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Rev. Giles on Real v. Fake Credentials

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scot-giles.gifBravo Rev. C. Scot Giles, DNGH! In case you don’t know who Rev. Giles is, he writes for the National Guild of Hypnotists, Journal of Hypnotism, which just arrived in my mailbox today. I loved his latest article, Shooting Yourself in the Foot Part #1: Real v. Fake Credentials. In this article, he talks about such things as “The Mail-Order Degree“, “The Internet Ordination” and “The Silly Title“.

My favorite part was about fake hypnosis degrees. I just can’t stand it when someone comes up to me and tells me that they have a “PhD” or other kind of “doctorate” in hypnosis! I don’t know about every country in the world, but I do know that there is no such thing in the USA.


I don’t mean to make people who have these fake degrees angry at me, but I just have to tell them that you are doing EVERYONE a HUGE disservice by promoting yourself and your service by holding out these fake degrees in hypnotism, hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

First of all, as Rev. Giles will tell you, these degrees, even if they take some work to get, do not rise to the level of study required to achieve a real academic degree. These fake hypnosis degrees are not recognized by any organization who would grant a real degree. In most cases you will find that these “degree granting” organizations will say that they ARE accredited. But with a bit more research, you will find that they created the organization that is accrediting them! Essentially, this means that they have accredited themselves. This is bad for the hypnotist who will be found out eventually.

It is bad for the profession because when hypnotists are discovered to have false credentials, it makes everyone in the profession look bad.

It is bad for our clients, because they are being misled to select a hypnotist based on false credentials. I have known people with these false degrees who could not hypnotize anyone! Nor could they carry on a intelligent conversation on the topic of hypnosis, hypnotherapy or hypnotism.

I personally think these fake degrees should be outlawed. Bravo Rev. Giles for writing your article, and thank you NGH for printing it!

By the way, if you are not a current member of the NGH, then you really should become a member. There are so many benefits, too many to list here, but the Journal of Hypnotism by itself is a good enough reason to join!

For more information about becoming a member of the NGH to to www.NGH.net. You can also become a member by completing the Banyan Hypnosis Certification Super-Course.

15 Reader Comments to Rev. Giles on Real v. Fake Credentials

  1. written by: The Truth Hurts Only if You Want to Believe the Lie on March 5, 2008 at 2:20 PM

    Hey there, please keep it up. This kind of information can help people who might unknowingly buy one of these diplomas thinking that they mean anything. I think every hypnotist who depends on this profession to make a living should disseminate this kind of info and educate the public.

    Unfortunately, I think there are still many folks who would buy into these fake credentials, justifying it with all sorts of excuses. Because as long as this field is largely composed of people who are not serious about building sustainable businesses (aka helping as many people as possible), but are more interested in telling friends and family members that they are now “doctors” or hypnotherapists, or chatting on internet groups about fascinating hypnosis topics, then solid business practices like “Don’t Mislead the Consumer (esp. when the Truth is a Google Search Away)” just don’t matter.

    This is why i admire your push towards making more and more hypnotists become full-time practitioners. Once more people have a stake in it, then this type of fake credential nonsense will be minimized hopefully.

  2. Dear Cal,
    I believe your information is outdated or uninformed. As of January
    15, 2008 Alpha University became a licensed state institution with legal authority to grant academic degrees in hypnosis. I opened the original license document and currently have a copy of it hanging on the wall of one of my offices. Even though it is not my school, I personally met with the state license representative for the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education. Although I cannot vouch for any other organization, I can say with certainty that Alpha University is licensed to grant academic degrees in hypnosis.
    Melissa Roth

  3. Hello Melissa,

    What I said in my blog entry is true. AND, just to make sure I had Rev. C Scot Giles have a look at and you comment. He said I could post his response here to clear things up.

    His message is below this.

    Cal

    Hi Cal,

    Nope. Melissa is confused. Feel free to re-post this on your list if you wish.

    A lot of people get confused about the difference between state licensing or approval of a school (the terms vary by state) as a Post-Secondary School, and academic accreditation. They are completely different things.

