I am going to ask you a question about hypnotherapy testimonials and I would like you to think about it before you answer. Should a hypnotherapist use testimonials?
There are many reasons to be using testimonials as a hypnotherapist. Some sources say that testimonials are the number one type of content marketing which you can include on your website and most people appear to trust an online review as much as they would the recommendation of a friend or acquaintance. Compelling stuff, so why would you not use them?
Hypnotherapy testimonials – A legal and ethical issue?
In the UK the Adverting Standards Authority (ASA) has rules around testimonials, specifically, ‘Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it (rule 3.45)’. This rule means that if you publish a testimonial on your website that you also need to be able to identify the person who wrote that testimonial should the ASA request it. This has ramifications for confidentiality. Ok so the ASA is unlikely to ask, but if you have taken a testimonial you are asking someone to voluntarily breach their confidentiality to an unknown third party. If you take a testimonial, then you are ethically bound to tell them this.
Hypnotherapy testimonials – Rapport
In addition to this there is a second issue of when and how to ask for a testimonial? A large contingent of my clients come with digestive issues (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Functional Dyspepsia) or sexual issues (Erectile Disorder, Vaginismus, Sex and Pornography addiction) and at any time a number will be minors. For various reason it may be inappropriate or damaging to rapport to ask such client groups to give a testimonial. With the children there are legal issues of consent. With the others, issues around embarrassment and shame, and the failure to recognise this as implied by asking for a testimonial could result in damage to rapport. However, these are not the only types of clients.
Hypnotherapy testimonials – Who should be asked?
It’s always a delicate business deciding who it would be appropriate to ask and who not. I recommend following these guidelines.
1. Is the condition one which is not assumed to be embarrassing or personal? Smoking cessation, weight loss and specific phobias tend to fall into this category. Most people are proud to have given up smoking, lost some weight or overcome over an irrational phobia and often are happy to speak about it.
2. Are they an outgoing person? If they show extrovert tendencies, they are far more likely to be comfortable sharing.
3. Do you have great rapport? If you are getting on well they are much more likely to be comfortable endorsing you in public.
Hypnotherapy testimonials – Conclusion
Testimonials are a valuable marketing tool and because hypnotherapy is still predominantly in the private sector, marketing is an aspect of the work of being a therapist. So, use testimonials, ask for them of the clients who would be most likely to be happy giving them, ask gently and do not push. Remember to tell them about the ASA rules. You do not need many testimonials, typically the average person will read no more than six and most people fewer