduce general stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy uses a variety of techniques to achieve these goals, including breathing exercises, suggestive messages, counting and other verbal cues.
The American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (AAPH) explains that for hypnotherapy to work, the person undergoing hypnosis must want to change their behaviors and have a behavioral substitute (www.aaph.org). According to the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH) many hypnotherapists have a background in mental or physical health (www.natboard.com). To receive certification from the NBCCH, you must have a graduate degree in the field you're practicing in and undergo supervised clinical training in hypnotherapy. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide career information specific to hypnotherapists, it states that psychologists and counselors must have good communication skills and be able to earn their clients' respect (www.bls.gov).
The BLS projects that between 2008 and 2018, the employment of healthcare professionals, including practitioners of alternative medicine, should increase by 22%. According to the AAPH, the salary for certified hypnotherapists varies drastically depending on what they charge clients, where they live, whether they offer hypnotherapy classes and their business expenses. Other factors that can influence salary include whether they opt to work out of a home office, work in a center with other medical professionals or work as part of a hypnotherapy group. Salary.com says that licensed hypnotherapists can make as much as $75,000 per year working full-time.
Accredited academic programs in hypnotherapy are rare. Most states do not regulate hypnotherapy, which means that many practicing hypnotists and hypnotherapists are unlicensed. However, obtaining a hypnotherapy license can be an asset to the professionalism of a hypnotherapy practitioner.
You can become a certified hypnotist by completing certificate programs train you to help people improve their relationship decisions, quit smoking, manage stress, eat healthier and improve their self-confidence. You'll learn to make hypnotic suggestions and learn exactly what hypnosis is and how it works. Becoming a certified master hypnotist involves additional training beyond the hypnotist program, but can lead to more opportunities. You may explore topics that include dream therapy, medical hypnosis and habit control.
One route to becoming a certified hypnotherapist involves first enrolling in a master hypnotist program. You must then complete 200 hours of clinical practicums and earn job experience by working under a licensed hypnotherapist. The programs address topics such as handwriting analysis, ethics in hypnosis, business management and counseling.
Another route to becoming a licensed clinical hypnotherapist involves pursuing a graduate degree in psychology that includes training in hypnotherapy. Then you can apply for a psychotherapy licensure in your state. Available graduate programs in hypnotherapy could include a Master of Arts in Psychology, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical and Health Psychology or a Ph.D. in Natural Health. Some hypnotherapy classes address dealing with pain and trauma, handling inner conflict or healing broken relationships. Once you become a clinical hypnotherapist, you may continue attending in hypnotherapy conventions or educational conferences offered at universities or the National Guild of Hypnotists (www.ngh.net).