Most states, including California, do not regulate the practice of hypnotic therapies or the use of the term “hypnotherapist” or “hypnotist.” This means that in most cases, a hypnotherapist is not state licensed, and may not be a licensed mental health professional. Thus, as in choosing any health care professional, care should be taken in selecting a hypnotherapist. There are two categories of hypnotherapist:

  • Licensed mental health professionals typically have six to nine years of university coursework, plus supervised training through internship and residency programs.

  • Non –licensed (Lay) Hypnotherapists may be certified by lay hypnosis credentialing bodies and have over 200 hours of training. Lay hypnosis programs vary widely from weekend training to extensive training through organizations such as the American Board of Hypnotherapy, National Guild of Hypnotists, Academy of Scientific hypnotherapy or Hypnotist examining Council. Some lay programs do provide good training. The term certified hypnotist is meaningless without an understanding of the individual’s degree, hours of training and level of supervision.

As a component society of the national organization, American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, we also recommend that you consider a professionally-trained practitioner who has received training in psychology, social work, counseling, medicine or dentistry.

As the consumer, you have the right to use careful questioning to find someone appropriate for your needs. The following are some useful interview questions:

  • Are you licensed (not certified) in your state? If they are not licensed, they probably lack the education required for licensure.

  • What is your degree in? (If it is in hypnosis or hypnotherapy, rather than a state recognized health care, the person is a lay hypnotist).

  • What professional memberships do you have? American Society of clinical hypnosis or the Society for Clinical and Experimental hypnosis are the only nationally recognized organizations for licensed health care professionals using hypnosis. Other professional memberships include the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers. If you have doubts about their qualifications, keep looking.

  • How much experience do you have working with hypnosis to accomplish goals similar to the ones you are interested in achieving?

  • What are the specific details of the guarantee? If offered a guarantee, be wary.

  • Has he or she come through an accredited program? If there is a claim to holding a Doctorate degree in hypnosis, by using DR before the name or the initials DCH after their name, note that there are no accredited doctoral programs for Hypnosis. The credentials being advertised were likely obtained through a non-accredited program. The ability to obtain an unaccredited doctorate degree and advertise it as something it is not, is an unfortunate by-product of the absence of regulation in the hypnotherapy industry.

  • Ask yourself, if you have received a word-of-mouth recommendation from trusted health professionals, family or friends to locate a clinician trained in clinical hypnosis.


 Selecting a Qualified Hypnotherapist


San Diego Society of Clinical Hypnosis




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Last updated 07/24/2013
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