I don’t often tell people I do hypnotherapy anymore.
Very few people distinguish between hypnosis and hypnotherapy ie hypnosis for a therapeutic purpose.
The explanation my first mentor used was that one was given Catholic approval by Pope Pius XII in 1956, and the other was not.
In casual conversations I got tired of the discussions about “Is that stuff you see on stage/TV real?” and “Can you make me cluck like a chicken / quack like a duck?”
[My current answers: “Almost always. Yes.” and “I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t already able to do that for themselves so I’ve never tried.”]
People who came in to see me would have all these magical ideas about what hypnosis was about. I didn’t mind the twirling fob watch, or “what if I do something I didn’t want to do” questions. The ones that bothered me were those that expected me to snap my fingers, put them to sleep, and have them wake up cured. The “wave a magic wand” idea.
A friend of mine was a counselor for many years and found a similar problem.
Fortunately he did a training class back in the 70s where they got him to make a magical wand out of a TV antennae and a coin. The coin was cut into the shape of a star and fixed to the top of the TV antennae, which was conveniently extendable for easy storage.
Since then every time a person came in wanting someone to “wave a magic wand so I can be cured” he would bring out his wand from his drawer and wave it around mysteriously with a few strange words and a tap.
Then he would ask them if they were cured.
When they said no, he would put the wand back in the drawer and say “Oh well, I suppose we’ll have to try something else then.”
He hasn’t been assaulted by anyone so far.
-Dr Martin Russell