How to Become a Hypnotist or Hypnotherapist in Washington State
In Washington state where I live, we are officially referred to as Registered Hypnotherapists, and the registration is granted and administered by the Washington State Department of Health by the authority of Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 18.19.030. The Hypnotherapist Registration requirements are outlined on the Department of Health's Website. Here's a summary of the requirements :
- Hypnosis Training (implied). Make sure you get the very best hypnosis and hypnotherapy training available. You want to feel comfortable and confident seeing clients and being able to help them when your training is complete.
- Read RCW 18.130.170 : Capacity of license holder to practice — Hearing — Mental or physical examination — Implied consent. This really is about your capacity to practice - do you have the physical and mental capacity to do the work? If not, this RCW outlines how the state can require you to prove your physical and/or mental capacity.
- Read RCW 18.130.180 : Unprofessional conduct. Outlines what determines unprofessional conduct, make sure you do not do any of the things on this list.
- Fill out an application (see details on the application below)
- Take a 4 hour AIDS/HIV class. You can find many online and in-person education programs that will meet the AIDS/HIV education requirement.
The application and supporting documents are reviewed by credentialing staff to make an initial determination on eligibility. This is an important point that is not clearly defined as to how the credentialing staff make the determination, but as far as I am aware as long as you have taken some type of formal hypnosis and hypnotherapy training you should be just fine.
Hypnotherapist Registration Application Details
The application consists of 6 sections:
- Demographic information including your name, your social security number, age, and address.
- Personal Data Questions, including if you have ever been committed of any crime, or use any illegal substances.
- Other Licenses, certifications, and registrations that you have.
- Title Description, the question asked is "Give a brief description of your therapeutic orientation, discipline, theory, or technique". This is an essay question where you are expected to include that you are a hypnotherapist and describe the hypnosis techniques you plan on using in your practice.
- AIDS Education and Training Attestation
Send in your application, or fill it out online. The fee is $155, with an $80 renewal fee.
What about Training?
You'll notice that there are no specific requirements for hours or type of training, but you will want to provide documentation that you have completed a hypnotherapy training program.
It should go without saying that you want to get the best training available so you feel confident in working with clients right away.
What happens next ?
Your application will be reviewed and you will receive a response within a few weeks. Your registration expires on your birth date every year, and you will receive a renewal notification in the mail. I received my response in a few weeks after applying online.
What else should I be doing when I first open my practice?
I recommend the following :
- Join a professional organization, I highly recommend the National Guild of Hypnotists. They are the oldest and largest hypnosis organization and they have an amazing yearly convention in August that brings together some of the worlds leading hypnotists and the latest information in the profession. There are other organizations as well that you can easily find by searching online.
- Join the National Federation of Hypnotists Union. The union protects our right to practice hypnosis.
- Obtain General and Professional liability insurance. Ask Me if you have questions about this.
- Obtain a State business license and also ones for counties and cities if they are required where you do business.
- Include an Information Disclosure to all clients.
If you have other questions on becoming a hypnotherapist in the Washington State please ask me, I'd be happy to answer them. And on that note, here's another related question I get asked all the time :
Is there a difference between a hypnotist and a hypnotherapist?
The short answer is “it depends”. At one time these may have meant different things but today they are basically interchangeable. However, differing laws in each US state govern the titles that can or cannot legally be used by hypnotism professionals. To read my full answer, check out an article I wrote for Cascade Hypnosis Center's website called What’s the Difference Between an Hypnotist and a Hypnotherapist?