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Hypnosis Manifesto: Building the Profession

Posted Under: Hypnosis Blog,Hypnosis Manifesto

Hypnosis Manifesto: Building the ProfessionOur profession is at a very important point in its development, and the decisions that we make now, and in the future will be crucial. In this document, I intend to shed some light on what we, the members of the hypnosis profession, should do to continually develop our profession. I will cover three different time periods: what we should be doing now, what we should be doing in the mid-term, and what we should be doing in the long term. These three phases of the development of the profession should accomplish a number of goals, including better train and prepare individuals for the profession, better educate the public about what our profession can do, and educate other professionals, such as those in counseling, psychology and medicine on what we can do and how they can work together with us to provide the best services to the populations that we can serve.

It is my intention to offer this document as a guide for the development of the profession of hypnotism, now and into the years ahead. However, I expect that along the way there may be unforeseeable challenges that may necessitate changes to it. Also, unforeseen solutions may become apparent and then adopted into this Manifesto. So consider this the first edition which was published on this date.

These opinions do not reflect the vision of any other person or organization, and I am solely responsible for its content. If an individual disagrees with what is put forth here, or would like to make suggestions, those differences and suggestions should be addressed to me.

When I use the words, “the profession” or “our profession” I mean the professional practice of hypnotism. Although the following manifesto may be useful to other professions, it was written and published as a means to address the issues facing those who are involved in the professional practice of hypnotism, and see it as a stand-alone profession. We, in this profession do not see it exclusively as a “tool” used by those who use hypnosis as an adjunct to their practice, such as is the case in medicine and psychology. We take the position that hypnotherapy is a specialty, a profession that is unique from others, such as in the cases of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Massage Therapy. And as such, we take on the responsibility to define it, develop it and promote it to the public and other professions.

I will use the following terms interchangeably, because different hypnotism professionals have their own reasons for using different titles for what they do depending on their training, professional orientation, and the legal climate in which they live.

  • Hypnotist
  • Hypnotherapist
  • Consulting Hypnotist

Certainly other titles are used in the profession, such as “Hypno-analyst” and “Hypno-coach” and so on. However, I have never used them, and in order to keep things as clear as possible, I will usually use the terms “Hypnotist” and “Hypnotherapist” most of the time, since they are the most common terms used in our professions at this time.

This document will outline what I believe are the challenges and possible solutions to those challenges. These challenges and solutions will only be expressed to the degree needed to identify them. As others examine this manifesto, I hope that we will all look at what I have identified here and expand them as necessary, and express them in a more detailed manner as needed to implement the steps that we need to take to ensure the ongoing development, improvement and acceptance of our profession.

Short Term Phase Challenges and Proposed Solutions

In this portion of the document, I examine both the challenges that face the profession as well as some solutions that I would like to propose at this time. This short term phase is not necessarily defined in terms of time, such as “this year” but rather, the short term is defined in terms of what needs to be done now and in the immediate future. This short term phase will end when we have changed current circumstances sufficiently so that we can begin to experience the challenges of the mid Term Phase, and be able to benefit from the solutions proposed for the next phase, which will be discussed further in that portion of this document.

Our short term challenges are many, and the list is long. Perhaps, others in the profession would create a different list than I have. Below I offer up, what I see as some of the most important challenges that we face now. In future editions of this manifesto, the list may be edited. I look forward to future input regarding this list so that I can make amendments to it as additional insights about our current situation is received for other members of our profession.

Here are the current most important challenges as I see them now:

  1. Lack of education of the public regarding what hypnosis is, and its usefulness.
  2. Lack of education of the other professions regarding the profession and how to refer to hypnosis professionals.
  3. Insufficient training programs that teach at a minimum standard of competence.
  4. Lack of internship programs and other kinds of mentor-ship and supervision.
  5. Perception by many hypnotherapists that there are not enough clients which results in feelings of fear and unnecessary competitive behaviors which are harmful to the profession.
  6. Lack of a recognized single national or international ruling organization.
  7. Lack of defined standards that are universally accepted nationally or internationally.
  8. Many, if not most professional hypnotists, do not know how to develop a practice to the point where they can flourish and practice full time.
  9. Other professional organizations exist who do not want the profession to continue, and they actively conduct propaganda programs and legal attacks upon it.

Discussion of Short Term Phase Challenges

In order to provide some clarity regarding the above list of challenges, I will briefly discuss each one so that the reader will understand why I see each of these as being problematic, and needing our combined efforts to solve the challenges that they represent.

First on the list, is the current challenge of the, “Lack of education of the public regarding what hypnosis is, and its usefulness.” The main reason that most hypnotherapists do not have enough clients to fill their schedules is that the people in a 30 to 60 mile radius of their office do not know that hypnosis is a serious option. Most people have never heard of a “Hypnotherapist” and think very strange things about “hypnotists.” As long as this situation exists, most hypnotherapists will struggle to make a success of their practice, and only the most business savvy will make it.

We also face the challenge of the “Lack of education of the other professions regarding the profession and how to refer to hypnosis professionals.” The other professions regularly refer clients or patients to others who can serve them well. However, these other professionals have all of the same fears and misconceptions about hypnosis that the general public has. They also are ignorant of what we can do. Perhaps others may fear jeopardizing their licenses if they make a referral to us. We need to take action in the form of a concerted action to let these professionals know what we do, how we do it, and when it is appropriate to make referrals. This is why, when given the opportunity, I will always use the phrase, “complementary” rather than “alternative” when describing what I do as a hypnotist. We are not part of the mental health, or medical systems the way Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are, and we should be. We should work so that these professionals see us as a viable referral in appropriate circumstances, and then up to half of our work can be done in this way. The other half would come from our marketing efforts and referrals from clients.

