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Hypnosis Training Video Podcast #208: Controversy! Should Hypnotists Fulfill Prerequisites Before Certification, Like a Psych Test? And, More…

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Hypnosis Trainer Cal Banyan

Controversy! Should Hypnotists Fulfill Prerequisites Before Certification, Like a Psych Test? And, More…

Happy Hypno Friday everyone! Welcome to another free hypnosis training video here on

In this episode of Cal Banyan’s Hypnosis Etc, Elronn and I continue our series of controversial hypnosis topics. What do you think, leave a comment below and let us know.

Here are some of the topics we discuss:

  • Should there be prerequisites in order to become a hypnotherapist?

  • Should there eventually be REAL degrees in hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

  • If there was a degree in hypnosis, what would happen to the people who are already hypnotists and hypnotherapists?

  • Should there be a psychological evaluation before you can become a hypnotist?

Here are some more links related to the show:

REMEMBER: National Guild of Hypnotist’s Solid Gold Weekend is going to be in Anaheim California, February 26 and 27, 2011!

NGH Solid GoldYou can get more details at (more info coming).

I am going to be presenting on the topic of mastering hypnotic age regression and hypnotherapy.

Use this link to register,


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11 Reader Comments to Hypnosis Training Video Podcast #208: Controversy! Should Hypnotists Fulfill Prerequisites Before Certification, Like a Psych Test? And, More…

  1. vicki January 28, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Most personal trainers at any local gym have just the ACE certification, which does not require a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education. My piano teacher didn’t have a degree in music, either. You could argue ACE certification requires more hours, as does developing competency in piano (although this varies widely because it depends on the natural talents of the individual). Hypnosis isn’t really a science, though, it seems like more of an art. Artists don’t need government sanction to practice their art, at least not in the US. If hypnotists were required to take out student loans and go $50K into debt for a bachelor’s degree in psychology there would be a greatly reduced number of practicing hypnotists and/or many would simply switch to a career in some other unregulated holistic therapy. New holistic therapies  come into being every day and are created faster than the government could ever dream of regulating them all. If a hypnotist can no longer practice as a hypnotist, it is cheaper to get some sort of reiki certification and start practicing energetic healing therapies than it is to enroll in college these days. It is unrealistic for most hypnotists (outside of California anyway) to expect a $50K college degree to pay for itself through practicing hypnotherapy alone. Additionally, “uncertified” hypnotists could simply begin to practice under the umbrella of a religious service (Benny Hinn anyone? When he touches people to “heal” them on stage, it looks a lot like a shock induction to me…). As a religious service/practice it cannot be regulated by the government (“Congress shall make no law…” etc).

  2. Cynthia Thurman January 28, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Many hypnotists, like me, already have college degrees, but there are other good hypnotists, including some certified instructors, who do not. I do not think it is necessary to have a degree program, nor should it be a requirement; although I do like the idea of schools offering at least some courses or maybe a minor in hypnosis.

  3. William Molitor BCH, CI January 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I guess the first question that comes to mind is who is going to be in control of this license process? Who would teach the classes that give you a degree? Who taught them?

    I often want to look behind the curtain when someone wants to regulate something. It has been my experience and historically shown that regulations are driven by a person or group of people that intend to benefit personally and financially by creating barriers that their competitors can not easily overcome.

    The idea that I would need to be evaluated by someone to determine if I can do what I am doing now is confusing to me at best. I could only imagine that this evaluation would be by someone who is “licensed” in some other profession than hypnosis and would have a personal or financial stake in whether or not I can be a hypnotist. That doesn’t even bring into account that their personal or religious beliefs about hypnosis could really distort the outcome.

    I think that there is room for improvement. I believe there may be a way to distinguish between a hypnotist who is seeing clients and a hypnotist that uses hypnosis for entertainment, or even someone who just wants to hangs a certification on their wall. How ever you choose to use your training the best you can do for this profession is be a good hypnotist.

    I have been in business now full time for nine years. I have trained in both hypnotherapy and entertainment hypnosis. I feel I have trained with the best of the best in both areas and enjoy doing both but my Center and working with clients is my real passion. I have thousands of hours in hypnosis sessions with clients, as well as teaching hypnosis and hypnosis related classes. The only people that I have heard complain about what I do are those who believe they are competing with me for business clients. If we fall into the “regulator pit” trying to protect or hold onto our piece of the pie we will regulate our self into chains. This is a tricky thing that should be approached with caution and only with the wellbeing of the profession of hypnosis in mind.

