It's important to thoroughly interview any propsective hypnotherapist you're considering seeing for IBS (spastic colon) treatments. There are IBS-specific questions to ask, and general queries that are necessary as well. If you need a starting point to find a trained IBS hypnotherapist in your area, check here for the USA Register and here for the UK Register.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Specific Questions
Q: How long have you been practicing IBS hypnotherapy?
A. A minimum of 2 years is necessary simply because IBS is a complex syndrome, and there is really no such thing as a typical IBS patient
Q: Can you help IBS sufferers?
A. If they give any other answer than an unqualified, unhesitating "yes" to this question, get up and leave. If they say they're willing to try and treat IBS though they haven't in the past, get up and leave.
Q. What is your success rate with IBS?
A. Hypnotherapists need not only experience with treating IBS but demonstrable success rates, so they should have impressive statistics at their fingertips. A minimum of an 80% reduction in symptoms among patients is to be expected. Ask how they arrived at their figures, whether they conduct follow-throughs with patients, and if so for how long.
Q: What is IBS?
A. A qualified IBS hypnotherapist will know that IBS is a functional digestive disorder with multiple symptoms. They will know that these symptoms can vary, and they should certainly know what the symptoms are. If they can't name a number of symptoms with ease they're simply not familiar with the disorder, and you should find someone else.
Q: How many sessions will it take?
A. You need to know this to help you budget for your treatments. IBS should improve after 2 sessions and be much better by 5.
General Questions to Ask
Q: Where did you train, and for how long?
A There are many training organizations, and some are much more credible than others. Check to see that the therapist is a member of an accredited national organization for professional hypnotherapists. (In the US, look for someone who is a member of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and/or the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis ASCH. Both organizations restrict their membership to qualified and properly licensed professionals, provide training of high quality, and require their members to adhere to ethics codes that dictate proper uses of clinical hypnosis.)
Q. How much will this cost?
A. You may or may not have insurance coverage for treatments. If you don't, be cautious with payments up front.
Q: Do you receive an audio tape of the session?
A. Progress will result more quickly if you are given an audio tape of the session you have just taken.
Q: Do you have letters from past clients that I can see?
A. Most hypnotherapists who have truly helped people, particularly with a problem as intractable as IBS, receive overwhelming gratitude from their patients in return. At a minimum the therapist should be able to offer you a telephone referral to past patients who are willing and happy to discuss their treatment and results.
Q: Do you offer a pre-session consultation?
A. All patients are different, particularly when it comes to IBS, so this is a necessity. It is how a therapist gathers information about you and prepares a treatment aimed at your specific needs and goals.
One question the hypnotherapist should absolutely ask you: have you been thoroughly examined and diagnosed with IBS by a medical doctor? If they don't ask you this they're not qualified, as any hypnotherapist familiar with IBS will know that it cannot be self-diagnosed.
If you're unable to find a qualified IBS hypnotherapist in your area (or are daunted by the thought of even trying) there is a second, and in my opinion, even more promising option.
You can follow the IBS Self-Hypnosis Program, developed specifically for IBS, right in your own home.
 Questions courtesy of Dr. Michael Mahoney, a clinical hypnotherapist who specializes in the treatment of IBS.