CODE of ETHICS for HYPNOTHERAPIST
SCOPE OF THIS CODE
Hypnotherapists Union Local 472 requires its members to comply with the following ethical principles. Failure to do so may lead to
revocation of membership. Members are also required to follow all applicable federal, state and local laws.
The scope of this Code is to govern the relationship between: hypnotherapist and clients; hypnotherapist and other healthcare professionals; hypnotherapist and their
respective professional body/ies. Consequently, issues relating to: training schools and training standards; the conduct of professional bodies or their officers or representatives are
specifically excluded. The Code relates solely to our practitioners as Hypnotherapists and where service is provided in other approaches, clients are advised to satisfy themselves as to the
suitability of the practitioner to provide the respective services.
DELIVERY OF SERVICE
All practitioners shall undertake to:
1. Provide services using hypnotic techniques to clients – and solely in those areas in which they are competent to do so and for which they carry
relevant professional indemnity insurance.
Note: “Competency” means adequate training, skills and experience but need not exclude providing services to a client for an issue which the practitioner has not
provided services before, provided that due diligence and professionalism is observed.
This code is largely based on the voluntary code of hypnotherapy ethics adopted in the United Kingdom -- with minor revisions made to be applicable in the
United States. See http://www.general-hypnotherapy- register.com/Listings/COE.htm:
“For the first time in the history of the profession of Hypnotherapy in the UK, individual practitioners have come together in sufficient numbers and through a
*voluntary, democratic process, to consult upon and subsequently adopt a national Code of Ethics. At the final count (14/03/08), 2751 UK hypnotherapists had cast their vote with 91% in favor, 4%
against, 4% abstaining and a margin of error of 1% (e.g. possible duplications or practitioners who could not be verified as UK resident.) As a consequence, UK Hypnotherapy now has a National Code of
Ethics - a great foundation to progress Voluntary Self-regulation (VSR) further.
*Facilitated by the Working Group for Hypnotherapy Regulation www.hypnotherapyregulation.co.uk” http://www.general-hypnotherapy- register.com/Listings/COE.htm:
This code was adopted by the Board of Directors of the Hypnotherapists Union Local 472 effective October 16, 2012.
2. Act in a non-biased, non-prejudicial manner towards all clients, providing those clients with an identical quality of service irrespective of the many differences
which are to be found between clients, including but not restricted to: race, gender, sexual orientation, disability etc.
3. Disclose full details of all relevant memberships, training, experience, qualifications and appropriate avenues of complaint to clients upon request and only use
those qualifications and memberships to which they have proof of entitlement.
4. Explain fully to clients in advance of any services: the fee levels, precise terms of payment and any charges which might be imposed for non-attendance or cancelled
appointments, and wherever relevant, confidentiality issues.
Note: “In advance of any services” means that not only should terms and conditions be set out in advance, but that they should be further clarified by the
hypnotherapist at the initial consultation when additional information about the client’s needs is obtained. If the hypnotherapist wishes to modify services (e.g. to extend the planned services) then
any effect this has on terms, conditions and pricing must be clearly explained to the client.
5. Present all services and products in an unambiguous manner (to include any limitations and realistic outcomes of services) and ensure that the client retains complete
control over the decision to purchase such services or products. Guarantees of either a cure or a successful resolution of the problem/s presented shall not be offered.
All practitioners shall undertake to:
6. Work in ways that will promote client autonomy and well-being and that maintain respect and dignity for the client.
7. Remain aware of their own limitations and wherever appropriate, be prepared to refer a client to another practitioner (regardless of discipline) who might be expected
to offer suitable services or treatment.
Note: Practitioners should give full consideration to the efficacy of services, including the manner in which their rapport with the client may affect such
efficacy. The practitioner has the right to refuse or terminate any services if it is a reasonable belief that it will not be, or continue to be, efficacious. In refusing or terminating
services due care must be given to fully explaining the rationale for refusal or termination to the client.
