Scope of Practice: Members (of the National Guild of Hypnotists) shall use hypnotism with clients to motivate them to eliminate negative or unwanted habits, facilitate the learning process, improve memory and concentration, develop self-confidence, eliminate stage fright, improve athletic abilities, and for other social, educational and cultural endeavors of a non-medical nature. Except where state law provides otherwise, members shall use hypnotism with clients regarding a medical or mental disease only on written referral from a licensed medical or mental health professional.
A practicing hypnotist should be very clear to clients of what exactly they are offering for hypnosis. Are you a licensed medical or mental health professional offering medical based solutions to clients and hypnosis as well? Are you a non-medical person that is simply offering hypnosis services to everyday people with everyday problems? It's important that your client knows exactly the context of your service offering.
Those that are not licensed medical professionals should be clear that their hypnosis practice is not medically based nor part of a medical or mental health based strategy for improvement. This can get confusing for a client when the hypnotist has a doctorate degree and refers to themselves as "Dr. Jane" or "Jane Doe PhD" or if the hypnotist is an RN or LPN. In the worst case scenario a client could believe you are a doctor (or other medical/ mental health professional) and rely on you in a medical capacity ultimately assuming you are providing medical advice. This could present problems from the license granting authority if you were not intending to act in the capacity of a medical professional but your client believed otherwise.
Prudent hypnotists will ensure that appropriate disclaimers are published in any materials used for advertising, on their website or social media outlets, and in their service agreements. Additionally, if a client or potential client uses terminology that infers the hypnotist to be a medical professional, it should be correctly quickly.
This blog post is not legal advice, rather a commentary for licensed and unlicensed hypnotists to incorporate NGH Best Practices and advance the hypnosis profession and further maximize outcomes for our clients.
Scott Howard is an NGH certified consulting hypnotist and the President of the Baltimore City Chapter of the National Guild of Hypnotists. Scott is dedicated to helping everyday people with everyday problems through hypnosis.