Hypnosis, Hypnotherapy and the Law – around the world

There are constant questions about the laws regarding hypnosis and the practice of hypnotherapy for different countries around the world.

Can I practice hypnotherapy in New Zealand after your course? Among many other questions.

For this reason I have put together a list of resources for you on hypnosis and the law for various countries around the world. You will find them listed as links to resources – later I will detail the body of information into a more comprehensive post.

The broad legal situation in the UK is that therapies and treatments are not regulated (by common law) but that some professional titles are regulated.

In theory you can do brain surgery on your neighbour but you can’t call yourself a Surgeon (protected title).

Some examples of ‘protected titles’ by law are:

Clinical Psychologist

Some examples of professional titles NOT protected (regulated) by law are:

Massage Therapist
Yoga Teacher

[Note: many of these professions have quite rigorous self-regulation – whereby there is a voluntary national register, standards of training, ethics, complaints procedures etc. However this page is merely concerned with the legal status.]

It is also worth mentioning the Hypnotism Act of 1952 which pertains to Stage Hypnosis – but has no impact on the use of hypnosis for health, psychological well-being, performance improvement etc.
You can read the Hypnotism Act of 1952 here

Links to articles discussing hypnosis and the law in various countries around the world

Hypnosis and the Law in various countries around the world
(Brief article – that mentions hypnosis regulation in several countries but not referenced)

Discussion Thread on on the laws specific to practicing hypnosis and hypnotherapy around the world.

Links to articles discussing hypnosis and the law in specific countries

Hypnosis and the Law in the United States

This is an excellent document produced by The National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH) in the United Stages – and it relates to the practice of hypnosis in the United States and how that is regulated state by state.

Another excellent information page about state laws and requirements for practising hypnosis in the USA.

Another brief article from Dr Richard Nongard “Laws and Regulations for Hypnosis Practice” (in the United States).

Another good, succinct listing of the states that have regulations regarding the use of hypnosis or practising “hypnotherapy”.

One more good article on hypnosis and state laws from AAPH.

Hypnosis and the Law in New Zealand

Short, unreferenced article stating there are no laws restricting hypnosis or the practice of hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy in Canada


Hypnosis and the Law in Israel

An important post about laws around hypnosis in Israel.
“The use of hypnosis is permitted for skilled professionals only. Only physicians, psychologists and dentists who have undergone special training and who have successfully passed the Ministry of Health’s examination in hypnosis are permitted to practice hypnosis in Israel.”

Hypnosis in South Africa

A reference to laws in South Africa in this brief article
“In 1997 the South African government introduced an amendment to their Health Professions Act, which stated that “hypnosis and hypnotherapy” could only be offered by a licensed psychologist or mental health practitioner, effectively making the practice of hypnotherapy illegal without these professional qualifications.

Yet in South Africa, as in many countries, there are still many people practising as hypnotherapists, trained to a high level in the skills and techniques of hypnotherapy, but who do not have these ‘official’ qualifications. Likewise, there are many hypnosis training schools offering courses run by trainers who are not themselves registered psychologists or mental health workers.

These schools and their practitioners are having to be artfully vague in their marketing so as to avoid the word “hypnotherapist”, because, the term implies that the practitioner uses therapy. The word “hypnosis” doesn’t seem to be such a problem however.”

Other Resources regarding Hypnosis and the Law

Hypnosis in the Courts – by Michael Heap (from The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis)
Detailed and rigorous chapter from a major textbook. The main purpose of the article is  “to understand the nature of hypnosis from a rational, scientific perspective and how this can inform the answers to questions that lawyers and the police ask about hypnosis.”

About the author

Principal and Director of The UK College of Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy. Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist - with practices in Central and North London. Personal website at www.inspiredhypnosis.co.uk

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