The National Society of Hypnosis, Psychotherapy & Mindfulness


About Hypnosis and Psychotherapy


Useful information for anyone considering having hypno-psychotherapy. Click on the questions below for further information.

If you have a question which is not in this section, please contact us.


What is hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy is therapy that utilises hypnosis: as simple as that!

Therefore it is important that a hypnotherapist is properly trained, as our members are, in therapy as well as being competent in hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy is mostly used in cases where a client is wanting to make a change, or to achieve a goal. Examples include:

• Smoking cessation
• Weight Control
• Career Goals
• Performance Enhancement:
• Sports
• Anxiety and panic attacks
• Fears and phobias
• Medical issues
• Study skills
• Confidence issues
• Sleep

Sometimes clients are unsure of why they have a particular problem or cannot achieve a goal. It can then be useful to use analytical age regression techniques to have a look back and discover what occurred in the past that has lead to the current situation. There are a few critical factors in analytical hypnotherapy:

• Causes are often in childhood, and re-examining them with your adult mind can help resolution
• You may or may not already be aware of the cause; even if you are you may not realise all the factors involved and analysis can help you get a clearer more complete picture
• There is no need to “re-experience” bad times: it can be as though you are simply observing

Hypnotherapy is completely natural and safe. There are no harmful side-effects. When administered by a professionally trained and skilled Hypnotherapist the benefits are long lasting and often permanent.

The British Medical Association approved hypnotherapy as a valid medical treatment in 1955 and the American Medical Association followed in 1958.

What is hypnosis?

What is Hypnosis

Have you ever been so involved with a task that you have lost track of time? Have you ever driven from one place to another and arrived safely, but not remembered the journey? Have you ever read a book and become so involved with the plot you can see scenery and hear characters speak? Have you ever day-dreamed? These are everyday examples of an altered state of awareness. Hypnosis is another example of an altered state of awareness-one which can be used for self help. It is a perfectly natural state which occurs between being fully awake and fully asleep. In the clinical setting hypnosis is usually accompanied by a pleasant state of physical relaxation which in itself is beneficial, especially in the symptoms induced by or aggravated by stress. The term Hypnotherapy means the use of hypnosis for the treatment and relief of a variety of somatic and psychological symptoms.

What is hypno-psychotherapy?

What is Hypno-Psychotherapy?

Unlike the majority of comparable therapies, hypno psychotherapy measures its history not in years or decades but centuries. Therefore, if the provenance of a therapy is to be determined by its longevity, hypno psychotherapy has stood the test of time.

Throughout much of that history, the discipline has been hampered by the absence of a single theory to explain the medium through which it works – hypnosis. The usually acknowledged forerunner of modern hypno psychotherapy, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), believed in the existence of a universal fluid – animal magnetism – an imbalance of which in the human body caused illness.

He, and others trained by him, sought to control the distribution of this fluid, restoring balance, and health, to those who sought his help. Mesmer was careful to confirm whether any given presenting problem were organic or functional, and worked with the latter, functional psychosomatic illnesses. (This same caution is observed by competent practitioners today.) Mesmer was convinced that a cure might only be achieved when a patient experienced a crisis, typified by convulsions and related phenomena. In 1784, a Royal Commission in France, where Mesmer was then resident, decided against the existence of magnetic fluid. The Commission attributed Mesmer’s undoubted successes to his manipulation of a patient’s imagination; that is, by suggestion.

In an age not familiar with the power of suggestion alone, outside of a religious context, the significance of the Commission’s findings was overlooked. But if there were no universal fluid, with nothing physical being transmitted between Mesmerist and subject, related phenomena must be psychological in origin. The blind regained their sight, for instance, through the power of imagination and suggestion, rather than animal magnetism. Since Mesmer would not allow his theory to be displaced by such a concept, and the Commission discounted it, the emergence of modern psychology and hypno psychotherapy was postponed. Discredited by the findings of the Commission and other enquiries, and the bizarre nature in which he chose to conduct therapy sessions, Mesmer eventually returned to his native Austria.

These events, along with the convulsions of the French Revolution, Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic Europe, scattered Mesmer’s followers throughout Europe and abroad. Attempts to carry forward Mesmer’s medical applications met with considerable opposition. British doctors who advocated the use of Mesmerism, for instance, made little progress because of the attitude of the medical and scientific establishments. John Elliotson (1791-1868) was obliged to resign his post as Professor of Surgery at University College, London. James Braid (1795-1860), who substituted the word “Hypnotism” * for Mesmerism, was refused permission to read a paper on the subject to the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

James Esdaile (1808-1859), who performed over 300 major surgical operations in India using hypnosis as the anaesthetic, was denied access to the medical press to publish his findings. (* From Hypnos, Ancient Greek god of sleep, since Braid thought a form of sleep was involved. The name persists, though the sleep theory has been discarded.)

The often legitimate suspicions aroused by the extravagant claims and behaviour of mesmerists and hypnotists – some of whom exploited, and exploit, related phenomena for “entertainment” – relegated the legitimate applications of hypnosis to the fringe of respectability. The advent of chemical anaesthetics and growth of the drugs industry impeded the study and use of hypnosis in medicine. In much the same way as chemical agents had served to displace hypnosis in the practice of medicine, so Freudian psychoanalysis tended to displace it in psychotherapy. Despite sporadic revivals of interest, such as after and during the First and Second World Wars when short term psychotherapy was needed, its present popularity is comparatively recent.

Mesmer’s student, de Puysegur (1751-1825), had quietly relegated the importance of the crisis in favour of the trance-like state typical of his therapeutic practice. Modern therapy, too, recognises the significance of the trance and, when we speak of somebody being “mesmerised”, we do not suppose that person to be convulsed. Although emotion may be released – most particularly when the technique of hypno-analysis is used, based on the Freudian view that repressed material may be recovered from the unconscious mind – it is a sense of calm detachment, rather than crisis, which typifies the great majority of hypnotherapy sessions.

A typical modern hypno psychotherapy session, influenced by research and refinement in numerous countries since Mesmer’s day, comprises induction, treatment strategy, and termination. In the induction, the therapist may, for example, speak slowly to the subject about the subject’s becoming imaginatively involved in an experience of focussed awareness, whilst peripheral distractions fade – hence the subject may, with eyes closed, concentrate upon the progressive relaxation of his/her muscles to the exclusion of external events and stimuli. A good subject, well-motivated, optimistic about the therapy and confident in the therapist (criteria in which he/she may be educated in and out of hypnosis) is then ready to engage in any therapy intended to change inappropriate behaviour, thought or feeling. This means that virtually all, if not all, psychological techniques may be delivered via the medium of hypnosis. Because imaginative involvement, selective attention, and suspension of the critical process are all characteristic of the hypnotic state, hypno psychotherapy may often be the treatment of choice. The subject may move forward or backward in time, rehearse coping techniques, learn to correct types of thinking and feeling prejudicial to emotional well-being, and behaviour prejudicial to physical health, confront, but not exaggerate, life’s problems whilst reappraising its potential, develop the ability to use self-hypnosis and perform “homework” tasks emphasising modern hypno psychotherapy’s stress upon a subject’s active involvement in the desired therapeutic outcome. At the termination, cues for subsequent positive thoughts, feelings or behaviour (post-hypnotic suggestions) may be introduced or re-iterated. Finally, the subject is gently returned from what has been described as an altered state of consciousness – the hypnotic state – to the everyday state of consciousness with its diffuse and distracting stimuli. Now discussion takes place (possibly an extension of dialogue whilst the subject was in hypnosis) and the hypnotic experience is examined in order to inform and enhance future therapy sessions i.e. the therapist defers to the source of expertise and control which lies not with the therapist, but with the subject.

Given a comfortable environment, a sympathetic and empathetic therapist who inspires confidence, and the subject’s optimism about a realistic outcome, that outcome may be achieved. Because hypnosis is so fundamental, and universal, even if not recognised as such, it should not be withdrawn from the public domain, either in terms of training or availability as therapy. Rather, we should be aiming to widen such training and availability. Whilst hypnosis can stand alone as a form of therapy or form an adjunct to any other profession, it should become the property of no single profession.

Virtually any book on the subject deals with the numerous theories of hypnosis. Essentially, the debate centres upon whether or not hypnosis is a special state. “State” theorists might argue that the subject’s appearance and subjective reports of the hypnotic experience alone would support their theory. “Non-state” theorists might argue that hypnotic behaviour is the result of motivation, attitude and expectancy resulting in the subject’s willingness to follow the therapist’s suggestions. Perhaps the outcome will be some sort of compromise: ‘Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, the achievement of which is greatly influenced by factors such as the subject’s motivation, attitude and expectancy promoting a willingness to follow the therapist’s suggestions’.

Hypno-psychotherapy is an extension of hypnotherapy into the realms of psychotherapy, based on integrative theories.

It is utilised for deeper problems than would be addressed by someone purely qualified in hypnotherapy. Examples include depression and dealing with trauma or abuse.

A brief history

Unlike most comparable therapies, hypnotherapy measures its history not in years or decades but in centuries. The usually acknowledged forerunner of modem hypnotherapy, Franz Mesmer (1734- 1815), believed in the existence of a universal fluid, an imbalance of which caused illness. However, Mesmer’s contemporaries attributed his undoubted successes to his manipulation of a patient’s imagination. During the 19th century, this theme was followed by several doctors who used hypnosis successfully, not only to treat psychological illness but also as an anaesthetic for surgical operations.

Hypno-psychotherapy and hypnotherapy

Although the development of chemical anaesthetics displaced the use of hypnosis in surgery, and Freud’s use of psycho-analysis began to displace it in psychotherapy, the benefits and uses of hypnotherapy are such that it remains a popular and adaptive form of therapy. Hypnotherapy may be used on its own, as simple relaxation therapy, or it may be integrated with any of the great schools of psychological thought. This integrative approach, termed hypno-psychotherapy, has very wide therapeutic applications. If only simple relaxation therapy is required, then someone with a basic hypnotherapy training should be able to help. However, more complex emotional, psychological or physical problems require the help of a fully qualified hypno- psychotherapist who will have the skills to recognise and treat a wide range of disorders and conditions. Please note that on completion of the NCHP course you will be entitled to refer to yourself both as a hypnotherapist (to attract a certain market, e.g. those wishing to stop smoking), and a hypno-psychotherapist (to attract more complex cases)

The uses of hypno-psychotherapy

In addition to treating disorders of mood, thought or feeling, hypno-psychotherapy can help with a wide range of psychological problems including habit disorders, social difficulties such as lack of confidence, exam/driving test nerves, phobias, panic attacks and depression. It is also widely used for enhancing sporting performance, creativity, memory and concentration. Hypno-psychotherapy also has other clinical and medical applications including pre/post-operative treatments, anaesthesia and pain relief strategies. Many stress-related physical problems such as skin disorders, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome, also respond well to hypno-psychotherapy. Only a small selection of the many problems posed by our society and the way we live are mentioned here. There are many others which may be alleviated by hypnotherapy and they can be discussed with a qualified hypno-psychotherapy tutor.

A safe form of therapy

In the right hands, hypnotherapy is a safe and beneficial therapy. The NCHP will teach students how to take a client’s full medical, emotional and social history before deciding on a treatment strategy. There are some instances where the use of hypnosis is not recommended, or where it should only be used with care. A competent hypno- psychotherapist will be aware of such contra-indications and may recommend an alternative form of psychotherapy or modify their technique.

What the public are looking for

These days, the general public is ever more aware of what should be expected from a complementary medicine or psychotherapy practitioner. When they are looking for a reputable hypno-psychotherapist people will, increasingly, need to be assured that the practitioner has completed an accredited training and belongs to a recognised professional association which requires members to adhere to a Code of Ethics and carry appropriate insurance. The informed potential client will know that a well-regulated professional body should have a complaints procedure and will require members to be in ongoing supervision/peer supervision.

The trainings available

There is, currently, a wide range of hypnotherapy trainings available. These vary from correspondence courses, at one end of the continuum, through hypnotherapy trainings (of varying standards) through to thorough, integrated trainings in hypno-psychotherapy, with comprehensive coverage of the fundamentals of hypnotherapeutic techniques and various types of psychological approach such as Adlerian, Behaviourism, Ericksonian, Freudian, Gestalt, Rogerian and their modern equivalents. A good quality training will be externally accredited and recognised by one of the major independent bodies. The NCHP provides training which falls within this latter category and was, also, the first such college to be externally accredited by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education. Other accreditations include the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Institute for Complementary Medicine and the European Association for Hypno Psychotherapy.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the provision, by qualified practitioners, of a formal and professional relationship within which patient(s)/ client(s) can profitably explore difficult, and often painful, emotions and experiences.

These may include feelings of anxiety, depression, trauma, or perhaps the loss of meaning in one’s life. It is a process which seeks to help the person gain an increased capacity for choice, through which the individual becomes more autonomous and self determined. Psychotherapy may be provided for individuals or children, couples, families and groups.

It should be noted that additional training in psychotherapy or counselling should assist a hypnotherapist in helping you to achieve your goals more effectively. Not all hypnotherapists have this additional training, potential clients should always ask this of any hypnotherapist you are considering consulting.

What is Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy?

This model uses theories from both cognitive and behavioural psychology to address issues of thought and behaviour. Cognitive behavioual therapy is the treatment of choice for many issues within the NHS. We offer this, with the added power of hypnosis making this a very effective process for a wide range of issues including:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Fears and phobias
  • Depression
  • Medical issues
  • Study skills
  • Confidence issues
  • Sleep
What is Analytical Hypnotherapy?

Analytical hypnotherapy (also referred to as hypnoanalysis) is the type of therapy that will get to the root of the problem and removes it so it will never grow back.This type of therapy is based on cause and effect. Basically every symptom (either mental or physical) has a cause that triggers a reaction (effect). The cause is found though analytical hypnotherapy and released and in turn the patient is relieved of the symptoms. Patients that suffer with emotional issues usually respond very well to hypnoanalysis.

There is a very important difference between analytical hypnotherapy and hypnosis and that is that hypnosis is a one way communication and patients are open to suggestions provided by the therapist.On the other hand, two way communications is a vital part of the effectiveness of analytical hypnotherapy. It will take some time, effort and commitment on the patient’s part to deal with deep rooted emotional issues.

Analytic hypnotherapy is an interesting and involved process that will have the patient digging deeper into themselves and finding out things that they may never have known about their personality.On average, analytical hypnotherapy requires 10, 50 minute sessions, to be the most effective. Unlike total hypnosis, in which you are in an altered state of mind, with hypnoanalysis you are in a relaxed state of mind, but fully awake to talk about issues that are causing you distress.

Can anyone be hypnotised?

Generally speaking, all people with at least average intelligence, who are not suffering from any mental health issue (eg. psychosis) and can concentrate will be able to achieve a hypnotic trance state.

No one can be hypnotised against their will and you are always in control when you are in hypnosis.

What training is required?

The National College (NCHP) offers training to suitable, mature individuals who wish to become hypnotherapists/hypno-psychotherapists.

The training meets the detailed criteria laid down by UKCP and is at Master’s degree level. However, despite having a thorough academic base, the emphasis is always on the practical application of the knowledge to ensure that students become highly competent, ethical practitioners.

NSHP members will normally have been trained by NCHP or N-SHAP. However, affiliate members may have obtained the HPD at a variety of schools, all of which are accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy. The HPD is externally accredited and validated through the NCFE. The HPD is a level 4 NVQ equivalent training.

Who is the National College?

The National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy has been offering respected, evidenced based and independently accredited Hypnotherapy Training, Hypnosis Training and Psychotherapy Training since 1977. This makes the National College one of the longest established and most respected hypnotherapy/hypno-psychotherapy training institutes in the world.

What are Membership Grades?