Our profession suffers because of, “Insufficient training programs that teach at a minimum standard of competence.” Because we are for the most part an unregulated profession, we do not have a minimum standard of competence, and that hurts us. Because of this, other professionals and potential clients look at us with uncertainty. In some places in the USA, no training is required at all to practice legally as a hypnotherapist. At this point, all we can do is announce the source of our certification by a credible organization, and hope that it impresses the professional we want to work with or the potential client we want to provide services for. (I am glad to say that there is at least one such organization that provides this kind of certification.) This lack of universally accepted certification, or accreditation in our profession needs to be addressed if we want to become full-fledged members of the helping professions.

The next easily identifiable problem is our, “Lack of internship programs and other kinds of mentor-ship and supervision.” Most, if not nearly all, of the successful hypnotherapists working today became successful without any kind of internship program or mentor. However, I believe that many more of the individuals who graduate from hypnosis schools around the country would be much more successful with some kind of ongoing professional support. Some schools such as mine have attempted to make up for this by providing online discussion groups, and “externship” programs via recorded or online programs. Still, because we do not have the person to person mentoring which is so common in the other helping professions, many graduates do not begin the practice of hypnotism, or find beginning so painfully slow, that they often give up before they find that their practice is successful. Because of the lack of this ongoing support and training, many very talented would-be hypnotherapists never successfully reach a level of confidence to become successful, and our profession suffers from it.

Unfortunately, there is also a pervasive, “Perception by many hypnotherapists that there are not enough clients, which results in feelings of fear and unnecessary competitive behaviors which are harmful to the profession.” This inaccurate perception hurts us because it causes some new hypnotherapists to give up, while others may use desperate tactics to build their practices. Such desperate tactics are many, and some of them will make others look down on our profession. The truth is that there is not a lack of clients, what there is a lack of, is education going on so that the general public will better understand what we do, and the credibility with which we can do it. Also, as a whole, most hypnotists do not have the marketing skills to promote themselves in a productive way.

There is a “Lack of a recognized single national or international ruling organization.” This lack of a single ruling organization hurts us because it causes the profession to break into smaller groups, which will have difficulty communicating with all hypnotists and hypnotherapists when that kind of communication can be crucial. Without this kind of leadership and authority we are less able to react with “one voice” when the profession is challenged or attacked by other organizations, or governmental agencies enacting laws which will limit or eliminate the practice of hypnotism.

One of the most important issues that we must overcome is our “Lack of defined standards that are universally accepted nationally or internationally.” Without these standards we will always have a level of confusion in the profession. Setting such standards prevent us from communicating clearly and convincingly with our potential clients, other professionals and governmental agencies. This restricts our growth at every level. Without these standards we are less credible to those we can help most.

To have a successful profession, and for any one hypnotist to be successful they must have a comfortable income, at the very least, and “Many, if not most professional hypnotists do not know how to develop a practice to the point where they can flourish and practice full time.” Right now, most of those in our profession are unable to practice hypnotism at a full time level. This hurts the profession because those individuals must take a significant portion of each week and devote it to some other kind of work to provide an adequate income. Only with a body of professionals who are in the full time practice of hypnotism can our profession attain the level of professionalism and respect that it should attain. Part of the problem is that when an individual enters into the profession they do so because they want to work in an area that helps others. They do not come from a business mindset. This must change or we will never be able to move into the Long Term Phase of the development of the profession. Doing so will greatly improve the profession in many ways including, making the profession more appealing to those who are considering entering into it, providing more experience to the practitioners in a shorter period of time building expertise in the profession at a higher rate, organizations will become stronger because the membership will invest in them at a higher rate, and demand more from them.

Unfortunately we need to be vigilant and proactive because in protecting our right to practice and the right of our potential clients to select our services because “Other professional organizations exist who do not want the profession to continue, and they actively conduct propaganda programs and legal attacks upon it.” These propaganda programs and legal attacks have caused the profession to lose ground in some isolated incidences around the country. These organizations and their plans to end the independent practice of professional hypnotism needs to be taken very seriously. Without organized effort and strong leadership these other organizations could possibly succeed. This problem is compounded by the fact that the members of these other organizations have members who work full time in their professions, and as a result their organizations can demand higher dues, which has given large amounts of money to carry out their efforts.

As you can see, the challenges that face us are many. However, we can meet and benefit by doing so by starting now. Please read on to and see some of the solutions that we can implement right away, or in the very short term.

Discussion of Short Term Phase Proposed Solutions

It is easy to see that there are a number or easily recognizable challenges that are currently facing our profession. Some of the challenges will need to be addressed over a long period of time, but all of the challenges that I have listed in this section have solutions that can be initiated right now. What it will take is leadership, and the will to succeed.

It may be useful to organize these challenges into larger groups. Here is a suggested way of grouping them:

  1. Educational Challenges
  2. Organizational Challenges
  3. Legal Challenges

All three of these challenges need to be addressed simultaneously because they affect each other. For example, setting up a universally accepted set of standards for hypnotists, would affect organizations, education, and our legal challenges. So, as hypnotists we need to actively move toward implementing solutions in all of these areas immediately, and simultaneously, if we are to succeed in any one of the areas in a meaningful way.