    Approval as a Post-Secondary School is something you know about. Your school has it in California. Art Leidecker’s school has it in Illinois, etc. Most Post-Secondary Schools do not grant degrees.

    A few states (and Louisiana, where Alpha University is located, is one) also allow such Post-Secondary Schools to grant private degrees. However, such degrees lack academic accreditation. State approval/licensing to grant such degrees simply means the state agrees that the school meets fire codes, has appropriate records storage, etc. It says nothing about the quality of the degree. In some states it is easy for a school that is basically a diploma mill to get such approval by paying a fee and filing some forms.

    Academic Accreditation means that the quality of the courses offered in a degree-granting institution meet national standards. For Universities (schools containing multiple academic disciplines), accreditation comes from a number of Regional Accreditation Agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Such “Regionally Accredited” degrees are standard academic degrees. Single-purpose professional schools of law, medicine, divinity, chiropractic, etc. are accredited by specific organizations authorized the the U.S. Department of Education to do so. For example, the American Bar Association accredits law schools.

    Alpha University in Louisiana is one of a number of schools that have Post-Secondary approval, and it is in a state where such schools may grant unaccredited degrees. However, the degrees have no academic standing whatsoever. They are not recognized by any licensing, educational or regulatory authority.

    I’ve met the gentleman who owns Alpha University. He says degrees from his school have been “recognized as the equivalent of a Regionally Accredited Ph.D.” However, that statement apparently represents nothing more than his opinion. He has declined to answer the question “recognized by who?” and he has been refused permission to promote his school at National Guild of Hypnotists conventions and events.

    As Alpha University is a “university” the only meaningful academic accreditation it can have would be accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which is the Regional Accreditation Agency for Louisiana. If it doesn’t have that, the degree has no academic standing.

    Here is link to the Wikipedia article about all this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_accreditation

    Best wishes,
    Scot Giles

  4. More from Scot Giles…

    Hi Cal,

    Just to avoid confusion re the Wikipedia article:

    Regional Accreditation: accreditation from an Regional Accreditation Agency

    National Accreditation: accreditation from an approved national accreditation agency for single-purpose schools (like the American Bar Association accrediting law schools).

    Schools like Alpha University have NEITHER Regional Accreditation nor National Accreditation. They are unaccredited schools, licensed to operate as Post-Secondary Schools in a particular state by that state’s government.

    I should have made that more clear in my previous email. I don’t want anyone thinking that Alpha University is a National Accredited school.

    Best wishes,
    Scot Giles
    Legislative and Governmental Concerns Liaison, National Guild of Hypnotists

  5. Thank you for posting the article from Rev. Giles. Folks need to know the difference between real and fake degrees. However, some clarification is in order. Alpha University is an Alabama licensed institute (#08-1332-10) with operational headquarters in Birmingham with legal authority to offer degrees with a major in hypnosis, not to be confused with Alpha Motivation Institute, which is a trade name registered in Louisiana used by Infinity Hypnosis Institute, Louisiana license #2041. Alpha University is not regionally accredited. However, degrees from Alpha University have been evaluated as equivalent to those of regionally accredited universities according to standards and guideline of the U.S. Department of Education. You may want to visit the Alpha University website, http://www.alphau.info. Alpha University is the first state licensed institute in the United States to offer degrees with a major in hypnosis that have met the above stated criteria. Your post of the correct information is appreciated. We need to unite to bring our profession to the educational standard it needs and deserves.
    Conrad Adams, DNM, PhD
    Academic Dean
    Alpha University
    Birmingham, Alabama

  6. Hello Conrad Adams, DNM, PhD,

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here on my blog. As you may know, I am corresponding with Rev. Giles regarding this issue. As a result of that discussion, I’d like to ask you about this statement in your comment above, “degrees from Alpha University have been evaluated as equivalent to those of regionally accredited universities according to standards and guideline of the U.S. Department of Education.” May I ask, “evaluated as equivalent” by who? And, by that statement are you meaning to convey that degrees from Alpha University are of the same high standard as those which are regionally accredited, and that they should be seen as having the same stature?