Members of NSHP have different grades according to their experience and qualifications.  Read on for full details of the training required:

Honorary Fellow

This is the highest grade and is awarded to those who have achieved the National College’s Advanced Diploma in Hypno-Psychotherapy and are thus eligible to be registered with the UKCP. This training is at masters degree level and takes a minimum of four years. Fellows are entitled to the post nominal letters FNSHP(Hon) and to designate themselves as a “Registered Hypnotherapist” and a “Registered Hypno-Psychotherapist”. Additionally, these practitioners have been recognised for significant contributions to the profession as a whole and/or the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.


This is grade and is awarded to those who have achieved the National College’s Advanced Diploma in Hypno-Psychotherapy and are thus eligible to be registered with the UKCP. This training is at masters degree level and takes a minimum of four years. Fellows are entitled to the post nominal letters FNSHP and to designate themselves as a “Registered Hypnotherapist” and a “Registered Hypno-Psychotherapist”


This grade is awarded to those who have achieved the National College’s Certificate and/or Diploma in Hypno-Psychotherapy. This training is at masters degree level and takes a minimum of fifteen months. Additionally Membership is open to hypnotherapists who hold a qualification which is based on the National Occupational Standards for Hypnotherapy. Members are entitled to the post-nominal letters MNSHP and to designate themselves as a “Registered Hypnotherapist”. Holders of the National College’s Diploma are also entitled to use the designation “Registered Hypno-Psychotherapist”.


Students of the National College are granted student membership and may work with certain issues under the guidance of their tutors. The fact that they are students must be made clear to all potential clients.


Without regulation and statutory registration for our profession, our policy has been to seek meaningful external accreditation for our training. We first achieved such accreditation in 1993 and have continued to add to the organisations who accredit National College Courses. Whatever happens in the future with regard to regulation and registration, our external accreditation should be invaluable to our graduates. Meanwhile, it is an assurance to potential students bewildered by competing claims. Note to potential students: Some enquirers have asked why the National College is not affiliated with certain “Hypnotherapy Organisations”. It is our policy that we will only align ourselves with organisations which have meaningful and verifiable means of accreditation. The profession has many organisations which will give you a certificate for a fee. We, as one of the oldest schools of professional hypnosis and psychotherapy, believe that we should take a leadership position with this and not support bodies which have only been created to give out meaningless credentials and to turn a profit for its owners.

United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy


The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), formerly the United Kingdom Standing Conference for Psychotherapy, was formed in 1989 with the aim of establishing the profession of psychotherapy, with agreed common training standards and ethical requirements. Over 70 organisations involved in the field of psychotherapy, including the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (NCHP) In May 1993, the UKCP launched its National Register of Psychotherapists, and also produced Training and Ethical Standards Requirements for member organisations. The National College’s training programme has been confirmed as meeting UKCP requirements and the UKCP ethical guidelines are incorporated within our Code of Ethics and Practice. Details of all requirements for those wishing to fulfil the requirements for membership of the UKCP’s National Register of Psychotherapists are detailed in our full Prospectus. It should be noted that the UKCP’s Register, like our own National Society (NSHPM), is a voluntary body. For full details of UKCP Requirements click HERE UKCP is currently pursuing accreditation with the Professional Standards Agency which will add gravitas to this already well regarded accreditation


European Association for Hypno Psychotherapy


The National College is a founder member of the European Association for Hypno Psychotherapy (EAHP). The EAHP is a non-profit making organisation aiming to unite national Hypno-Psychotherapy training institutes and national Hypno-Psychotherapy organisations into a common association for Europe. The intention of the EAHP is the realisation of a European Wide Organisation (EWO) and a European Wide Accrediting Organisation (EWAO) for Hypno-Psychotherapy within the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP) in Vienna, Austria (of which the National College is a member). The EAP represents some 200 psychotherapy organisations, including 16 national umbrella organisations, and 12 EWOs (representing various psychotherapeutic approaches). It aims to establish psychotherapy as an independent profession within Europe and, to this end, has created the European Certificate for Psychotherapy (ECP). The intention behind the ECP is the mutual recognition and equal conduct of various branches of psychotherapy throughout Europe. The EAHP anticipates that membership of EAP as an EWO would help consolidate our own discipline of Hypno-Psychotherapy within Europe and facilitate the award of the ECP to suitably qualified Hypno-Psychotherapists.

Bath Spa University

Bath Spa University

The National College has a direct arrangement with Bath Spa University. Holders of the ADHP(NC) can apply for their MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice with APL for all but the research methods module and dissertation

The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council


CNHC is the UK voluntary regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners that was set up with government support to protect the public by providing a UK voluntary register of complementary therapists. CNHC’s register has been approved as an Accredited Register by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. This means CNHC has met the Professional Standards Authority’s demanding standards. All CNHC registered practitioners are entitled to use CNHC’s quality mark which demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and high standards. The public and those who commission the services of complementary healthcare practitioners can choose with confidence, by looking for the CNHC quality mark. Their phone number is 0203 668 0406. Info can be downloaded here. Graduates of the certificate, diploma and advanced diploma courses will be eligible to register with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). For more information see

The National Guild of Hypnotists

National Guild of Hypnotists

The National Guild of Hypnotists, a not-for-profit, educational corporation in the State of New Hampshire. Initially founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1950, the Guild is a professional organization composed of dedicated individuals committed to advancing the field of hypnotism. We provide an open forum for the free exchange of ideas concerning hypnotism. The Guild is a resource for members and a vehicle for legal and legislative action.

