For many years, California has had restrictive laws concerning virtually any issue that could be remotely related to medical practice. Many complementary healing practitioners have been in technical violation of California's Medical Practices acts, but there were not sufficient funds to prosecute alternative practitioners except in extreme cases of violation of the Act. However, with the medical establishment's awareness of the increase of major advertising abuses, new State funds have recently been appropriated to prosecute alternative practitioners. Common abuses have included: massage therapists who claim state licensure and hypnotherapists who claim medical and dental certification or affiliation. In addition, attempts were underway to develop further restrictive legislation.

Here is the good news. The ACHE has joined forces with many complementary practitioners who developed alliances to transform this attempted negative legislation into landmark legislation that is very positive with the recent passage of Senate Bill 577.

In SB577, the Legislature declares that millions of Californians are presently utilizing complementary health care services, and that in spite of the possible technical violations of the Medical Practices Act there is no demonstration that these practices are harmful. The basis of the new law is simple: anyone who is otherwise law-abiding and does not perform a listed set of potentially dangerous practices should not be considered in violation of the Medical Practices Act.

The law goes into effect January 1, 2003. Starting at that time, those therapists who are not licensed in the healing arts are required to have new clients read and sign a disclosure form. The client receives a copy and the therapist is required to keep the signed copy for three years. The disclosure must include a statement that the therapist is not a licensed physician, that the session is complementary to healing arts services licensed by the state, and that the therapist's services are not licensed by the state. Therapist must describe the theory upon which the services are based, the nature of the services, and therapist's education, training, and experience. See sample disclosure which ACHE has developed to provide this information in a positive, effective and professional way.

A significant aspect of the law is that those who are non-licensed must disclose in their advertising that they are not licensed by the state as a healing arts practitioners. We can elaborate on this issue in our literature by making the following statement:

"Hypnotherapy is a self-regulated profession and does not qualify for State licensing. The American Council Of Hypnotist Examiners is a professional organization, chartered by the State of California, to establish training standards, standards of professional practice, and a code of ethics. The ACHE's Ethics Committee can suspend or revoke certification. Certification is awarded to those who attend state licensed schools, with approved hypnotherapy instructors. Although the state does not regulate curriculum or a required number of hours of training, the American Council of Hypnotism Examiners has the highest requirements for certification of any major Hypnotherapy organization in the USA. The ACHE logo is the Hallmark of Quality for the Hypnotherapy profession. Be sure to look for it."

The new law is a major step forward in the legal recognition of hypnotherapy and other complementary healing arts practices. California is one of the first states to develop such a law, and we predict many other states will enact similar laws in the years ahead.

With respect to all,

Gil Boyne, Executive Director, ACHE
Randal Churchill, President, ACHE

Here is the ACHE's recommended disclosure form for California hypnotherapists,  as developed by Randal Churchill and Gil Boyne.


The undersigned Client acknowledges that he or she has been informed of the following information:

Hypnotherapist agrees to provide professional services in accordance with acquired training and experience giving undivided attention during scheduled consultations to facilitate Client's benefits. Hypnotherapist's work is Client-centered. Services provided utilize induction of hypnosis, and methods and principles used to help clients discover their inner creative abilities to develop positive thinking and feeling and to transform undesirable habits and behavior patterns. Therapeutic goals are to achieve freedom from restrictive thought and belief systems, to assist in solving personal problems, developing motivation and achieving goals. Client may be taught the use of self-hypnotic techniques to assist in achieving goals and resolving issues that have been mutually agreed upon by Client and Hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis is not a state of sleep, but is a natural state of mind that can produce extraordinary levels of relaxation of mind, body and emotions. The principles and theories upon which hypnotherapy is based are accessing and utilizing the power of one's inner resources. Hypnosis can transcend the critical, analytical level of mind, and facilitate the acceptance of suggestions, directions and instructions desired by the Client. The therapeutic use of hypnosis can also elicit information and insights from the inner mind. The Hypnotherapist utilizes interviews, discussion and hypnotic methods dealing with underlying issues whenever appropriate, with the goal of achieving effective and lasting results.

Services to be provided do not include the practice of medicine, as Hypnotherapist is not a licensed physician. These services are non-diagnostic, and are complementary to the healing arts services that are licensed by the state. The California State Legislature has determined that state licensing may not be conferred upon an occupational group for purposes of status or prestige. The primary purpose of licensing laws for legally defined Healing Arts and Mental Health professionals is to protect public health and safety. Accordingly, Hypnotherapists are not issued licenses by any state governmental agency to engage in their professional services.

I, _____________________________, have acquired the following education, training, experience, and qualifications to perform the services offered to my Clients:

See the affixed document labeled "Attachment A" (or provide within this paragraph)

For complaints not resolved by Hypnotherapist, contact the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners,
3435 Camino del Rio S. Ste. 316, San Diego, CA 92108

I, the undersigned Client acknowledge that I have been advised of the foregoing information, and that I have been given a copy of this "Client Information" form.

________________________________ Dated: ________________________ Client's Signature