The use of hypnosis has always been viewed as one of the most controversial and interdisciplinary practices. It can be related to the practice of medicine or psychology. The question concerning the accreditation and licensing required to practice hypnosis is argued about in the United States and different states have different legislation in this reference. This paper explores the regulations considering the practice of hypnosis in the state of New York.
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In 2005 the Legislature of New York State passed a law referring to the licensing for comprehensive behavioral health therapists (National Guild of Hypnotists, 2010). The law employs very broad language and states that everyone who is involved in the practice of behavioral therapy of any kind is to be licensed, yet it does not mention hypnotism namely. The law regulated the use of Biofeedback therapy as an activity requiring a license from a practitioner. The description of Biofeedback therapy includes the practices frequently used by hypnotists such as cognitive restructuring, progressive relaxation, imagery and psycho-physiological therapy (National Guild of Hypnotists, 2010). To be licensed a practitioner of this therapy requires a Master’s degree. Overall, in the United States, there is no accredited qualification for the practice of hypnosis, this way, certified hypnotists may involve in what can be called a “non-therapeutic hypnotism” (Smith, 2010). To practice hypnotism in the state of New York, the practitioner does not require a license of a behavioral health professional, but they are required to the proper use of terminology. The National Guild of Hypnotists has developed its Standards of Terminology according to which a hypnotist is obliged to refer to the services they provide for the clients as hypnotism, but not hypnotherapy or counseling (National Guild of Hypnotists, 2010). The Guild warns its members against using the word “therapy” for what they do because in most of the states practicing any kind of therapy requires a license of a healthcare professional. In other words, the hypnotists in the State of New York are to hold their services out to the public “under a non-therapeutic banner” (State Law and Legal Issues 2014 Edition: the National Guild of Hypnotists 2014).
The specialty certifications in different fields of hypnotic words are awarded to the practitioners by the National Guild of Hypnotists. There are regulations concerning the titles of practices for the owners of more than one certification. Besides, since no specific professional qualifications are referring to such area as hypnosis, the practitioner is to be registered as a mental health professional to work in the state of New York. Such titles as “hypnotist” or “psychotherapist” are legally recognized as general titles that may confuse the clients. This way, providing professional services, the practitioners are required to use their actual qualification name, especially in cases when their general designation is not limited to individuals of a certain profession. For example, it is important that in their advertising the practitioner makes it clear in which mental health professionals they are officially registered in the New York State, this qualification is to be mentioned and maintained by the practitioner (Practice Guidelines, 2014).
In conclusion, the hypnotists are to know their obligations and the state-specific laws practicing in New York State because very simple errors such as term misuse of inappropriate formulations in advertising may lead to legal issues.
National Guild of Hypnotists. (2010). NGH. Web.
Practice Guidelines. (2014). NYSED. Web.
Smith, A. E. (2010). How to un-break your health: Your map to the world of Complementary and Alternative Therapies (2nd ed.). Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.
State Law and Legal Issues 2014 Edition: the National Guild of Hypnotists. (2014). NGH. Web.