Testimonials for Resolved! Hypnotherapy
I’m often offered testimonials by happy clients, as they leave their final sessions content in the progress they’ve made. It’s a lovely thing to be offered and the answer is always an incredibly grateful “NO!”
Why wouldn’t I accept such a generous and helpful offer?
Well, read the below page to find out more. Testimonials are a subject which is causing increasing concern amongst some sections of the medical and psychotherapeutic professions. You can read an interesting article in Wired Magazine, for which I was interviewed recently, HERE.
Any search for counselling or hypnotherapy in Reading, Oxford or London will bring up sites peppered with testimonials. Many different psychotherapists use testimonials on their websites and it’s certainly good for business. Customers like hearing of how a product has been well-received by others. It’s called ‘social proof’ and many hypnotherapists compete to see how many testimonials collapse.
Some even ask their clients to pose for videos, praising their therapist to the rooftops. If the topic was weight loss then before and after photos will generally be posted online.
It is, however, a controversial thing to be doing in psychotherapy. Clients are grateful when their problems have been resolved and many write to their therapists to thank them. I’ve received many emails thanking me for my work. One came this every morning, from a person who has just secured a job in their chosen industry. It’s a fresh start in a new career and in a new city. I had, they said, given them the confidence to begin applying. It’s lovely to read how people’s lives have been changed for the better by working with me.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Business obsessed gurus in any trade advise people to get as many testimonials as possible. It’s called ‘social proof’ and is supposed to convince people that the therapist is worth working with. If you can’t offer the proof then you’re not seen as being worthy of trust. Some people even make good money out of teaching other therapists how to go about the whole process in the most effective way.
However, I urge you to think twice before buying the hype. This page will attempt to convince you that testimonials aren’t worth the web-page they’re written on and, what’s more, they aren’t to be trusted.
Here’s where you can read some reviews of my work.
I understand that people searching for hypnotherapy do tend to like reading testimonials. For reasons I’m about to explain testimonials are not only unethical but they’re also unreliable.
On the other hand, Google reviews are as reliable as any source can be because they’re written on a site over which I have no control. I can’t edit them, delete them or improve them. They’re written by real people telling YOU what they thought of my work. I didn’t ask them to do this. I would never ask you to do this. Some people, however, choose to do so voluntarily. What’s more, they can take them down again whenever they choose. They are in control.
Here are some cut and paste extracts of some reviews I’ve received in recent times:
‘I have recommended Paul to other people, because he is so good at what he does. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks Paul I have my son back.’
‘You helped me to let go of my negativity. I can’t thank you enough.’
‘I would highly recommend Paul as he puts you quickly at ease, listens extremely well, asks all the right questions and through relaxation techniques and a recording that you get to keep after each visit he can help you overcome any hurdles you may encounter. Professional, friendly, he knows his stuff.’
‘Paul is an absolute star. I can’t express my gratitude enough for the change he has helped me realise in my life.’
‘Paul has been very helpful, I’d recommend him highly. His open, honest and kind approach really resonated with me and ultimately delivered positive results.’
You can read many more reviews, in full, by clicking on this link here.
Anyway, to continue, what’ so wrong with testimonials?
Clients are often very grateful for their progress and tell their therapists some lovely, grateful things. Is there anything wrong with a therapist asking whether he or she can use these comments, anonymously, on their website and in other promotional materials?
Well, the law says that testimonials are adverts and all adverts have to be independently verifiable. If I were to post a comment such as “I haven’t smoked since I saw you, thanks. Bert” I would have to be able to prove that this is an accurate statement.
How could I do this without divulging Bert’s identity? This would obviously be a breach of confidentiality and that would be unethical.
Testimonials are a breach of confidentiality. Plain and simple.
It’s not as if I haven’t been offered such things. Clients often offer to write one. To this I say ‘I’m afraid I can’t accept them but you’re more than welcome to leave me a review on Google if you like’. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. That’s OK. It’s their choice and that’s entirely the point.
Furthermore, fake testimonials are big business, as the video explains. What stops me from writing a bunch of fake testimonials and posting them on my page? Nothing besides an ethical code and the determination to stick to it.
Can I make a video of you? Noooooo!
Some therapists include photographs or video recordings of testimonials. They ask their clients to write out a little script and to read it on camera. If you come to see me for weight loss do you really want me to be showing before and after photos online? Do you really want other people to know why you came to see me?
You might be grateful enough, on January 1st, to offer such a testimonial but what if you changed your mind In June and yet felt awkward about asking me to take it down?
Well, my approach to such things avoids all kinds of conflict. Leave a review if you like. You’ll then be able to take it down if you change your mind at a later date. I’ll not ask for a testimonial if you don’t.
Besides, many of the clients who therapists work with are anxious, depressed, eager to please and easily exploited. They may have lost some weight, stopped smoking or whatever they came for; but they may still be in a place where a therapist can, knowingly or otherwise, exploit the therapeutic relationship’s imbalance of power.
I don’t want to be another person taking advantage of a vulnerable client. Therefore I’ll never ask for a testimonial.
My clients don’t exist solely to fuel my social media presence.
You don’t exist to make me look good
I don’t want my clients being placed in such situations. The UKCP disapproves of testimonials. The NSHP, my professional organisation, forbids them and I agree with its reasoning. Testimonials might look good on a website but I’m not in the business of causing potential complications for my clients. Your best interests are my business.
To ensure that I keep to the highest standards of professionalism, I work to an ethical code which exists for one purpose only: to ensure that my clients receive the best possible hypnotherapy.
What about success rates?
Similar concerns to my objections regarding testimonials also mean that I can’t quote success rates. If a former smoking client has a sneaky puff at a party, years after a course of hypnotherapy, does that mean he is a failure? How would I know in any case?
How would you define “success” in a client who seeks to lose weight? Would it be six pounds, eight, three stone? Success is in the eye of the beholder and so is difficult to measure.
I recently saw a woman who had had hypnotherapy years before, for a phobia. By the way, it was with a different therapist.
She left her final session feeling empowered and went on holiday to find that her phobia had disappeared.
She was happy and probably told her therapist she was happy too.
Her therapist chalked it up as a success and quite possibly tells that client’s story as a case study when talking to new, prospective clients.
However, that client then came to see me and told me that the fear had returned. The original therapist probably doesn’t know anything about this and looks back on his work as being a wholesale success.
How do the people who quote success rates know?
There are plenty of hypnotherapists who do publish testimonials and success rates. Ask them how they know. Ask them what their success rate is at six months, one year, five years.
Different professional bodies demand different levels of ethical behaviour and training from their members. One of the most important things for successful therapy is that you trust your hypnotherapist and have a good relationship with them. So do call several therapists and ask questions of them before you make your decision.
So, if you are in any doubt as to whether I’m the right therapist for you, why not contact me with your questions? I’d be happy to talk.
Whether you see me for hypnotherapy in Reading, Oxford, Thame, London or Wallingford, I am and always will be working for your best interests and for your interests alone. Why would you pay to accept anything less?