Call for registration system to control standards of practitioners

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 October, 2005, 12:00am

Calls have been made for a registration system similar to that for Chinese herbalists to be introduced for hypnotherapists.

Rene Pius Lien Zun, president of the Hong Kong Guild of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists, admitted there was no standard for hypnotism training.

Practitioners are qualified by different guilds which are linked to the schools that provide training and carry out assessments.

'Some associations only admit members who have completed at least 200 hours of training, but some only require a few hours of training,' said Mr Lien, who is also Hong Kong branch president of the Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy. 'Consumers who plan to receive the therapy need to check the membership of their hypnotherapists to determine their standard. It will benefit consumers and the industry if the government can set up a registration system for hypnotherapists to make sure they have reached a minimum standard - similar to Chinese herbalists.'

Mr Lien said Hong Kong had about seven training schools handling about 1,000 students a year. He estimated there were about 30 full-time practising hypnotherapists in the city. Charges range from less than $200 to $3,000 for a session.

Hypnotherapist Matthew Lee Kin-cheung, who has practised for about a year, was recently recruited by a private medical clinic that would refer patients whose poor health was linked to mood problems. 'I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to carry out diagnosis or prescribe drugs. But I can use hypnotherapy to help patients relax. Some diseases are triggered and made worse by stress, anxiety and mood problems,' he said.

A spokeswoman for the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said: 'There are many factors to be considered in deciding whether practitioners of alternative treatment modalities, including hypnotherapy, need to be regulated. We will closely monitor the situation and welcome views in this regard.'