Is the CNHC killing Hypnotherapy?
Posted by: Stephen Rigby at 19:18, March 16 2015.

There is no question of hypnotherapy being a difficult profession in which to make a living. For a start off, it is a difficult business model. Unlike many therapies that are ongoing or require many months of investment (and, despite costing less per session, work out significantly more expensive than hypnotherapy), a good hypnotherapist will generally fix the complaints people come with in one to four sessions so one has to find a constant stream of new clients.

In the ten years in which I have been practicing, the methods of finding clients have changed dramatically, there seem to be fewer of them and one has to work harder to get them. I know this is not just my experience. The question is, why?

It is well known that one can make more money training hypnotherapists than by practicing hypnotherapy, so one theory is that the market is being saturated by a steady stream of newly trained hypnotherapists diluting the market. When I asked the question of the GHR (General Hypnotherapy Register – probably the largest register of hypnotherapists in the country) apparently this is not the case. What is happening is an increasing number giving up their practice because the lack of clients is making being a hypnotherapist non-financially viable.

It could be that people are becoming more mentally healthy but I think that unlikely. So the clients must be going elsewhere!

Can we blame the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)? I have always been critical of hypnotherapy being forced to be regulated by the CNHC. I have many reasons for being critical of them – one reason being that it fails in what was supposed to be its reason for existence and does not make it safer for the public to find a hypnotherapist. It is actually significantly safer to find a hypnotherapist through the GHR than through the CNHC because the entry qualifications are higher. All the CNHC achieved for hypnotherapy was to push it further towards being thought of as an alternative therapy. By grouping it with therapies like “healing” and “reiki” it gives healing and reiki an orthodoxy they do not deserve at the expense of the medical standing of hypnotherapy.

The CNHC is not doing hypnotherapy’s reputation any favours but how might they be causing a drop in people seeking hypnotherapy? Could it be that people looking to the CNHC for a hypnotherapist become confused by too much choice (each therapy looking as credible as any other) and end up choosing something other than hypnotherapy? As the majority of the general public have no knowledge of the CNHC or its supposed function, this is an unlikely scenario.

A far more plausible theory is to blame Paul McKenna! We might also blame Derren Brown. Why, because they are not on TV at the moment. McKenna and Brown may have their critics within the body of those practicing hypnotherapy but at least they kept hypnosis in the public eye. There is also the argument that they may have killed interest by over exposure but the fact is that hypnotherapy is not promoted sufficiently from within the industry. That means less people are looking for hypnotherapists, therefore there are less clients.

It will be interesting to see the effect of the new ITV game show “You’re Back in the Room” on the number of people seeking hypnotherapy. The programme is a joke and deception from the introductory trailer to the end credits but its claim to be using hypnosis will bring it back into the minds of people and may revive the interest in hypnotherapy. Time will tell whether it turns people on or off to the idea of hypnotherapy.