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NLP & Hypnosis Regulation in the UK

By Nicholas Evans. © Active NLP Ltd
Do you think the government regulates
  • NLP?
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy?
  • Psychotherapy?
If you answered yes to any of those then you are not alone, a lot of people think the same. However, the truth is all of the so called 'complimentary' therapies are completely unregulated by the government; regardless of what anyone tells you. A whole bunch of private companies have sprung up in recent years offering professional membership services, some run by people with many years experience in the field and some are run shock, horror, by people who do it just for profit.

Personally I don't care who runs them as long as they are fair, honest and reliable.
Unfortunately, the competition for members (and their membership fees) has brought about a very strange state of affairs. We now have the absurd situation whereby, on paper standards appear to be getting tougher, but in actuality standards are being dismantled because students are self-certificating themselves. The traditional way of verifying skills and knowledge was to observe students, but this has in the main been made obsolete because the focus now is on total study hours not face to face training hours. Self certifying yourself as a 'clinical hypnotherapist' may seem attractive at first glance, like self certifying yourself a first class honours degree. But this field isn't like the regular world of work, in this industry you will more than likely be working for yourself and if you can't do the job, you go out of business very quickly, no matter how many certificates you've got.

If you are planning to use NLP or Hypnosis professionally you will be well served doing some research. This is a good first step, reading my full report is an even better one, all the findings are supported by documentation and it will help you make a cool headed and informed choice; you can find details and links at the bottom of this page.

How did things get to this?
A long story, starting over 30 years ago when Prince Charles commisioned a report into the state of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in the UK. This well intentioned and much needed project has unfortunately been tinkered with so much that it's very easy to manipulate it now if you have sufficient admin resources (and £12,000 a year in registration fees). Private companies set up 'shop fronts' that look like universities or ancient guilds. They issue hundreds and thousands of certificates with 'clinical this' or 'clinical that' written on them, the students self certificate themselves, and nobody checksif it's all true.

It could be a time bomb.

I know a lot of NLP & hypnosis trainers, those that work for themselves have a full on job looking after a dozen students, checking on them, coaching them, ironing out anything that stands in the way of them being the best practitioner possible. Those trainers that work for bigger companies and institutions on a free lance contract basis, they have their work cut out too, often in the classroom 4 or 5 days a week with different groups, teaching different courses. How are they going to quality check 10, 20, 30 100 distance learning assignments of 500 hours each, hours and hours of video, essays, case studies...c'mon lets be real here.

Having students self verify their skills and knowledge is relaxing standards not tightning them.

And fair enough if it was all above board, but it's not, the clamour for membership fees is warping the good intended system.

To throw fuel on the fire the trend in distance learning has meant that the only I mean the only way to really check if someone can do this stuff, which is to observe them, is being phased out as more and more people opt for online and distance learning. But, if instructors can't see students perform in person then how can they possibly sign a certificate vouching for their competence.

Something 'aint right!

I think I got to the bottom of it, you can read my research and report in the articles/library section of this website. It's called 'CAM regulation in the UK'. But for now, here's the main point.
This contradictory behaviour of pretending to tighten standards while actually relaxing them, means we are all getting the worst of both worlds.
Genuine talented students are spending hundreds of hours with their heads in a book, isolated, reading and learning about stuff they will never, ever use instead of being with people, learning by practice, under the supervision of an experienced trainer.
Genuine talented trainers and schools are being sidelined because the big supertanker providers have an army of admin staff to keep up this illusion of tough standards that frighten prospective students into thinking they can't 'legally' train anywhere else.
The public are unable to discern who is a genuine skilled professional and who got their certificate out of a Xmas cracker.

Well I read or heard somewhere that there's no point griping about something if you can't offer an alternative or a solution. So here they are (there's two);
1. Diamond course awards issued by the Register of NLP Professionals (RNLPP) are backed up with signed training and evidence logs. They don't claim your a clinical this or a clinical that, they do give an honest and verifiable account of what you can do and what you know. AND they cover more than 99% of all the things you are ever likely to encounter as a private coach, therapist, facilitator or change professional.
2. Please read my main article on CAM regulation, I know it's wordy, but you can skim over it and then use one of your most powerful cognitive-behavioral strategies to take the next step....
you can .....
......go and look it up online instead of believing what you're told

Wow, radical huh?
Seriously though, check us all out, who is doing the actual training? how many face to face hours do you get? How long has the school or trainer been going? You might find that the impressive 'St Martins in the field faculty clinical school of advanced clinical hypnotherapy, by appointment to HRH' is actually a part time employee staffing a small office on an industrial estate, who has no knowledge of the profession whatsoever and no time for anything else except stuffing certificates into envelopes all day.
You guys coming into the profession can shape its future, and we are so lucky to live in an age where any piece of information can be sought out with a little digging.

You see, it's really about choice. The old way of doing things was a school issued a cert and that was taken as proof of skill, because the face to face training time was lengthy and students had to demonstrate their abilities. But now you can get a clinical hypnotherapy cert from an impressive sounding organisation after 4 days face to face training, does anyone really think that's possible. Think about it, 'clinical' giving the impression of treating severe emotional and mental disorders, with no prior experience and just 4 days classroom time. What kind of professional issues them? Is it really just about the money. Do you care? I hope so, because if we are to maintain any credibility this kind of thing needs to be brought into the open so people can make a clear and informed choice instead of being frightened into thinking they have to do the 'official' course that some are advertising as being "regulated by the same government body that regulates doctors!" Bloomin cheek!! Well, please spread the word, the 21st Century is abbout choice and transparency not the 'old closed shop'. If you can prove your skill and knowledge then you should be able to join the mebership body of your choice and get the business insurance deal that suits you not use the same one your training school uses and has done for years. A rigid, static system and very very last century.

I'd love you to come and train with me, but that's not as important as you finding a good quality trainer, mentor and coach.
NLP & hypnosis are amazing skill sets that help us see things clearly, lets use them to look at our own profession, before someone else does.
Just a thought

In a nut shell, you can spend a thousand hours reading and writing about NLP & Hypnosis but nothing beats face to face training time and supervised practice. The simple time tested formula is "more face to face training and supervised practice = greater level of skill and confidence".
If you have any questions or any contrary evidence to the above please use our contact form or you can call Nick Evans direct on 08732 357 208. Good luck with your search.
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