Building Bridges of Understanding

Code of Ethics

ISH is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the highest professional standards in the practice of hypnosis for clinical or experimental purposes and in the dissemination of information concerning hypnosis

1. Professional Conduct with Patients or Subjects

1.1 All ISH members are professionals in their own right, and in their use of hypnosis they should adhere strictly to the standards demanded of them by their own profession.

1.2 Members should always give first priority to the welfare of the patient of experimental subject when using hypnosis.

1.3 Proper safeguards should be maintained whenever a patient or subject is exposed to unusual stress or other form of risk. If stress or risk is involved, the patient or subject should be informed and should give consent. When in doubt the practitioner should consult with appropriate professional colleagues.

2. Applications of Hypnosis to Professional Work

2.1 Members who intend using hypnosis, for whatever purpose, are advised to attend, if they have not already done so, a training course organised by one of the various constituent societies of ISH.

2.2 Members should at all time remain aware of their signed undertaking to use hypnosis only for those purposes for which they are professionally qualified and within the strict limitations of their professional work. This implies that those members who use hypnosis for some clinical or therapeutic purpose should have undertaken, or be undertaking, a professional qualification in that therapy recognised by the Health Service, Social Services or Department of Education of their country.

2.3 A member’s use of hypnosis in his or her professional work should be fully compatible with the terms of reference of his or her work and the expectations of his or her superiors, employers and professional association.

3. The Undertaking of Private Therapy

3.1 Members may be approached by the public for private consultation and therapy by virtue of their belonging to ISH. If an ISH member, so approached, intends to see such a person as a private patient, he or she must first ensure that the person is fully aware of the treatment facilities available to them within the Health Service and through the Education Department.

3.2 Members should only undertake private therapy if this is compatible with the rules of their professional association and the terms of reference of their work. They should restrict their private work to those problems which they would be recognized as qualified to undertake within the Health Service, Social Services or Department of Education of their country. Members should only undertake private therapy if this is compatible with the rules of their professional association and the terms of reference of their work. They should restrict their private work to those problems which they would be recognized as qualified to undertake within the Health Service, Social Services or Department of Education of their country.

4. Hypnosis and Lay Person

4.1 A member of ISH should not support the practice or teaching of hypnosis by those ineligible for membership, except in the case of item 4.3.

4.2 A member of ISH shall not give instruction involving the teaching of hypnotic techniques to individuals or groups which include persons currently ineligible for ISH membership. Lectures informing lay persons about hypnosis are, of course, permitted provided they do not include demonstrations or didactic material involving hypnotic induction techniques. Lay people are those who currently are considered ineligible for ISH membership.

4.3 Exceptions are made to students in training in the appropriate sciences or professions. ISH recognises that hypnosis may be appropriately used by nurses or paramedical assistants under the immediate and direct supervision of a person whose credentials and training would permit membership of ISH and who has an agreed commitment to its rules. Special arrangements can be made for the training of such nurses or paramedical personnel provided that arrangements have been made for such individuals to work directly under the supervision of an ISH member or the equivalently trained professional as outlined.

4.4 Consultations with lay representatives of the press or other media of communication are permitted in order to benefit the knowledge and understanding of the public in matters pertaining to hypnosis. Talks with lay representatives of the press and radio or TV appearance are welcomed so long as these are consistent with the aims of the Society and its Ethical Guidelines.

5. Use of the Society’s Name

5.1 Members may use the initials ISH after their names. However where possible they are encouraged to use the full name of the Society for the education of the public.

1 Several countries know a so called ‘Hypnotism Act’, e.g. in Great Britain (l952), but if this deals only with the use of hypnosis in entertainment it is considered not relevant to the conduct of ISH members. If the fact of a member transgressing these Guidelines is brought to the attention of the National Council then the Chairman of ISH Ethical Subcommittee will write to that member for an explanation. If the Council is not satisfied or feels that transgressions are likely to continue, then that person’s membership may be rescinded.

2 More often than not enquirers and even their GPs are unaware that the correct help for their problem is available at their local Clinical Psychology Department, Child Guidance Unit and so on. They may therefore wrongly believe that the only choice open to them is to seek the help of a ‘hypnotherapist’. Great care is taken by the National and Branch Secretaries when responding to such enquiries that the person is fully informed of the local facilities available and of the procedures involved in obtaining proper help.

3 Resolution passed by members of Constituent Societies and amended at the informal Meeting of the Council of Representatives in October 2002.