The ICHE proposes the free and open practice of hypnotherapy
with the best safeguards for public protection.
Systems of regulation claimed to offer “protection of the public” quite frequently fail to do so and may, on occasions, do more to protect the professional practitioner and group than the client.
There are many models of regulation proposed for the protection of the public and while there is no system of safeguards that offers complete protection the ICHE is committed to:
- Development and maintenance of the best standards of education, training and clinical practice that can be realistically achieved and that offer safe and effective therapy.
- Providing information for students and prospective students of hypnotherapy training organisations that will help them in choosing training programs where they will learn effectively and safely.
- Providing information for clients to help them in choosing safe and effective therapy and how to seek remedy in cases of malpractice or other wrong doing inform, complain and seek remedy in cases of malpractice or other wrong doing.
The ICHE proposes a highly-developed system of self-regulation for hypnotherapy which is open to oversight and scrutiny by external official bodies, operating in accordance with the laws of individual countries and with representation from the public and relevant professional groups.
The ICHE philosophy on regulation of hypnotherapy takes into consideration many factors and many sources of information. Overall, the regulation of hypnotherapy is best approached by focussing on those whom it concerned – hypnotherapists and their clients, as opposed to other professional groups or top-down politically-driven initiatives and unwieldy, ineffective bureaucratic structures. The establishment of high standards of training and practice is critical so that hypnotherapists provide their clients with an effective and safe service.
Throughout the world there is a wide variety of legal controls on the practice of hypnotherapy, including:
- No regulation at all – anyone is free to call themselves a hypnotherapist and practise hypnotherapy provided their actions are within the law i.e. not criminal.
- Hypnotherapists are required to provide an accurate and detailed account of their training and methods of practice, enabling clients to make an informed choice of their hypnotherapy service provider.
- Hypnotherapists are limited in the conditions they are allowed to deal with, some being considered beyond their remit and the exclusive province of other licensed professionals.
- Only other licensed professionals are allowed to practise hypnotherapy, including among other methods that they offer.
There are many considerations involved here, including:
- The laws in different countries regarding protection of the public in non-therapeutic dealings e.g. protection of the confidentiality of personal data, access of individuals to legal recourse in the event of alleged sexual offences etc – if the law offers protection to all persons in any situation, then special professional statutes on these matters may be only an unnecessary additional layer of bureaucracy.
- Access of the public in different countries to services claiming to offer the same outcomes as those sought from hypnotherapists – in many cases, for instance, state-provided services are administered in a top-down manner and may not be preferred by the clientele for which they intended, whereas most hypnotherapy services are self-financed, in that the therapists finance their own training and the clients finance their own sessions and are therefore market-driven and regulated.
- Documentation of the supposed risks of hypnotherapy, in comparison with the risks of other treatments which clients may be offered in other settings – many supporters of legislation to control hypnotherapy, when asked to produce documentary evidence of the serious risks they claimed, were unable to do.
“RESTRICTIVE REGULATION” IN THE TRAINING OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS AND THE PRACTICE OF HYPNOTHERAPY
There are several important legal, ethical, moral and economic principles involved in this issue. Among these are the following principles.
- There is a general well-established principle in mature democracies that Government does not introduce regulations and restrictions in a field of business or vocational activity unless there is either a proven risk to the public from the non-regulated practice of this activity or a risk to the security of the state and its governing authorities.
- No substantial evidence has been produced to prove that there is a risk to the health and safety of the population from the current training programs in hypnotherapy and the general practice of hypnotherapy in countries where restrictive regulation does not apply. The practice of hypnotherapy has been shown to be a safe, non-invasive and effective therapy in many countries around the world, especially in the USA and European countries.
- Hypnotherapy does not require prior extensive medical or psychological training for its practice.
- It therefore saves the Government and tax-payer from spending large sums of money unnecessarily on the training of therapists and provision of facilities.
- Hypnotherapists do not make medical or psychiatric diagnoses nor do they offer treatments as carried out by the professions of medicine and psychology.
- Hypnotherapists are “people-helpers” who offer support, guidance and help using human communications and interactive skills that have been a part of all traditional cultures and are adapted to the communities they serve. The skills of hypnotherapy have roots in traditional and ancient practices. Hypnotherapy is a branch of traditional/folk medicine essentially rather than being a division of modern scientific biomedicine or modern psychoanalysis and other conventional psychotherapies. The skills of hypnotherapy can be used in conjunction with the practice of medicine, psychotherapy and psychology. Hypnotherapists do not, however, require professional qualification in these professions for the use of these natural and traditional skills. This is proven in many countries of the world where hypnotherapists have been practicing safely as non-medical and non-psychotherapy practitioners for many years with Government approval.
- In most states of the United States and in many countries of the EU hypnotists/hypnotherapists who are not medically or psychologically qualified are not prosecuted by law for their practice. There are various forms of acceptance and recognition of hypnotherapists who are not regulated by medical and psychology regulations in the United States and Europe.
- Hypnotherapists have their own standards and self-regulation systems for “protection of the public” and for the maintenance of high standards of practice.
- There is increasing recognition in the Western countries and in the developing world that hypnotherapy is a safe and effective therapy in the hands of a practitioner trained by one of the many organizations that specialize in the training of hypnotherapists. This means that the practice of hypnotherapy is open to those who are not medically or psychologically qualified. This system has been found to work satisfactorily for many years in the USA and many Western countries and means that the public can have safe, effective and inexpensive hypnotherapy to help themselves in their everyday lives. This also means that medicine, psychiatry and conventional psychotherapy resources are more readily available for those with more severe problems, who actually need the services of medical practitioners and psychologists.
- The legal principle of “freedom of trade” without “restraint of trade”, unfair restrictions, unnecessary bureaucratic burdens or other constraints is a well-established principle in the laws of America, Britain and other European states and in many other countries around the world.
- The freedom to make a living in the field of your choice, and to pursue your own vocation is considered an important principle in mature democracies.
- The freedom of the public to make their choice from a number of different training bodies rather than a single school is an important principle, it is not found anywhere in the USA or the EU that there is a monopoly on a vocational training in this way. To ensure that there is a choice available in hypnotherapy training is in the best interests of any country and its population.
- The provision for the public of the help they need and cannot get elsewhere is important to maintain. Hypnotherapists provide this important help without requiring finances from the State or charging high fees to the public. This would not be the case with a restrictive statutory regulation or monopoly.
- The freedom of people to practice their own beliefs and philosophies with the accompanying procedures and rituals, when these pose no threat or harm to anyone else, is an important principle. If hypnotherapy is proposed to be restricted and statutorily regulated, then the same would apply to a great many forms of meditation, mystical and spiritual practices of all sorts, as well as self-help methods and basic relaxation techniques, as these are very similar to hypnotherapy. Also, if hypnotherapy were to be restricted in this way, then so would many forms of sales communications and social communications and interactions, as well as many systems of education and guidance, as hypnotherapy is essentially an enhanced form of communication between consenting parties.
- The principle of non-monopoly by any professional group or individual of a field of human activity which is in essence a natural process is important to defend and to preserve. Hypnotherapy is a property and heritage of mankind.