Hypnosis Client Contracts
A therapist wrote to me:
I am looking for a 'model' or 'template' of a contract between therapist and client and can't seem to find one anywhere on the internet.
Have you any ideas where I might find this?
My reply was:
I don't use a contract. Never have, never will.
Hypnosis is about relationships
Hypnosis is intensely personal. A therapist who thinks he needs to be ready to sue his clients at any moment has something seriously wrong with his attitude. If you need a contract, the relationship has already failed, and it is always your fault.
In the therapy business the client holds all the aces. The client can lie to you, not turn up, not do what you ask - and there is nothing you can do about it. There is no practical way you can pursue a defaulter through the courts that won't cost you more in time than you get. It just leaves you looking desperate and unprofessional.
All the client has to do is to say that you were in some way deficient and you have no defence.
If the first thing a therapist does is to get the client to fill in a questionnaire and sign a legal disclaimer, full of penalties for non-payment, how likely is it that the relationship gets off to a warm friendly start?
A successful therapy business is based on trust, professionalism and referrals. All a contract does is specify in advance all the things that can go wrong. It tends to focus everyone's attention on the the wrong thing.
Bad therapists try to tie clients into agreeing to some number of sessions and then sue them when they don't turn up. That never works.
What is the basis for Hypnosis Client Contracts?
I have no idea how many sessions will be needed or long it will take. You should plan on the basis that you will never see the client again. Aim to do everything you need to do in the first session. It is almost certainly going to be your only session. If it works they don't need to see you again, if it doesn't they don't want to see you again.
If all you do is write down stuff in the first session, they feel cheated. Do not take elaborate histories, that is just a waste of time. If you really listen to the client, listen to their body language, what their clothes are saying, listen to their attitude, their choice of words, you will get most of what you need to know in the first ninety seconds.
Then you keep asking questions until you define precisely what their problem is and how you are going to tackle it. Then you do the therapy.
My sessions take as long as they take, up to two hours.
What to focus on
I keep comprehensive records of my sessions, but they are all about me. They are about what I thought and what I did and how it worked. More importantly, I note what might work better next time, and what I learned from this client. The only thing I have from the client is their name and email.
My advice is: forget about contracts, focus on building relationships.