Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy

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The Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy (DCH) degree is an unaccredited degree in the United States.[1] When such a degree is available, in addition to live classes, it may be granted by schools offering distance education, usually in conjunction with existing hypnotherapy certification programs. Because the majority of hypnotherapy degrees are offered through programs that are unaccredited in nature, they do not have to meet any requirements established by national licensing standards.

The Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy degree was an unaccredited doctoral degree offered in the United States, which provided in-depth theory and training in applied clinical hypnotherapy. Individual programs offered by institutions in the US vary but generally combine distance learning with local practicum training. Because some hypnotherapy degrees are offered through programs that are unaccredited in nature, they do not have to meet any requirements established by national licensing standards. However, the American Institute of Hypnotherapy (AIH) was approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary & Vocational Education[2] but a former FBI consultant, John Bear, has said that there is much difference between having "approval" and "accreditation".[3] The BPPVE do not accredit programs. According to the BPPVE database (as of 25 May 2010), the American Institute of Hypnotherapy is now located in Carmel, California, but indicate that they no longer offer degree training in clinical hypnotherapy.

American Institute of Hypnotherapy (AIH)[edit]

Originally approved by the State of California to grant degrees in early 1980s, the American Institute of Hypnotherapy offered unaccredited bachelors and doctorate degrees in clinical hypnotherapy which served a way point as there were no accredited programs available in the specialization at the time. AIH sought to establish hypnotherapy as a separate field. The program could be completed by distance learning and directed independent study (DIS) but required attendance at seminars, practicals, workshops, studying a range of relevant texts and developing a 20-30 page academic paper on each course/text. These were graded by faculty for content and analysis of the topic. The program modeled a Psy.D program, offering the opportunity to study many diverse authors, researchers and applications in hypnosis including pain control.[4]

Consumer concerns[edit]

Accredited doctorate degrees in mental health, such as M.D., Ph.D., Psy.D., and Ed.D., are tightly controlled by state and federal laws. The D.C.H. degree is largely unregulated. There is a growing concern among these professionals that hypnotists are misleading consumers.[5] Some have illegally attempted to offer psychotherapy under generic titles such as "doctor" or "psychotherapist", without proper training or background.

A 2002 experiment conducted by psychologist Dr. Steve Eichel, called "This Cat Is Not a Hypnotist", shows how he was able to obtain a hypnotherapy degree for his cat "Zoe".[6]

Dr. Eichel applied for and was able to obtain a variety of credentials on Zoe's behalf. In order to get her certified as a hypnotherapist by the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), the International Medical & Dentistry Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA) and the American Board of Hypnotherapy (ABH), he only had to fill out online applications with made-up information and pay the application fee.

Hypnotherapy training[edit]

There are several professional membership organizations in the United States that require minimum standards in specialized hypnotherapy education to become members as well as certified as a hypnotherapist (C.Ht.).[7] Most of these organizations certify vocational hypnotherapists, and do not require health care training or experience for certification. Three of these professional membership organizations in the U.S. are The National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy, and International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association (IMDHA). These are educational membership organizations dedicated to standards and practice efforts in understanding and extending applications in hypnotherapy. In addition, the venerable Hypnosis Society of Pennsylvania has a process of recognition of training programs in conjunction with the Hypnotist Union as a Service Employee Union credential in the USA.

However, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) has long claimed to be the "gold-standard" of organizations which train and certify health care professionals in the art of hypnotherapy. Health care professionals (doctors, nurses, psychologists, etc.) with a masters degree or higher can receive certification through a rigorous application process and training. The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists is another organization that certifies mental health and medical professionals who meet the rigorous qualifications of the board, have advanced degrees from accredited colleges or universities and are licensed to practice in their respective states.[8]

The Hypnosis Motivation Institute (HMI), based in Tarzana, California, is a nationally, not regionally, accredited college dedicated exclusively to teaching hypnosis and hypnotic techniques.[9] HMI offers both local classes on its campus in Tarzana, as well as a comprehensive distance learning based program. HMI is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) (both accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) and is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), the Dental Board of California (DBC) and the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) to provide continuing education credits for ongoing licensing requirements.

Professional qualifications in other countries[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

Open University Recognition[edit]

The National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (Est 1977) has had its courses recognised by the Open University since 1997.[10] The National College was the first hypnosis/hypno-psychotherapy institute to apply for and receive formal approval for its programmes from a UK University. For a number of years the National College also had a partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University whereby Diploma holders (DHP(NC)) would be eligible to complete an MSc in Practitioner Research through completion of a research methods course and a dissertation.[citation needed] Since 2012 The National College's Advanced Diploma in Hypno-Psychotherapy grants APL for the Bath Spa University Masters Degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice.[11]

Post Graduate Diploma and MSc in Clinical Hypnosis[edit]

In 2008 the London College of Clinical Hypnosis partnered with Thames Valley University (TVU) (now the University of West London (UWL)) to provide UWL validated Post Graduate Diploma and MSc in Clinical Hypnosis qualifications.[12]

Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD)[edit]

In 2002, the Department for Education and Skills developed The National Occupational Standards for hypnotherapy linked to National Vocational Qualification based on National Qualifications Framework under the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. And thus hypnotherapy was approved as a stand-alone therapy in UK. NCFE a national awarding body issues level four national vocational qualification diploma in hypnotherapy.[citation needed]

Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (Dip CBH)[edit]

In 2007 The UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy worked with NCFE (a government regulated national examining and awarding body) to develop an externally verified Level 4 qualification also linked to the National Vocational Qualification based on National Qualifications Framework but on a evidence-based, cognitive behavioural approach. The Dip CBH is accepted to be equivalent to the HPD (see above).[13][14]


The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, with its letter no. R.14015/25/96-U&H(R) (Pt.) dated 25 November 2003, has stated that hypnotherapy is a recommended mode of therapy in India to be practiced by only appropriately trained personnel.

Maharaja Sayajirao University (M.S.University 4 star) at Vadodara is conducting one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Applied Hypnosis (P.G.D.C.A.H.) from 2000.

Clinical hypnosis is included in the syllabus of Master of Philosophy (Clinical Psychology), a pre-doctorate course conducted by The Rehabilitation Council of India which is followed by all universities in India.

Indian Board of Clinical Hypnotherapy,[15] an independent and non government institution is one of the prominent player spreading awareness and education of hypnotherapy in India.

Hypnotherapy is the part of syllabus in M. Sc./ M.A. Psychology degree course, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Banaras Hindu University, M. Sc. Yoga degree course of Bharathidasan University,B.A./B.Sc.Degree(Psychology), B.A. Journalism in Bangalore University; and B. Sc. Nursing course syllabus of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik.

The code for commercial advertising on Doordarshan and All India Radio states that "No advertisement should contain any offer to diagnose or treat complaints or conditions by hypnosis"