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Hypnotherapists: 1; psychology board: 0. Neither side would portray it as a battle, but the recent conflict between the Nevada Board of Psychology Examiners and the state’s practitioners of hypnosis has, at least, the makings of an enthralling public chess match.

As we noted in our November story, License to Chill, the psych board has sent cease-and-desist letters to a range of hypnotherapists — from drug and alcohol counselors to life coaches — telling them they’re practicing outside the bounds of the law. Based on a 2009 Nevada Supreme Court opinion, the board determined that hypnotherapy and biofeedback were the domain of licensed psychologists alone. But the hypnosis community cried “Foul!” Union attorneys and association officials representing hypnotherapists rallied around the cause, and the psychology board asked the attorney general to render an opinion on the law in question.

Now for the update: According to Bud James, who runs a hypnotherapy training school in Reno, the psych board passed a motion at its Nov. 7 meeting that withdraws the cease-and-desist demand. “Now that it is no longer an issue,” James writes in a Yahoo Group post, “we can create steps to forge a working relationship and return to our chosen profession.”

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Hypnotherapy and biofeedback practitioners’ return to work is just the next move, not game-over. Las Vegas-based hypnotherapist Kevin Cole noted in a comment on James’s post, “The NBPE definitely wants to see some kind of ‘consumer protection’/licensing for hypnotherapists in Nevada, and at least one of the board members recommended having hypnosis licensed directly under the NBPE.” In other words, the psych board is allowing hypnotherapists to return to work while it continues to negotiate for what it wants.

Will the board succeed in forcing hypnotists to get licensure, or will hypnotists hold their ground on professional certification? That still remains to be seen.

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