We have become aware of the proposed introduction of legislation in Oregon that could have the effect of dramatically restricting the right of a hypnotist/ hypnotherapist/ coach to practice in that state unless he or she is a licensed health professional.
The proposed legislation takes the form of an amendment (A3) https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Downloads/ProposedAmendment/11442 to House Bill 2303 http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2017/HB2303/ currently moving through the Oregon Legislature. The original bill related to relatively routine measures in healthcare administration in the state, however the amendment, which appears to have been proposed only on May 16, by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, proposes that a state-controlled register be set up to register all practitioners in the state who are “Alternative Health Practitioners”, who are listed as including a) Hypnotherapist b) Sexologist c) Somatic Therapist d) Life coach e) Parenting Coach f) Wellness Coach.
The proposed amendment requires not only that such practitioners do not hold themselves out as licensed (with which we agree in the spirit of truthful advertising, and which is covered by our Code of Ethics in any case) but also must be registered by a state agency, whose expenses are to be covered by the registration fees charged to practitioners, and who will have authority to lay down conditions of practice. This could leave hypnotherapists “at the mercy” of a regulatory system principally under the control of state-appointed “experts” drawn from the licensed healthcare professions in which hypnotherapists and coaches have little power. Any assurances to the contrary from regulators, even if well-intentioned, could be worth very little as the system “evolved”, even in a short period of time.
We consider that this proposal is an unnecessary and burdensome expense and bureaucracy, and that self-regulation of standards and practice is working well for clients and practitioners and has been doing so for a long time. We are not aware of any incident or complaint that may have sparked such a proposal and we believe that consultation with the professional associations working in the field is the best way to proceed, rather than the imposition of an authority. We are currently working with ACHE members and hypnotists and coaches from other organizations in the state in strongly opposing the introduction of this legislation.
There was a meeting today of the Senate Committee on Health Care on Tuesday May 30. If you are a resident, or know any residents, in Oregon, please contact, or ask them to contact, the office of
Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (a former nurse and health educator)
Chairperson, Senate Committee on Health Care
and/or the other members of the committee
Member: Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (the proposer of this amendment, she is a family physician who has stated she suffers from multiple sclerosis and major depression http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-mental-health-debate-personal-for-one-oregon-lawmaker/ – her personal statement says “I am committed to protecting Oregon families, creating jobs, supporting our schools, and taking care of our most vulnerable.”)
Email address: Sen.ElizabethSteinerHayward@state.or.us
Office phone number 503–986–1717 direct phone number: 503–547–3543
When contacting any member of the Senate, please be courteous and remember they no doubt believe/propose that their views are correct and in the public interest. In particular, the proposer of the amendment, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, seems a person of strong ideals and convictions and being in a highly regulated profession herself (medicine), may not have experience of the self-regulated field and is likely to believe that regulation solves many problems. She may also, as a sufferer from a degenerative condition, have encountered “cult-like” therapies and proponents of “cures” who charge high prices, make unjustified claims and even advocate hazardous practices. We believe that existing consumer and criminal legislation, properly used, offers a reasonable level of protection of the public from these sorts of practices, and there is no need to burden reputable practitioners because of the unscrupulous behavior of others.
Our intention in contacting the members of the Committee is to provide information on the other side of the argument and to enable them to realize that there is another vital side of the argument that must not be ignored. Please state succinctly, for instance, if it is the case, that you personally or those close to you have benefited from the services of hypnotherapy practitioners, that their charges were reasonable, their interactions professional, and you don’t feel the proposed legislation is either necessary or desirable.
We are making a submission to the Committee, and will keep you updated on this matter.
With my best wishes to you all,
Dr. John Butler
President, American Council of Hypnotist Examiners