At the end of our college 2014/2015 Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma course, during a Q&A session one of my students asked about a good direction to go in next, to further her studies and skills and asked about attending a University validated hypnotherapy course. Another individual on the course who had been on a well-known University validated course openly said to the class that he had learned a great, great deal more on this diploma course with us than he had ever learned elsewhere.
This past week, I had two of the students on my five day cognitive behavioural certification course openly state that their own former learning with University validated hypnotherapy training courses had been eclipsed by what they had learned here with us and that their own ongoing training was likely to be with us instead of those other organisations.
I am told this often.
In the UK, a couple of Universities are now offering Masters level courses in hypnotherapy as well as other lower levels of qualification being offered that are also validated by a University.
On one of the Masters courses, the hypnotherapist who has initiated the programme recommends her own book as the core text, which is not a book recognised as an important academic work and none of the other authors are academics or researchers. One of the other contributing authors to this core text offers his services as a clairvoyant and psychic medium.
On another masters programme, one of the college lecturers also teaches past life regression.
There seems to me to be an element of incongruence here. How can you offer a genuinely evidence-based, credible teaching programme when such subjects as those mentioned above are also being taught and associated with those contributing? Subjects that are lacking in evidence and that many believe are misleading and disparaging for this field of hypnosis. Those individuals are unlikely to be greeted with enthusiasm by the peer-reviewed, academic and credible research fraternity of the field of hypnosis.
Some years ago, a University degree programme that was lauded and shouted about by the private company who set it up and those who enrolled upon it, had to be discontinued following an examination by the Quality Assurance Agency. The Times Higher Education supplement stated,
The QAA found that teachers were inadequately qualified, reading lists were out of date and the external examination was “not fit for purpose”, putting academic standards at risk. One student on the honours degree course was also listed as a teacher and an examiner.
That hypnosis course was closed in 2012.
More often than not, the courses are not set up or delivered directly by the University, but by an individual or company whose courses are validated by the University, and that does not necessarily mean much in the end.
You see, the illusion is that a qualification validated by a University is somehow better – but how exactly? It is certainly not true that these courses offer up a better level of education than non-validated courses. Do they create more successful hypnotherapists? I don’t think so. Do the public genuinely examine a hypnotherapists qualifications to see if they have a University validated qualification or not? In reality, no they do not. There are a great many other factors higher up on their agenda that make their decision about which hypnotherapist to use than if they have a university validated qualification.
Why then, is one major hypnotherapy organisation in the UK promoting these courses? Oh yes, I just saw, the Director of the organisation is also a co-author of the previously mentioned text book. Is this wholly neutral or am I being cynical by suggesting that there may be an element of self-interest here?
I could have the same criticism angled at me and my own training – that I want people to attend my courses to further my business. Of course I do. Yet anyone who has attended my courses know that we value the development of the field and attempt to foster more public acceptance of this field by training very high quality professionals with a depth of credible knowledge and skill.
Additionally, when you examine some of these University validated courses, there are large sections of them that are distance learning and nothing like the more conventional teaching that Universities typically offer and would insist upon.
I’d further add to this by suggesting that of all the leading, busy hypnotherapists in the UK that I encounter, none of them have had a University validated education in this field. Having such a qualification does not seem to equate to being a successful, busy or prominent therapist.
I do not think that these companies and organisations are doing anything more that creating a facade, and they are mostly commercial organsiations who do not seem at all interested in truly developing the field. If they truly were interested in developing the field, then past life regression teachers and proponents may not be part of it and text books would be those by major academics that have made significant contributions to the field.
As it stands, using the term ‘University Validated Courses’ in the field of hypnotherapy is a bit of a misnomer and is misleading at best. It certainly does not mean that you get better quality education, knowledge, skills or tuition and it does not guarantee you a better career or busier hypnotherapy business. It just means that someone managed to get a University to validate the course, the same way that all accredited courses are validated by some organisation.
University validated courses will mean something when they stop being validated and start being genuinely offered directly by universities who treat them as they would other psychology subjects, for example. I really look forward to that day, it will be good for this field and will be a sign that we are coming in from the fringes of psychology. Currently however, we are a long way from that.
In the meantime, if someone is offering courses as university validated, you can get that training (as well as better training) from other providers.
