You'll want to hear about Steve K. Eichel Ph.D., and his cat Zoe. This is a good example of why you need to check the credentials of a hypnotherapist very carefully.

Hypnosis Credentials

QUESTION: What is the difference between a licensed medical or mental health professional who is clinically trained and provides hypnosis/hypnotherapy, and a "certified lay hypnotist"?

ANSWER: Much, much more than a whisker!

Lay "Certified Hypnotherapist" (asleep)

This is why consumers or health-service utilizers need to beware. This alert "doctor" was issued Diplomate & Fellow status of the "largest and most prestigious professional hypnosis association in the world" —and she is not even a pure-bred cat!

Read on for an eye-popping and informative story of bogus credentialing associations who "certify" individuals as "hypnotists" – the sad and scary saga of Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA and why it truly is not the cat's meow . . .

Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D.

Dr. Zoe's proud owner is a well qualified clinical psychologist, Steve K. Dubrow Eichel, Ph.D., ABPP, who happens to have a legitimate doctoral degree and is licensed as a psychologist with Diplomate status (American Board of Professional Psychology). His Cat Certification Project led to his discovery that none of the lay hypnosis associations required a college or graduate degree, and may not have required a high school diploma.

Dr. Eichel was motivated to undertake this project because of the dubious credibility of hypnosis credentialing groups. Zoe was credentialed by three (3) "lay hypnosis" organizations (National Guild of Hypnotists, the American Board of Hynotherapy, and the International Medical & Dental Hypnotherapy Association). In addition, the feline was awarded a Professional Member status with the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. The final part of the project was, as Dr. Eichel states, "to go for the gold" which was "board certification" with Diplomate status in the American Psychotherapy Association. Therefore, this impressive cat had her paws on five (5) very impressive appearing "credentials."

This psychologist and colleague in clinical hypnosis informs me that he and his precious feline were guests on a CBS-affiliate television station and that Dr. Zoe "looked quite professional" in fact. The topic was the proliferation of "diploma mills" and bogus, sham credentialing.

The final compelling question posed by Dr. Eichel is: "What value can a credential hold when it can be so easily obtained for a common household pet?" No meows applicable here, but the kitty litter box sounds pretty appropriate from a professional's view.

Read more from Dr. Eichel about how to find a qualified hypnotherapist.

Professional Health Organizations

In the United States, there are two major professional hypnosis organizations. All members of these organizations are licensed professionals in various disciplines including medicine, psychology, social work/counseling, and dentistry. The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis provides clinical training as well as Certification and Approved Consultant status (for those providing teaching & consultation in clinical/medical hypnosis). The other organization is The Society for Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis. Both are non-profit organizations dedicated to high standards and research efforts in understanding and extending viable applications for hypnotherapy in improving quality of life.

For more links to legitimate hypnosis organizations, please visit our Recommended Links page.