There are many professional hypnosis organizations all over the world and they change when the charismatic founder with the vision moves on. Consequently, some of the finest past organizations over the past 30-40 years are no longer around while others have come up. All have value. Only a very few are large.
Of the US organizations I have known since 1989, most are privately owned businesses. Some (such as the Association of Hypnosis Professional that I personally ran for many years) are purely local or intended as a support group primarily for the graduates of a particular training facility. Some are regional, for example, mostly US East Coast or West Coast or Mid-West based. Some are local rather than “national” as claimed in their title, national instead of “international” in their name, and some such as the National Guild of Hypnotists are international even though the name implies just national. Some operate strictly on-line as a forum, lending library, or a referral service, while a few offer conferences, meetings, training programs and ongoing education.
Some hypnosis organizations are designed as an adjunct to another profession, such as medicine, social work, psychology, etc. and require that their members have a Master’s Degree or specific licensure in that other profession. For their members, hypnosis may be a sideline, not a full-time profession, and the number of classroom training in hypnosis may be very much less than the training required by other professional hypnosis organizations that do not require a specific college degree. Hypnosis, after all, draws from the wisdom gained from life experience, and is not taught as a college degree program. Historically, most of the outstanding leaders and educators in hypnosis that taught the physicians, psychologists, etc. were all “laymen”, and did not possess academic credentials.
Hypnosis is a separate profession apart from any other. Being licensed or having credentials in another profession, while it provides additional skills and knowledge that may or may not be relevant to why a prospective client is seeking help, DOES NOT qualify that hypnotherapist as more skillful as a hypnotherapist than someone without such license or additional credential.
If, for example, you as a prospective client are a real estate agent with job related stress or job goals, working with a hypnotherapist who has also been in the real estate field would allow them to better understand your needs. But their ability to help you as a hypnotherapist rests on their having good hypnotherapy skills, not their real estate license. If you are seeking hypnotherapy because of an addiction, having a good hypnotherapist with specific training also as an alcohol or drug counselor would be important. If you want, however, to stop smoking or learn self-hypnosis or goal setting or stress management or have fear of flying or a host of other issues, seeing someone who also is a licensed mental health care professional is totally irrelevant to a successful outcome.
The National Federation of Hypnotists, is part of the AFL-CIO Union, Local 104, and designed as a legislative watch dog for the profession in the US. It is affiliated with the National Guild of Hypnotists.
Contact them and inquire what benefits they offer to their members. Join more than one. Benefits can include a wealth of on-line material, a journal or newsletter with articles on hypnosis, ongoing training, networking, conventions, local chapter meetings, update on legislation pertaining to hypnotists, marketing assistance, hypnosis products for sale, as well as assistance in building a professional practice.
It is very important for anyone practicing hypnosis in any form to affiliate professionally. Besides the need for networking, and the continual need to update and improve one's skills, hypnotherapy is periodically challenged by other professions for the right to exist. Especially has this been true since the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis that has tried more than once to pre-empt the entire profession of hypnosis as their exclusive domain. Consequently, it is important to band together to meet these challenges and to be proactive in writing our own legislation recognizing hypnosis as a respected profession in its own right.
Below are some American hypnosis organizations that we recommend. They are listed in alphabetical order. While this is a very incomplete list of hypnosis groups, the others are, in general, smaller or we do not have insufficient information to recommend them. A couple of others we do not include because of their restrictive policies. The National Guild of Hypnotists is the largest.
• American Council of Hypnosis Examiners, 700 South Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91204; (818)242-1159. Founded by Gil Boyne, and now run by Dr. John Butler since Gil’s death. It holds a fine annual spring convention in Glendale, CA. See http://hypnotistexaminers.com
• International Association of Counselors & Therapists, Originally founded by Stephen and Jillian LaVelle, it is now owned by the Robert and Linda Otto, and is now joined with IMDHA below, it has a fine annual spring conference in Daytona Beach, FL. See http://www.iact.org
• International Hypnosis Federation is an extension of Dr. Shelley Stockwell’s training programs. There are various chapters, a referral service, and it has a delightful annual conference in the Long Beach, CA area. See http://www.hypnosisfederation.com
• International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association. Originally started by Dr. Anne Spencer and connected to Infinity Institute in Michigan, it is now owned by the Ottos, administered out of Laceyville, PA. It operates as a referral service, with a fine annual convention in Daytona Beach, FL. See http://www.imdha.com
• Mid-America Hypnosis Conference. Small, volunteer, local hypnosis organization that puts on a fine, annual fall convention in the Chicago, IL area with presenters drawn from around the country. See http://mid-americaconference.com
• National Association of Transpersonal Hypnotherapists. Founded & directed by Dr. Allen & Dee Chips, privately owned, then run by Dee alone since Allen’s death, and just turned over to Linda M. Thunberg-Dobson. Small, warm organization that holds an annual fall convention in Virginia Beach, VA, as well as hypnosis and Reiki training programs during the year. See http://www.nath.world
• National Guild of Hypnotists, PO Box 308, Merrimack, NH 03054-0308; (603) 429-0438. Founded by Rexford North, and now directed by Dr. Dwight Damon, Director. Largest organization & largest convention held annually now in Marlborough, MA in August, with a smaller conference in Las Vegas, NV in February. Has a video rental library, best journal, and more benefits for members. It has absorbed various other hypnosis groups such as the Association to Advance Ethical Hypnosis, originally founded by Harry Arons in NJ, and the National Association of Clergy Hypnotherapists. http://ngh.net