    And this is my opinion today which is always subject to change when new information is observed.

  4. Cal Banyan, MA, BCH, CI, FNGH January 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I have received an email from a hypnosis professional that I respect and know well. She was concerned about some of Elronn’s remarks about some of the people that show up to take certification courses, and that they may have mental problems or otherwise not be up to working in the profession.

    I’d like to say that while studying in the profession of psychology I also saw students in the program who really should not have been there, and some of them graduated with PhDs! Well, that is my subjective assessment. It was up to the Psychology Department to identify these individual’s and “weed them out”. From my point of view that did not always happen.

    In defense of our profession, classes tend to be much smaller and so it is easier to identify and remove these individuals from the course. Also, I’m a member of the NGH Ethics Committee, which is some ways tends to operate as a kind of world wide complaint department for hypnotists. I can say that given the number of hypnosis professionals, there are very few legitimate complaints that come up. Furthermore, each case is dealt with quickly and fairly, resulting in actions ranging from ongoing supervision to removal from membership in the NGH. So it appears that the weak students (and otherwise mentally unhealthy) are successfully being “culled” in the classes. 😉

    Please keep your comments coming!


  5. Daryl Wilkinson January 29, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    The young guy makes a few good points Cal. If we care about our profession, we should be concerned about the standards and quality of the service provided. We all know of people out there who call themselves hypnotherapists who we would never consider referring anyone to. However, just because one has had training for X number of hours, be it in hypnosis or anything else for that matter does not guarantee that person will be any good. Vicki above, makes the excellent point that hypnosis is more of an art than a science. You can earn a degree in art, but that doesn’t make you an artist. The thing we tend to overlook is that clients come to see YOU, if they think you can help them. What you call yourself is of little concern so long as you get results. It is your reputation that proceeds you, and you, Cal of all people know how important effective marketing and good word of mouth is.
    I do not think “Hypnotherapy” will ever be, or even can ever be, regulated as the practise and approach of each therapist is so diverse and is so often enriched with their own life experience.
    In my state here in Australia, the practise of hypnosis was outlawed for 30 years, unless you were a MD, Dentist or priest. (We had the Scientologists to thank for that!) Before the legislation was in force I had the good fortune to be cured of asthma by a hypnotherapist so I knew a little about hypnosis back then. Of course during the ban people were practicing hypnosis but calling it something else. Guided Meditation, Autogenic Training etc.. So hypnosis will always be practised in one form or another by a range of people, but may not be named as such. Many consider it to be a sub modality of counselling anyway. There has even been talk of Hypnotherapy becoming a “chapter” of Counselling Associations.

    I find it interesting that in your 5 Path training you have managed to have “synthesised” as Elronn puts it, the major techniques and approaches used into one package. Some training programs push only one technique which limits the possibility of successful outcomes, which leads people like myself to search out different techniques and seriously continue ones education well after the initial training. There…. that’s a plug for your training program from someone who hasn’t even done it!

    Well Cal, at the August NGH Convention you asked me to make a comment following your podcast, I have now fulfilled my promise.
    Oh, please give Maureen my regards.
    All the best from Down Under

  6. Michael Bueti January 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    I am going to partially agree with Elronn that additional hours for certification would improve the profession of hypnotism, but that simply more academic instruction during those hours is not the answer. Something like a mentorship or coaching program covering both performance with clients and business strategy. Too many new hypnotists are talented at hypnotism, but lack the knowledge of how to effectively advertise or market.

    As to the idea of an academic degree in hypnotism… no, no, and in case you missed it, no. For the most part, universities exist to make money, not produce professionals. Specialized trainings and vocational schools almost always produce a higher quality of professional for several reasons; a focused and relevant curricula, smaller class sizes, and performance or mastery based criteria for successful completion.


  7. Cal January 30, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Hello Daryl – Thanks for the comment! One thing that I’d like to point out is that “Certification Courses” like mine and the NGH’s are only starting points in the profession. As in all professions, continued growth and development should continue as long as one is practicing in the profession. I should have made that point in the video.

    Also, in all professions there are the best, the mediocre and the worst. It is just the way it is. Like I said in my previous comment though, very, very few “bad” hypnotists exist out there. This is because of many reasons, including everything that I mentioned above and the fact that those who are inadequate generally do not have the confidence to practice. Many of these individuals will then seek out more training like my Week of Power Advanced Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Certification Course. I know because I ask every student who comes to that course, “Why are you here”. They are either their because they want the 5-PATH system, or they were dissatisfied with their training and want to learn something more effective and build their skills and confidence.

