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Code of Ethics

The contents of this code are based upon a number of sources, including the codes and guidance of
the Working Group for Hypnotherapy Regulation, UKCHO, NCH, BACP, BABCP, and UKCP, among others.


This Code encompasses the practice of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, or similar practices conducted under a different name. All such practices are subsequently referred to generically under the heading of 'Therapy' and cognate terms such as 'Therapist' are employed in the same sense.

The Register for Evidence-Based Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy™ is subsequently referred to below as 'the Register.'

This Code governs the relationships between Therapist and clients; Therapist and other healthcare professionals; Therapist and their respective professional bodies.

The Code employs masculine pronouns in a gender-neutral sense, to designate both males and females.

All members of the Register are required to abide by the Code, without exception. The Governing Committee of the Register have the right to investigate and sanction members who fail to do so, including removing them from the Register.


All Therapists undertake to:

 1. Adhere to the Code of Practice of the Register, including the requirements relating to evidence-based practice, consistent with their grade of registration.

2. Avoid any use of techniques or practices deemed inappropriate by the Committee, specifically,

2.1.  Past-life regression.

2.2.  Stage hypnosis for entertainment purposes.

2.3.  Exorcism or spirit release.


All Therapists undertake to:

1. Conduct themselves at all times in accord with their professional status and in such a way as neither undermines public confidence in the process or profession of hypnotherapy or psychotherapy nor brings the Register into disrepute.

2. Therapists have an active duty to protect the public and the profession from unethical, unsafe or bad practice or behaviour. When offering criticisms or complaints about colleagues, Therapists should utilise appropriate channels such as the complaints procedures of relevant professional bodies, or, where appropriate, Trading Standards or other relevant bodies. Therapists offering criticisms outside of these channels have the duty to demonstrate that it is reasonable to do so.  Therapists must use due care and diligence when offering criticisms and complaints to ensure that they are justified and can be substantiated.

3. Respect the status of all other medical/healthcare professionals and the boundaries of their professional remit.

4. Provide Therapy to clients solely within their sphere of competence, i.e., in those areas in which they are competent to do so and for which they carry relevant professional indemnity insurance.

"Competence" means adequate training, skills and experience but need not exclude treating a client for a condition which the Therapist has not treated before, provided that due diligence and professionalism is observed.

5. Act in a non-biased, non-prejudicial manner towards all clients, providing those clients with an identical quality of service and treatment irrespective of the many differences which are to be found between clients, including but not restricted to: race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

6. Disclose full details of all relevant memberships, training, experience, qualifications and appropriate avenues of complaint to clients, or other relevant professionals or organisations, upon request and only use those qualifications and memberships to which they have proof of entitlement, and to do so in a non-misleading manner.  A client wishing to make a complaint must be advised to contact the Register accordingly, any such complaint will be dealt with according to the Register's published complaints procedure.

7. Explain fully to clients in advance of any treatment: the fee levels, precise terms of payment and any charges which might be imposed for non-attendance or cancelled appointments, and wherever relevant, confidentiality issues. This includes the limits of confidentiality and circumstances under which confidentiality may be broken.

"In advance of any treatment" means that not only should terms and conditions be set out in advance, but that they should be further clarified by the Therapist at the initial consultation when additional information about the client's needs is obtained. If for therapeutic reasons, the Therapist wishes to modify treatment (e.g. to extend the treatment plan) then any effect this has on terms, conditions and pricing must be clearly explained to the client.

8. Present all services and products in an unambiguous manner (to include any limitations and realistic outcomes of treatment) and ensure that the client retains complete control over the decision to purchase such services or products.  N.B. guarantees of either a cure or a successful resolution of the problem/s presented shall not be offered. This does not affect the right of the Therapist to offer a guarantee, explicit or implicit, of the quality and professionalism of his service.


All Therapists shall undertake to:

1. Work in ways that will promote client autonomy and well being and that maintain respect and dignity for the client

2. Remain aware of their own limitations and wherever appropriate, be prepared to refer a client to another Therapist (regardless of discipline) who might be expected to offer suitable treatment.

N.B. The Therapist should give full consideration to the efficacy of treatment, including the manner in which their rapport with the client may affect such efficacy.  The Therapist has the right to refuse or terminate any treatment if it is a reasonable belief that it will not be, or continue to be, efficacious.  In refusing or terminating treatment due care must be given to fully explaining the rationale for refusal or termination to the client.

3. Ensure that wherever a client is seeking assistance for the relief of symptoms of medical or psychiatric conditions, excluding those within the sphere of competence of the Therapist to treat, that unless they have already done so, the client is advised to contact a registered medical practitioner. N.B. Therapists should not attempt to offer clients a formal diagnosis of general medical or psychiatric conditions unless they have undergone relevant training in diagnostics and are suitably qualified to do so.

