Ok, so apparently proposals are afoot in Australia to deregulate hypnosis professional practice.

And many people in the hypnosis world and from further afield have their knickers in a twist because they suspect this may be the beginning of the end of the world…

Excuse me being facetious. Before I aim to stop the mild hysteria, let me make one thing clear — I am in favour of very high professional standards regulations. However, I am not going to wet myself if the government regulation is loosened. I want to explain why….

I am referring to this hypnosis article in Adelaide Now yesterday, that states:  

BACKYARD hypnotists will be able to ply their trade and put clients at risk when the industry is deregulated by the State Government, experts fear.
The SA Hypnosis Society says hypnosis must remain restricted to qualified health professionals as the Government’s plan moves closer.

Spokeswoman Jacky Dakin, an organisational psychologist, said qualified hypnotists had two years of training and must be accredited by their professions’ boards.

“It will be open slather for any Tom, Dick or Harry to carry out hypnosis, which could be a very real problem for clients if therapists are not properly trained or qualified,” said Ms Dakin, who uses hypnosis for pain management, anxiety and weight loss. “Hypnosis is a mainstream practice now and an excellent tool to assist with therapy.

“We fear it will develop a bad reputation if people who have done a `Mickey Mouse’ course or had inferior training start putting up their shingles to grab a quick buck by preying on members of the public who may be gullible.”

Of course, Jacky Dakin has to say this kind of thing. It is the responsible point of view and one I actually do advocate. However, there are surely many more important things to pour our energy into. Why do I say this?

Ok, firstly — what harm is going to be done? Do we read constantly about harm being caused by hypnosis? There are many ill-trained hypnotherapists already in existence all over the world — are they causing harm? Nope.

No harm can be caused with hypnosis by a well-trained or poorly trained hypnotist that they could/would have caused without the use of hypnosis.

The only real harm I foresee is that people are handing over money to a poorly trained therapist — however, if they research the therapist in the first place, see their testimonials, references, amount of time in practice — or even get a referral from someone else that has seen a reputable hypnosist, then this is not a problem.

Also, it is all well and good saying that people can earn a quick buck from being a hypnotherapist… Nonsense. Anyone in this profession knows that only good qualified, well-reputed therapists, often with an established practice actually earn healthyincomes — there is very little immediacy with being ble to become a rich con-man posing as a hypnotherapist!

I am not happy with this suggestion that the public are ‘gullible‘ — people are not so easily fooled these days, give them some credit! any people view hypnosis with unease because of seeing unusual portrayals on TV, on stage, in books etc — This is far more influntial in the reputation of hypnosis — that and the vast majority of us, very well-trained, highly ethical therapists doing wonderful work!

The article continues:

The Psychological Practice Bill 2006, which will soon go to Parliament’s lower house for further debate, would remove the requirement restricting hypnosis to registered psychologists, medical practitioners and dentists. A Health Department report, called for by Health Minister John Hill  has looked into the concerns and possibility of a code of conduct.

The April 2008 report found “evidence of a high risk of harm to the public does not appear sufficient to warrant a prohibition on the practice” for lay hypnotists. However, it said there was poor scientific evidence on the safety of the hypnosis by unqualified therapists. In Parliament, Mr Hill recommended the issues be examined as part of the Social Development Committee’s inquiry into bogus, unregistered and de-registered health practitioners.

He said there were a number of reasons for removing hypnotherapists from the act.

“The reasons for doing that were the recommendations that had flowed through to SA from COAG; the fact no other state regulated hypnosis in this way, and the lack of evidence that the lack of regulation of hypnosis had caused any detriment in the community,” he said.

But Ms Dakin said people treated by unqualified therapists could be exposed to psychological harm.

“If they already have psychological problems they could bring them to the surface but not have the proper training,” she said. “The client might become suddenly come extremely anxious.”

I have to agree to some extent with the state recommendations — there is no evidence that harm is caused by hypnosis or ill-trained hypnotists. What’s more, if they are no good, people simply stop seeing them. We do not have the powers of the medical profession and so why do we need the same notions of Government regulations?

I agree that there does need to be standards regulations — that is the job for the governing bodies and associations that help regulate and assess training standards… I would never entrust my psychological welfare to someone whose qualification was an online correspondence course and they had no experience and no-one prepared to stand up and vouch for them as a therapist, would you?

I am not wanting to sound irresponsible today… I just do not think it is as bad as certain professionals may think. Lets do what we can to educate and deliver our energy in a progressive way rather than worrying that the world may implode as a direct result of ill-trained hypnotherapists running riot on it!