Hypnosis and Ethics
I was reading an offer to me to sign up for a Gastric Band Hypnotherapy Treatment Workshop. This is for practicing hypnotists and insists that they be experienced. It also insists that they already adhere to a recognized code of practice.
I think that everyone should follow a code of practice. They are very good things. However all the ones I see are primarily concerned with practices that protect the therapist. They are all about how the therapist will behave in order that certifying organisation does not get sued. They usually outlaw sexual impropriety, disrespect for the client, criticizing other therapists, and other good things. No harm in that.
Ethics is actually about the client's rights
However, there is seldom much in the way of protection for the client. It seems to me that what is missing in most Codes is protection from exploitation of the client. There is nothing wrong with hypnotizing someone to believe that they have had Gastric Band surgery - if it works. But if it doesn't work, or if only a tiny percentage of clients benefit, then it surely becomes an Ethics issue. Is it not unethical to advertise and encourage clients to undergo hypnotherapy if it is usually a waste of money?
I have yet to see a Code of Ethics that says that the therapist agrees to do a follow up with every client, and requires the therapist to stop doing the procedure if it doesn't work.
Ethics and what the client wants
The counter argument is that if a client wants some procedure and believes that it will help them, then provided it actually isn't going to do any harm, the client is entitled to get whatever treatment they ask for.
A further argument is that most therapy is actually placebo, and it doesn't matter what you do. Provided the client believes in it, the therapist doesn't have to believe in it. If the effectiveness of a treatment is actually dependent on the client's belief system, then aromatherapy, fortune telling and homeopathy are all valid, and do not need any scientific validation.
Personally, I feel very uncomfortable with this position.
He is highly regarded in the hypnotherapy community. He is Vice President of the New Zealand Association of Professional Hypnotherapists (NZAPH).
He is regularly consulted for advice by other hypnotherapists around the world. He is known for the quality of his published scripts. He presents at international conferences and has published on hypnosis and advanced hypnotherapy.
He lives in Wellington New Zealand with his wife Trish and a cat called Parsnip.