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Beware of Hypnotherapists who are not M.D.s or Psychologists

Posted Jan 01 2012 6:56pm

At a recent Christmas party, I was talking with a young woman who told me she was a hypnotherapist. I asked about her training and she said she had a few hours of training in hypnosis and then could start seeing patients.  I was startled and outraged  and said, "Don't you have to have a state license or a certificate of some kind." "No", she said. I was appalled and thought about the years of training  a psychiatrist or psychologist have to have and the state examinations they must pass. I did some research and found that in California these individuals are "self-regulated and don't qualify for state licensing". Also no specific number of hours are required for an individual to put out a sign and say he or she is a hypotherapist.

I think this is extremely dangerous and know of a case where this kind of therapy by a non-licensed individual, with no medical background, contributed greatly to an individual's death. When I discussed this case with an excellent psychiatrist, he was appalled and immediately wanted some action to be taken. In discussing this with another psychiatrist, he said that psychiatry is now so fragmented that people are unwilling to take on an issue like this, even when it may put a patient's life at stake. Something needs to be done. Hypnotherapists can cause irrevocable damage and should be reqirred to have years of training comparable to the training of an M.D. or psychologist.

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