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to leave your comment.

    Cal Banyan

  7. Cal:
    Sorry I couldn’t respond before now. I just got back from out of town.

    Since its inception Alpha University has organized its education programs in accordance with those programs of U.S. regionally accredited universities. In the programs of study for professional hypnotists the degrees offered are in Behavior Science with major emphasis in hypnosis.

    Credential Evaluation is a process of evaluation pertaining to academic and work experience towards the completion of a U.S. equivalency degree. Evaluation is recognized and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Evaluators apply standards and guidelines of U. S. regionally accredited universities and international education standards including international treaties guidelines set forth by the U.S. citizenship and immigration services approved for employment purposes – per 8 C.F.R., Section 214.2 (H) (4) (iii) (D).

    Alpha University utilizes the services of Dr. John S. Jester, senior evaluator for Yamuni Education Services (YES). Dr. Jester is a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Y.E.S. is affiliated with colleges and universities internationally and assists clients with education evaluations from G.E.D. up to and including Ph.D.

    All evaluations are confidential; no third party information is released without client’s consent. Y.E.S. utilizes services of an academic committee composed of seven (7) voting members with doctorates, two (2) of whom must hold qualification in the discipline being evaluated, and a Chair, an eighth non-voting member who must be a qualified evaluator. The mission is to assist individuals in documentation of their learning through academic and work experience.

    Evaluations are advisory in nature and are not binding. Agencies and institutions may or may not accept evaluations. Y.E.S. has evaluated credentials for admission to universities for further studies, bar examinations, real estate licensing boards, hospital credential committees, state and federal employment, immigration, military enlistment, and foreign medical credentials.

    It is the desire of all associated with Alpha University that the hypnosis community becomes united globally to advance our profession academically. We welcome quality minded educators to affiliate with us in this endeavor. Feel free to email me at info@alphau.info for more information.

  8. Hello Mr. Adams, and Everyone,

    After see the latest post, I once again turned to my friend and colleague to let him know about Mr. Adams post to see if he would like to respond. I believe that Rev. Giles’ response is very insightful, and revealing. You will find it below.

    Cal

    Hi Cal,

    Once again, feel free to post this to your list if you feel it would be helpful.

    In my opinion Mr. Adams’ statement here is just silly.

    He claims that Alpha University has been “evaluated” as the equivalent of a Regionally Accredited degree by Dr. John S. Jester of Yamuni Education Services; and that other people should take this seriously.

    Yamuni Education Services (located near Alpha University in Louisiana) is part of Yamuni Institute of Healing Arts, an unaccredited school teaching “healing” by nutrition and “natural medicines.” The web site is http://www.yamuni.info/index.html.

    I notice that Mr. Conrad Adams of Alpha University is listed as Adjunct Faculty at the Yamuni Institute of Healing Arts, and that some of the faculty and department heads at the Yamuni appear to be members of Mr. Jester’s immediate family.

    Yamuni Institute announces that it is “a Professional Educational Membership Organization and is exempt from state registration and regulation.” That is, it operates completely outside any regulation at all.

    Therefore, it’s hard to see how an “educational service” of a completely unregulated and unaccredited institution such as the Yamuni Institute of Healing Arts, is in a position to “evaluate” another unaccredited institution as being “equivalent” to Regional Accreditation. I’m pretty sure if we checked with the Regional Accreditation folks they would not think much of this claim. I certainly don’t.

    I also note that on its web page for its educational services, Yamuni Education Services says “Evaluations are advisory in nature and are not binding. Agencies and institutions may or may not accept our evaluation.” That is, they themselves come right out and say that their evaluations have no official standing. The claim of “equivalency” doesn’t actually mean anything.

    This is the sort of dodgy stuff that we typically see with these unaccredited schools as they try to seem to be more than they are. I really wish hypnotists wouldn’t get involved with them. It reflects poorly on us all when the nature of the degree is exposed in the press.

    These schools fill their websites with double-talk, rants against accreditation, affiliations to off-shore schools that appear pretty dodgy themselves, or claims about “recognition” from agencies to which they are actually connected.