    I can get a pretty high fee for my hypnotherapy services and one of the reasons for that is that I get results. I agree with you, it really is about results. Those who are inadequately trained quickly (if the practice at all) either, become frustrated, get a bad reputation (and get few clients), or get more training and become more adequate.

    NOTE: One of the most important things to remember here is that hypnosis is safe. Done properly it is effective. Done improperly it is still safe but a waste of time and money on the part of the client. In such cases the hypnotist should just return the fee. That is just my opinion.

    I just love this stuff. Thanks again for the comment and for the “plug”. 🙂

  8. Cal January 30, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Hi Michael – Thanks for your comment. It looks like we “kicked a hornet’s nest” so to speak. J
    I’m hoping that Elronn will leave a comment soon. But until then I have you and the rest of the commenters to myself. It’s all good.
    Yes, more hours could improve the profession, if all of those hours consisted of excellent training, of cousre. Some of that could be “academic” in nature. I know that I always wish I could spend more time with my students (and that is why I offer optional training materials on DVD).
    And, I agree with you that more practice hours working with clients would also be a good idea, especially if that is supervised practice. That is why I offer internship programs from time to time. Both Elronn and Meredith have benefitted from my internship programs. Plus every hypnotherapist who has worked at our center has received ongoing supervision from me.
    It is not easy to offer internship programs because an office has to have an excess of clients to provide them to the interns. This is where colleges and universities can really shine, as well as other large institutions. It is very difficult for an instructor working out of a center to do this. In fact as long as I’ve been in the profession I have heard of such opportunities in only rare cases (most often offered by the Banyan Hypnosis Center Trainers (CPHIs) who teach across the USA and in other countries as well.
    I have no problem with this being done through vocational schools. If you know of one which is open to the idea let me know and I’ll help out in any way I can.
    Thanks again for your thoughtful and clear input on this topic. There is always room for improvement in every profession. Take for example the profession of Psychology. Every one of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals that they publish is incorrect to some degree, and needs improvements of some kind. What version of the DSM are they on now? When I trained in Psychology it was the DSM 3 and 4. They are also constantly updating their academic programs and requirements, as does also the medical profession.

  9. Elronn January 31, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    It certainly is good to see people discussing this topic freely. I can see from the above comments that there are concerns based on some of the things I said, and the inferences that can be made out of my statements.

    Firstly, I agree with Michael that having a degree in hypnosis does not constitute making a good hypnotherapist, advocating hypnosis vocational schooling should never be taken out of the mix. Having an option for a degree would be another feather in the cap of the word “hypnosis”, bringing it the credibility it needs to go to the next level. There good things about a more academic approach, but as a whole, I think that many schools just milk you for all they can get. I believe in accelerated education and think that a bachelors degree should only take 2 years for us to continue to compete in the world market.

    Please note that in large part… THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL DISCUSSION.

    Before I give my two cents, note that I did not say hypnotists “should” have a degree. The answer I put forth was in response to a hypothetical question and the possible solutions that could solve the problem of a tyrannical licensing committee. Also, I recall keeping the viewpoint that a 3rd party organization (with possible ties to the state) should offer an additional “piece of paper” creating a mutual partnership that is recognized as ligitimate by fields such as medicine, law, nursing, or clinical psychology, etc.

    I want this profession to evolve beyond being grouped in the same category as psychics, energy workers, and faith healers. Hear me loud and clear, there is nothing wrong with those vocations in the slightest bit. I just want to see a small registry or affiliation, with standards and associations akin to an EMT or even a CPR certification (which only takes a day). Something, anything, that can represent technical proficiency, so that our profession becomes more integrated in official channels, rather than depending on marketing, hype, and the mindset in your local community. This could encourage the use of hypnosis as a more immediate consideration to help people with challenges in their life on a national level.

    Once again, like some previous podcasts, we simply don’t have the time to go into the specifics of some of these generalizations, which makes it easy to make things out of context and read into things negatively.

    Do the new hypnotherapists out there have to get an established reputation before they can begin to make a good living?
    Should they? Perhaps they should. It’s an important question. Should there be some kind of standard in place that encourages the likelihood of proficiency in said skill set?
    This certainly opens up a can of worms for a lot of discussion regarding the entrepreneurial nature of our work. That is, for a lot of people, you must be just as good an entrepreneur as you are a hypnotherapist, or you just might go out of business… not that there is anything wrong with that! I am not saying that having that “piece of paper” would fix this dilemma, but it just might help the new hypnotherapist tap into the market a little differently, and once again, differentiate us just enough to be seen as more than just another personal development coach who knows some Hypnosis and NLP to help you make “breakthroughs”.