8. Ensure that wherever a client is seeking assistance for the relief of physical symptoms, that unless already having done so, the client be advised to contact a
licensed medical practitioner.
Note: Practitioners should not attempt to diagnose physical symptoms unless they have undergone relevant medical training in diagnostics and actively hold a valid
license to practice medicine.
9. Confirm that they will never knowingly offer advice to a client which either conflicts with or is contrary to that given by the client’s licensed medical
Note: If the hypnotherapist has doubts or concerns with regard to a client’s prescribed medication, they should, always with their client’s permission, contact the
medical advisor personally.
10. Use due care and diligence to avoid the implantation of false memories in the client and, ensure that the client is aware that experiences while in a suggestible
state are not necessarily correlated with, or to be taken as, real and valid memories of the client’s past.
11. Ensure that their workplace and all facilities offered to both clients and their companions will be in every respect suitable and appropriate for the service
provided. These shall include any consulting room used for the purpose of consultation and/or conducting hypnotherapy with any client, along with any reception or waiting areas associated with
12. Take all reasonable care to ensure the safety of the client and any person who may be accompanying them
13. Refrain from using their position of trust or confidence to:
a) cross the commonly understood professional boundaries appropriate to the hypnotherapist/client relationship or exploit the client emotionally, sexually, financially,
or in any other way whatsoever. Should either a sexual relationship, or a financial relationship other than for the payment of relevant products or services, or other inappropriate relationship
develop between either hypnotherapist and client or members of their respective immediate families, the hypnotherapist must immediately cease to accept fees, terminate services consistent with Clause
15 below and refer the client to another suitable hypnotherapist or therapist at the
very earliest opportunity.
Note: Clarification on dilemmas experienced by hypnotherapists in respect of the foregoing should be sought from their respective professional body, if any.
b) touch the client in any way that may be open to misinterpretation.
Note: Before employing tactile induction or deepening techniques, both an explanation should be given and permission received.
“Professional body” as used herein, means any professional hypnotherapist organization or body of which hypnotherapist is a member or with rules or authority that
the relevant hypnotherapist is required to obey legally.
14. Not accept any inappropriate gifts, gratuities or favors from a client.
15. Never protract services unnecessarily and to terminate services at the earliest moment consistent with the good care of the client.
16. Maintain strict confidentiality within the client/hypnotherapist relationship, always provided that such confidentiality is neither inconsistent with the
hypnotherapist’s own safety or that of the client, the client’s family members or other members of the public nor in contravention of any legal action (i.e. criminal or civil court cases where a
court order is made demanding disclosure) or legal requirement.
Note: Where the practitioner is working as part of a larger team, for example within an institution or through a multidisciplinary or similar clinical approach, or where
the client has been referred by a medical advisor or agency with conditions placed on the referral as to shared disclosure by the practitioner to the advisor or agency, then provided that it is clear
that the client consents, confidential information may be shared by the practitioner with the team or referring advisor or agency.
17. Ensure that client notes and records be kept secure and confidential.
Note:Manual records should always be locked away when not in use and those held on computer should be password coded.
18. Recognize that the maintenance of case note should include personal details, history, and/or identification of problem areas; program of sessions as agreed between
hypnotherapist and client (if any), session progress notes and a copy of any contract.
19. Obtain written permission from the client (or if appropriate the client’s parent/s or legal guardian/s) before either recording client sessions, discussing
undisguised cases with any person whatsoever, or publishing cases (whether disguised or not)
via any medium.
“Recording” in this context means any method other than the usual taking of written case notes. “Undisguised” in this context means cases in which material has not
been sufficiently altered in order to offer reasonable anonymity to all relevant parties.
20. Advise the client that disguised case studies may sometimes be utilized for the purposes of either their own supervision or the supervision and/or training of other
hypnotherapists and refrain from using such material should the respective client indicate that it should not be used for these purposes.
All practitioners shall undertake to:
21. Conduct themselves at all times in accord with their professional status and in such a way as neither undermines public confidence in the process or profession of
hypnotherapy nor brings their professional body into disrepute.
