In the past decade, Public Protection has been a real focus for the hypnotherapy profession here in the UK. It started when the profession was presented with the need to regulate it's own practitioners, trainers and organisational structures and processes. The Department of Health, persuaded the Prince's Trust to start the process of developing independent regulation of the Complementary & Alternative Medicine in 2005.
Since, the hard work to set in place professional standards of best practise and training, have been achieved and implemented. The independent regulator for hypnotherapy is the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). It works with the hypnotherapy profession's registering organisations to insure standards are implemented at practitioner level.
As a profession, Hypnotherapy has also come a long way in terms of educating the public. What to look for and expect when it comes to finding and engaging a professional hypnotherapy practitioner. Organisations that register practitioners take on the professional responsibility for monitoring the adherence to the Code of Ethics, when necessary, operating the Complaints & Disciplinary procedures. We also now share information that comes directly from Complaints procedures that recommend the removal of practitioners from registers so that those unethical practitioners cannot rejoin another organisation without that organisations knowledge.
The UK laws have also changed in the last decade. Under the Data Protection Act 1998 a person can request information held on file that is specifically about them. If a member of the public wants to see information that a public authority holds about them, they should make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998.
As a hypnotherapy practitioner, it is acceptable to conform to a request made by a client, to see the notes held by the practitioner that are made in the course of working together in the therapy setting (given reasonable notice).
The Data Protection Act 1998 gives rules for handling information about people. It includes the right for people to access their personal data. The Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act come under the heading of information rights and are regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
So why set out this blog in this way here today? It is always of benefit to produce information designed to protect individuals for the reason that it is necessary. As a profession, we strive to maintain ever more stringent ethics. To comply to the demands made by the Law. As hypnotherapy practitioners, we accept that on many occasions, the adults we work with are vulnerable. We stick to our principles of confidentiality and non-exploitative practice. We do not take advantage in any way when it comes to the client/therapist relationship. There are clear relationship boundaries in place that protect both the client and the practitioner. When we take details or information from a client is it with their express consent. We never use that information for anything other than in the work we do with the client in oder to help them progress and recover. We do not sell on information to third parties, we make sure that in our financial dealings with clients, their cc/dd card details, are protected at all times by having in place procedures that legally satisfy 'Compliance'.
To keep our clients safe and in a great position to recover, is ever more complex today than it was a decade ago. As a registering organisation, the BIH is regularly emphasising how their practitioner members can keep up to date in terms of the law. Being registered is far more than just 'paying dues', it is about achieving a totally professional mind-set.