Short Term Phase Educational Challenges and Solutions

Educational challenges permeate our profession. From the list of Short Term Challenges above, we can include the following: lack of education of the public, other professions, insufficiency of some training programs, lack of internship programs, and inability of hypnotists to build their practices to a flourishing full time business.

These challenges exist for a number of reasons. Here is a partial list of causal factors contributing to this challenge.

  1. Lack of standards that schools and trainers can be required to adhere to.
  2. Different perspectives about what kind of training is correct or important.
  3. Schools competing on the basis of what they teach.
  4. Different states and countries have varying degrees of regulation with different requirements for training hypnotists.

Anyone who would like to offer useful solutions to these problems need to be aware of both the challenges and the causes of the problems that face our profession. So with these in mind, I would like to suggest that the following steps be taken immediately.

First, minimum training standards need to be implemented that the majority of the largest hypnosis organizations can agree to, or one main hypnosis organization should be used who would adopt the standards. The standards should be carefully considered and then written in a way that would gain universal acceptance, and perhaps be connected to a third-party organization that is internationally accepted as a standard setting organization. One very good idea, which I first heard from Elsom Eldridge, Jr., was that of developing an ISO  standard for hypnotists.  ISO refers to International Standards Organization. I believe that this could be a very good first step which could be started right now.

This will help a great deal with the second causal factors to the educational challenges that we face now the, “Different perspectives about what kind of training is correct or important.” With standards set, then we have a minimum standard that all trainers and schools can point to as an acceptable authority. These minimum standards would become the defacto “most important” skills required in the hypnotism profession. Of course, any school or trainer may teach above and beyond those standards. These would be minimum standards, a kind of common denominator in the profession.

Next, the observant reader will note that this will help to address some of the problems that are created because of “Schools competing on the basis of what they teach” which harms our profession. Schools can continue to compete, as they should. But they will no longer be able to say that another school is deficient in what it is training, which harms the profession. This kind of infighting only provides “ammunition” for those who want to work against our profession, and also confuses those who are seeking training and services. With minimum standards in place, then any school who teaches that minimum curriculum will become a recognized school in the profession, and credibly be a good place for anyone who is seeking hypnotism training to study, or at least begin their study of hypnotism. This will also have the added benefit of helping the public to feel more comfortable in seeking a hypnotherapist for sessions.

Having a universally accepted minimum standard of education for hypnotists should go a long way toward ending “certification courses” that are far too short in duration to be useful to the practitioner. Programs that are one day or two days long need to be abolished. There was a time when that was standard. Now we need to set a minimum number of hours of training. I suggest that for now, that number be 100. But, as a profession and as universally standardized requirements for the profession are put into place, this number of hours will need to be examined, and probably extended incrementally as the profession grows.

As we become more proactive, especially in working with organizations such as the International Standards Organization, I expect that we will have greater success in working with the different states (and countries) to encourage them to accept these standards universally. Doing this will greatly strengthen the development of our profession, both by training hypnotists to a greater level of minimum competence, building confidence in the profession as a whole, and helping it to be better accepted by other professions and governmental agencies. As a result, we can expect that hypnotherapy will become more common, better accepted and more individuals will want to enter into the profession.

Short Term Phase Organizational Challenges and Solutions

I believe that organizational challenges comprise one of our greatest hurdles in the Short Term Phase of the development of our profession. Several organizations have contributed in varying levels to the development of our profession in the past and there are a few important organizations around the world who continue to do so. The one that I am most familiar with is the National Guild of Hypnotists* (NGH). I don’t believe that any other organization is currently doing more to protect our ability to practice, and to train hypnotists. This is the one organization that I recommend that all hypnotists and hypnotherapists join now. To learn more about the NGH go to

One of the most significant steps we can take at this time is to recognize the organization which is anticipated to do the most for the profession, and then build that organization’s membership. By building the membership of one organization, we come together as a profession, able to speak with the greatest voice, and have the greatest ability to make the changes needed that I have outlined above, including meeting the legal challenges that we face now, and that we will undoubtedly face in the future. I will go into our legal challenges in greater detail in the next section.

With one strong body, an organization that can speak for nearly all hypnotists, we have the greatest opportunity for success. I am not advocating the abolishment of any other hypnosis related organizations that are being helpful to our profession and operating in an ethical manner. I am only stating the obvious here, by building the membership of the most effective organization, as measured by past performance, we become stronger as a profession. Also, by doing this, we are able to bring together the best minds in the profession to help us all succeed. These leaders can work together to put together the standards that need to be set. The leadership of such an organization can share the workload required to implement all of the solutions that become available now and in the future. (The NGH has a track record of doing just this.) These leaders will also serve as examples to those new in the profession and help guide its future and be responsible for finding and developing the next generation of leaders as well.

We also need to build alliances with other non-hypnosis organizations that can benefit us, such as the National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC). This is the one non-hypnosis organization that I recommend that all hypnotists join now. For more information about this organization, go to their website at,

The NHFC is unique among organizations because its stated mission is “To promote access to all health care information, services, treatments, and products; to promote an understanding of the laws and factors impacting the right to access; and to promote the heal of the people of this nation.” This is a consumer organization and as such will have a great deal of credibility in the eyes of governmental agencies and the politicians who run them.

