Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Insight SBS] Hypnotherapy: Fact or Fiction

I was recently invited as the hypnotherapy  expert on SBS’s Insight Programme. It was a programme about phobias, and different approaches were canvassed. The dominant push was clearly for Exposure therapy - a CBT based approach.

However, during the taping of the show the three psychologists featured claimed there was no evidence to support the efficacy of hypnosis as a treatment option. I was flabbergasted. “None” I wondered. That would mean that one would have to be very certain that one was across all of the literature. And clearly, as I will demonstrate below, they were all
absolutely wrong.
What this reminded me of is that although modern hypnosis is now well established overseas, we are still lingering behind here in Australia. The AICH is the only school to my knoweldge that teaches a true moidern technique, and we simply need to get the message out there that modern solution oriented hypnosis desires recognition because the evidence is in
So I thought I would post a quick summary of the credibility and research from overseas:
1) Some of the most prestigious universities in the world have hypnosis research labs. The most famous are Harvard and Stamford, which as been in operation for over 60 years. You could start with researching the work of Dr Dan Siegel and Dr William Kroger.

2) The American Psychological Association Division 30
Its mission: 
“is to educate the profession and the public, to develop new and innovative clinical interventions and research methods, and to evaluate current treatment approaches. These activities advance our knowledge about basic psychological processes and foster practices designed to improve human well being. Division 30 encourages research into the area of hypnosis and develops regional and national continuing education workshops on clinical applications of hypnosis.

The Division publishes 
Psychological Hypnosis: A Bulletin of Division 30 three times a year. The Division sponsors awards for outstanding contributions to scientific and clinical hypnosis"
The APA is the leading, most respected association of its kind in the world. Not known for entertaining fringy fluffy stuff.

3) The leading Journal in the field is the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental HypnosisIt is actually considered among the leading peer reviewed journals not just re hypnosis, but in the therapeutic space. The 2007 journals summarised the research to date.

4) Dr Michael Yapko, is a hypnotherapist, my supervisor, and arguably the most decorated therapist in the world. Dr. Yapko is a member of the American Psychological Association, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a past Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Division of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine (in England), a member of the International Society of Hypnosis, and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis. He is a recipient of The Milton H. Erickson Lifetime Achievement Award  (2007), twice a recipient of the Arthur Shapiro Award for the “best book of the year on hypnosis” from the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis for Treating Depression with Hypnosis (2001) and Hypnosis and Treating Depression (2006), and the 2003Pierre Janet Award for Clinical Excellence from the International Society of Hypnosis, a lifetime achievement award honoring his many contributions to the field.

Dr. Yapko wrote the authoritative sections on "Treating Depression" and "Brief Therapy" for the Encyclopedia Britannica Medical and Health Annualsan honour not usually bestowed on a therapist who indulges in non evidence based approaches.

5) What about the research?
What do you want to know? Go to google scholar and search for your particular angle. Hypnosis and pain, anxiety, depression, phobias etc etc.

I hope this clarifies a few things.

If you are interested in the SBS Porgramme or posting a comment on their discussion board, go to:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Excuse Me While I Rant

Yes, at the risk of seeming to be an intolerant grumpy old man, I have decided that this blog post will be a RANT. Why? Because I think something needs to be said for the record, and it seems that whilst those of us who are trying to do the right thing by the public, our students, and the field in general sit back and say nothing, then those who have fewer concerns about the wellbeing of others continue to operate with impunity.

So. Here goes…my first rant.

I love this field of Hypnotherapy. It is without doubt my space and people who have known me my whole adult life and seen me transition through different careers have often commented that this is where I belong. It is a field that gives you the opportunity to make a real difference in other people’s lives, to do some good and get a real sense of satisfaction every day.

But, and there is a but, this beautiful field has more than its fair share of problems.

There are essentially two kinds of people that are problematic to the field. The first are well meaning but ineffectual people who don’t invest sufficiently in their training to be out there messing with people’s heads. They make claims of effectiveness that their skills and their results simply don’t support. They are often delusional about what they can do because they are caught up in their own magical thinking of the unconscious mind. (this will be the subject of the next rant) They cause problems because people go to them seeking help and sometimes come out worse off. Because most people have what is referred to as a global cognitive style, instead of deciding that that particular therapist was not good, they make the larger assumption that hypnosis doesn’t work. This can leave people with a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Many then suffer on for years before they try therapy again.

The second group is far more insidious.  It is the group of hypnosis trainers and practitioners who knowingly make false claims for their own financial gain. They overstate qualifications and expected outcomes. Creative marketing abounds in this field. I am the director of a training organisation called the Australian Institutue of Clinical Hypnotherapy, and we run a non government accredited training that is accepted nationally by all of the professional bodies, insurance companies and the Health Funds, and is even endorsed by world leaders in the field. However, as a Hypnosis training school we have been on the receiving end of a host of false claims being made by some government accredited schools.

We have been told by many prospective students that these schools have been peddling the false claims that unless you get a fully government accredited training you won’t be able to practice in this country or receive health fund rebates. These scare tactics seem to be the only way they can combat what we offer, which is from all the feedback we get, clearly a superior training. People often struggle to make  sensible choices when they fear that training with us will be rendered useless once they graduate.
Moreover, these claims are also a straight up lie !!!
We have never complained about it. We recognise the desperation inherent in these negative tactics, but it seems that others in the profession have also become concerned about this “misinformation”. 

In a recent open letter to the profession, Margaret Kelly, the President of the HCA (the Peak body for Hypnotherapy) had these strong words to say,

“The HCA National Board, as well as a number of the HCA Entities, are receiving complaints about the conduct of some organisations. Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) legislation makes it quite clear that you must not mislead or deceive, or be likely to mislead or deceive, about your services or products (also see reference in the Handbook of Ethical Practice Version 10d).
We have several complaints that members of the public are still being told:
1. That this profession will be regulated by the Government in the next 12-18 months
2. That only those trained with a Government RTO qualification will be able to offer any Private Health Insurance rebates from any Health Fund to their clients.

This is misleading information, and this misunderstanding needs to stop before the ACCC steps in.  When a member of the public makes enquiries, whether about which association to join, what they are allowed or not allowed to do, or what course they should study, please understand, they usually contact more than one organisation, and these days ask lots of questions. So frequently the “misunderstandings” become quite apparent, and only reflect poorly on those whose communication should be better.”

I could not agree with her more!!!!

If you are looking to study Hypnosis, do your homework, and then come and talk to us at the Australian Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy