Hypnotherapy is more than just getting people to do funny and often strange things on stage at the cue of a hypnotist’s backward countdown and pocket watch. It’s a lot more, actually.
Hypnotherapy has been used for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, and today, certified hypnotherapists provide their services to help people with a number of things: Quitting smoking, losing weight or getting over certain fears, for example.
In a recent Desert Companion article, writer Heidi Kyser uncovered a quiet battle brewing between hypnotherapists in the state and the Nevada Board of Psychological Examiners, when the board in July issued a cease and desist letter to those conducting hypnotherapy without a psychology license.
The letter came as a shock to those who have been in the industry for years, and have conducted hypnotherapy under a code of ethics as to never make diagnosis, or claim they are state licensed. Hypnotherapists are certified by completing a training course that often takes 300-500 hours, and are required to take a series of annual continued education courses to maintain certification through a teaching institution – similar to that of massage therapy, or drug and alcohol counseling.
But after all these years, why would the board take issue with hypnotherapists now? It could be because of a particular case in Clark County, in which a drug and alcohol counselor diagnosed and treated a middle school student for PTSD after an altercation with a teacher in 2005. The biofeedback therapy the counselor used ended up costing a pretty penny of almost $6,000 – which the parents then sued the district for.
According to Kevin Cole, a hypnotherapist with the Las Vegas Hypnosis Center, the case was unique in that hypnotherapists normally do not make any diagnoses. And even though hypnotherapy wasn’t used in this particular instance, it was guilty by association.
In November, after issuing a review request to the Attorney General, attorneys working for the Hypnotherapists Union Local 432 convinced the board to withdraw the cease and desist. Hypnotherapists are still waiting on the official statement in writing from the AG’s office.
Kevin Cole, hypnotherapist, Las Vegas Hypnosis Center
Adam Hommey, Las Vegas resident and client of hypnotherapy
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