What are the training requirements for hypnotists?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
Hypnotherapy is the least regulated of all complementary and alternative medicines (CAM). In all, 48 states have essentially no licensing or training requirements at all, which makes us wonder if hypnotists don't visit their governor every now with their swinging pocket watches. Only Illinois and Oregon are trying to implement licensing requirements.

Hypnotherapists can buy very official-sounding licenses from official-sounding organizations, most of which look impressive on their business cards but don't mean a whole lot otherwise. The irony? Hypnosis has been in the United States longer than any other CAM, and it can be one of the most the effective complementary therapies when combined with conventional health care.

I've seen benefits from hypnotherapy done by licensed psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and skilled social workers. There have been plenty of studies with varying results, and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) has conducted clinical trials to see if hypnotherapy can reduce surgery pain and tension, hot flashes in breast cancer survivors, and other ailments (if you'd like to explore being part of a study, click on

For more info and referrals, see the Web site for the National Guild of Hypnotists,, which is a 50-year-old nonprofit organization with a good reputation, as well as the American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association Web site at
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.