Learn more about hypnosis training:
Why Hypnotherapy Training Needs to be More Advanced
Take part in hypnosis training:
Anglo European College of Therapeutic Hypnosis
This is just spot on. My day job is teaching English to international students at a university partnership (at the University of East Anglia). I am fairly familiar with academic life. I was also interested in a masters degree being offered by a company in the UK in conjunction with a UK university. I enquired about APL and was offered the chance to write a few essays and submit a fee (interesting concept, APL for a fee). The person who would assess the essays was a member of the company rather than the university, this person is not mentioned as having any advanced degree in the company literature. I wonder how he was going to assess my work, and what criteria he would use for that purpose. I chose not to ask. I was initially interested because this was the first company I trained with in hypnotherapy and so I had a certain bias in their favour. However,although I came away with a distinction I had no idea there was such a thing as a ‘state non state debate’, conscious/unconscious and ‘levels of hypnosis’ were taught as fact. Not the most rigorous of academic approaches. Now that was a long time ago and perhaps the courses have been changed, and I enjoyed much of what I learned at the time. However, if it is being offered as an academic qualification it needs to be a certain style. If the people involved in designing (the course modules are the existing company courses) delivering and assessing the programme (I wonder who marks the dissertation, who takes the study skills course which is mandatory at many universities?)are not members of the university but members of the company how is it possible for this to be an academic course?
Richard, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to write and for sharing your experience.
My very best wishes to you, Adam.
Surely if the course you teach is a good one it will also be validated by a University? Otherwise where is the evidence base that your course is any good or meets any genuine standards?
I realise that you have students who say your course is great and better than the others – but that is hardly evidence is it? It’s just a bunch of opinions at best and from my experience when people are invested in a particular training, with a particular training school, they are highly motivated to justify their investment. It’s a psychological trait I’m sure you are familiar with.
I believe it’s important to get hypnosis training into a proper standardised curriculum and into proper standardised qualifications that are UK wide and profession specific. The only way to do this is via proper academic accreditation.
I wish my training was accredited by a University!
p.s. I really enjoy your podcasts
Yet the University validation does certainly not mean that any genuine standards are being met. I have trained people who attended University validated courses where the notion of a subconscious mind was unquestioned and treated as fact, where no mention of a neuroscientific explanation of hypnosis was given or mentioned, where major nonstate academics were not heard of, and where Freud was treated like a scientist rather than his contribution being referred to as pseudoscientific at best… For example.
You make a very valid point about people’s loyalty to their original training, it is a point I make very openly repeatedly in my podcasts. This is the reason I mention it here – because despite a usual major loyalty to their original training, people that attend my courses start to healthily question and recognise that loyalty and belief system they initially had.
Also, I’d disagree with the statement that ‘if the course you teach is a good one it will also be validated by a University’ – how is that true? How does that happen?
I appreciate, value and respect your comments, thanks for taking the time to respond.
Best wishes to you, Adam.
The degree course was in clinical hypnotherapy. Dr Calvert, a senior psychology lecturer in Psychology at the university, taught the academic and scientific part of the course. The therapy part of the course was indeed taught by non-academics, but who had a substantial background in teaching hypnosis to the medical profession as well as other students. A clinic was being set up in the sports department and would be linked to outside GP’s for referral.
The research projects were marked by academics at the university and the external examiner was Peter Naish.
A student who had complained reported the course to the QAA about the number of taught hours. The course had been validated and approved by the correct channels at the university and it was they who approved the number of hours. The person responsible had not paid due attention to it and subsequently very quickly ‘retired: before she could be made to answer for the error.
I agree that the reading list was out of date – but that had no bearing what so ever on the third year level students undertaking their research projects. Dr Calvert gave extensive academic papers and guidance.
The student on the course who was named as a teacher was in fact a facilitator.
I am very proud of by honours degree in Clinical Hypnotherapy and the fact that my research was recognised by the University of Surrey. I was awarded a funded PhD scholarship on the strength of it.
You have every right to be proud Linda, I’m certainly not disputing the sterling efforts of individuals who have worked hard to gain qualifications such as yours. I know many who attended such classes and know how hard they worked for their qualifications.
For me though, stating that the courses are somehow superior because they are validated by a University is a misnomer and does not mean that you are certain of a better education or a better subsequent career. That’s my main point.
Best wishes to you as always, Adam.
Thank you Adam. I whole heartedly support your endeavour to advance the professionalism of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy with emphasis on scientific evidence. I certainly look to you as a leader in this respect.
Well said !
Having previously completed a 2 year course of training in Hypnotherapy, NLP (and Lightning Process) with the excellent Phil Parker, I also undertook the 3 year BSc in Clinical Hypnotherapy offered by St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. I support Linda’s comments regarding the knowledge base and professionalism of the course and college and the Tutors.
Although the complaint raised related to the number of taught hours – we were informed in advance that there would be a great deal of independent study necessary in order to get through the course.
It’s a shame you weren’t involved in what was intended to be a spearhead course for academic and professional credibility and training in our industry. It’s such a shame it is no longer offered but perhaps another university will be brave enough to take it on at some point in the future.
Thanks for taking the time to write and share that Sheree, best wishes to you, Adam.