We were established in 1950/51 by an enthusiastic group of hypnotists and Dr. Rexford L. North, Director of the Hypnotism Center of Boston, MA. Within a short time, local chapters were formed and operating in many major cities throughout the US and Canada. Important resources through the years have been The Journal of Hypnotism and The Hypno-Gram, the very first publications devoted exclusively to the field of hypnotism.

Our Principal is a Diplomate and Certified Master Instructor of NGH and our MD is a Fellow and Certified Instructor of the NGH


The National Council for Hypnotherapy


The National Council for Hypnotherapy holds one of the largest registers of independent Hypnotherapists in the United Kingdom and strives to maintain the highest standards among its members. The NATIONAL COUNCIL for HYPNOTHERAPY, the largest Hypnotherapy register mentioned in the recent Exeter University report on Complementary Medicine (Second Edition) is striving to meet ALL the guidelines suggested by this report for the regulation of Complementary Medicine. Via the UK Confederation of Hypnotherapy Organisations, we are actively involved with the Foundation for Integrative Medicine and the future of the profession. There is an agreed Code of Conduct, an established Complaints & Disciplinary Procedure and all members are obliged to maintain comprehensive Public Liability & Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Code of Ethics and Clinical Practice

Code of Ethics and Practice

Adapted with permission from the UKCP document ©2009


The purpose of the Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct is to define generic ethical principles which National College/National Society students/members commit to and maintain.

For clarity and ease of expression, the third person plural pronoun is used as non-gendered pronoun for “practitioner”: so they is used for “she/he” and “their” for “her/his”. This Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct cannot cover every potential ethical, conduct or competence related concern. All must therefore depend on their own thoughtful evaluation of specific principles and the spirit expressed in these statements. The practitioner commits to engage with the challenge of striving for ethical practice and conduct, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions or acting courageously.

General Ethical Principles

1. Best interests of clients
1.1 The practitioner takes responsibility for respecting their client’s best interests when providing their services.

1.2 The practitioner undertakes to treat their clients with respect.

1.3 The practitioner undertakes not to abuse or exploit the relationship they have with their clients, current or past, for any purpose, including the practitioner’s sexual, emotional or financial gain.

1.4 The practitioner undertakes not to enter into a sexual relationship with a client.

1.5 Practitioners are required to carefully consider possible implications of entering into dual or multiple relationships and make every effort to avoid entering into relationships that risks confusing an existing relationship and may impact adversely on a client. For example, a dual or multiple relationships could be a social or commercial relationship between the practitioner and client, or a supervisory relationship which runs alongside the therapeutic one. When dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, for example in small communities, practitioners take responsibility to clarify and manage boundaries and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship.

1.6 The practitioner undertakes to take into account the length of therapy and time lapsed since therapy and pay great attention to exercise reasonable care before entering into any personal or business relationships with former clients. Should the relationship prove to be detrimental to the former client, the practitioner may be called to account to the charge of a misuse of their former position as the former client’s practitioner.

1.7 The practitioner undertakes to respect their client’s autonomy.

1.8 The practitioner undertakes not to harm or collude in the harming of their client or a client of others.

1.9 The practitioner undertakes to know and understand their legal responsibilities concerning the rights of children and vulnerable adults and to take appropriate action should the practitioner consider a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm.

1.10 The practitioner recognises that their behaviour outside their professional life may have an effect on the relationship with their clients and takes responsibility for working with these potential negative or positive effects to the benefit of the client.


2. Diversity and Equality
2.1 The practitioner undertakes to actively consider issues of diversity and equalities as these affect all aspects of their work. The practitioner accepts no one is immune from the experience of prejudice and acknowledges the need for a continuing process of self-enquiry and professional development.

2.2 The practitioner undertakes not to allow prejudice about a client’s sex, age, colour, race, disability, sexuality, social, economic or immigration status, lifestyle, religious or cultural beliefs to adversely affect the way they relate to the client.

2.3 The practitioner undertakes not to engage in any behaviour that is abusive or detrimental to any client or colleague based on the above factors.


3. Confidentiality
3.1 The practitioner commits to respect, protect and preserve the confidentiality of their clients. The practitioner undertakes to notify their clients, when appropriate or on request that there are legal and ethical limits of that confidentiality and circumstances under which the practitioner might disclose confidential information to a third party.

3.2 The practitioner commits to protect sensitive and personally identifiable information obtained from the course of their work as a practitioner.

3.3 Should the practitioner be required by law to serve in judicial or administrative proceedings, they commit to getting clarification at the outset of the potential impacts this could have on their commitment of confidentiality to any client. In such a situation the practitioner commits to maintaining this clarification as the situation proceeds and to seek legal and ethical advice as appropriate.

3.4 The practitioner commits to safeguard the welfare and anonymity of clients when any form of publication of clinical material is being considered and to always obtain their client’s verifiable consent in any case where the welfare or anonymity of a client may be compromised. This includes situations where a client or former client might recognise themselves in case material despite the changing of names or actual circumstances.


4. Conduct
4.1 The practitioner acknowledges that their professional and personal conduct may have both positive and negative effects on the way they are experienced by a client. The practitioner undertakes, in a continuing process, to critically examine the impact these effects may have on the psychotherapeutic relationship with any client, placing a priority on preserving the client’s psychotherapeutic best interests.

