In the hypnotherapy world, there are a great many courses and training options which can last hours, days, weeks, or even years. As well as differences in duration, training can either be in-person, online or a blended approach of both. The thing is, regardless of the duration or delivery style, the majority of hypnotherapy training courses will offer a ‘qualification’ or ‘certification’ at the end of the course. This basically means that you’ll get a certificate when you complete the course, which is a good thing right? Well, not always… Firstly, let’s look at what certification and qualification actually mean. Here are the dictionary definitions of both terms:
A pass of an examination or an official completion of a course, especially one conferring status as a recognised practitioner of a profession or activity.
The action or process of providing someone or something with an official document attesting to a status or level of achievement.
So, basically to be ‘qualified‘ you need to pass an exam or ‘officially complete’ a course of study, and to be ‘certified‘, you need an ‘official document’ (certificate) that states you have successfully completed your training to a satisfactory level. Some hypnotherapy training schools will use one of the above terms, others will use both. However, now you have this information, the next thing to consider is that, as mentioned above, hypnotherapy training can be drastically different in terms of duration, delivery style and content. So, being a ‘qualified hypnotherapist’ or ‘certified hypnotherapist’ might mean you have taken a full hypnotherapy diploma course that involved over 450+ hours of study, met the UK Core Curriculum and national occupational standards for hypnotherapy training, and in order to receive your qualification and certificate you had to pass an exam (or exams), as well as engaging in case studies, homework, and other assessments throughout your course. OR, it might mean that you did a poor quality short hypnotherapy course, didn’t really get much time to practice, forgot half of what you learned a week later, and still got a ‘certificate’ or ‘qualification’ at the end of it simply because you attended the course, regardless of whether you reached a specific ‘level of achievement’, passed an examination, or can actually do hypnotherapy as a result!
Fundamentally, the point here is, a hypnotherapy qualification or certificate is only as good as the course it relates to, and what that course gives you in terms of practical skills, theoretical knowledge and support from your tutors. There are currently (in the UK) no legal requirements that define who can or cannot offer a hypnotherapy qualification or what standards students must meet in order to receive a hypnotherapy certificate (whether that’s a ‘hypnotherapy diploma’, ‘hypnotherapy certificate’, or even a ‘clinical hypnotherapy diploma’ – these titles are not protected in the UK, so anyone can use them). Unfortunately, this means anyone can legally call themselves a qualified hypnotherapist or even a ‘clinical hypnotherapist’, even if they are poorly trained or even unqualified to do hypnotherapy, which can certainly ‘muddy the waters’ for clients who are looking for the best quality hypnotherapy services available.
But what can you do?
The best course of action for someone looking to learn hypnotherapy is to compare a number of courses before signing up to one. Now, that doesn’t mean compare how many certificates you will get, or what you’ll be able to ‘call yourself’ after the course (‘Grand Master Clinical Hypnotherapist Extraordinaire’ has a nice ring to it though…). When comparing courses, ensure that you compare the course content, duration and training modalities (classroom learning/videos/course notes/etc.). Also consider the person teaching the course and their experience as both a hypnotherapist and a hypnotherapy teacher (are they experienced enough to be teaching you? Are they actually qualified to teach as well as having a firm practical knowledge of hypnotherapy?). There are many different things to consider when choosing a good hypnotherapy training course (so many, in fact, that we wrote a whole blog on the topic)!
Also, it’s important to consider whether assessment/examinations are a mandatory part of the course, because, in our opinion, they definitely should be! Now, you might think ‘oh no, exams, they’re scary’, but this negative (scary) is also the reason it’s such as positive addition to a course! Why? Because if you need to complete an exam in order to become a qualified hypnotherapist and get your hypnotherapy certificate, then it’s likely that you’re going to actually have to earn it! You’re going to actually have to put some work into learning this new skill, which is great, because it forces you to engage with your training materials. It forces you to do your homework, to practice hypnotherapy with real people, and to study for your assessments. Then, at the end of the course, when you pass your hypnotherapy exam(s) and hand in your case studies, not only will you have a great sense of accomplishment for having worked hard enough to gain a meaningful, legitimate qualification, but you’ll also actually be qualified to do hypnotherapy. You will be a hypnotherapist and know how to do hypnotherapy properly, safely, effectively and confidently.
So, we implore you, do your research. Find yourself a great hypnotherapy training course and don’t just opt for ‘the cheapest’, ‘the shortest’ or ‘the easiest’, because you’re making an investment in yourself and your future. Get yourself a qualification that actually qualifies you. Work hard to earn your certificate so that you’re proud to hang it on the wall in your therapy room. By doing this, you will be laying the foundations for a fantastic career as a hypnotherapist, and you will truly be able to help many, many people in the future.
We hope that this blog on the topic of hypnotherapy certification and exams has been helpful to you. If you’d like to learn more about our own hypnotherapy diploma course (which you definitely have to work hard to earn), then you can check it out here:
Otherwise, if you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Rory Z Fulcher