Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy Qualifications
There are a wide variety of qualifications in clinical hypnosis. Here we help you sort out the myriad of different acronyms to find out which are meaningful.
Prior qualification in health or mental health
It is useful to know whether someone calling themselves a hypnotherapist is also qualified in another profession such as medicine, psychology, counselling, or psychotherapy.
Many doctors and dentists, as well as clinical and counselling psychologists and psychotherapists use hypnosis as one of their therapeutic 'tools'. These clinicians are regulated by professional bodies such as the General Medical Council (e.g. doctors) or Health Care Professions Council (e.g. psychologists) and rely upon their prior professional training to make appropriate clinical decisions. If these clinicians act unprofessionally complaints can be raised against them with their professional body and they can face professional sanctions.
Since the therapeutic use of hypnosis is not currently regulated in the UK anyone can receive training in hypnosis and can call themselves a 'hypnotherapist'. In the case where they act unprofessionally clients often have no recourse to a professional body to sanction these individuals.
"A Professional Hypnotherapist is one who has been ... trained in hypnosis and hypnotherapy techniques, which they use with their mental health and medical training, as an additional treatment technique, after a careful psychosocial assessment and evaluation. A Lay Hypnotist is one who has learned how to help someone enter the trance state referred to as hypnosis. They usually have no accredited training in medicine or mental health, although they may list credentials which have been "awarded" to them through a hypnosis school." (APMHA.com)
Training courses vary according to whether students are required to have prior qualification in a mental health or medical profession - some courses are open to all, others only admit qualified doctors, dentists, and psychologists. Courses only open to professionals only need to focus on the use of hypnosis, whereas non-selective courses will often need to cover the basics of therapy (rapport, therapeutic relationship, assessment, diagnosis) before looking specifically at hypnosis.
Types of qualification
Hypnotherapy schools typically offer training at 'Certificate' and 'Diploma' level. These qualifications tend to differ simply in terms of how much time is needed to complete them. The amount of face-to-face teaching varies across courses but Certificates tend to involve approximately 8 - 16 days of teaching. Diplomas will cover more advanced topics and might be another 10 days of teaching on top of the certificate.
Once students have completed their core training many courses will offer Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses as 'top ups'.
Course content, recognition, and accreditation
There is no such thing as a generally recognised qualification in hypnosis or hypnotherapy in the UK. Different courses will offer a different syllabus.
Different training schools often set up a society or awarding body, and these will 'recognise' students who have been on their hypnosis training courses. However, if you want to work therapeutically in the NHS a qualification in hypnosis is unlikely to be enough by itself. Doctors, dentists, counsellors, psychologists, nurses, and other health care staff often have hypnosis qualifications and use it clinically, but they work within the boundaries specified by their professional qualifications.
What do all these qualifications mean?
These are often introductory qualifications in hypnosis.
- Certificate (CHyp)(CCHyp)
- Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
- Certificate in Personal and Professional Development (CPPD)
A diploma is often the next step up from a certificate. Some courses may require that you first complete a certificate with them.
- Diploma (DHyp)(DClinHyp)
- Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)
- Medical Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis
- BSc / BA- Bachelor of Science / Arts, an undergraduate degree. Generally a three year (full time) university course. It is not possible to obtain an accredited degree in hypnosis, but some therapists may have a degree in psychology or a related mental-health subject.
- MSc - Masters - Generally a one year (full time) or two year (part time) university course which involves a research component as well as taught material. University College London and Sheffield University used to offer MSc qualifications in hypnosis but these courses are no longer available.
- DClinPsy - Doctorate in Clinical Psychology - A three year university course with practical and research components. Clinical psychologists learn to use many models in their work (e.g. cognitive-behavioural, psychodynamic) and some use hypnosis as a technique in their toolbox.
- DCounsPsych - Doctorate in Counselling Psychology - A three year university course with practical and research components. Within the NHS Counselling Psychologists hold similar roles to Clinical Psychologists.
- PhD - Doctor of Philosophy - A three year university course. A PhD is a research degree and does not indicate that an individual is qualified to work in a clinical capacity. Many hypnosis researchers hold PhD's in Psychology. Some companies on the web offer PhD's in hypnosis but these aren't worth the paper they are written on.
- Certificate, Diploma, or Degree in Counselling - There are a wide range of qualifications open to those interested in studying counselling. Many counsellors undertake additional training in hypnosis.