4.2 The practitioner agrees to inform National College/National Society if they are:

a. Charged with or convicted of a criminal offence, receive a conditional discharge for an offence, or accept a police caution;

b. Disciplined by any professional body or membership organisation responsible for regulating or licensing a health or social-care profession; or

c. Suspended or placed under a practice restriction by an employer or similar organisation because of concerns relating to the practice of psychotherapy, competence or health.

4.3 Subject to the rules of confidentiality and other code of ethics adhered to by the practitioner, the practitioner commits to co-operating with any lawful investigation or inquiry relating to their capacity to appropriately carry out their practice. Good practice would indicate that the practitioner should consult with a colleague/member of their Ethics Committee, or seek legal advice with request to any request for information by anyone involved in a legal case even where the client has given their consent.

4.4 If a practitioner is charged with or convicted of a criminal offence, receives a conditional discharge for an offence, or accepts a police caution National College/National Society will consider any implications this, may have for their professional practice. National College/National Society will consider and assess potential risk posed to clients or for public confidence in the register and may reject their application for registration or removal of name from its register on such grounds.


5. Professional knowledge, skills and experience
5.1 The practitioner agrees to disclose their qualifications to clients and National College/National Society when requested and commits to not claiming or implying qualifications that they do not have.

5.2 The practitioners commits to ensure that the use of title such as “Doctor/Dr” and post nominal initials after a name in all published materials are accurate; indicate whether it is a medical or academic qualification; and reasonably informs the public of their relevance to the practise of psychotherapy.

5.3 The practitioner commits to recognise the boundaries and limitations of their expertise and techniques and to take the necessary steps to maintain their ability to practice competently.

5.4 If it becomes clear that a case is beyond a practitioner’s scope of practice, the practitioner commits to inform the client and where appropriate offer an alternative practitioner or other professional where requested. A specific area to consider is working with children. The National College courses  are in adult psychotherapy so to work with children requires other qualifications. All sessions with those under 18 must be conducted with an appropriate adult present, or recorded on time indexed video.

5.5 The practitioner commits to adhering to the National College/National Society policies on standards of education, training and practise.

6. Communication
6.1 The practitioner agrees to explain at the outset to a client or prospective client their terms, fees and conditions; and on request, clarify other related questions such as likely length of therapy, methods of practice to be utilised, referral or termination processes.

6.2 The practitioner agrees to notify clients of any other codes of ethics & practise to which they subscribe, including the availability of the complaints procedure.

7. Obtaining consent
7.1 The practitioner undertakes to explain to the client, to the extent applicable to their modality and the client’s capacity: the practitioner’s clinical method(s) of working  and the client’s choice to participate in any therapeutic interventions suggested by the practitioner including any commitments the practitioner makes to the client and any commitments the practitioner requires of the client.

7.2 The practitioner undertakes not to intentionally mislead a client concerning the type or nature of the services provided.

7.3 The practitioner commits to clarify with clients the nature, purpose and conditions of any research in which the clients are to be involved and to ensure that informed and verifiable consent is given before commencement of the therapy and research.

7.4 In the case of work with children consent must be obtained from the child’s parent or guardian.


8. Records
8.1 The practitioner agrees to keep such records as are necessary to properly carry out the type of psychotherapy offered.

8.2 The practitioner commits to store and dispose any personally identifiable records or data securely in order to protect the client’s confidentiality.


9. Physical or Mental Health
9.1 The practitioner accepts an ongoing responsibility to ensure that they do not work with clients if they are not able to do so for physical or mental health reasons, or when impaired by the effects of drugs, alcohol or medication.

9.2 The practitioner accepts a responsibility to take appropriate action should their ability to meet their obligations to their clients be compromised by their physical or mental health.

9.3 The practitioner commits to carefully consider how, in the event of their sudden unavailability this can be most appropriately communicated to their clients. This will also include careful consideration of how a client might be informed of a practitioner’s death or illness and, where appropriate, supported to deal with such a situation.

10. Professional Integrity
10.1 The practitioner commits to report potential breaches of this Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct by themselves or by other practitioners to the relevant national member organisation or National Society.


11. Advertising
11.1 The practitioner commits to ensuring that any advertising or promoting they undertake will not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated. The practitioner undertakes not to include testimonials from clients in any advertising material.

11.2 The practitioner commits to ensure that if they are involved in advertising or promoting any particular therapy, product or service, this is done in an accurate and responsible way.

11.3 The practitioner undertakes not to make or support unjustifiable statements relating to particular therapies or therapists.


12. Indemnity Insurance
12.1 The practitioner commits to ensuring that their professional work is adequately covered by appropriate indemnity insurance or by their employer’s indemnity arrangements.

13. Use of Hypnosis
13.1    Hypnosis shall not be used for the purposes of entertainment nor in any other way that can be construed as demeaning for the client, nor in any way that contradicts the therapist’s duty of care, eg inappropriate contact (physical, sexual, social) with the client.

14. Complaints
14.1 The practitioner accepts the responsibility for maintaining reasonable awareness and a level of understanding regarding complaints procedures, relevant laws and statutory responsibilities that are applicable to their practice.

14.2 The practitioner accepts a responsibility to act against colluding with practice harmful to clients including that carried out by other professionals and colleagues. This should include, where appropriate, activating procedures for addressing ethical concerns including formal complaints if necessary.

