Regulation & The CNHC

  • It has been recognised for some time that hypnotherapy needed to be regulated to both protect the public and to progress hypnotherapy as a profession.  The larger of the professional bodies came together under the Hypnotherapy Regulatory Forum (HRF) to work toward this.  A vote was taken (within the GHR at least, I cannot speak for the other registering bodies) as to which regulatory model to follow.  These ranged from maintaining the status quo i.e. do nothing, to Government led form of federal regulation.  The resultant vote was in favour of “Voluntary Self-Regulation” for each individual (not a practice) which the HRF then worked towards.

    This Voluntary Self-Regulation was achieved in December 2010 with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council opening its registers to hypnotherapists and acting as the external regulator.  This has caused much responsible debate within the profession, but let’s face it, much irresponsible scare-mongering too.  Not least with the infamous “Off-Quack” email distributed anonymously by its originator.  What a shame that whoever did originate that email did not have the courage of their convictions to put their name to it.

    I often give talks to organisations educating them as to what hypnosis is, debunking the myths and promoting the profession as a whole.  Anyone who has attended one of these talks will testify that I am fully in favour of regulation and would wish it to be mandatory.  The fact the absolutely anyone in this country can produce a few leaflets and business cards and call themselves a hypnotherapist off the back of a long weekend course does not sit well with me in the slightest.  The only real way to stop this is to make any form of regulation mandatory, but I am a realist and realise we are some years away from this.

    If you’ve had a look around my website, you will have noticed that I have chosen to become CNHC registered.  It was not a decision I took lightly and it was made after much debate between me, my peers and some of the top therapists in the profession.  Taking into consideration that anyone not registering should not be seen in any lesser a light than those who have chosen register, I have taken all sides of the argument into consideration (including the Off-Quack ones) and found, on balance, in favour of registering, although I have done so with reservations.

    One of the most common arguments against regulation in this form is that the therapist perceives no value from registering.  I believe this to be a moot point as the CNHC is acting as an external regulator and therefore are there to protect the public, not facilitate the therapist.  The CNHC will take on the complaints process from the registering bodies, thereby freeing them up to provide a better service to the therapist.  I feel that showing yourself to have enough belief in yourself and the service you offer by registering for an extra layer of protection to the public can only speak for you as a therapist.

    There is disquiet amongst the profession about being lumped in with other less evidence based therapies.  I can understand this but feel we can also turn this into a positive.  I see it as a chance to shine and to stand out from the others.

    I also feel that, having reservations, it would be better to voice my concerns from within the organisation as a registered member rather than as a muted voice from the clamouring from the outside.

    I agree that the CNHC has probably opened its registers to hypnotherapy earlier than expected to gain the extra revenue in light of their probable loss of Department of Health funding at the end of March 2011.  However, I’m willing to overlook this due to their special offer to registered hypnotherapists making the first years cost rather negligible.

    I also agree that the individuals sitting on the Profession Specific Board for THREE years is far too long.  They have not been elected to the job and although I agree that someone has to do it while this regulation “settles in”, I feel this initial period of three years needs to be reduced to a year otherwise we run the risk of stagnation within the CNHC.

    In summary, and at the risk of sticking my head above the parapet, I am in favour of this external regulation.  It is; after all, better than maintaining the status quo.  Doing nothing was not an option in my book, so let’s pick it up and work with it!  We all have the public’s best interests at heart, therefore, any regulation is better than none at all!  Only the less than well trained or disreputable therapist has anything to fear from this.

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