4. Confirm that they will never knowingly offer advice to a client which either conflicts with or is contrary to that given by the client's registered medical advisor/s. N.B. If the Therapist has doubts or concerns with regards to a client's prescribed medication, they may always, with their client's permission, contact the medical advisor personally or advise the client themselves to request a formal review of their medication from the medical advisor.

5. Use due care and diligence to avoid the implantation or encouragement of any false memories in the client.   Where memory recovery through regression, or similar techniques, is employed, to ensure at the earliest possible stage that the client is aware that experiences while in a suggestible state, or in a state of altered attention, are not necessarily accurate representations of the client's past. To base their theory and practice with regard to recovered memories on current, credible, and mainstream scientific research on the psychology of memory.

6. Ensure that their workplace and all facilities offered to both clients and their companions will be in every respect suitable and appropriate for the service provided. These shall include any consulting room used for the purpose of consultation and/or conducting therapy with any client, along with any reception or waiting areas associated with such rooms.

7. Take all reasonable care to ensure the safety of the client and any person who may be accompanying them .  To abide by Health & Safety law in the assessment and management of risks attached to their practices or place of work, in relation both to physical and also stress-related risks.

8. Refrain from using their position of trust or confidence to:

a) Violate the commonly understood professional boundaries appropriate to the Therapist/client relationship or exploit the client emotionally, sexually, financially, or in any other way whatsoever. Should either a sexual relationship, or a financial relationship other than for the payment of relevant products or services, or other inappropriate relationship develop between either Therapist and client or members of their respective immediate families, the Therapist must immediately cease to accept fees, terminate treatment (consistent with the rest of this Code) and refer the client to another suitable Therapist at the very earliest opportunity. N.B. Clarification on dilemmas experienced by Therapists in respect of the foregoing should be sought from their respective professional body.

b) Touch the client in any way that may be open to misinterpretation. N.B. Before employing any techniques involving touch, both an explanation should be given and explicit permission received from the client.

9. Not accept any inappropriate gifts, gratuities or favours from a client.

10. Never protract treatment unnecessarily and to terminate treatment at the earliest moment consistent with the good care and well-being of the client.

11. Maintain strict confidentiality within the client/Therapist relationship, always provided that such confidentiality is neither inconsistent with the Therapist's own safety or that of the client, the client's family members or other members of the public nor in contravention of any legal action (i.e. criminal, coroner or civil court cases where a court order is made demanding disclosure) or other legal requirement (e.g. Children's Acts, Data Protection Act).

Where the Therapist is working as part of a larger team, for example within an institution or through a multidisciplinary or similar clinical approach, or where the client has been referred by a medical advisor or agency with conditions placed on the referral as to shared disclosure by the Therapist to the advisor or agency, then provided that it is clear that the client consents, confidential information may be shared by the Therapist with the team or referring advisor or agency.

12. Ensure that client notes and records be kept secure and confidential and that the use of both manual and computer records remains within the terms of the Data Protection Act. N.B. Manual records should always be locked away when not in use and those held on computer should be password coded. The Therapist should provide, in advance, arrangements for the secure disposal of all client records in case of their permanent incapacity or death.

13. Recognise that the maintenance of case notes should include personal details, history, diagnosis and/or identification of problem areas; programme of sessions as agreed between Therapist and client (if any), session progress notes and a copy of any contract.

14. Obtain written permission from the client (or if appropriate the client's parent/s or legal guardian/s) before either recording client sessions, discussing undisguised cases with any person whatsoever, or publishing cases (whether disguised or not) via any medium. N.B. "Recording" in this context means any method other than the usual taking of written case notes. "Undisguised" in this context means cases in which material has not been sufficiently altered in order to offer reasonable anonymity to all relevant parties. With particular reference to the use of CCTV equipment, all clients must be fully informed when such equipment is in operation and as above, written permission must be obtained prior to the commencement of any client session.

15. Advise the client that disguised case studies may sometimes be utilised for the purposes of either their own Clinical Supervision or the Clinical Supervision and/or training of other Therapists, or for publication in suitable texts, and refrain from using such material should the respective client indicate that it should not be used for these purposes.


Therapists are expected to maintain or improve their level of skills and professional competence in accordance with the requirements laid down by the Register as appropriate to their registration grade.

a. Clinical Supervision

1. All practising members are required to maintain ongoing Clinical Supervision in accord with the Register's Code of Practice.

2. Clinical Supervision should be of a form suitable for the practice of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, and should not consist merely in the presentation and discussion of case material, but should also contribute to professional development and improvement of the Therapist's theoretical understanding and practical competence.

3. Members are strongly encouraged to have a formal contract which specifies the terms, format, and scope of the Supervision arrangement, though this is not mandatory.

4. Supervision should embrace reflective practice and continuing professional development, and may include practice and discussion of techniques, reviewing audio/visual material, discussion of theory, ethical dilemmas, and issues relating to the running of a clinical practice, as well as case material.

