Codes of Conduct

The objectives of the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis are:

  • To promote, for the benefit of the public, the study, teaching and use of hypnosis in the fields of medicine, dentistry and psychology.
  • To encourage the conduct of research into, and audit of the practices of clinical hypnosis and the publication of the useful results of that research.
  • BSCAH is dedicated to promoting and maintaining the highest professional standards in the practice of hypnosis for clinical or experimental purposes and in the dissemination of information concerning hypnosis.
  • Members of the BSCAH are professionals in their own right and are subject to the strict guidelines and codes of conduct specified by their own professional body. Whilst not all members are medical practitioners, the “Duties of a Doctor “ produced by the GMC is a model applicable for all members who do clinical work.


Duties of a Doctor

Patients must be able to trust you with their lives and wellbeing. To justify that trust, we as a profession have a duty to maintain a good standard of practice and care and to show respect for human life.

In particular you must:

  • make the care of your patient your first concern;
  • treat every patient politely and considerately;
  • respect patients dignity and privacy;
  • listen to patients and respect their views;
  • give patients information in a way they can understand;
  • respect the rights of patients to be fully involved in decisions about their care;
  • keep your professional knowledge and skills up to date;
  • recognise the limits of your professional competence;
  • be honest and trustworthy;
  • respect and protect confidential information;
  • make sure that your personal beliefs do not prejudice your patients care;
  • act quickly to protect patients from risk if you have good reason to believe that you or a colleague may not be fit to practise;
  • avoid abusing your position as a doctor; and
  • work with colleagues in the ways that best serve patients interests.
  • In all these matters you must never discriminate unfairly against your patients or colleagues. And you must always be prepared to justify your actions to them.

Academics and experimentalists should also be mindful of these principles and comply with procedures of their institutions regarding ethical approval for projects. Standards of probity should be similar to those expected of medical practitioners (e.g. relations with commercial organizations, plagiarism, honest reporting of results etc.)

ISH and ESH Guidelines

BSCAH is a constituent society of the ESH and ISH and consequently members of BSCAH are bound by the Guidelines. The following points are based on the Ethical Guidelines of the European Society of Hypnosis.

I. Professional conduct with patients or subjects
1.1 All BSCAH members are professionals in their own right, and in their use of hypnosis they should adhere strictly to the standards demanded of them by their own profession.
1.2 Members should always give first priority to the welfare of the patient or experimental participant when using hypnosis.
1.3 Proper safeguards should be maintained whenever a patient or participant is exposed to unusual stress or other form of risk. If stress or risk is involved, the patient or participant should be informed and should give consent. When in doubt the practitioner should consult with appropriate professional colleagues

2. Applications of hypnosis to professional work
2.1 Members who intend to use hypnosis are advised to attend, if they have not already done so, a training course organised by BSCAH.
2.2 Members should at all times remain aware of their signed undertaking to use hypnosis only for those purposes for which they are professionally qualified and within the strict limitations of their professional work.
2.3 A member’s use of hypnosis in his or her professional work should be fully compatible with the terms of reference of his or her employment and the expectations of his or her superiors, employers and professional association.

3. The undertaking of private therapy
3. 1 Members may be approached by the public for private consultation and therapy.
3.2 Members should only undertake private therapy if this is compatible with the rules of their professional association and the terms of reference of their work. They should restrict their private work to those problems which they would be recognised as qualified to undertake.

4. Hypnosis and the lay person :-
4.1 A member of BSCAH should not support the practice or teaching of hypnosis to those ineligible for membership, except in the case of students in training in the appropriate sciences or professions.
4.2 A member of BSCAH shall not give instruction involving the teaching of hypnotic techniques to individuals or groups, which include persons currently ineligible for BSCAH membership. Lectures informing lay persons about hypnosis are acceptable. Lay people are those who are currently considered ineligible for BSCAH membership.
4.3 Consultations with lay representatives of the press or other communication media are permitted in order to benefit the knowledge and understanding of the public in matters pertaining to hypnosis. Talks with lay representatives of the press and radio or TV appearance are welcomed so long as these are consistent with the aims of the Society and its Ethical Guidelines. 

If the fact of a member contravening these Guidelines is brought to the attention of the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis, the Ethical Officer of the Society will write to that member for an explanation. If the Council is not satisfied or feels that such infringements are likely to continue, then that person´s membership may be rescinded.


Use of the Society´s name

Members are instructed not to use the acronym MBSCAH in their title as it can be misleading. BSCAH Accred, as it denotes a peer reviewed standard of hypnosis, is acceptable once it has been obtained. 


Making a complaint

If you have any complaints or concerns about the service you have received from BSCAH National Office or one of our members please let us know.

We hope that most problems can be sorted easily and quickly at the time they arise and with the person concerned. If your problem cannot be sorted out in this way and you wish to make a complaint, we would ask you to let us know as soon as possible; ideally within a matter of days or at most a few weeks. This will enable us to establish what happened more easily. Please write giving as much information as you can to the BSCAH National Office. If the complaint concerns a paid official at National Office then the complaint should, in the first instance, be directed to the Honorary Secretary.

National Office will forward your complaint to the Ethics Chair who will investigate the matter, contact those concerned and ask for their comments. In difficult or complicated circumstances the Ethics Chair may consult the Executive of BSCAH for advice and may convene a small subcommittee of appropriate colleagues. If the complaint concerns the Ethics Chair the National Office secretary will forward it to the President or Chair of Council.