Updated: Aug 8
One of the questions new clients ask me is, "How many hypnotherapy sessions do I need to make change?"
The number of hypnotherapy sessions you will need will depend on your individual situation. The truth is that it depends on you, but here's what I've experienced.
It’s really difficult to give a simple answer, as it depends on so many variables like:
What the issue is? How long has the problem been around? Are there any major traumatic events that need clearing? How committed are you to make a change?
Typically, if you're dealing with a lighter issue like procrastination or seeking clarity on a major decision (like changing careers), you'll need 2-4 hypnotherapy sessions.
Phobias, like a fear of flying, usually require 2-4 sessions.
Deep work around anxiety, relationships, money blocks, or changing lifestyle habits (like emotional eating) will often require a minimum of 4-6 sessions.
Your subconscious mind is a complex infrastructure and it can take some time to find the source of your problem and resolve it. The average number of times people see me for any given issue is about 4-6 sessions.
As someone who values research, I also want to share the following findings with you.
In 1970, Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D published Hypnotherapy: A Reappraisal in Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, a quarterly peer-reviewed medical journal. Barrios reviewed more than 1,018 articles on hypnosis published between 1966 - 1968. In the same period, he noted 899 articles on psychoanalytic therapy and 355 on behaviour therapy.
In looking at the data, he concluded the following:
Hypnotherapy - 93% success rate with an average of 6 sessions
Behavioural Therapy - 72% success rate with an average of 22 sessions
Psychoanalysis - 38% success rate with an average of 600
While four - six is the "average" number of sessions recommended for one issue, a number of my clients have had major breakthroughs after one session, but I've seen miraculous changes with multiple sessions. (I've even had a client clear her fibromyalgia in one 2 hour session) I offer packages for this reason, but I also understand that someone may want to "try" one session as a way of testing whether Hypnotherapy is for them. However, it is a disservice to yourself to expect major changes in one session and a commitment is required for change to be forthcoming.
There's not a magic number. In fact, many of my clients see me on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis even after we've done extensive work because they simply like having maintenance sessions to support them through life's transitions or major events.
However, if you have a strong desire and commitment to change, a good hypnotherapist will help you to make changes on the shortest possible time. Always choose a therapist that offers a free initial consultation, then you can have the opportunity to see how well you get on.
As a general rule, I say, "Keep doing the work as long as you're continuing to see progress in your life. It's also okay to take a break and come back when you need a little therapeutic maintenance.