top of page

International Board of Hypnotherapy –
Code of Conduct

What is the International Board of Hypnotherapy?

As an ever-increasing body of research lends greater scientific credence to the use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy to assist patients in accelerating their healing, controlling pain and facilitating recovery from medical procedures, more and more patients and medical professionals are looking for ways to incorporate these benefits into the health plans they are designing. Yet, with no governmental oversight and a broad variance in training, a caveat emptor approach to a field that has long been misrepresented by the media makes hypnotherapy seem unapproachable to many patients and healthcare providers.

IBH exists to regulate and maintain a demonstrated level of professional training, ability, reliability and ethics in the hypnotherapy community, so that healthcare providers and their patients can make use of the power of the subconscious mind with the guidance of competent professionals who know how to work with the healthcare system.

Code of Ethics


Hypnotherapists help people use their own inner resources to improve the quality of their lives. Hypnotherapists are committed to the service of life, which includes health and wellbeing–the actualization of human potential. Hypnotherapists, therefore, take on the role of practitioner of hypnotherapy, life skills and achievement coach and educator.

The International Board of Hypnotherapy bases its Code of Ethics on the fundamental principles of the Clinical Hypnotherapy profession, which embraces the uniqueness, worth, dignity and equal rights of all human beings

The International Board of Hypnotherapy requires all of its members to conduct their profession according to the following ethical principles.

I. The Member’s Ethical Responsibility To Clients:

  1. The member’s main responsibility is the client’s safety and welfare.  Members are to respect the client’s mental and physical well-being at all times.

  2. The members are not to practice any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic culture, age, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, religion, national origin, political belief, physical handicap, or any other characteristic or personal condition.

  3. The members are to uphold a professional relationship with clients, and not engage in physical abuse, hugging or touching in an erotic way or any other sexual activities.

  4. The members are to seek advice of colleagues, mentors and supervisors whenever the consultation is in the best interest of clients.

  5. In compliance with HIPAA regulations, the members are to respect the privacy of clients and hold in confidence information acquired during the course of professional service. Also, members are to inform clients fully about the limits of confidentiality. The limits on confidentiality are provided to the client in writing prior to entering into a client-therapist relationship. On the client intake form, the client is to give written permission for use of voicemail, email or emailing MP3 files of customized self-hypnosis. Hypnotherapist is to clarify with client what type of communication may occur via email. If members choose to communicate or conduct sessions via video conferencing, they are to use HIPPA compliant video conferencing software.

  6. The members are to obtain consent of clients before audio or video recording or permitting others to be present during their sessions or activities.

  7. The members are to practice hypnotherapy services in accordance with the level of their training, competency and respecting the laws of their state.

  8. Members are to inform clients of what to expect during sessions, so that they can make an informed decision as to whether they consent to participate.

  9. Members are to work with only those clients that fall within their scope of practice.

  10. Members are not to have any intimate social contact with a client for at least two years after their last session with the client.

  11. Continuing education keeps practitioners informed of the latest developments in the field of hypnotherapy and reduces unethical behavior. Fifteen hours of continuing education is required annually.

  12. Members fully disclose their educational qualifications and professional credentials and certifications to their clients in writing on their client intake forms.

  13. Members agree not to use wording in the title of their business or any other promotional materials that could mislead the public.

  14. Members agree to be accurate in their description of their services, business name, and work place, so as not to imply in their advertising and marketing communications that their hypnotherapy services are in any way the practice of medicine, psychotherapy or that they are licensed to practice hypnotherapy.

  15. Members agree to be truthful in advertising and marketing communications. Also, members agree that they will not in any way state or imply in their advertising and marketing communications that they provide medical or psychotherapy services if they are not licensed by their state board of regulation to do so.  Members agree that Hypnotherapy will not be offered as a substitute for medical or mental health treatment. Hypnotherapy sessions are provided as a complement or adjunct to medical and mental health treatment only with a licensed physician or therapist’s consent or referral.

  16. Members agree that as a hypnotherapist they will not use the following words in any of their promotional materials or marketing communications, such as websites, print brochures, newsletters, business cards, etc.: “psychologist,” “psychotherapist,” “psychotherapy,” “psychological,” “counseling,” “therapist,” “medical hypnotist,” “licensed hypnotherapist,” “doctor of hypnotherapy,” “treatment,” “treatment of…” any mental disorders or mental health conditions or medical ailment. This includes but is not limited to “anxiety,” “addiction,” “insomnia,” “depression,” “trauma,” “eating disorder,” and other words like: “alternative” “cure,” “clinic,” “patient.” Again, members agree not to imply that they are practicing psychotherapy or medicine, unless they are licensed by the state they practice in to do so.

