I have heard the term “Lay Hypnotist” and completely reject it.
As an interesting aside, I looked in two dictionaries, the Webster’s New World Dictionary: Third College Edition and, and Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Edition 15, before turning to the internet to find a definition of the word, “lay.” According to National Guild of Hypnotists would stand for being called a “lay hypnotist.”
Certainly there are lay hypnotists, a group of which is made up primarily of hobbyists who casually study hypnosis just out of personal interest. But when the term is most commonly used, it is not these individuals of which others are speaking. Rather the term has been misused and regularly applied to professionals who use hypnosis to help others in their legal practices across the country and around the world. These professionals are often of state licensed schools such as ours. The label of “lay hypnotist,” is most likely to be used by licensed professionals who want to distinguish themselves from hypnotists and hypnotherapists who are not licensed. This is an improper use of the term.
Since hypnosis is most appropriately used to help normal everyday people with normal everyday problems, being licensed as a psychologist or physician is simply not an issue. Furthermore, such licensure does not in any way determine the quality of hypnosis or hypnotherapy that a particular client will experience, or the outcome that they can expect from such services. This is because there is no licensed profession in which hypnotherapy or hypnosis training is ever provided as a regular part of their education. In fact many such professionals have had to seek training outside of their own licensed profession from the very people that they label “lay hypnotists.” I know this is true because I have had many such professionals go through both our NGH Hypnotherapy Certification Course and our Advanced Hypnotherapy Training Course.
So, the idea of calling non-licensed professionals, “lay persons” should be considered a statement made out of ignorance. I for one have studied hypnosis and hypnotherapy extensively, and have received certification from the NGH as a Hypnotherapist, a Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and also carry the title of Fellow of the National Guild of Hypnotists. Although I am not licensed, I also have a BS and MA in Psychology. I have written books and taught on the subject for years now. Should I accept the label of “lay” anything? Should any professional hypnotist or hypnotherapist? Not if they have taken up serious study of the subject and have been properly certified by a respectable organization.
In my opinion, if ignorance of the proper usage of the word “lay” is not at issue, then applying such labels to professional hypnotists and hypnotherapist is designed solely to make others feel or look superior to those who are true professionals in the field of hypnosis.
I say that it is time that Professional Hypnotists and Hypnotherapists around the world wholeheartedly reject this demeaning term and proudly state the truth, we are a profession. Wake up! We have been a profession for quite some time now.