Questions from one of our Chinese graduates in Singapore about why one should avoid dual relationships in hypnotherapy.

Answered by Calvin D. Banyan, MA, CI, BCH

Hello Calvin, How are you keeping my master. Hope you are keeping well in Singapore. I have been very busy with my work with asylum seekers and refugees. I have also hypnotized quite a number of people after the training. Now I am doing sort of part-time hypnotherapy. I have one important question for you. You told me that I should do age-regression for colleagues or friends, why? I have a friend whom I hypnotized for nail biting habit, but she didn't quit after the first session. And now she asked for another session. I plan to do 5-PATH(TM). I am just a bit worried as you told us in class I shouldn't do age regression for friends or colleagues. wish to hear from you soon. Thank you Have a wonderful day, Cheers, john

Hi John,

Again, I am so glad to hear that you are using hypnosis to help others. It is a wonderful and satisfying thing to do.

In your email you asked me about why one should avoid working with friends and colleagues. This is a very good and important question. Age regression is a kind of uncovering therapy. By this, I mean that information can be discovered that the client may not be consciously aware of. This can cause a number of different problems:

  1. Ethically we should avoid dual relationships. By that, I mean that when we do therapy with someone, we should only have a professional relationship with that individual. This is because the other relationship can interfere with the work done in therapy. Also, the work done in therapy can harm the other relationship.

  2. When a client agrees to do hypnotherapy with you that involves age regression or other uncovering techniques, they are consenting to deal with personal information with you, however, since age regression can uncover information that the client is unaware of consciously, he may later regret revealing some personal or embarrassing event from the past, which would be appropriate in a professional client-therapist situation, but not comfortable in revealing to a friend or family member that he will have to continue seeing. So then, uncovering information during an age regression may be embarrassing, or worse, and that can have a negative affect on the other non-professional relationship. For example, now he’s embarrassed and he avoids you in the future.

  3. The other negative effect of working with friends, family members and others with whom you have a previous relationship is that it can have a negative effect on the hypnotherapeutic work that you do together. For example, let’s say that you are doing an age regression, and as you take the client/friend back in time, he finds himself at an embarrassing situation or other situation that he does not want you to know about, and so he does not reveal it to you. Let’s say that this was an important time that needs to be addressed, like for example an ISE. But, as a result of the fact that you have a previous relationship with this individual it does not get revealed and thus it does not get worked on, and as a result either the hypnotherapy’s effectiveness is greatly diminished or is completely ineffective. This outcome is not fair to you, your client or is it the right thing to do considering that such an unnecessary failure bodes poorly for the whole profession.

  4. Now, having said all of that, I want to point out that there are exceptions. If a potential client who has a previous non-professional relationship with you has a serious problem, i.e., pain, severe fear problems, or addiction problems, etc., something greater than a bad habit like nail biting, then it may be unethical to not work with him if there really is not other alternative available to the individual which could be reasonable and expected to help him to alleviate the problem.

There you go John. I hope that helps you in making your decision to work with your friend.

Best wishes to you in your hypnosis work,

Cal Banyan
www.CalBanyan.com
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