Hypno-psychotherapist Vanessa McLennan discusses the importance of setting clients' expectations, and the challenges of stigma

Welcome to Professional Opinions, the series exploring the mental health and wellbeing landscape in 2023 through a collection of interviews with professionals from the Happiful directories.

This week, we spoke to Hynotherapy Directory member Vanessa McLennan about why she entered the profession and how she manages therapeutic relationships.

Vanessa specialised in all things relating to food and health. When she first qualified as a hypnotherapist, she says she had no intention of doing anything other than helping people in corporate training rooms. But, soon, she saw how helpful it could be, and so set up her private practice, going on to also qualify as a psychotherapist.

With this background, Vanessa helps her clients to reflect on the past in order to move forward with their lives, and often enjoys the pleasure of seeing clients find freedom again.

So, what’s her professional opinion?

Hi Vanessa! Since you began, what have you found to be the most surprising thing about the work you do?

That I am not there to fix someone, rather help them find themselves – and that people will heal as much as they are ready to at that time.

I can always see a bright and positive future for my clients, and I can see the positive and wonderful parts in them, as whole beings. I have come to my own acceptance that people leave therapy when they are ready, and when they have reached what they wanted to do.

What do you like about your profession?

I love the freedom it gives my clients. People free themselves from old patterns that they have had for years. It is very liberating for them.

What are some of the challenges that come with your line of work?

The biggest challenge is when someone wants you to wave the magic wand to make them all better. I wish it would work like that but it doesn't.

I have to reset expectations that, even though I use hypnotherapy as a tool and it is very beneficial, we need to work together to explore the causes of behaviours, so you can manage them yourself.

How do you address some of the challenges that you face?

I set expectations of how I can help them in the initial consultation. I give examples of how I work with clients, and of when therapy works very well and when it doesn't. I also talk about what their role is within the therapeutic relationship.

I can always see a bright and positive future for my clients, and I can see the positive and wonderful parts in them, as whole beings

What do you think could be done to improve the profession for you and for others?

Raise awareness of the benefits of therapy. I still think there is a stigma about going to see a therapist, it’s not something that many people would talk about at a dinner party. I think it is helpful for prominent people to talk about their experiences to help others.

What do you see being some of the major challenges your profession will face in the next 10 years?

A lot of my clients now see me online. It will mean location becomes irrelevant and people will want to see a specialist. It also means for those that do want to see someone in person, that may be more challenging.

What advice would you give to others in the profession?

It is such a rewarding profession, so it would be to keep going. Keep developing yourself because your therapy gets better. Have your own therapist, so the work you do on yourself is twofold: working on your own inner world and behaviours and learning other therapy styles.

Vanessa McLennan

Diploma in Hypnotherapy, Diploma in Psychotherapy, Member of the National Council of Hypnotherapy and National Council of Integrative Psychotherapists.

Find out more about Vanessa and connect with her on the Hypnotherapy Directory

The Happiful directories are Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Therapy Directory, and Nutritionist Resource. Find out more, and start your journey with us.