  17. Members agree that clients should seek the appropriate and highest level of care and that members will therefore be reasonable in their practice of hypnotherapy. Members agree not to provide hypnotherapy services if a client’s behavior, or statements, would lead a reasonable person to believe that such a client should be assessed by a licensed physician or mental health professional. (If already licensed by a board of regulation, for example as a therapist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or physician, and you also provide hypnotherapy services, elements of #16 and #17 may not pertain.)

  18. Members understand that their hypnotherapy school training prepared them for certification by the International Board of Hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a “non-licensed” profession. Licensing of a professional group can only be authorized when a law is passed by a state legislature and then implemented by a state regulatory agency. They will not use the words “affiliated,” “licensed” or “approved” by the IBH. Members may refer to themselves as “certified” by the IBH or that they are a “member” of the IBH, or if they have achieved level 3 certification status, “fellow” of the IBH.

  19. Members agree that foundational training for certification in hypnotherapy should be live, in the classroom setting, with instructors. Foundational training in hypnotherapy online or via correspondence course is inappropriate. It is the IBH position that any field that includes direct client or patient care, must be taught in a classroom setting.

 II. Fees:

  1. The members are to set their fees in a fair and reasonable manner.

  2. The members are not to give any kind of economic compensation for receiving or making a referral, i.e., “finders fees” or cash “kickbacks” (including multilevel marketing type of compensations) for clients or seminar attendees.

  3. Prior to conducting sessions members disclose their fees, what type of methods will be used and what the client can generally expect to experience with the methods described.

  4. Members are to provide clients with their refund policy in writing.

III. The Members’ Ethical Responsibility To Colleagues:

  1. Whenever dealing with unusual or difficult cases, ethical conduct concerns or other dilemmas related to their practice, members are to seek the advice of other Board members.

  2. The members are to treat the members of the Board of Directors, members of the Advisory Council and colleagues with respect and professional decorum, during all interactions, including but not limited to phone conversations, email and social media. Negative comments, judgmental language, speculation and/or gossip will result in revocation of Certification.

  3. The members are to respect confidences shared by colleagues in the process of their professional relationships.

  4. The members are not to exploit a dispute between a colleague and employer to obtain a position in a company.

  5. The members are to seek the mediation of a superior or administrator when conflicts with colleagues arise, to reach appropriate and equitable solutions.

  6. The members are to relate to clients of colleagues in a professional manner.

  7. The members are not to solicit the clients of colleagues.

IV. The Members’ Ethical Responsibility to the Hypnotherapy Profession:

  1. The members are to maintain high ethical standards of integrity to protect their profession.

  2. The members are to take actions to correct all unprofessional and unethical practices.

  3. The members are to always be honest about the origin of their professional degrees, education, certifications or other qualifications.

  4. The members are to advertise their professional services with honesty and good faith. They are to insure that all their marketing and promotional materials are truthful and realistic. Members acknowledge that medical support hypnotherapy sessions are provided as a complement or adjunct to medical and mental health treatment and only with a licensed physician or therapist’s consent or referral.

  5. Members are committed to their own personal growth and actively pursue self-actualization.

  6. The members agree to conduct their practices and all professional relationships in accordance with the International Board of Hypnotherapy Code of Ethics and in accordance with State Law.

  7. The members understand that they are responsible for completion and maintenance of all certification and re-certification requirements. Members understand that failure to complete their documentation results in non-certification or revocation.

  8. Members agree that foundational training for certification in hypnotherapy should be live, in the classroom setting, with instructors. Foundational training in hypnotherapy online or via correspondence course is inappropriate. It is the IBH position that any field that includes direct client or patient care, must be taught in a classroom setting.

V. Complaints:

  1. After the Board has received via U.S. mail, a written complaint, signed by the complainant, an ethics committee will be formed to review the complaint. Depending on the nature of the written complaint immediate suspension may be issued.  The ethics committee will then form a quorum to receive testimony from all involved parties.  After the complaint and response to the complaint are reviewed by the quorum and it has reached a decision, it will issue a report, after which the parties will have 30 days to respond to the quorum’s findings.  A failure by the accused to respond to the complaint within the allotted time will not prevent the quorum from taking action accordingly. Actions the quorum may recommend include:  1) dismissal of the claim, 2) written warning, 3) request requiring actions by the respondent to correct unethical/unprofessional conduct in a reasonable amount of time, 4) suspension, 5) revocation of membership, 6) hold further action until a Court finding has been reached and submitted to the Board.  After doing so, the ethics committee will submit its recommendations to the Board.

bottom of page