Short Term Phase Legal Challenges and Solutions

If it becomes illegal for you to practice hypnosis where you live that changes everything. All of your investment in terms of money, time and effort has been lost. You become unable to practice legally. You and everyone that you would have helped have been harmed in a very significant way.

Too many hypnotherapists are forced to work illegally or hide what they are doing by calling hypnotism by other names. Others do not give a second thought to how fortunate they are to work in liberal environments where they can practice legally or totally unregulated. Most operate their practices oblivious to the fact that there are some very powerful organizations that have an interest in putting all hypnotists out of business who are not licensed doctors, psychologists or dentists.

The purpose of this manifesto is to wake those up who are not aware of the danger that exists to our profession. At the same time, I hope that this document will serve to help those who want to practice hypnotism without being licensed in another profession, but are unable to because of unfair, self-serving and ignorant legislation that has been passed where they live which has rendered them unable to do so.

By identifying the best hypnosis organization, and then building its membership, we do the most we can do to get the kind of numbers together to be able to bring the proper minds together to wage this battle that has been ongoing in the background for several years. I urge each hypnotist to organize and recruit so that we can bring together those who have the most experience in handling these legal issues, while at the same time building a significant “war chest” so that as each problem erupts, we have the funds and the political clout to overcome each legal challenge as it arises.

With a strong organization, we can use the experience of the past to go beyond “putting out fires” and begin to plan preemptive strategies that will enable us to initiate legislation that will ensure the practice of hypnotism in each and every United States Territory and State, and then use that expertise to help to do this in every country. In addition to the NGH, the National Federation of Hypnotists OPEIU-AFL-CIO, has the best track record of providing our profession with this kind of organized legal action, both in a reactive sense and in a preemptive manner. To learn more or to become a member of the National Federation of Hypnotists, go to:

Conclusion of Short Term Phase Challenges and Solutions

It is my intent that this document be scrutinized by hypnotists everywhere. I hope that it will grow and change over time. But for right now, we need to become proactive. We need to develop a leading organization that can help us to meet the educational, organizational and legal challenges that exist right now. Unfortunately, we cannot sit around and wait for the AMA or APA to define us, and what we do, nor do we want that to happen. As a matter of fact, if we let that happen, they would define us right out of existence!

Mid Term Phase Challenges and Proposed Solutions

What is Mid Term? If “short term” meant now, and immediately, then Mid Term means, “The next step.” I hesitate to provide a time line for this. It depends on too many factors to accurately forecast a date. I believe it would be best for the profession if most of the Short Term Phase solutions had been fully implemented before this phase is implemented. I could set as a goal that this next phase would best be initiated in approximately the next eighteen to twenty four months (at the time of this writing that would be about the beginning of 2009). If we kept to that schedule, then this Mid Term Phase should be completed within the next two to three years, five would be the longest we should allow it to go (with its completion being estimated to be the end of 2014). Needless to say, patience, perseverance, and good leadership will be essential.

This and the following sections of this document will not contain the detail that I provided in the Short Term Phase discussion above. In the following discussion that makes up the delineation of the following phases, we do not have the details available that we have now that enabled us to discuss what is going on now. With that in mind, I want to continue in light of what appears to be the challenges that are ahead.

I anticipate that the Mid term challenges our profession will include:

  1. Effectively managing what we started in Short Term Phase.
  2. Initiating next logical steps, so that the next phase can be initiated.

Once we have made significant progress in all of the challenges that were outlined in the Short Term Phase, we need to take advantage of that momentum and make best plans for what we expect will be our next challenges, available solutions, and opportunities as well. With that, I will continue with the Mid Term Phase of this Hypnosis Manifesto.

Mid Term Phase Educational Challenges and Solutions

In the area of education, we need to move beyond defining minimum standards. We need to make sure that those standards are being implemented. This would be best done by working with the dominant hypnosis organization, and perhaps leading the smaller hypnosis organizations, working with an organization like ISO, or higher education, such as regionally accredited colleges and universities. In addition to implementing minimum standards of training, we need to look at other kinds of training, such as specialized and advanced training programs. Examples would be programs that are designed to train and certify hypnotists in hypnosis for pain management, other forms of medical hypnosis, sports improvement hypnosis, forensic hypnosis, hypnosis for natural childbirth, and so on.
This advanced and specialized certifications can also include advanced systems like Five Phase Advanced Transformational Hypnosis® (5-PATH®), or perhaps even Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

With these standards in place, hypnotherapists seeking higher training and education can confidently pick a school or trainer that best suits their professional development. It is also anticipated that this kind of standardization will lead to greater consumer confidence. It will also lay the groundwork for acceptance by insurance companies which can lead to third party payments for those clients and hypnotists who would like to participate in those types of programs.

