National College Response to RSM Statement on Hypnosis


Reply to Royal Society of Medicine Statement on Hypnosis from the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

6 June 2011

The National College broadly welcomes the statement made on behalf of the Royal Society of Medicine regarding the benefits of making hypnosis a far more common treatment within the National Health Service. Hypno-Psychotherapy as practised by graduates of the National College since 1977 has been used in a number of adjunctive treatments as well as being a standalone modality within psychotherapy. We agree that there needs to be further improvements to training and development within the field, however we do not agree that this is solely in the domain of the medical profession. Indeed, the anecdotal case mentioned in the Independent Newspaper, is not solely a problem brought about by non medical practitioners. Indeed, some of the most high profile instances of False Memory Syndrome (FMS) have been facilitated by the medical fraternity and not the so called “lay therapist”.

We feel that as UKCP registered Hypno-Psychotherapists are eligible for membership of the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis it would have been prudent to mention the contribution to hypnosis that psychotherapist have made and continue to make. Indeed the training of over 1800 hours of Masters Degree level study, the necessity of clinical supervision and personal therapy currently dwarfs the requirements for accreditation for BSCAH and we assume for the proposed RSM training. We of course recognise that physicians, psychologists, dentists and other health professionals have a skills set that they bring to the practice of hypnosis, but it is essential that it is recognised that psychotherapists do as well.

Graduates of the National College and other registrants of the UKCP College of Hypno-Psychotherapists continue to use hypnosis for the ethical treatment of a variety of psychological, emotional and in some cases even physiological conditions, and we are saddened that the RSM has reverted to the “we know better than you” approach to the practise of hypnosis. This argument which has very little validity and as there is only a handful of medical and dental practitioners who use hypnosis they could not service the needs of the NHS adequately to save the sort of monies discussed in their statement and therefore there is a need to act in co-operation with organisations providing ethically trained practitioners to help meet this need.

The National College calls on the RSM to engage with the wider profession in order to meet the needs of the people of the UK who would benefit from hypnosis in the treatment of psychological, emotional and physiological issues.

Shaun Brookhouse, MA(Education), PGCert(Clinical Supervision) Principal, National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

Fiona Biddle, MSc(Medical and Health Studies) Managing Director, National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

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