People mean different things when they say “depression.” Some people mean that they feeling a normal amount of sadness or “stuckness” when they describe depression. On the other extreme, other people mean that they are experiencing clinically diagnosed major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation with intent to do themselves harm. I do not offer emergency services or crisis services. If someone is experiencing suicidal ideation, I will refer them to a licensed mental health counselor, crisis center or emergency services that can evaluate the severity of their situation.
My rule of thumb is that if someone is currently working with a mental health professional, be it a psychiatrist or a psychologist or a social worker, I will only work with that individual if he or she is willing to sign a release to allow me to contact the mental health professional first discuss the situation and receive permission and a written referral to begin working with the client. My goal in doing this is to keep my client safe, to preserve the therapeutic relationship they have already established and to work within the goals and framework set forth by their mental health counselor under the supervision of that professional.
Another way to say this is that a mental health counselor (psychologist/social worker/MFT) specializes in the treatment of mental health disorders and disease. Statistics show that that represents approximately 15 percent of the US population. That means that 85 percent of the population does not have a diagnosed mental health disorder or disease. A hypnotherapist specializes in helping the 85 percent, the average person who is experiencing average problems, such as normal everyday sadness or “stuckness.”
As a hypnotherapist, I do not offer diagnostic services and only work with diagnosed mental health disorders and disease under the referral and supervision of someone who specializes in those disorders, such as a medical doctor or psychologist.
On the one hand, if people are experiencing garden variety “sadness” or simply “feel stuck” I can do quite a bit to help them. On the other hand, if they are experiencing clinical depression, I will only work with them on their clinical depression after an evaluation by a licensed mental health counselor or licensed medical doctor who can determine if it is the right time for hypnosis and then signs a mental health referral. Hypnotism is not a replacement for, but is a powerful complement to the work of a psychologist or medical doctor.
To answer the second part of the question above: If someone is looking to improve their self esteem, I have a variety of tools that can help.