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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Book Review: The Art of Hypnotherapy

I chose this book to review because it’s one I used when I was training twelve years ago and still like to revisit. The main reason I like it is because it’s aimed at hypnotherapy students. Although in the last few years there are more books of this type (including the one I recently co-authored!) when I first trained this was rare and most texts on hypnotherapy were aimed at the public and potential clients.

Hunter's style is clear and concise, he sets things out in a logical and straightforward way which is easy to understand. He provides comprehensive information for the new or inexperienced therapist including techniques, scripts (and information about how to adapt them) and therapy plans. He directly addresses the reader in a friendly way, and asks questions to ensure they are absorbing and not merely skimming the information such as 'Can you see where there were some traps that could have prevented this from being a successful session?'

Hunter himself has been in practice as a therapist and therapy trainer for many years, having studied with Charles Tebbetts in 1983, and whilst this gives him plenty to share with his readers it also leads me to the biggest criticism I have of his authorship. 

Although it is only fair to acknowledge your sources, Hunter takes this to extremes. He makes numerous comments like 'Charles Tebbetts felt that we should …', 'Charles Tebbetts believed that …', 'Charles Tebbetts went on to explain …', and so on. Sometimes it is 'my mentor' or 'Mr Tebbetts' but it’s always there.

I appreciate Tebbetts was a highly respected trainer in the field, and that Hunter continues his work with the blessing of Tebbetts' family. Despite this, it’s sometimes a bit much. Especially when he tells you what Charles Tebbetts would have done, only to add that he finds another approach more effective these days! Maybe this is just a reflection of how much Hunter feels that Tebbetts changed his life or gave it a new direction. But he is now an experienced, widely recognised and well respected trainer in his own right and I wish he could lean on his mentor less.

Having said that, Hunter gives plenty of case studies and examples to illustrate his points, and is honest and humorous about his mistakes and errors where this will help others to learn. I'm sure some of my own training habits are down to this, which I found so reassuring when I was learning.

For example, to illustrate how it’s important not to assume what the client wants he tells of asking an obviously obese lady about her relationship with food, yo-yo dieting, weight loss history etc only to discover well into the session she had actually attended for smoking cessation. And to demonstrate how not to let your own views interfere, he offers the time he thoughtlessly asked a stressed Jewish lady to 'open herself to the Christ light' for healing, and lost a lucrative stress management contract with her business as a result.

Despite the one issue raised I still really like this book and I like what I get of Hunter himself. It’s a text I suggest to my students (with a warning about the detours) and most of them like it and find it helpful too. When I do re-read it there are always details and tips I've forgotten and can re-integrate into my practice which is always a good thing.

Book reviewed: Hunter, C Roy. (2010) The Art of Hypnotherapy, Crown House Publishing, Wales

What's your favourite hypno book?

What’s the one book you’d advise every newbie hypnotherapist to invest in?

Please do post and let me know.

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Author: is Senior Tutor At Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training, which offers multi accredited hypnotherapy practitioner training in Wakefield and York, along with taster days and foundation levels. Debbie has written a chapter on working with IBS in The Hypnotherapy Handbook, aimed at students and newly qualified hypnotherapists and also offers supervision and continuous professional development (CPD) for those in practice. Please contact Debbie to find out more.

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