Is hypnosis illegal – Read This Before You Get Hypnotised

July 10, 2019. 6 – MINUTE READ


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Unless you were a doctor or psychiatrist, Hypnosis or hypnotherapy in Australia was illegal to practice up until 1998, you could have been arrested! Gasp!

Is Hypnosis Illegal Now?

Fast forward to 2019 if you ask if hypnosis or hypnotherapy is illegal the answer simply is no, BUT! it depends on what country, state or province, you’re in as to what qualifications your hypnotherapist must have and here lies the trick to choosing the right hypnotherapist.

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We’re barely legal

Even though Hypnosis is centuries-old most countries have only made practising hypnosis ‘legal’ in the last century.

According to Wikipedia, The Roman Catholic Church banned hypnotism until the mid-20th century until 1956, when Pope Pius XII gave his approval of hypnosis.

Can I get an Amen!

Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis regulations

Although Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy is generally accepted and regulated around the world most counties have a governing body that you can speak to, handle your complaints or where you can find hypnotherapists that have been through the qualification of sorts.

Keep in mind, just because a person has qualifications as long as your arm doesn’t mean they are very good or have ever seen a client! I know of hundreds! Yes, hundreds! That has gone through course after course but NEVER sat in front of a paying client or hypnotised someone on a daily basis. AND I know of big-name hypnotherapists and doctors that use a recording to put a client into a trance in a face to face session situation. Like What the?!  The only excuse for this is either laziness or lack of skill.

Finding a hypnotherapist that has an Association membership and the relevant qualification is a sure fire way to know someone has at least done the hours but be sure to look for recommendations and at least try someone out once before committing to a multi-session program.

What not Try before you Buy and see if Hypnosis is right for you

Is Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis illegal in Australia

In Australia Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy is legal. In the 1967 psychological practices act, only doctors,  psychologists, psychiatrists, ministers of religion and dentists were allowed to perform hypnosis and no formal training was required. In 1982 the government-funded National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) Panel. This Panel further restricted to medical and psychology professionals only but in 1991 the government rescinded the report and did not replace the policy.

In 1998 Hypnotherapy was deregulated in Australia but some states took a while to follow suit.

Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis Qualifications required to practice in Australia

Is Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis illegal in America

In the US – Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis is legal. The U.S. (Department of Labor) Directory of Occupational Titles states that In some states, the title Therapist is to be a licensed medical professional.  So if your hypnotherapist I’snt a doctor they will be deemed to be practising without a license.

To be certified by the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists NBCCH you will need a graduate level degree as a minimum and have conducted a certain amount of clinical hours with clients.

Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis Qualifications required to practice in America

Is Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis illegal in the United Kingdom

Hypnotherapy is currently legal and unregulated in the United Kingdom or is ‘self-regulated’. The UK grades its Hypnotherapist but depending on the different registers the grading and qualifications vary.

Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis Qualifications required to practice in  the United Kingdom

You don’t have to be qualified to practice Hypnosis but if you wanted a qualified hypnotherapist You would expect to see or be looking for terms like:

  • Associate: means not ready to practice and licentiate ( meaning a holder of a certificate of competence, I had to look that up)
  • Member and Accredited Member: means they hold a license or certificate of competence
  • NCH Registered or Accredited: are full members and will have a seal or logo of the NCH
  • GDR Affiliate grade: meaning this person has performed a minimum of 50hours and has full use of the logo and listed in the Registered Hypnotherapist directory pages of the GHR.

Is Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis illegal in New Zealand

Hypnotherapy in New Zealand is legal and is not a regulated profession and there are no minimum qualifications required to practice Hypnotherapy in New Zealand. There are a number of self-regulated bodies including NZCSAH and NZAPH and some training authorities provide links to the National Council of Hypnotherapy (NCH) courses in the UK and accreditation.

