My ‘E’ in my A-Z of life coaching and hypnotherapy is ’empathy’

When you go for hypnotherapy or life coaching, a good hypnotherapist or life coach will always convey empathy towards you. Experiencing empathy during hypnosis is an integral part of the therapeutic process.

Before we go any further, it’s useful to know what is meant by ‘empathy’ as opposed to ‘sympathy’. Sympathy is when we feel sorry for someone else. If you’ve experienced difficulties, it is quite likely that your friends and family will be sympathetic towards you. Experiencing sympathy from loved ones can show you that they care about you and are sorry that you’re going through a tough time. But it can also be disempowering. If you are continually sensing that people feel sorry for you, you can begin to feel that you have failed somehow or have become a victim.

A good hypnotherapist or life coach will not display sympathy towards you, they will display empathy. First off, some clients who are thinking about hypnosis or life coaching have the idea that – because they are paying someone to help them – that the therapist doesn’t care about them. This is completely untrue. The vast majority of people who choose to become therapists do so because they have experienced difficulties in their own lives and they may well have experienced the benefits of therapy before choosing to train in that field themselves. These are people who care about other people’s well being. And hypnotherapists and life coaches want to do their best job by you. We’re all human and will be deeply moved by our interactions with clients.

So, back to empathy. A good hypnotherapist or life coach will not be doing you any favours by displaying deep sympathy towards you. By doing so, they may simply reinforce some unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself. But they will convey empathy – they will let you know that they care about you, and that they really want to know about your experience. A good therapist will never pretend they are the expert in your life. They’re not. You are! They will work very hard to show you that they’re trying to understand your story. They will make sure you realise that you are a precious human being – because you are. And they will reveal themselves to you as being human too. This isn’t about over-sharing on the therapist’s part – it’s just about being approachable, accepting and revealing to you at times when they have been affected by what you have shared with them.

Experiencing empathy in this way is a wonderful experience. You become part of a shared experience with your hypnotherapist or life coach, a person who has no agenda, or pre-conceived ideas and who isn’t so tied up in caring about you that they can’t let you grow. Sympathy can sometimes end up being a control mechanism – empathy is the opposite. A truly empathic therapist will always be there, right beside you, supporting you without telling you what to do, and relating their own feelings and experiences to the process.

As you experience this empathy, you will feel valued and heard and you will begin to grow emotionally in a way which you may never have experienced before.