I would also highly suggest that the profession take a stand against all unaccredited degrees. Examples of these degrees include Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and similar titles. Having such non-accredited “degrees” work against the best interests of the profession and only provide more ammunition for those who would have our profession eliminated. By encouraging hypnotists seek regionally accredited degrees; we join the other professions, by holding ourselves up to the highest academic standards. This will be one of the most important steps that we can make in this profession in the direction of being taken seriously by the other helping professions. It is commonly believed by some hypnotists that the reason the AMA and APA look down upon unlicensed hypnotist is out of greed, and that the reason that there have been difficulties with these organizations in the past has been because of a kind of “turf war” motivated by a feeling of competition with us. And, yes, I believe in some cases this may be true, but we also need to be aware that they fear us. They know what our standards of training are. They know the difference between regionally accredited degrees and those which are not. So, adopting professional academic standards would be a very good step in the right direction in healing these differences and overcoming some of the fear that they are experiencing.

We should actively build mutually beneficial partnerships with these organizations. As we do this, we can partner with the APA to develop guides for hypnotherapists to help us better recognize psychological problems, so that we can make better referrals to them when appropriate. Similar guides need to be developed to educate hypnotherapists as to the appropriate time to make referrals to medical professionals, or to receive a referral from them when one is appropriate to work on certain medical issues such as pain management. Then these guidelines need to be integrated into our most basic training standards.

Mid Term Phase Organizational Challenges and Solutions

As the profession continues to grow and organize, surely more organizational challenges will arise. I recommend that we make it a goal to hold our leadership up to the highest professional standards. We need to promote organizations who not only have the profession’s best interests in mind. There also needs to a transparent aspect to these organizations. The membership should have available to them all meeting minutes, and other organizational documents that affect its members.

We will need to continue building our relationships with other organizations and professions. I was once asked by a student how to build trust, I told her you need to make promises and then keep them. That is what we need to do as a profession. We need to promise the public, other organizations and the members of other organizations that we will complete what we started in the Short Term Phase, and then keep ourselves to those promises. As we do this, we can more powerfully move into this Mid Term Phase. This way, hypnotists will get a reputation as being trust worthy, dedicated, and willing to do the work necessary to build a strong and vibrant profession.

Mid Term Phase Legal Challenges and Solutions

As we continue to improve our training standards, and grow organizationally it will be a “mixed blessing.” This will result in better results for our clients, and this will mean more clients for all hypnotherapists everywhere. We will either receive or come very close to receiving third party payment from insurance companies, and all of this will worry some people, perhaps enough to cause additional legal problems.

Insurance companies are interested in the “bottom line.” They want to get results for their customers at the lowest possible cost, and that is exactly what a well trained, competent hypnotist does, provide low cost results. Compared to what? Compared to long term psychotherapy and some medical treatments that only treat the symptoms of underlying problems, rather than the cause of the illness or other problem. As the profession moves into this phase, we will garner more and more attention. Some of that increased attention will come from the media, and some of the attention will come from those in other professions who will notice that the number of clients that they are serving is beginning to drop. In this case, they may decide that they need to attack the profession as some of their members have done in the past. The solution to this problem will be to educate the other helping professions in two ways.

First, we need to let them know that they can receive hypnotism training and certification, and use those skills to improve the results they are getting in the work that they are doing. Certainly psychologists, social workers, counselors, and so on could better serve their clients if they did more hypnosis and less talking to the conscious minds of their clients.

Secondly, we need to educate these other professions. They will need to learn about our new standards, and training programs. They need to learn about us and how we work, and most of all they need to learn how to confidently and appropriately refer clients to us. As hypnotists, we need to better integrate with those who work in medicine and psychology. We need a uniform system of communication and referral between these important professions. Hypnotherapists need to better understand when it is best and most appropriate to refer his or her client out to a member of one of these other professions. And, we need to develop an appropriate way to do this without fear that we will take one another’s clients when they have been referred. That would undermine the work that has been done to develop the kind of trust and cooperation that had been developed to this point.

I believe that fear is our greatest enemy. As we develop our profession in a responsible way, the public and other organizations, including organizations within the Federal and State Government bodies will continue to respond better to us in legal matters.
Certainly, building a hypnotists union should be encouraged. I will state it again, having a leading hypnosis organization; building up the Hypnotist Union makes very good sense, and is something we must work toward in each phase of the development of the profession. We need numbers. This is a democracy, and it all boils down to how many voters are interested in a particular topic or outcome. This takes numbers and funds to do what needs to be done.

Long Term Challenges and Proposed Solutions

As I stated above, I am not setting out a specific, inflexible time line for each of these phases. The future is too uncertain, and I expect that if I set out a particular inflexible schedule for each of the phases, something would come up as soon as this document is published that would make that timeline impossible to hold to, or at worse irrelevant. So this next phase, in which we tackle the challenges in the long term, should occur at a time of our choosing, when the time is right depending on innumerable factors, but as soon as we can responsibly implement them. Having said all of that I would suggest that this Long Term Phase should be completed five to ten years after it has been initiated. That would have a maximum end date of 2024.

Taking everything into consideration, by the year 2024, which seems so far off now, we should have experienced and met the following challenges.

Long Term Phase Educational Challenges

During this phase, it is the time when there needs to be a great push toward moving from the current manner of training hypnotherapist, to one that better fits the time tested model used by the other professions, starting with four year degree programs, and extending into graduate and post-graduate programs. Certification courses as we know them should end, and qualification to work in our profession should require either a Bachelor’s Degree, or a Minor in Hypnotherapy adjunct to another degree, such as a degree in Counseling, Social Work or Psychology.

When this has been accomplished, the natural next step will be to create graduate level programs. I would suggest that the Bachelor’s level degree be a general one, and that the graduate level degrees be either in a specialty, such as Hypnotherapy In Medicine, or Hypnotherapy In Sports, etc. Also, graduate programs that have a specialty in research would be very beneficial to the profession.