Is Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis illegal in Canada

Hypnosis in Canada is legal and unregulated. But ‘rules’ on hypnotherapy is largely based province by province and is currently going through a transitioning stage. For example, The Controlled Act of Psychotherapy will come into Effective December 2019 in Ontario and may be rolled out to other provinces. Basically, the act states things like if you claim to provide ‘treatment’ or that you use psychotherapy techniques, services are delivered therapeutic relationships, treat disorders or impairment then you fall under the regulation and must be qualified. The only provinces who have legislation enacted governing counsellors that include hypnotherapy are New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario [Dec. 2019] and Nova Scotia

Do your Homework When Choosing a Hypnotherapist!

Hypnosis is a legal and largely an unregulated profession which means you are really going to have to do your homework before booking in to see someone or purchasing someone’s downloads.  At least, the worst that can happen is you waste your money and your session has no effect, (most likely if you get a dud) or at worst someone can plant false memories with a detrimental adverse long term effect on your health and well being. Having a ‘qualified’ hypnotherapist won’t always guarantee an ‘effective session’ not all hypnotherapist are created equal. From my experience, it seems to be a ‘you’ve either got it or not’ kind of skill.  Just like football or tennis or anything that requires training and skill,  your either good at it or you’re not. The only thing that will get any Hypnotherapist to the level where they can help is hours.   You need someone that has done the time.

What else should you know?

Can a person hypnotise themselves

Yes! In fact, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Let me explain The hypnotherapist guides you into a trance and the work is really done by you.  The Grandfather of Hypnotherapy Milton Erricson had polio as a child and in adulthood was in excruciating pain.  Ericson would hypnotise himself daily just so as to just get out of bed. Self-Hypnosis is a skill that can be practised over time just like yoga but for the mind! Just like meditation, it’s a skill that can be learned and mastered, just with hypnosis, you would preplan your session to include mental thought suggestions.

Can someone hypnotise you without you knowing

 The short answer is yes and no. The yes answer: A really good hypnotist could possibly get you into a trance and hypnotise you without you knowing for example with shock induction or conversational hypnosis and/or make the right type of suggestion at the right time you to be open to it but at some point, you would know something happened. For example, they may suggest you may be itchy or to pick up a piece of paper on the ground, sleep, relax, hold up your hand, or simple tasks of the like. Milton Erikson was king at conversational hypnosis! The no answer: most hypnotherapist wouldn’t or can’t/don’t have the skill to hypnotise you without you knowing, conversational hypnosis is tricky, besides we are bound by a code of ethics to always get permission first. Is it impossible, no, it’s very possible but you still have a conscious and control over that conscious and wouldn’t do anything you wouldn’t want to.

What percentage of people cannot be hypnotised

They say About 5 – 10 % of people can’t be hypnotised and some recent studies even bring that percentage up to 25%. I have hypnotised thousands of people and I’ve come across two people I couldn’t get into a trance or keep in trance.  One client went into trance initially but then pulled himself out really quick and the client was manic and pacing and way beyond my skill set, I could only manage to get him to lay down and close his eyes for about one minute! About 90 to 95% of the population with an I.Q level that allows you to be able to focus your attention and for those that may be mentally challenged or too young then hypnosis talk while the person is sleeping can also help. About 10% of the population is highly hypnotisable and responds quickly and easily to hypnotherapy suggestion.  Does this mean it only works for them, no, not at all, this just means your hypnotherapist needs to have the skill to help the remaining 80-90% go along into the lovely world of trance.

References: containerpage/$file/Hypnotherapy%20Council%20of%20Australia.pdf decision-RIS.pdf -ontario.html information was correct at time of posting and may be subject to change. Please consult your local government for the most up to date rules for you.



Jodi Clarke

Jodi Clarke

CEO & Founder | Clinical Hypnotherapist | Weight Loss Specialist

Leading the charge is Jodi Clarke, the CEO and Founder of Awaecnan, a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist specialising in weight loss hypnotherapy in South East Melbourne and the peninsula. Having studied at The Academy of Hypnotic Science, an Australian government-accredited Clinical Hypnotherapy training academy, Jodi’s hypnotherapy skills are both effective and award-winning as she supports clients to achieve positive changes in their everyday lives.

To find out more Connect with Jodi on Facebook or Instagram

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