So now that you know that there is no regulation of hypnotherapy, where do you go from here? Let's clarify the situation a little more:
The medical profession, in general, does not recognise hypnotherapy. This is because the medical profession take the view (correctly, in my opinion), that no-one should treat certain medical or psychological conditions using hypnosis unless they are otherwise qualified to treat. In other words, a psychiatrist, who is qualified to treat psychoses, may elect to use hypnosis as part of his treatment of a patient - but he won't be referring that patient to a hypnotherapist. He will either be treating the patient himself, or be referring the patient to another doctor, clinical psychologist or psychiatrist to treat the patient.
Hypnotherapy is a generic term for a lay practitioner - in other words, with no medical training. Hypnotherapy is available for what is termed sub-clinical conditions - eg, stress, milder forms of anxiety, habits.
So, without government regulation, how do you know you are contacting a good hypnotherapist?
Without government regulation, most hypnotherapists are self regulated. That means that we voluntarily belong to one of many professional registers that exist. These registers have a set of rules (codes of conduct) that the therapist should adhere to.
This is not the same as, for example, the British Medical Association. If a general practitioner has a case brought against him, he could be struck off the BMA register, meaning he cannot practice anymore. If a hypnotherapist is removed from a voluntary register, they could, if they wish, simply carry on working, or join another register.
I am not here to recommend one register over another. Some registers specialise in certain forms of hypnotherapy, some of the bigger ones have a more general approach. Some make it clear that certain forms of practice are unacceptable, some don't. All have a set of general rules, aimed at ensuring that their registrants aim to provide a high level of care and service to the client.
Basically then, you are somewhat safeguarded by looking for a therapist that has a professional registration. Most therapists will show their registration details on their website, business cards and marketing materials. Most registers have websites where you can read their code of ethics and practice.
Many of the registers work very hard on behalf of the profession. There are a few who could claim that they should be the only register. Unfortunately, while the situation of non-government regulation exists, it is unlikely that there will ever be just one register.
And, while it looks very professional on a website for the practitioner to belong to a register, remember that technically, anyone can set one up. I could set up a register myself right now if I wished to..