I recently read an article by the BBC that told the story of unqualified therapists taking advantage of people with mental health issues. It’s an ongoing problem but prevalent since the Covid lockdowns. In the UK, the law enables anyone to label themselves as a ‘therapist’ without having any qualifications or training. It occurred to me that many people may be unaware of what a qualified hypnotherapist is. More importantly, I wanted to inform people of how to avoid unethical hypnotherapists online and answer the question: ‘Is Online Hypnotherapy Safe?’
What is a qualified hypnotherapist?
If you find yourself asking ‘is online hypnotherapy safe?’ first look a experience, education and continued professional development.
Many hypnotherapists, including those delivering online hypnotherapy, undertake extensive training. This demonstrates they have “sufficient knowledge, skills, and understanding to be a competent, ethical and caring professional hypnotherapist” – National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH).
Who regulates hypnotherapy in the UK?
Hypnotherapists are currently unregulated in the UK. However, discussions have been made by the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology (2009) over the self-regulation of hypnotherapy. One such outcome was the voluntary register that has been maintained by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) since 2010.
When searching for online hypnotherapists you may have come across the UKCHO. They promote professional standards of conduct, ethics, and practice for UK hypnotherapy and are recognised by the CNHC. Registered members of UKCHO include the Association of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH) and the NCH, of which I’m a member.
Of the 3,000+ registered hypnotherapy practitioners in the UK, NCH is the largest hypnotherapy organisation with over 2,000 professionals on its register.
How do I know if a hypnotherapist is qualified?
Any qualified hypnotherapist should display their membership of registration on all promotional materials such as their website, but if you’re unsure, just ask.
There are currently 12 organisations that belong to the UKCHO, you can view them all via their registered member directory.
I’m a National Council for Hypnotherapy Registered Hypnotherapist with an NCH-accredited qualification. Their ‘Find a Hypnotherapist’ tool helps you quickly identify if a hypnotherapist is qualified and to what level.
Registered Hypnotherapy Status
I’m a Member of the National Council for Hypnotherapy with the letters MNCH (Reg.), HPD.
The letters MNCH (Reg.) are awarded to practitioners who hold a Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD). Membership to the NCH requires:
- A recognised HPD
- Two references (one from a supervisor or course tutor).
- A commitment of at least 15 hours per annum of continued professional development (CPD)
- Adherence to their code of ethics
- Up-to-date insurance
- To be a good character with no criminal record
- And to undertake supervision for the first three years and 300 client hours, for at least 30 minutes per month under an NCH-listed supervisor.
I gained my qualifications from Clifton Practice Hypnotherapy Training (CPHT) along with a Diploma in Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (DSFH).
Understanding Solution Focused Hypnotherapy
The most modern form of hypnotherapy is a type of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy called Solution Focused Hypnotherapy. Unlike other talking treatments, this method of hypnotherapy deals with your current situation, rather than focusing on the past. It’s a very practical way of helping people overcome anxiety, improve confidence, stop smoking or deal with public speaking anxiety.
I chose to study at CPHT because the founder David Newton is regarded as one of the most experienced hypnotherapists in the UK and considered the father of modern hypnotherapy. He is also the Chairman of the Association of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy (AfSFH) is a CNHC verifying organisation and a member of UKCHO.
As a result of studying Solution Focused Hypnotherapy, I am accredited by two of the twelve organisations registered with UKCHO.
How to choose the best online hypnotherapist for your needs
For most practitioners, delivering hypnotherapy sessions online is a fairly new experience. For a qualified hypnotherapist though, the outcome should not differ as we work to a code of ethical conduct. It’s designed to give clients ‘the confidence in the quality of practice and the care expected to be provided’.
As an NCH Member, my primary duty is to protect the health and wellbeing of my clients. Below you’ll find the principles in summary.
NCH core principles
- To respect their client’s dignity, individuality, and privacy
- To be sensitive to cultural differences
- To respect each client’s right to be involved in decisions about their therapy and care
- To be trustworthy and honest
- To provide a good standard of hypnotherapy practice
- To protect their clients from the risk of harm
- To cooperate with other healthcare colleagues as necessary
You can view the whole NCH Code of Ethics here.
So is online hypnotherapy safe?
Many people use search engines to find a hypnotherapist online. They’re an excellent discovery tool. Please remember, reviews and a good looking website does not equate to a professional therapist. This is why choosing a qualified hypnotherapist online, consider the following areas:
- What hypnotherapy-specific qualifications do they have?
- Are they a registered member of a UKCHO recognised organisation?
- How much experience do they have?
- What form of hypnotherapy do they practice?
- Does that form match your expectations?
If you want to discuss any of the above with me or ask about my experience of online hypnotherapy please get in touch by phone 07966 464 005.