What is Required to be an Edmonton Hypnotherapist?
Hypnotherapy is an unregulated and unrestricted practice in Alberta. This means anyone can call themselves a hypnotherapist even if they have no training in hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy training varies significantly depending on where the student attends. Course length ranges from home study videos, to a two day weekend workshop, to more intensive training programs that require 270 hours of training followed by a multi-year mentorship for certification. The title 'hypnotherapist' does not describe the type, length, or supervised review of the clinician's training.
Prior educational requirements vary significantly from training program to training program. Some training programs require a master's level degree before taking hypnotherapy training, while others ask only that the trainee has a Grade 12 diploma. Some hypnotherapy courses have received government approval as a vocational training program and are eligible for funding and/or tax credits. These programs may also be eligible for Continuing Education credits as required for ongoing licensing by provincially regulated mental health clinicians such as social workers or psychologists. Other programs are viewed as recreational pursuits and are ineligible for government supports or as educational credits.
Attendance in the training program or registering as a hypnotherapist in an association may or may not require the presentation of a clear criminal record check for vulnerable populations (e.g. children, elderly or mentally ill individuals).
There are no requirements for a hypnotist to be a member of an association to practice hypnosis, although a number of hypnotherapy associations do exist. The membership requirements may vary widely from association to association. Some require that the applicant already be a licensed practitioner in a mental health (e.g. psychologist, registered clinical social worker), others will certify individuals who have taken their home study course. The hypnosis associations with the highest standards (e.g. requiring master's level degrees, licensing in regulated mental health fields, police record checks, and mandating ongoing training to maintain certification) are the most likely to have competently practicing clinical hypnotherapists on their registry. Top end associations will encourage their members to publish in peer reviewed journals. Articles published in peer reviewed journals have undergone close examination and professional critiquing.
So how CAN I tell if my hypnotherapist is properly trained?
It is up to you to ask your hypnotherapist about their training and credentials.
Solid research exists that shows hypnotherapy may be a useful treatment for a variety of mental health issues. Like any treatment, it will not work on all issues, or for all clients. Hypnotherapists who are honest about the limitations of hypnotherapy, and who have completed 20 or more training hours with clinical supervision, who are licensed mental health professionals, and are a member in a high standard hypnotherapy association are more likely to be effective and clinically ethical hypnotherapy practitioners.