We're often asked questions about the laws regarding hypnosis and the practice of hypnotherapy in different countries around the world.
I receive questions like “Can I practice hypnotherapy in New Zealand after your course?” and “Is your qualification recognised in Spain?”
It's very hard to provide accurate advice for every jurisidication in the world! So I urge people to research the situation in their country.
Therefore I've put together the following information for you about hypnosis and the law for various countries around the world. You will find them listed as links to further resources – later I will detail the body of information into a more comprehensive post.
UK Legal Situation for “hypnotherapists”
Broadly speaking, the 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”! Because it's a ‘protected title'.
Some examples of ‘protected titles' by law are:
Some examples of professional titles NOT protected (regulated) by law are:
[Note: many of these professions have quite rigorous self-regulation – this means that the profession has often established a single recognised national register with agreed standards of training, ethics, complaints procedures etc. Some good examples of this are UKCP for psychotherapists and BACP for counsellors. Unfortunately hypnotherapy has remained a very fractured and fragmented profession – and has not managed to establish one single recognised national register. Please note that this page is merely concerned with the legal status of the profession of hypnosis and hypnotherapy, and calling oneself a”hypnotherapist”.]
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.
Hypnosis and the Law in Europe (new!)
The EU Commission keeps a database of regulated professions which you can search here:
Also a database of Regulated Professions by Country, with Competent Authorities: the database contains lists of regulated professions in the EU member states, EEA countries, the UK and Switzerland.
Search for a profession here: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/professions/bycountry
Results of searches yield 0 results for hypnotherapy, 0 results for hypnosis and 1 results for ” hypnotherapist”.
The one result is for Latvia and you can read it here:
If you want to practice hypnotherapy in Latvia I recommend getting advice from relevant professionals. Else across the rest of Europe there is no regulation of hypnotherapy or the term hypnotherapist.
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 is not referenced)
Discussion Thread on the laws specific to practising 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 States – it relates to the practice of hypnosis in the US and how that is regulated state by state.
Another excellent information page about state laws and requirements for practising hypnosis in the US.
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.
This is an interesting, easy to read article by Cal Banyan on what to call yourself if you are practising in the USA.
“Consulting Hypnotist” rather than “Clinical Hypnotherapist”!
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
A helpful article on hypnotherapy legislation in Canada is here.
Hypnosis and the Law in Israel
An important post about laws around hypnosis in Israel is here.
“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)
A detailed and rigorous chapter on hypnosis in the courts 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.”