15. CPD
UKCP registrants undertake to adhere to CPD requirements of UKCP. Other members  are required to be able to demonstrate having undertaken a minimum of 15 hours of Continuing Professional Development per annum. CPD activities can include:

  • Attendance at relevant conferences
  • Further relevant training (live, online or distance learning)
  • Participation in professional organizations
  • Research or writing on relevant topics

In exceptional circumstances other activities such as journalled reading or watching of DVDs may be considered. Such circumstances may include illness, caring for a family member, having a baby.

If in doubt as to the validity of your CPD activities please check with the office in advance and keep the email of approval.

16. Supervision
UKCP registrants undertake to adhere to supervision requirements of UKCP. These requirements are held in separate documents.

All members are required to have supervision or peer support dependent on their level of experience:

For the first three years/200 hours in practice (whichever is the longer) practitioners are required to be in a supervisionary relationship with a qualified supervisor Part of the training to become a qualified supervisor involves a recognition of the ethical requirement to ensure that one’s supervisees have adequate supervision. On this basis National Society does not specify the amount or frequency of supervision required as if this is inadequate the supervisor is open to disciplinary processes for unethical practice.

After three years/200 hours in practice (whichever is longer) practitioners are required to either be in a supervisionary relationship (as above) or be an active member of a peer support relationship. National Society expects this relationship to provide adequate guidance and support for client work, recognizing its potential  to have a negative psychological impact on the practitioner and also recognizing the potential danger of a practitioner becoming stale or to have too narrow a focus on their work.

Supervisors/peer supporters may be required, at any time, to produce a report on the participation of the supervisee, and the supervisee’s standing as a registrant in good standing may be affected by this report.

How can I make a complaint?

Complaints and Discipline Procedures

NB: in this document the term employee refers to anyone who is on the staff of National College, or is contracted to provide services such as tutors and assessors whether they are formally or informally “employed”. Member refers to anyone belonging to the NSHP whether a student or graduate member. However, this procedure does not apply to UKCP registrants as the UKCP Complaints and Conduct Procedure takes precedent.

Aim: The aim of this procedure is to afford protection to the public and to protect the name of the National College and the services it, and its employees provide.
Bringing a complaint A complaint may be brought by members of the National College, either in person or via a third party acting on their behalf and with their authority, in respect of the training itself, accreditation processes, another member or a tutor OR by a employee of the National College in respect of another employee or member OR by any individual in respect of the fitness to practice of any member.

Complaints against Non-employees or members: The National College cannot deal with complaints against individuals or organisations that are not employees or members of the National College.
Time scale: A complaint shall be lodged within 1 year of the event(s) which form the substance of that complaint. A longer time frame may be considered under exceptional circumstances.
All documentary records of complaints that are informally resolved shall be kept for 2 years from the date of the resolution.  All records of formal complaint procedures shall be kept for a period of 5 years, unless the employee/member is found against and then they shall be kept for 5 years or as long as the individual remains a employee/member whichever is the longer.
Expenses:The National College is not responsible for travel or any other expenses incurred either by the Complainant or the Employee/Member Complained Against in connection with any stage of the complaint.

Dual Accountability: The National College may decide to investigate a complaint against a employee or member that may be involved in a similar process with another body if it arises from the same material circumstances.  Employees of the National College have to accept that employment involves obligations to observe the National College’s codes of Ethics and Practice, and as such these obligations must be considered in their own rights. Members likewise have to accept their obligation to practice their skills in line with the code of ethics and practice.

Receiving complaints, etc: On receipt of any report or complaint of a breach of the Code of Conduct and Ethics of the National College a ‘Receiving Officer’ shall forward it to the Complaints Officer – within ’72 hours’ of receipt  (if at all possible)- along with any letters or notes or audio tapes etc. relating to that complaint. The Complaints Officer will register the complaint.
N.B. All “unused material ” must be preserved!

All Complaints Procedures shall be conducted in confidence.

On receipt of the complaint, the Complaints Officer shall contact the complainant/informant within 14 working days (where possible), unless the complainant/informant has made themselves unavailable. The Officer will then clarify any ambiguity and assess the seriousness of the complaint.  If it appears suitable then informal resolution will be sought.  If the Complaint is of such a nature that it appears a criminal act may have been committed then the procedure will be suspended pending the outcome of any police enquiry and all parties shall be informed of the suspension.

Investigation: If the Complaint is of a sufficiently serious nature and informal resolution is not possible then an Investigation will be initiated. If, at this stage the Complaints Officer, in conjunction with a member of the Board or a member of the NSHP Executive (as appropriate) decides that the complaint falls outside of the boundaries of this procedure, or that insufficient evidence has been offered to suggest that a breach of the Code of Ethics may have occurred, the Officer has the power to dismiss the case.

At the earliest practical opportunity the employee or member, subject of the complaint, shall be served with a Complaint Notification form 1. This shall contain information in plain language of the nature of the report, allegation or complaint, an official form of caution – allowing any response to be taken within the Rules of Evidence – and information of their rights to legal/friendly representation.  At the same time they should be given a copy of this procedure.

In the process of any Formal Investigation of a Complaint all enquiries shall be carried out within the Rules of Evidence and the provision for evidence gathering as outlined in the Police and Criminal Evidence Acts and CPS Guidelines.2 All enquiries and interviews shall be fully documented and all unused material , eg .notes, messages, audio and video tapes etc., shall be preserved and held on file. If an investigation is not completed within 12O days of the receipt of the complaint then an interim report shall be completed and interested parties shall be advised of the state of the enquiry.

