Holding to a Code of Ethics is Good for Our Profession, Hypnotists, as Well as the Public

Hypnotherapist Instructor Cal Banyan

by Calvin D. Banyan

It is early in 2006 and I am happy to be able to share with you that it has already been a great year for me professionally. Two things have happened that I am particularly proud of. I was asked by Dr. Damon, the President of the National Guild of Hypnotists to serve on two boards, the NGH Advisory Board, and the NGH Ethics Board. This has inspired me to use this column to focus on how having a professional code of ethics benefits everyone.

So, why have ethics? Certainly holding an individual accountable for her actions limits what she can do in her work and professional life. Who would be for that? In history, all of the great professions there has come a time where certain standards of behavior are set, they are set for the benefit of the profession, the individual practitioners and the public. And, of course that written statement of how the individuals in a profession should behave is called code of ethics.

Any emerging profession as a whole develops a reputation, and holding itself and the members of the profession to a high standard of behavior contributes to developing a positive reputation. Having and enforcing a stringent code of ethics can go a long way in helping to develop that positive reputation would lead the public and other professionals to look positively at the work done by that profession, and those who practice in that profession.

This is important, and I believe that it would be safe to assert that when other professions and the public look positively at a profession, they will be more likely to want to do business with those who are part of that profession. This will also result in the public seeking out the services of those involved in the profession in greater numbers. Furthermore, other professionals would be more likely to want to build official professional relationships with both the leading organizations in the profession, and those who hold out their services in that profession.

Professionally, the need to have a good code of ethics is especially important for us who practice hypnosis. There are few professions, if any, that have had more negative publicity in the past with regard to what we do. I don’t have to tell you about all of the misinformation that has been generated through folk lore and the media about hypnotism! Having, promoting, and holding the members of the profession accountable to a code of ethics, is a very important part of re-educating others about who we are and what we do.

Hypnotists, whichever you call yourself, will benefit because of the improved trust that the profession will garner through holding a high standard of behavior. “Word gets around” as they say. I don’t know who said it first, but I have always liked the saying, “If we can’t afford to do it right, then we can’t afford to do it.” We need to take on that kind of attitude as a profession. In the long run, each and every individual who practices hypnotism will benefit from embracing a strong code of ethics.

Another benefit that the individual hypnotist will gain, is that by having a code of ethics it helps to establish a level playing field that those who do not conform to the code can be removed from the profession, or at least from the leading organizations who have adopted such a code of ethics. This will help us all by reducing the number of unethical events that become news, and also by reducing the amount of untrue advertising that the unethical hypnotist may be tempted to put forth to the public.

In the end, society benefits from the adoption of such a code of ethics, because when other professionals and the public finds that we are a reputable profession, they will utilize our services in greater numbers and as a result benefit from those services, and as a result our society will be healthier and happier, and that is what we all really aspire to achieve.

No other organization has done more to promote and hold their membership accountable to a professional code of ethics than the National Guild of Hypnotists. And, because of the acceptance of this standard, all NGH members understand that they must always have the highest regard for their client’s welfare in any work that they do, that they must always practice with the limits of their training, while always keeping their advertising truthful, just to summarize few of the main Articles.

The leadership of the NGH has also provided more guidance that will help their membership to practice in an ethical way, and promote the practice of hypnotism in their Recommended Guild Standards of the Practice of Hypnotism. All of the members receive these documents. I hope that all organizations, hypnotists will follow this example.

I want to conclude this article with a note of thanks to Dr. Dwight Damon and the leadership of the National Guild of Hypnotists for their ongoing support to all hypnotists, not just those who are members of the Guild. You have done more to support the development and acceptance of the practice of hypnotism than any other hypnosis organization. Thank you NGH!

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