    We also often see references to World Health Organization actions or United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations. These mean nothing. Anyone can become registered with the UN as a Non-Governmental Organization by filling out a form and paying a small fee. References to the World Health Organization simply mean that it has issued a statement about the importance of some aspect of health care. The WHO does not endorse or support any particular school or organization.

    In this case, the Yamuni Institute of the Healing Arts, announces that they were “established under the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Declaration of Alma-Ata” (at http://www.yamuni.info/id8.html ).

    That sounds impressive, however interested persons can read this declaration at http://www.euro.who.int/AboutWHO/Policy/20010827_1
    You will note it has nothing to do with Yamuni Institute and contains no endorsement of it. All it means is that Yamuni Institute mentioned this declaration somewhere in its start-up paperwork. The WHO has nothing to do with the school.

    This is to say that in my opinion anyone who thinks that a degree from Alpha University would be regarded as the equivalent of a Regionally Accredited degree by the professional or academic world is very foolish.

    As an interesting aside, I note that Mr. Adams of Alpha University holds a doctoral degree in natural medicine (unaccredited). Guess what? His doctoral degree is from–where else–Yamuni Institute of the Healing Arts.

    Talk about Amazing Coincidences.

    Best wishes,
    Scot Giles


    The Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min.
    Board Certified Chaplain
    Diplomate, National Guild of Hypnotists

    Wheaton, Illinois 60187
    web: http://www.CSGiles.org

  9. written by: Truth Hurts Donuts on March 14, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    Here is an interesting Google Maps satellite view of the allegedly internationally-respected and recognized Yamuni Institute (which for some reason uses an AOL-based email address and PO Box) – take a look at their “campus” —> http://tinyurl.com/348zjr

    I think there are three possibilities among people who fall for these degrees:

    1. Someone who has somehow fooled themselves into believing that these things have value, and that they are to be respected for buying them, to the point of being somewhat delusional.
    2. Someone who knows that these things are worthless but still uses them to sucker the public.
    3. Someone who is simply ignorant and likely uneducated, because no one who is well-educated could believe that their mail-order degree is equivalent to earning a Ph.D.

    Maybe it would have been possible to be unaware of this before the internet made things so transparent, but really there’s no excuse anymore.

  10. Even with his vast educational background, I must question what qualifications the Rev. Giles has regarding the higher education evaluation and accreditation processes. The Rev. Giles is either ill-informed about accreditation and the evaluation process or simply is unwilling to acknowledge the validity of steps that are being taken to advance educational standards for our profession. (And, for the record, I do hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree from an accredited institution that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.)

    An item that has been misquoted relates to degrees from Alpha University. The truth is, numerous degrees granted by Alpha University have been found to be equivalent to those of regionally accredited universities. The evaluations were done by an evaluation agency owned and managed by an accredited university that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes and accepts.

    For the record, UCLA and USC, for example, have faculty members employed whose credentials were evaluated in this same process using the same evaluation service utilized by Alpha University. Likewise, U. S. governmental agencies use the same service as the one being used by Alpha University. A review of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and the European Association for International Education (EAIE) would be advisable, since both are recognized and utilized by the U.S. Department of Education and other U.S. governmental agencies. Note also my reference regarding “guidelines set forth by the U.S. citizenship and immigration services approved for employment purposes – per 8 C.F.R., Section 214.2 (H) (4) (iii) (D)”.

    Every accredited institution of higher education in the U.S. today had its beginning without accreditation. That includes universities teaching medicine, law, engineering, education, psychology, physical therapy, theology, chiropractic, etc. That is a fact that seems to be overlooked. A university cannot be accredited when it begins to offer its studies. Besides that fact, accreditation was established in order to help students get federal funding for education, not to establish academic superiority. There are medical and law schools in the U.S. today that are not regionally accredited, and yet they are accepted for their quality of educational instruction. As plainly stated on its website, Alpha University is not regionally accredited. It is not eligible to even apply for regional accreditation at this time. We must start somewhere and do so with integrity.