    Certifications for information technology carry weight in professional channels. For example, if you fail a test to become Cisco Systems certified, you are denied that distinction and are required to wait a set period of time before being allowed to test again. The statement that hypnosis is more of an art than a science rings true… But is it? Really? Would you say that sales is more of an art than a science as well? —- I don’t think so. Selling is a learned skill. Selling is a repeatable science. Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy are learned skills and need be treated as scientifically as possible. The degree with which the science is implemented depends on the person and the character of that individual, as well as their commitment to excellence. The quality of the hypnosis and the delivery is where the “Art” comes in, but the skill set itself and the knowledge base required to do it are very exact and scientific. As with all the psychological professions, what we do, is typically seen as “soft”, when compared to “hard” sciences where you can touch or multiply what you have in front of you and aren’t dealing with fuzzy concepts like “the mind”. If there are any scientists out there, you know that there is little agreement in the scientific community when you get to the higher levels of hard science. In fact, things get a little “soft” at the top of every field of science. Consider a meta-analysis conducted in 1987 (Hedges) that examined variables across 13 areas of findings conducted in particle physics and psychology. What they found was that the conflicting research findings were no greater in the behavioral and social sciences than the physical sciences. What does this mean in a nutshell? Well, one could jokingly say that psychology and the related fields are just as “scientific” as hard science.

    As as far as postulating that people need psych evaluations… I am well aware that all professions have ineffective practitioners in them. That comment was meant to encourage a weeding out process for hypnotherapy schools. Upon taking a step back, it would difficult hard to do this effectively and would be best left to the ethics committee, as Cal mentioned. As I stated in the podcast, letters of reference as a pre-requisite for admittance should be the industry standard, and would be another necessary part of the paper trail, paving the way for stronger affiliations with desired channels in the mental health network.

    In my closing remarks, please keep in mind that I agree with the common knowledge that people don’t get hurt by hypnosis. My statement that “some hypnotists are not doing good work” refers to the quality of their technical ability being less than on par. What I said does was not meant to imply that deleterious effects could ever be associated with some hypnosis practitioners.

    I have enjoyed doing these podcasts and appreciate all the discussion that has come to my virtual doorstep. In ancient Greece and Rome, argument and debate was seen as something necessary to evolve the people and the polis. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be so bold as to share my opinions of the day, whether it is in all seriousness or at the most memorable moments, tongue in cheek.

    Together, we can move this profession forward into excellence.


  10. Steve R. January 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I like Elronn’s evocation of ancient Greece and Rome as models for discussion. But THIS IS SPARTA! (just kidding, could not resist…)

    On a less cheeky note, I would suggest that a prime source of weakness in this profession is not the low/non-existent standards for students… but equally low/non-existent standards for becoming a trainer. Low student quality is simply a by-product of low trainer quality and the students they attract in the first place (“start an exciting new career in the healthcare industry! single mom high school dropout makes $84/hour working from home as a certified hypnotist!”)

    Cal, you mention how poor practitioners will either get better or just fade away. However, I observe that what often happens is that after someone gets their certification and find that they lack some combination of business/marketing/hypnotic skills, they set up shop as an instructor, finding it more profitable to rent a room somewhere and sell weekend workshops to a group of people every few months. Maybe they’ve worked with a few dozen people and start to believe that they are a Master (it says so on their certificate!). Some people may even get into this field with that as their main goal, a way of developing passive income, without ever really working with individual clients.

    So I think an emphasis on improving hypnosis student quality is good, but there is a more fundamental problem regarding instructor quality and lack of standards towards becoming a certificate reseller. And this is also why there is so little supervision or mentorship in this field, because the certificate resellers do not have the experience themselves to provide guidance either in terms of the hypnotic work or developing a successful practice!

  11. Will Stern January 31, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    I too want to be a 1%er but I can’t afford the cost,
    I’ve purchased my first DVD from Jerry Kein in Florida because its like, Elron said, its a carrier. I mean that’s what I want to do. Now if the gov. would give me a GRANT to become a Hypnotherapist, I’d be there. And I don’t care how many hours. The things about that is how many schools would have an Internship for the accumulation of hours. I’ve been watching a few other hypnotist’s videos that seem cool but I feal assured that 5 Path and 7 path is were it’s at.

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