Long Term Phase Organizational Challenges

At this point, I suggest that we will need to gradually move into having a self-regulating body that has legal authority and oversees education and licensing of all hypnotherapists on a national level. We can model ourselves after the AMA, APA, and so on, as it best serves the profession and its practitioners. At this time, we would be best served, if we took a stand and chose a standard name for those in our profession. At this time, we should be strong enough to assert ourselves as “Hypnotherapists” in every State in the United States. This is the next logical thing to do. Prior to this point (during the Short Term and Mid Term Phases) we may not be strong enough to do so, and still have to operate under other titles such as “Hypnotist”, “Consulting Hypnotist” and so on.

We should strongly take a stand during the Long Term Phase and do what it takes to legislate this, and protect that name so that only those licensed in our profession can do this. It will be during this Phase that we would be best served to put an end to what is now so useful to us; the unregulated practice of hypnotism in each State in our Country.

Long Term Phase Legal Challenges

As we enter this Long Term Phase, some old legal challenges will continue to plague us, and new ones will probably arise. During this more mature time in the development of our profession, there will still be the old holdouts in other profession who continue to believe that they can still put a stop to us, but they will become less and less during this time. They will be considered fanatics within their own professions, and they will retire, and pass away, as the newer, younger professionals will take their place. These newer professionals in the fields of medicine and psychology will have benefited from our legal, educational and organizational programs, which have built their confidence in us.

Then a second type of legal challenge will arise, the one that comes with success and the maturation of a profession. Hypnotherapists will by this time be a full time profession, and few people will practice part time (as most hypnotists do at the time of this writing). Future hypnotherapists will have hypnotherapy practices that are flourishing in the friendlier environment that was nurtured through the years. They will be wealthier, and with wealth comes litigation.

Right now, litigation against hypnotists and hypnotherapist is relatively rare, when compared to that experienced by doctors, psychologists and nurses. This is why our professional liability rates in 2007 are much lower than those who practice medicine and psychology. The increase of insuring our practices will be a challenge for us during this Phase. We will solve this problem by working through our organizations, educating insurance companies and governmental bodies, and manage it like any other mature profession does. Looking at the bright side of things, this will be an example of the kinds of new challenges that we can look forward to facing, because it means that we have made it, and achieved the level of professional development and public acceptance that we have worked so hard to receive.

Insuring the Distant Future of the Profession

What does the future hold in the years after the Long Term Phase has been completed? God only knows, but I will dare to suggest a few things. I suspect that as the other professions take our profession seriously, we will benefit them a great deal. Because we specialize in hypnotism, rather than view it as just another tool, we will be able to provide a great deal of insight into how it works, and how the human mind works.

As we develop the profession into one that has graduate programs, and post graduate programs. As a result, we can dedicate more time to doing excellent research into the phenomenon of hypnotism and the subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind. I suspect that through the stringent use of empirical research designs, we will shed a great deal of light on what hypnosis really is, and how to do it much better. And, as we do that, we will learn more about what it is to be human. I suggest that we may even begin to better understand the nature of the soul, and our connection with the Source of all things.

Personal Thoughts

I have been meaning to write and publish this Hypnosis Manifesto for about five years. I do not know exactly why I decided that I had to do it now. It seemed that now, at this moment in the development of our profession, a statement like this would help a great deal, if only to start a discussion on what we need to do to mature as a profession in a way that helps everyone, and perhaps develop some solutions along the way. I expect that shortly after it is published, it will need a great deal of revision, and I sincerely hope that is the way that it turns out. I hope it will provoke thought around the world, inciting both agreement and disagreements. I hope that it will turn out to be a document that will generate countless discussions, and that many of those discussions will result in people sending me comments, both in agreement and in disagreement. It is my intention to learn from those comments, and write a revision when the time is right, one that will better serve the needs of the profession if need be.

So here it is, the first month of 2007 and I have written this. I now send it to the “four corners of the world.” I only hope that it serves our profession in a way that makes it stronger so that more hypnotists can serve a wider and wider segment of the world’s population so that more people can use hypnosis to overcome their difficulties, and move toward fulfilling their goals and ultimate potential in their individual lives.

* Full Disclosure and Important Information Regarding This Document

In order to be open and fair, I want to provide full disclosure by stating that I am an active member of the National Guild of Hypnotists (and have been for 10 years). Having said that, I also want to say that I do not speak for the NGH, and the NGH leadership was unaware that I was writing this document. They had no input into the contents of this document, and may have positions that are different from what I have put forth in the manifesto. This document constitutes and contains my opinions, and should not be construed as being the opinion or position taken by any other individual or organization. I do not belong to any other hypnosis organizations except the 5-PATH(R) International Association of Hypnosis Professionals, an organization that is only open to 5-PATH(R) Certified Hypnotherapists.

To remain informed regarding developments associated with this, Hypnosis Manifesto in the future, check There you can leave comments and read further postings, or check for new editions and updates.


Copyright 2007 Calvin D. Banyan.  All rights reserved.  May not be used or published without the author’s written permission.

Publication date January 2007.

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Thank you for your comments!

