At the Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy, we are often asked if it is legal to practice hypnotherapy if you are not a licensed mental health practitioner or if you are not a physician.
There are many misunderstandings about Hypnosis Law, and each State, County and City will have its own interpretations. To understand Hypnosis Law, we need to understand that many laws are ambiguous and that they require the interpretation of a lawyer or even a judge. We, at the IAIH, therefore offer the following explanations as we best understand them.
Hypnotherapy on a Federal Level
In the early 1970’s, leaders in the field of Hypnotherapy had the United States Department of Labor acknowledge Hypnotherapist as an actual profession. This was written up in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and was the first time it became legal on a Federal level to use this title. Over the years, the US Department of Labor has switched which document it references to acknowledge legitimate occupations, yet the most current is the Bureau of Labor ‘ Instructional Program Data, which catalogs Hypnotherapist as “513603: Hypnotherapy/Hypnotherapist”, along with other such occupations as Acupuncture, Homeopathic Medicine, Massage Therapy, Yoga Teacher, and Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences. Please reference: http://www.bls.gov/jobs/forms/ip3datastandard.pdf
Hypnotherapy on the State Level – The Department of Education
The Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy (formerly known as The Florida Institute of Hypnotherapy) was Florida’s first school to be licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education (License #3448) to teach hypnosis, hypnotherapy, and medical and dental hypnotherapy and to offer legitimate career diplomas for “Hypnotherapist”, “Clinical Hypnotherapist” and “Transpersonal Hypnotherapist”. We have held this license since 2007. Therefore, on the State level, our graduates have legitimate credentials as Hypnotherapists from a State-Licensed Postsecondary Vocational Institute.
This also implies that we are legally allowed to teach Hypnotherapy as well. Reference: https://web02.fldoe.org/CIE/SearchSchools/SchoolSearch.aspx. Please note the CIP code that the Florida Department of Education uses for a school of Hypnotherapy/Hypnotherapist as CIP: 0351360300.
The numbers 513603 are in bold to emphasize the Federal and State level of acknowledgement of Hypnotherapy as a recognized profession. This code once again acknowledges our legal right to teach hypnosis, hypnotherapy, medical hypnotherapy, and dental hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy on a State-Level – The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
The Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy is also licensed by the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VF#202535784001) to grant diplomas/certifications for “Hypnotherapists.” Obviously, this government organization would not fund us to train people undergoing rehabilitation to become Hypnotherapists in Florida if one had to be a medical doctor, psychologist or dentist to practice Hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy on a State-Level – The Department of Health
Repeated phone calls and interactions with the Florida Department of Health have acknowledged that they legally allow us to call ourselves Hypnotherapists and to practice Hypnotherapy within the confines of the law. We have not only checked with their offices through phone calls to ensure this, yet some of our graduates have had Department of Health inspectors come into their office undercover to ensure that these practitioners were practicing within the law.
The law does not limit the ability to call yourself a Hypnotherapist, yet it does make a clear distinction about practicing therapeutic hypnosis. When this occurs, the law does require a practitioner to have a prescription, referral, supervision or direction from the appropriate licensed practitioner of the healing arts. We also have had a graduate work directly as a Hypnotherapist with the Department of Health for leadership development programs and team building with the Department itself.
What about other States?
Right now it is legal to practice Hypnotherapy in all 50 states. Some states require registration, and some have clear laws while others do not have any at all. At the IAIH we constantly monitor State Hypnosis Law and offer updated reports at the following link: https://www.interpersonalhypnotherapy.com/us-state-hypnosis-laws
The Legal Opinions of Multiple Attorneys
The Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy has had multiple attorneys graduate our programs to become Hypnotherapists. They have all been introduced to Hypnosis Law and all agree with our interpretations of the law. They call themselves Hypnotherapists, and support our work to use this occupational title.
We have an active attorney who presents at our Annual Hypnotherapy Conferences who knows Hypnosis Law inside and out and still supports us in training Hypnotherapists. Six different attorneys over the years have been consulted on this topic and they all agree with the explanations given here.
What about the term “Consulting Hypnotist?”
There are multiple hypnotherapy associations that offer credentials in our field. It is important to understand that these are not Federal or State agencies, but are companies that work to improve our profession and to offer member benefits.
One specific organization (no names mentioned) prefers to be very safe and to insist that its members call themselves “Consulting Hypnotists.” This organization has always had lower standards than the IAIH and has not required State-Licensure of their trainers or schools. We might therefore agree that their members should only use the term “Hypnotist”, yet graduates of State-Licensed schools with over 300 hours of training may still legally use the term “Hypnotherapist,” as they have legitimate diplomas in this career. However, it is important to again understand that the interpretation of the law by an association is not necessarily the only possible interpretation. The majority of the Hypnotherapy associations in existence do support the use of the occupational title “Hypnotherapist.”
What about Cities and Counties?
The IAIH works with any City or County that is misunderstanding their respective State’s Hypnosis Laws. For almost every City and County we have worked with, we get them to understand the information above, and they offer business tax receipts/occupational titles to our graduates. However, many Cities and Counties do not yet have the title of Hypnotherapist on their list of occupations. They therefore will use such terms as “consultant”, “therapist, other” or even “professional, unclassified.”
However, we are not aware of any City or County that has denied our graduates the right to practice, though they do at times require the use of a limited coding system to offer the business tax receipt/occupational license. This does not mean that our graduates cannot use the term “Hypnotherapist” in their area, it only means that the City or County does not have a category for this occupation yet. For more information about all of the Cities and Counties that we’ve worked with over 12 years, visit: https://www.interpersonalhypnotherapy.com/legal-efforts
What Occupational Titles can I use?
Graduates of the Institute of Interpersonal Hypnotherapy earn legitimate career diplomas backed by the Florida Department of Education’s Commission for Independent Education in Hypnotherapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy and Transpersonal Hypnotherapy. As a licensed career school/postsecondary vocational institute, our graduates have earned the right to use these occupational titles, and have a clear understanding about proper advertising, semantics, ethics, scope of practice assessment, and hypnosis law. Our graduates therefore proudly use the terms Certified Hypnotherapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Certified Transpersonal Hypnotherapist.
HIPAA and Hypnotherapy
At a recent IAIH Hypnotherapy Conference, one of our IAIH attorneys had pointed out that our graduates who are working as Hypnotherapists and who are getting referrals from other professionals bound by HIPAA are considered business associates and are also bound by HIPAA. The IAIH went to work to establish clear HIPAA policies about how graduates are to conduct themselves in this regard when operating their practices as Hypnotherapists who work with medical, dental or mental health conditions. Reference: https://www.interpersonalhypnotherapy.com/hipaa
On Federal, State, County and City levels, it is legal to practice Hypnotherapy as a Hypnotherapist in all 50 States. However, it is crucial that those who use this occupational title have legitimate diplomas to do so from a true State-Licensed school, and that they operate within the confines of the laws that govern them.
We at the IIH and IAIH have worked very hard to maintain these standards for our profession, and offer this document to help to further the advancement of Hypnotherapy as a profession, and “Hypnotherapist” as a legitimate occupational title.
We encourage all who have read this document to continue to raise the standards of Hypnotherapy as a valid occupation, to only support State-Licensed Hypnotherapy Schools, to ensure a minimum of 300 hours of training, and to protect the free and open practice of Hypnotherapy for legitimate Hypnotherapists.
For more information on becoming a Hypnotherapist with State-Licensed Diplomas call 800-551-0247 or visit www.InstituteofHypnotherapy.com.
For more information about IAIH law and legislation work, visit https://www.instituteofhypnotherapy.com/