    As stated earlier, Alpha University is licensed and has its operational office in the state of Alabama, where it is authorized to grant academic degrees in hypnosis and other areas of study. Further, Alpha University’s current faculty of approximately forty educators have advanced level degrees from U.S. regionally accredited universities representing more than thirty institutions from all over the United States and a few abroad. These respected scholars hold memberships in practically every professional hypnosis organization in the United States plus several located in other countries.

    We are not dodging anything. We are, however, moving forward to advance educational standards for the profession of hypnosis. What is in place is a beginning and has the support of many scholars who see it as a giant step in the right direction. There are and will be those who misunderstand and/or disagree with the statement that quality education is needed if we are to be more widely accepted. Quality education utilizing the assistance of recognized leaders in our profession can make a marked difference in our acceptance for what we do. Just look at the various other complimentary professions that have gone through this process to finally reach acceptance.

    Alpha University is not for everyone, but for those who want to expand their knowledge it may be just what they need and want. Let individuals decide for themselves if this program is right for them. I stand in my integrity and in the integrity of those who wish to advance our profession academically. RES IPSA LOQUITOR!

  11. Once again, Rev. Giles was nice enough to respond. See below…

    Hi Cal,

    There really isn’t much more to be said about this.

    Alpha University isn’t an accredited university (regionally nor nationally), but it claims that its degrees are “equivalent” to accredited degrees.

    When asked by what authority Mr. Adams claimed his degrees were “equivalent” to accredited degrees, he responded by referencing an unaccredited, unregulated organization to which he has a business relationship, which itself says its findings have no objective standing, and which is apparently “headquartered” in an empty field in rural Louisiana.

    I’m not impressed. I doubt many in the professional world would be.

    Of course, I don’t expect Mr. Adams to change his stance. He’s making money and I assume he wants to continue. We backed him into a corner when we got him to disclose who “evaluated” his degrees.

    I note that he is now citing some other authority (he says “evaluations were done by an evaluation agency owned and managed by an accredited university that the U.S. Department of Education recognizes and accepts”) that he didn’t mention before, and which he declines to name now. People will have to make of that what they will.

    I’ve been doing governmental and legislative work for the National Guild of Hypnotists for almost eighteen years. In the course of that I’ve waded though a lot of dreck from mail-order schools, and I’ve seen most of the games they play with words.

    Typically, the school owners try to talk your ear off when you start to shoot holes in their claims. You get double-talk, diversionary references to obscure documents and vague claims about recognition dressed up as an effort to “elevate” the profession.

    It seems to me that if their claims were unproblematic, there would be less smoke and mirrors. I also fail to see how hypnotism is “elevated” by unaccredited doctoral degrees that other professions scorn.

    For the rest of this:

    1. It is true that their are many fine schools that do not have regional accreditation. However, these schools do have national accreditation from an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education for that purpose–like the American Bar Association accrediting free-standing law schools. However, this has nothing to do with Alpha University which lacks any form of accreditation and which is not in the application process for accreditation.

    2. A school like Alpha University can apply for regional accreditation if it wants to. The two-page application and a copy of the standards is available on line for everyone to look at by going to http://www.advanc-ed.org/accreditation/school_accreditation/steps_to_school_accreditation/? You can also reach this web site by clicking on the appropriate links from the web site of the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, which is the regional accreditation agency for Louisiana. They are at http://www.sacs.org/ From what I’ve seen of it I doubt the school would have much chance of receiving accreditation, but they could apply.

    Alpha University could also apply for accreditation as a distance-learning school by the Distance Education Training Council (approved by the U.S. Department of Education). They have not done that either.

    3. I don’t know how to evaluate Adams’ claim to hold a Regionally Accredited Ph.D. as he declines to name the school its from. His resume on his web site (at http://www.alphau.info/id8.html ) claims he has degrees from “Southeastern Louisiana University, St. John’s University, Yamuni Institute of Healing Arts, Honolulu University, and California University.” If St. John’s University is the one that Art and Pam Winker ran out of a double-wide trailer in Louisiana for years, it’s not accredited by any recognized agency. We’ve already seen that the Yamuni Institute isn’t accredited. Honolulu University lacks U.S. accreditation ( http://www.honolulu-university.edu/accred.htm ). Honolulu claims “international accreditation” but there really isn’t any such thing recognized in the United States. There is no world government that bestows accreditation on schools. The web site for that school contains the usual claims to be a United Nations non-governmental organization, which we’ve already discussed.