12 Reader Comments to Hypnosis Manifesto: Building the Profession

  1. Jill Arnold January 17, 2007 at 1:49 PM

    I agree with what you have written, thank you Cal. I have experienced what you have described about other professionals being uneducated/fearfull about what we do. I have been strongly encouraged by colleagues in the counselling community to not publicize what I am doing in regards to hypnotherapy.

    I also agree that without specific standards that are required to practice it is impossible to regulate the profession, however, in Canada the counselling community is in the same situation. Anyone in Canada can call themselves a counsellor, there is no one College that regulates the profession and no on standard that people must meet. This creates a disservice to the unsuspecting public because they do not know the difference between visiting a hypnotist that took a 2 day course versus a 5-path program and so if they have a less than pleasant/effective experience with the lesser qualified hypnotist they will let everyone know that it does not work.

  2. Jeanette Laitner January 17, 2007 at 8:54 PM

    I agree with all you have written. It is good that you are such an inovative and assertive person for our profession. You are such a good leader, and I appreciate everything you do.

  3. Adam Eason January 18, 2007 at 1:45 AM

    Cal, I am delighted to see someone go to such lengths to create some harmony and regulation in our field.

    The only real aspect here that I find difficult to get on with is this notion of having s ingle, unified governing body of some kind. Surely, the field then gets monopolised and becomes something which is orchestrated by a small few at the top deciding what is right and wrong.

    Hypnosis deals with the mind and each mind is unique. Different approaches respond differently to different individuals and I quite like to see a richness and diversity in varying organisations, as long as they manage a good code of ethics and professionalism. There are very few fields that have one central organisation pulling the strings. I agree that some standards need to be agreed upon and attained, I just would not like to see too centralised a set of how we do what we do.

    I am going to point to here from my blogs and website and help to gather interest, let me know if I can ever be of any further assistance.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Adam Eason

  4. Steve R. January 18, 2007 at 8:51 AM

    Thanks Cal, this is a great wake-up call. In fact you just inspired me to email my membership application to the National Federation of Hypnotists OPEIU-AFL-CIO.

    I think another thing that we can do besides joining organizations like the ones you mention, is to take advantage of a business networking site such as This is the premier networking site for professionals, many professional and academic organizations have setup their own “groups” within this network. I recently suggested to the NGH that they look into setting up a group on this site, it would help connect NGH members with each other as well as non-NGH people with an interest in hypnosis (some of whom may be in well-connected positions in industry, law and politics). It would also solidify NGH’s position as the leading organization for hypnotists.

    If anyone would like to connect with me on LinkedIn, feel free to send me email at sroh98 -at-

    Thanks again Cal for all you do!

  5. Jean Hobgood January 18, 2007 at 9:23 AM


  6. Randall Sawyer January 20, 2007 at 7:21 AM

    Cal and Others;
    Your Manifesto is a very-interesting document and I have no argument with any of it. I would like to suggest, however, that we will not be taken seriously until we establish some minimum education requirements even before our hypnosis training. I have been doing hypnosis for many years and have always kept up with continuing education opportunities. I am alarmed at the number of times when I have been thrown into classes with what I call, “failed shoe clerks.” For the most part, these men and women have only a high school education (many only a GED), and carry “certification” from one organization or another in the field of hypnosis.
    We can all provide anecdotal evidence about some great hypnotherapist with little or no formal education. Those anecdotes are probably true, but I would suggest that our profession would be taken more seriously if Certified Hypno(whatever) required a BA/BS degree from an Regionally Accredited institution. I would suggest also that such an education should have a minimum of X hours of psychology or counseling.
    Just a thought.

  7. Adam Fistler January 20, 2007 at 7:42 PM

    I agree what a lot of what is said here. I’m actally a little excited about the thought of developing a ISO certification or a series of ISO certifications for hypnosis. Coming from my IT background and working for some companies that work with the Goverment I can see how this will raise the level of quaility of an individual’s practice. Anything we can do that shows that we are serious about our profession and can put forth those things to the public and other help professions will help.

    The second thing is that we do so badly need those standards that each hypnotist should know. From my talk with a few local psychologist they really want to believe in hypnosis but it is such a mixed bag between hypnotist to hypnotist. I really think we need standard titles that let other professionals and the public know what we pratice. For example a person who primarly does direct suggestion should have one title. A person that pratices regression to cause should have its own title. Eriksonian should have its own title and so on. Right now the public doesn’t know the difference between all the different thoughts about hypnosis. Then we should spend some time and educating about what you can expect from each one and the stenghts and weaknesses of each other.

    We really need to create a standard and really teach hypnotist how to test for hypnosis. This may sound a little silly but I get clients that went to other hypnotist and they are very dissapointed. From my questions I find that the hypnotist has done no depth testing at all and no convincers. There should also be a standard for doing a pretalk and make it part of the requirement to do a good pretalk. This is also another thing I run into with clients who failed with hypnosis and want to give it another go. And lastly it should be part of the recomendations to understand the depths of hypnosis and the proper tests. I’ve talked to some other practioners and I found one who tought that eye catalapsy was a test for ‘deep hypnosis’. This fragmentation and huge variance of level of service and quaility is hurting us badly in the eyes of the public.

    Also in that vein should be truthful advertisement. When one runs an ad you should put forth realistic expectations and not promise to sun moon and stars in one session without any effor on the clients part. This kind of thing makes us look like quacks.

