By: Patricia V. Scott, Ph.D.
President of UP Hypnosis Institute, Tarpon Springs, Florida
Hypnosis is primarily a self-regulated industry. The Council Of Professional Hypnosis Organizations (COPHO) is comprised of most major professional hypnosis organizations in the United States, representing over 12,000 professionals. This organization sets educational minimum standards as well as standards of practice and ethics for practitioners and trainers in the industry. UPHI (UP Hypnosis Institute) far exceeds the educational standards recommended by COPHO, and is a wonderful resource for locating qualified, professional hypnotists and hypnotherapists. I have been in practice since 1992 and have the honor of knowing many practitioners all over the United States and abroad, and I often refer people to colleagues.
When looking for a hypnotist or hypnotherapist, it is important to be sure the person is a professional in full-time practice with adequate education and that you are comfortable with them. Most practitioners, myself included, will do a free consultation with you where you can ask questions and find out if you are comfortable with them and with their approach. There are many different styles of hypnosis, and each practitioner has a unique personality and approach. If you are wanting to get help with a diagnosis (anything relating to a medical or mental health issue), you would need to have a written referral from the treating physician to see a hypnotherapist in the state of Florida in accordance with Florida Statute 485. This is true in most other states, as well. That's because hypnotists are not licensed and do not diagnose, treat or prescribe. If you are seeking help with a non-clinical behavioral or life goal issue, such as weight control, smoking cessation, improving your golf game, exam stress, etc., there is no referral necessary.
Questions to ask your potential hypnotist/hypnotherapist:
1. Where and when did you get your Certification?
2. What hypnosis organization(s) to you belong to?
3. How many hours of continuing education do they require each year?
4. How long have you been in full-time practice?
5. Do you have expertise, training and experience in working with ______ (your issue)?
6. Do you carry professional liability insurance?
7. What other awards or specialty training have you received, if any?
Be aware that because the industry is largely self-regulated, pretty much anyone can create a fancy website, open an office, and say they are a hypnotist. You want to find a practitioner with credentials and affiliations that show you they are an experienced professional. Also, there are some professional hypnotists who work out of their home. Although this does not mean they are less qualified, you will want to be sure to ask all of the questions above to ensure your safety and wellbeing. I have always worked out of a professional office since I began my practice in 1992, as I felt this projected a professional image. I also have always been a member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and have been associated with, and very active in, many Chambers of Commerce. If you read my complete BIO, you will find that I have been a featured presenter at many conferences and I have always been actively involved with civic organizations, charitable groups and professional business associations. You want to be sure you are also looking at a hypnotist's other affiliations and memberships before making such an important decision.
Ultimately, the success you have with hypnosis is primarily dependent on your motivation and cooperation levels. A skilled hypnotist is a guide who can assist you in accessing your own inner resources to achieve a goal you desire, to overcome an emotional or physical challenge, or eliminate an unwanted habit or behavior.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.