Overqualified or Over Stated?

by Michael O’Sullivan

A tongue in cheek look at our profession

The plethora of qualifications and designatory letters after many a hypnotherapists name can be a cause of some confusion to members of the public and indeed, other healthcare professionals.

Even should the reader know what the various letters mean, in some cases they may not mean what they imply! Some highly qualified therapists simply get by with their Dip Hyp and leave it at that.

For example, how many hypnotherapists are now called Doctor by virtue of a PHD? And is it a genuine PHD or a case of Pile it Higher and Deeper?

In any case, who decides whether a particular qualification is ‘real’ or not? Some non-traditional Universities are indeed truly excellent, and lets face it, few of us have the time or inclination to spend 3 to 5 years sitting in a classroom when we need to be out there earning a living.

I recently read that a Spiritualist had been on the receiving end of a complaint that they were misleading people by using an inappropriate qualification, a PHD of questionable origin.

The complainant argued their case that this was misleading because it gave the impression that the advertiser was more qualified than they actually were.

Give them their dues, the advertiser wrote a letter for publication in a trade newsletter, to apologise, and explained their part of the story.

The argument was settled amicably and the qualification was not to be used in any future advertising. In our own profession we’ve seen some people embarrassed when their claimed PhD’s were traced back to spurious organisations. That the lure of fast sales talk would lure a hypnotherapists, a master of language and persuasion after all, might be worth another paper all on its own. maybe the sellers of these degrees are master hypnotists???

According to my unfiltered email inbox on an average day I myself am apparently qualified for several University degrees. These are generally unspecified, however recently they included offers of two PhD’s and a doctorate in divinity. Of course as I’ve lived for so long, have had so many life experiences, am able to read my email and therefore presumably able to send payment, of course I ‘qualify’!!!

In the spring of 2005 I was in communication with a colleague, who during said discourse, told me that his title was now Doctor! I was asked to amend my records accordingly.

Being the inquisitive type, I did some research and found that although my colleague may well be ‘entitled’ (as in not breaking any laws) to the title by virtue of the PhD that he had ‘earned’, the source of the PhD did not inspire confidence.

The title was ‘awarded’ by a ‘University’ that awards degrees and PhD’s for ‘life experience’. It was one of those ‘institutions’ that spam offers around the Internet ad infinitum, and one whose emails I delete on a seemingly daily basis as discussed above. Otherwise know as a diploma mill, these ‘Universities’ sole criteria for awarding any of their qualifications is that the recipient be alive and capable of paying for it.

In short, it is the kind of PHD that each and every reader of this page, as long as the fees can be paid, can ‘earn’. Should the public consider that these kinds of qualifications are confidence inspiring and mean superior knowledge?

Well, they don’t inspire me in the slightest, and having been involved in this field for a fair number of years I do believe that I know what I’m talking about.

Maybe it’s a sad reflection on market forces?

A hypnotherapist across the road now has 17 series of initials after his name??? OH dear! Quick quick, where can I find another 3 to get ahead again??? With that mindset people will have to start printing letterheads in landscape format to get them all on!!!

In comparison a dear friend of mine has just been granted her PhD – after 4 years of hard study and a year writing a thesis which was then presented before the rigorous scrutiny of a board of examiners.

Suddenly that Internet offer is looking a bit more attractive!

In any case, the wrong questions are usually asked about qualifications.

Most authorities will tell you that you should always ask a hypnotherapist what their qualifications are before agreeing to being treated by one. Most professionals within the field probably agree with that one.

However, to most people a PhD after a persons name usually means something and speaks for itself. In too many cases, and sad to see, these can be meaningless letters bought to impress.

A PhD from Oxford or Cambridge can’t be compared to one from a degree mill.

As there is absolutely no proven link whatsoever between how someone trains to become a hypnotherapist and how effective they are at their work; asking what their qualifications are is not always quite the right question!

Might it not be much better to ask ‘what kind of person has the qualifications?’

If this sounds like splitting hairs, then go back and read that last bit again, the questions use similar words, but are asking entirely different questions?

What good to a client is it if an expensively and well qualified therapists is also inept and obtains poor results with clients?

In the same street you may find a very competent but on the face of it, poorly qualified therapist who through personality, life and personal experience and knowledge is probably the best person in the world to help someone with their particular problem?

So, how far do we want to go – in the early days everyone had their Dip Hyp and went about their business quite happily. Today we have master hypnotists, advanced hypnotherapists and now a whole profusion of PhD’s and so many more ‘job titles’ its hard to keep up.

Where will it all end?

Michael O’Sullivan

FNCP, Dip Hyp, DIY

web site: www.health-concern.com

Leave a Comment