22. Practitioners have the duty to protect the public and the profession from unethical unsafe or bad practice or behavior. When offering criticisms or complaints
about colleagues, practitioners should utilize appropriate channels such as the complaints procedures of professional bodies, or, where appropriate, or other relevant bodies. Practitioners
offering criticisms outside of these channels have the duty to demonstrate that it is reasonable to do so. Practitioners must use due care and diligence when offering criticisms and complaints to
ensure that they are justified and can be substantiated.
23. Respect the status of all other medical/healthcare professionals and the
boundaries of their professional remit
24. Notify their professional body, in writing, of any change in practice name, contact
address, telephone number or email address, at the earliest convenient moment.
25. Inform their professional body, in writing, of any alteration in circumstance which
would affect either their position or ability as practitioners.
26. Inform their professional body, in writing, of:
a) any complaint (of which they are aware) made against them
b) any disciplinary action taken against them by any professional body
c) any criminal offense of which they have been convicted
27. Make available all relevant information requested as a result of investigation by any duly appointed complaints and disciplinary officer, without hindrance
(whether implied or actual) or unreasonable delay, and comply fully with all requirements inherent within any appropriate complaints and disciplinary procedure to which they subscribe.
ADVERTISING, DISPLAY OF CREDENTIALS & USE OF SPECIFIC TITLES
All Practitioners shall undertake to:
28. Ensure that all advertising, no matter in what form or medium it is placed, represents a truthful, honest and accurate picture of themselves, their skill-base,
qualifications and facilities and that any claims for the successful outcome of services (in whatever format) shall be based upon verifiable, fully documented evidence.
29. Ensure that all advertising shall be accurate, truthful and that any claims made in advertising can be substantiated on request.
30. Display only valid qualifications and certificates issued in respect of relevant training courses and events or certificates of registration, validation or
accreditation as issued or awarded by relevant professional bodies.
31. Make no claim that they hold specific qualifications unless such claim can be fully substantiated.
Notes for Guidance:
Practitioners should avoid the possibility of misdirecting their clients in using the title “Dr”. Misdirecting a client falls into three categories:
a) Medical Misdirection – where the client is led to believe, by commission or omission, intended or inadvertent, that the hypnotherapist is a licensed medical
practitioner when this is not the case.
b) Misdirection by Relevance – where the client is led to believe, by commission or omission, intended or inadvertent, that the hypnotherapist’s title is directly
relevant to the practice of their hypnotherapy, when it is not (e.g. the doctorate is in an unrelated subject).
c) Misdirection by Quality – where the client is led to believe, by commission or omission, intended or inadvertent, that the hypnotherapist’s title fulfills the
requirements of widely recognized common United States standards for doctorates or other higher degrees. Practitioners should, therefore, only use the title “Dr” if they are medically licensed in the
United States or their title is both United States issued and accredited and in a subject
Practitioners should, therefore, only use the title “Dr” if they are medically licensed in the United States or their title is both United States issued and accredited
and in a subject relevant to hypnotherapy (e.g. counseling or psychology). All practitioners using this title should explain in their advertising literature and to their clients, the nature and
subject of the title and the awarding body, and non-medical “Drs” should declare that they are not medical practitioners in their advertising literature and to their clients.
This should be used only when the hypnotherapist is offering hypnotherapy in a religious context, if the hypnotherapist may legally use the title “reverend” and the use
of this title should be fully explained to the client.
Title: “Consultant Hypnotherapist”
This should not be used.
TREATMENT OF MINORS AND THOSE CLASSIFIED AS PERSONS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
All Practitioners shall undertake to:
32. Obtain the written consent of an appropriate adult (i.e. parent, legal guardian or licensed medical practitioner) before conducting treatment with clients who are
either under the age of majority or are classified as persons with special needs.
Note: Wherever possible and provided it is judged to be in the child’s best interests, it is advisable that an appropriate adult should be present
during such sessions.