    In the mid term we should also focus on creating a standard for our own schools with the minimum requirments. Who knows in the mid term maybe like a two year school like the massage therapist do. By then we should have our own self governing body that can review the curriculum of those schools. Because there is only so much that you can learn in the 100 hours. And if it wasn’t for the on going support of the board, the BOLSM CD’s and the study group I really don’t know where I’d be.

    And in the future term I do support a degree, whether it be an AA, BS or whatever. I don’t think we need to limit our self to the existing model that doctors and psycologist use. If we can create our own self governing body, create standards and raise our image then maybe then we can raise our crediablity in the public and those eyes as well. I just hope that if it does go the academic route that it doesn’t get bogged down in too much theory and not enough praticial applaction. I hope at that point that the development of the curriculum is done by people that have praticed and not end up in the hand of career academics. We need to be sure that if this happens that there still is enough room for innovation and not get stuck only teaching on school of hypnosis and leave room for many schools of thought.

  8. lydia norris January 24, 2007 at 3:40 PM

    I really don’t agree with the idea that to be a great hypnotherapist you have to have some kind of collage degree. There are many brillant people without even a high school degree. I also know many not so brillant people with all sorts of degrees.
    I also beleave that some of the responsibility goes to the client in finding a good therapist.Referals….

  9. Bryan Knight January 25, 2007 at 10:21 AM

    Your Manifesto poses a lot of pertinent questions. The breadth and quality of it impressed me. All the best to you in the implementation of your ideas except perhaps for the one-world-supra-organization. I agree with Adam Eason’s comments on that point.

  10. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH January 29, 2007 at 5:40 PM

    Thanks to everyone who has written a comment. I am reading everyone, and taking notes. All of your comments will be taken into consideration when the next edition of the Manifesto is published.

    Thanks again,

  11. Cindy Brooks January 29, 2007 at 7:05 PM

    Thanks, Cal. There has been talk over the years amongst NGH members about whether and how to take many of the actions you have listed. Interesting, our preconceptions of unknown future definitions. Some see these as constraints, others as opportunities.
    I have also been concerned about these considerations and feel that we do need to get out “act” together. NGH and the better schools of hypnosis like yours have done a lot to raise the bar.
    As a nurse, I am grateful that there was inclusion of theory and then a lot of practice with supervision in that profession. It seems to me that Hypnosis would benefit from the same.
    As in any profession, the education doesn’t end with graduation, it is good to have requirements of continuing education.
    We are moving in the right direction with many ideas that have been put to work already, but there is much to do. We need to move forward quickly while we have the freedom to define our own profession.
    I agree with most everything in the manifesto and thank you for putting this out before the profession and public.
    It would be interesting to learn how action is taken within our own organizations to protect clients if and when a hypnotist acts in a way that does not meet the ISO or organization standards. Other professions have a process and authority to regulate the levels of competency and practice. In some professions there is a quality review of cases. This generally has been initiated in association with third party payment. This could be another future consideration.
    I hope that we all get out there and make our votes count in defining the future direction for hypnosis.

  12. Richard Clark February 13, 2007 at 11:26 AM


    This is an impressive amount of work and you’re to be commended for the accomplishment. However the underlying desire to support preexisting organizations and standards that are entirely inadequate will lead you exactly where you don’t want to go. Standards being imposed.

    You say you want the profession of Hypnotherapy to have the same degree of respect as Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and even Massage Therapy (which I’d say has only marginal respect at best). To practice OT or PT requires the completion of rather competitive Bachelors degrees, extensive internships, and rigorous licensing exams. In most places where there is even modest respect for Massage Therapy it requires a minimum of 500 hours training, internships and rigorous licensing exams. Even your corner Barber had to complete more then 1000 hours of training, do an internship and pass a rigorous licensing exam just to take an inch off the sides.

    Yet, you propose 100 hours training sufficient for Hypnotherapists to work with cancer patients, IBS, addictions, and anything else that we all know hypnosis can help with.

    Give us the respect now and we’ll work on incremental improvements in training and standards later.

    Please. Any thinking person (read law makers and voters) will see this as absurd.

    Once you drop your focus on the need to ‘grandfather in’ all current NGH members (many of which the NGH has no clue as to their training) and turn your focus towards building a rigorous 1000 hour program, internship requirement, and examination that might reliably test competence, then you’ll have firm ground to stand on and demand respect.

    And, coincidentally, if you put ALL your efforts into developing real meaningful standards, as other disciplines have, it takes care of every other identified current challenge you’ve enumerated. Interesting huh?

    There is nothing in your primary and secondary proposed solutions that is required to initiate the tertiary phase.

    Wasting time and effort on promoting organizations and setting standards that even you believe are completely inadequate for the long term success of the profession is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE rather then helpful.

    Building membership in organizations and unions is useless. Even if every living hypnotist on the planet joined the NGH and National Federation of Hypnotists OPEIU-AFL-CIO, their numbers would probably not match AMA membership in Chicago alone.

    Look at what motivates you to want to put the carriage in front of the horse.

    Consider starting immediate work on your “Long Term Challenges and Proposed Solutions” NOW. Those are truly insightful.

    This will solve all the primary and secondary challenges much more effectively then the solutions you propose.

    Happy to discuss this more and hope you’ll look at this as honest feedback from an interested and supportive friend. My goals are the same as yours – to see Hypnotherapy gain widespread acceptance and professional respect.


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