5. Group Clinical Supervision is encouraged , where the Therapist and at least two other Therapists act as each other's Clinical Supervisors, as a group. At least one member of the group should be of a suitably high level of qualification and experience and have been in full professional practice for at least two years. The Register strongly recommends that such groups are based upon a written contract or agreement which clearly specifies the roles and responsibilities of members, etc.

6. Individual Clinical Supervision is acceptable , where one Therapist acts as Clinical Supervisor to the Therapist. The Clinical Supervisor in these circumstances must be of a suitably high level of qualification and experience, and have been in practice for at least two years. In addition, he must possess a suitable certification or qualification in the practice of supervision. The Clinical Supervisor should, where possible, be qualified in a similar mode of therapy. The Register also strongly recommends that an individual Clinical Supervisor should be a Senior Hypnotherapist or UKCP registered hypno-psychotherapist.

7. Members in Clinical Supervision must retain appropriate records for a period of up to five years.

8. Face-to-face Clinical Supervision is strongly recommended. However, in the case of illness, or other obstacles to meeting, other arrangements which take advantage of communication technology may be acceptable, e.g., internet, email, or telephone conferencing. It is recommended that at least 70% of the minimum number of Clinical Supervision hours should be conducted face-to-face, and ideally 100%. Where a Therapist does not have access to suitable Clinical Supervision within their geographical area, they may seek official permission from the Register to conduct Clinical Supervision primarily by communication technology, at a distance. In such cases, however, at least one face-to-face meeting per year should be arranged.

b. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

1. All grades except Associates and Students are required to engage in suitable CPD, and evidence may be audited by the Register, so appropriate records should be kept for a period of at least five years.

2. Receipts for the purchase of suitable books, audio/visual training material, and other resources may be counted as equivalent to one credit each. Subscription to a suitable research journal may be counted as equivalent to five credits per annum. Each (seven hour) day of suitable classroom training may be counted as equivalent to five credits.

3. CPD to the value of twenty credits per year must be undertaken by Therapists.

4. Individual items of CPD submitted as evidence will be accepted only at the discretion of the Register and should be consistent with the evidence-based orientation of the Register. Other forms of CPD may be considered at the discretion of the Register.


All Therapists undertake to:

1 . Notify the Register, in writing, of any change in practice name, contact address, telephone number or email address at the earliest convenient moment.

2. Inform the Register, in writing, of any alteration in circumstance which would affect their registration grade, status, or professional ability as Therapists .

3 . Inform the Register, in writing, of

a) Any formal complaint (of which they are aware) made against them, made to them personally, or to any relevant organisation or body.

b) Any disciplinary action taken against them by any professional body .

c) Any criminal offence of which they have been convicted.

4 . Make available to the Register all relevant information requested as a result of investigation by any appointed Complaints and Disciplinary Officer, without hindrance (whether implied or actual) or unreasonable delay and comply fully with all requirements inherent within any Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure to which they subscribe.


All Therapists undertake to:

1 . Ensure that all advertising, no matter in what form or medium it is placed, represents a truthful, honest and accurate picture of  themselves, their skill-base, qualifications and facilities and that any claims for the successful outcome of treatments (in whatever format) shall be based upon verifiable, fully documented evidence.

2. Ensure that all advertising shall be accurate, truthful and that any claims made in advertising can be substantiated on request.

3. Display only valid qualifications and certificates issued in respect of relevant training courses and events or certificates of registration, validation or accreditation as issued or awarded by relevant professional bodies.

4. Make no claim that they hold specific qualifications unless such claim can be fully substantiated.

Notes for Guidance :

Title: "Dr"

Therapists should avoid the possibility of misleading the public by using the title "Dr" or "Doctor" in a manner which might be taken to convey a false impression.  This includes falsely creating the impression that they hold a medical qualification, that the doctorate is in an area relevant to Therapy, or that the qualification is of a similar standard to doctoral degrees issued by accredited UK universities, if this is not actually the case.

Therapists should, therefore, only use the title "Dr" if they are medically licensed in the UK or their title is both UK-issued and accredited and in a subject relevant to hypnotherapy or psychotherapy (e.g. counselling or psychology).  All Therapists using this title should explain in their advertising literature and to their clients, the nature and subject of the title and the awarding body, and non-medical "Drs" should declare that they are not medical practitioners in their advertising literature and to their clients.

Title: "Psychoanalyst"

This should only be used by suitably qualified members of the British Psychoanalytical Society (BPAS) or another member organisation of the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA).


All Therapists undertake to:

1 . Obtain the written consent of an appropriate adult (i.e. parent, legal guardian or registered medical practitioner) before conducting treatment with clients who are either under the age of majority or are classified as persons with special needs, excepting where the Therapist has carried out an appropriate assessment for competency to consent to treatment, "Gillick Competency", and is suitably qualified to do so.  N.B. Wherever possible and provided it is judged to be in the child's best interests, it is advisable that an appropriate adult should be present during such sessions.


For all practical purposes, a "research participant" should be considered synonymous with a "client" and consequently, all relevant Clauses within the general Code of Ethics remain applicable. 


Updated 31-May-08