Hypnosis for Birthing

March 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm Leave a comment

I have noticed that several hypnotherapists have raised their concern that any training or potential work will be restricted to only those persons who are already medically qualified – i.e. nurses, midwife’s and doctors. Some of them see this as an encroachment into their domain and they see this more of a threat than an opportunity. So let me clarify the position from the health and safety perspective.

I believe that hypnotherapy is a profession and as such we must behave in a professional manner. This means that we must be competent in our practice or when not competent we must be under the guidance of someone who is. Yet out of all the training programmes I have examined not a single one covers the hazards, risks and dangers associated with our hypnotherapy profession. Yes some do include such things as duty of care but ask them for a risk assessment with regards to the specific client and their treatment and you will be met by a blank face.

I was approached recently by an organisation who specialise in weight loss using various techniques including the fitting of a hypnotic gastric band. Their marketing blurb was quite adamant that the dangers of surgically fitting a gastric band were substantial but that by installing a virtual gastric band using hypnosis that these risks would be eliminated. I read their training manual and was horrified to discover that not a single word about the risks of a hypnotic gastric band were included. And considering that this was a therapist training manual how were these risk going to be managed?

I love hypnosis and I know that it is extremely powerful so I get really concerned when fellow therapists think they can change a behaviour and that that behavioural change does not have ramifications or carry any associated risks.

Anyway, those who know me know that as well as on the national register for hypnotherapy I am also on the national register for occupational health and safety consultants. So I decided to do a risk assessment for a hypnotic gastric band.

Step 1 – I identify the hazards, who might be harmed and the degree of harm that could be caused by undergoing the hypnotic gastric band procedure based on my assessment of the individual client.

Step 2 – I assessed the risks associated with the selection of clientele and the likely support they would need both during and after the sessions.

Step 3 – I introduced a set of controls that minimised the likelihood of the possible harm being realised.

Step 4 – My risk assessment also introduced a monitoring and review of all procedures.

Step 5 – I ensure that the client is fully aware of all the risks involved and that they are provided with the essential controls to minimise these risks involved.

This may seem like overkill but this should be done for every single procedure that we do as therapists. So you can imagine my horror when I read recently that some hypnotherapists were peeved because the medical profession were looking at hypnosis for birthing within our hospitals and that they were restricting the practice to only trained medical professionals. Why because they know the risks and can do something about minimising them.


I am not saying that as hypnotherapists we do not have a role to play but if we are to be considered a profession then we should behave like professionals and that means having the ability to carry out suitable and sufficient risk assessments. Therefore whatever niche we therapists decide to focus on we need to make sure that we know the risks and that our clients also know the risks.

Get it wrong and we have failed in our duty of care and this is negligence and could carry a criminal conviction as well as a lawsuit for civil damages.


Entry filed under: Therapy advice.

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