    I can’t locate a California University. There is a Grantham University, accredited by the Distance Education Training Council, that has a “California University” top hit in Google. However, they do not appear to offer a Ph.D. There is a California University of Pennsylvania that is accredited, but that’s not the name of the school he used. In fact, a search of CaliforniaColleges.edu (at http://www.californiacolleges.edu/CampusTour/default.asp?letter=C&anticache=11559&switchto=statewide ) produces no listing for a school of that name.

    Southeastern Louisiana University is real and fully accredited. However, they do not seem to offer a Ph.D. program ( https://www.selu.edu/future_students/degree_prog/degrees/index.html ). So I can’t evaluate this claim.

    This dialogue has been fun but I suspect most people are now finding it a bit tedious. You have very generously given Mr. Adams his say, and I’d suggest it’s time to stop giving him publicity. I really think reasonable people have enough information to make a decision about the validity of the claims by Mr. Adams. Certainly, nothing I’ve seen here causes me to modify the advice I gave in my Journal of Hypnotism article about unaccredited degrees.

    As always, feel free to post this to your list if you would like.

    Best wishes,
    Scot Giles


    The Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min.
    Board Certified Chaplain
    Diplomate, National Guild of Hypnotists

    Wheaton, Illinois 60187
    email: ScotGiles@comcast.net
    web: http://www.CSGiles.org

  12. Cal:

    Thank for posting my comments. Once again the Rev. Giles refuses to acknowledge what we are doing to advance our profession. Nothing will change that and that’s okay by me. He has the right to voice his perspective.

    Yes, this dialogue has, indeed, become tedious. Let’s move forward. With that said I reiterate: “RES IPSA LOQUITOR”.

    Conrad Adams, Ph.D.

  13. I thought some of you would be currious about this, so here is a link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Res_ipsa_loquitur

    :-)
    Cal

  14. I can see that link did not work right so here is one that will take you to the same place, http://tinyurl.com/2jccwc

    Cal

  15. written by: Truth Hurts Donuts on March 28, 2008 at 4:36 AM

    This news article will be of interest: http://tinyurl.com/38eecc

    What a great story- it’s got politics, fake doctorates, insurance fraud, a “Ph.D” hypnotist who called himself a “Dr.” at the “Allied Psych Social Counseling Center”. The funny thing is that this hypnotist is now claiming that he never represented himself as a psychologist (gee, I wonder how people got that impression???); and if the public got that impression, that’s their fault. From the story:

    “The candidate in the early 90s received a Doctorate of Philosophy from Pacific Western University in human services with an emphasis in psychology. The on-line university is no longer accredited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the state penal code prohibits “substandard” degrees from being used in “written or oral advertisement.”

    Hamilton said last week Pacific Western University had been added to the unaccredited list a couple of years ago and that he has since removed Ph.D from advertising. Hamilton said it was impossible for him to remove the information from telephone directories already in print…

    Obtained from Sheppard by The Paris News, the letter alleges that Hamilton falsely represented his qualifications when his wife, Karan Sheppard went to Hamilton for hypnotherapy in 1996 while searching for a way to alleviate chronic headaches.

    Sheppard said Hamilton answered the phone and offered his services when they called Allied Psych Social Counseling Center of Paris after seeing it listed in the phone book. The Sheppards say they were trying to find a doctor trained in hypnosis.

    The Sheppards allege they were assured by ‘Dr. Hamilton’ that the visits would be covered by insurance. But after running up a bill of more than $1,000, they say their insurance company refused to reimburse on the grounds that Hamilton was not a licensed psychologist.

    When the treatments didn’t work, the Sheppards say Hamilton refused to refund the money they had paid and dared them to sue him, noting that he was a lawyer as well.”

    Good going there “doc”!

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