Indictment: On completion of the Investigation a file will be prepared and a Discipline Sub-committee (1) will be convened to assess the file and its recommendations.  If the committee decides that there is/are allegation(s) to answer then a Form detailing the allegation(s) or charge(s) will be prepared and served upon the subject.  The subject will also be summoned to appear before a Sub-committee (2) to answer the allegation(s) and a copy of the file of evidence will be served on the subject no less than 7 working days prior to the hearing, to allow proper legal representation and defence.

Hearing: The hearing of the allegations with evidence presented supporting the allegations and the defence shall take the form of an informal tribunal.  The Rules of Evidence shall apply though the Committee may hear any evidence presented and shall give the evidence what weight it considers correct, on the basis of the Best Evidence Rule. The Committee will base its findings on the balance of probabilities and will state its reasoning for its findings.  Its findings should be given to the subject on completion of the hearing, though a statement of the reasoning may be given in writing within 14 days.  Any sanction applied by the committee will be notified in its findings.

The refusal or failure of either the Complainant or the Employee/Member Complained Against to attend the hearing without good reason or prior notice (at least 15 days) shall be noted by the chair of the Sub-Committee.  The Sub-Committee may either adjourn the hearing to a date not less than 28 days after the date of the hearing or it may hear the matter in the parties’ absence or it may terminate the procedure.

Appeals: The subject of the proceeding will have 28 days in which to lodge notice of appeal.  Having lodged notice they will then have 21 days to give their grounds for the Appeal.  The Appeal will then be heard by the next scheduled meeting of the NSHP Executive after receipt of notice and grounds. At that Appeal hearing the Defence may present any new evidence, subject to it having been notified in writing to the Executive 7 days prior to the hearing.  The Appeal shall be heard under the same Rules of Evidence and again shall be decided upon the balance of probability.

On hearing the Appeal the Executive may confirm, vary or set aside the findings of the Sub-Committee.  Its findings shall be notified to the subject on completion of hearing the appeal and its reasoning may be given in writing within 7 days of the Hearing.

The employee/member subject of the allegations may take their case to ACAS or an Industrial Tribunal.
Withdrawal A report, allegation or complaint may be withdrawn at any stage of the procedure by the complainant(s)/informant(s) (under complete agreement, if more than one party, is involved – i.e. if one decides to continue the complaint it will be carried to completion.)

Pre-emptive Resignation/Lapsed employment.Any employee subject of a Complaint Under Investigation that tenders their resignation from the National Society should have their resignation received but not accepted until the procedure is completed or the complaint withdrawn.  Likewise, a member who withdraws from a course in such circumstances is not considered withdrawn. The resignation shall be on the file till the completion of the procedure.  Also if an employee fails to renew their employment while under investigation it shall be treated in the same manner as a resignation and held over till the procedure is complete.

Presence of a ‘Friend: At all stages of the procedure both the Complainant and the Employee or Member Complained Against may be accompanied by a ‘friend’.  That ‘friend’ may be a fellow employee/member or a legal advisor or any person the Party wishes to be there to support them.  Each party will be limited to one ‘friend’.
Sub-Committee Constitution Sub-Committee (1) will be drawn up with a chair from the NSHP Executive as applicable), along with 2 ordinary National College /Society employees/members (as applicable), to examine the file and determine if there is sufficient evidence to support an allegation (Prima Face Case.) Sub-Committee (2) shall be a separate body to hear the allegations with evidence presented for and against.

Employees of any Sub-Committee drawn to hear any stage of the procedure have a duty to declare any interest that may be considered to compromise their impartiality in any way.  The views of all parties to the complaint shall be considered when deciding if the impartiality of a Sub-Committee employee is so compromised and requires their replacement.

Conduct of the Hearing: The Chair of the Sub-Committee hearing the Complaint is responsible for ensuring that the hearing is conducted in a manner which shows due regard to the gravity of the situation, each party’s rights and to confidentiality.
Written evidence All written evidence and submissions by either party or witnesses must be submitted in advance to the Investigating Officer.  All evidence and submissions will be open and available to all parties to the complaint.
New Evidence The only new evidence that may be produced at a hearing will be short oral or written submissions or by cross examination of a witness on a point in their statement or any matter allowed on the discretion of the Sub-Committee.

Attendance of Witnesses Witnesses may be requested to attend if either party indicated they may wish to question points in their respective statements.  If no party makes such a request or accepts the Witnesses evidence then their attendance will not be requested.

Failure to Attend: The refusal or failure to attend of the Complainant or Employee /Member Complained of without good reason, or without at least 15 days notice, at any Hearing the Chair of the Hearing may, after considering any representations from any other party involved that is present, EITHER:
a)  Terminate the proceedings and bring the Complaint to an end, ORb)  Adjourn the Hearing to a date not less than 28 days hence.  ORc) Hear the evidence offered, if admitted by the other party(s) and reach an adjudication.

Publication: The National College reserves the right to publish such details of complaints as it considers appropriate. The termination of employment under the Complaints Procedure will be reported to all National College employees.
1 In all but the most serious of complaints, i.e. those that if found will be almost certain to merit expulsion from the National College, this may be done by email.2 Postal or email ‘enquiry forms’ may be used to put questions to the

Employee/Member complained of or witness.3 Minus any employees that were involved in any preceding sub-committee. 4 Other than increase.5 This will meet at a time and place appropriate to allow natural justice to prevail.


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