SUPERVISION & CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Practitioners are expected to maintain or improve their level of skills and professional competence. A minimum of 10 hours of continuing hypnotherapy education is
required each year. Members are responsible for keeping a record of these hours and, if audited by the Union, for providing such record promptly to the Union.”
a) Meetings with a colleague (or colleagues) to discuss, in confidence, ongoing cases and issues arising from them and to work through any personal matters that might
affect their own position or ability as practicing hypnotherapists. Such arrangements can take a variety of forms, the most usual of which are either personal One to One Supervision or
participation within a Peer Support Group.
b) Undertaking continuing training, either formally, by attendance at relevant courses, workshops and seminars or informally, by relevant reading and Internet
c) Maintaining an awareness of research and developments within both hypnotherapy and other related fields.
For all practical purposes, a “research subject” should be considered synonymous with a “client” and consequently, all relevant Clauses within the general Code of Ethics
Of extra importance is the need on the part of the researcher to:
1. Accept that all participation by research subjects must be on a completely voluntary basis and that no “pressure” of any type should be exerted in order to secure
participation. (Payments must not be such an inducement that they would encourage the
taking of risk beyond that taken in the normal course of the participant’s everyday life).
2. Ensure that proper consent has been obtained prior to the commencement of any research project. This is especially so in the case of minors or persons with
special needs. Note:This does not apply where general research of a purely statistical nature is
being carried out. In longitudinal research, consent may need to be obtained at repeated intervals.
4. Maintain complete openness and honesty with regard to both the purpose and nature of the research being conducted.
5. Consider any potential adverse consequences to the research subject as a result of any intended research project.
6. Accept that if, during research, a participant exhibits or presents with a condition they seem unaware of, then the researcher has a duty to inform the subject that
they believe their continued participation may jeopardize their future well-being.
7. Provide, where relevant, for the ongoing care of participants with regard to any adverse effects that might arise as a consequence of and within a reasonable time
period after, their involvement within any research project.
8. Understand and act upon the principle that the privacy and psychological well-being of the individual subject is always more important than the research
ISSUES SPECIFIC TO INDIVIDUAL PROFESSIONAL BODIES
This Code takes account of the fact that individual professional bodies may have issues that are specific to themselves and their registered practitioners and
consequently allows for the inclusion of clauses where necessary, always provided that such inclusions do not conflict with or substantively alter or amend any of the Code’s existing clauses and
fully consistent with the good care and well-being of the client.
REFRESHING RECOLLECTION OF WITNESSES
Hypnotherapists should exercise caution prior to using hypnosis in an effort to refresh the recollection of witnesses who may be involved in a civil or criminal legal
proceeding. Because there may be prohibitions or restrictions on the admissibility of witnesses whose memory has been refreshed through hypnosis, it is necessary to consult
with relevant local laws, rules of court procedure, law enforcement or attorneys.
GAY CONVERSION HYPNOTHERAPY OF MINORS
Hypnotherapy should not be provided with a goal of “gay conversion” (trying to hypnotize a minor who believes he or she is homosexual to become heterosexual) of minors
(generally under 18 years of age).
SHOCKING OR FRIGHTENING IMAGERY
Hypnotherapists should use caution if using any imagery or suggestions that could frighten or shock a client and give the client a way to return to a comfortable state
if frightened or shocked.
Hypnotherapists should obtain a medical referral prior to using hypnosis to help an “obese “ client (for adults, clients have a Body Mass Index “BMI” of 30 or more) lose
Hypnotherapists should avoid any dual relationships with clients.
IMMINENT BODILY HARM
If a hypnotherapist learns during a session about the reasonable probability of imminent bodily harm to the client (for example, suicide) or to a third party (for
example, the client reveals an intent to physically injure a third party), the hypnotherapist may have a duty to take actions to try to prevent the bodily harm and/or warn the possible
CHILD AND ELDER ABUSE
A hypnotherapist should report immediately to appropriate authorities any knowledge or reasonable suspicion of child abuse or elder abuse based on knowledge obtained
during interactions with clients and follow all applicable local law regarding such reporting.