How to Become a Clinical Hypnotherapist

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Clinical hypnotherapists use hypnosis techniques to facilitate therapeutic services.
Clinical hypnotherapists use hypnosis techniques to facilitate therapeutic services. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A career as a clinical hypnotherapist can be a rewarding one. Clinical hypnotherapists provide therapeutic counseling services to clients by utilizing hypnotherapy methods. Hypnotherapy is still somewhat controversial among mental health professionals, but the fact that some states regulate the use of hypnotherapy and provide licensing for practitioners indicates that it has gained some acceptance, at least in terms of its legal status. Clinical hypnotherapists must obtain many of the same credentials as do other mental health professionals.

Obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Despite the controversial nature of hypnotherapy, as a state-regulated mental health practice, clinical hypnotherapy is utilized by fully credentialed and well-respected mental health practitioners. To work as a mental health professional, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree as a foundational degree for further education at a more advanced level. A bachelor's degree in psychology, social work or some other aspect of behavioral science can be a helpful start toward a career as a clinical hypnotherapist.

Obtain a master's degree. This is the minimum requirement in most states to work as a therapist or counselor. Pursue a degree in clinical psychology if possible or, as a second option, a specialty area within the counseling profession such as marriage and family therapy. A third option is the program in transpersonal psychology offered by Kona University in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, which includes training in hypnotherapy as part of its curriculum

Obtain your license to work as a licensed therapist or counselor in your state. This generally requires that you complete a state-mandated licensing exam once you have met the minimum education requirements and have completed approximately two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience.

Gain the necessary experience required by your state to be licensed as a clinical hypnotherapist. For example, the state of Florida will allow you to practice hypnotherapy if you are licensed as a health care or mental health professional and have completed certification training through a state-approved institution. This requires anywhere from 300 to 500 hours of supervised clinical training. There is no required certification exam.

Seek national certification through an organization that offers clinical hypnotherapy credentialing. The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists (NBCCH) can provide you with additional education needed to obtain national certification. The board requires you to complete necessary training under the tutelage and supervision of a licensed therapist who can later attest for your training and competency. Once you have met the experience requirement, you can become a certified clinical hypnotherapist by completing 400 hours of coursework in hypnosis fundamentals, advanced techniques and hypnotherapy and clinical hypnotherapy.

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