Are HYPNOTISTS required to join the
College of registered Psychotherapists of ontario?

For the occasional confusion regarding this question, we are updating (Sept. 2018) the situation for Members.

First, if you want to call yourself a psychotherapist, and want to call what you do psychotherapy, then by law you must register with the College.

In 2017 the Ontario Psychotherapy College published its criteria for what it regulates. Therefore, we now know definitively what professional activities are regulated and what activities are not. In his 2-hour address to Members during NGH’s 2018 Convention and Summer Learning Institute, Rev. Dr. Scot Giles, NGH’s Legislative Liaison, summarized what the controlled act of psychotherapy entails vs. our training, which is hypnotism.

To quote Dr. Giles …

”The criteria published by the Psychotherapy College states that it regulates only those forms of professional helping that meet all of five criteria. If a person is providing services that do not meet all five of the criteria, then that person is not regulated by the College.”

The 5 criteria are as follows: 


In order to be regulated by the Psychotherapy College one must be claiming to provide “treatment.”

The National Guild of Hypnotists is explicit that our members do not treat, diagnose nor prescribe. Instead we “help normal people with normal everyday problems using individual hypnotic techniques.”

Provided one is following Guild Standards and Terminology one is safe on this criteria.


In order to be regulated one must be claiming that one “treats” people “by means of psychotherapy technique.”

The National Guild of Hypnotists is explicit that our training does not authorize one for the practice of any form of psychotherapy. Our training is in hypnotism.

Therapeutic Relationship

In order to be regulated one must claim that one’s services are “delivered through a therapeutic relationship.”

The Guild defines the Consulting Hypnotist profession as a non-therapeutic helping discipline, similar in many ways to coaching. 


In order to be regulated one must claim that one’s services are intended to “treat an individual’s serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory.”

As is obvious from the above, Consulting Hypnotists do not hold out services as treatment of “serious disorders.” 


In order to be regulated one must claim that one’s services are intended to treat people with such problems if they “seriously impair the individual’s judgement, insight, behavior, communication or social functioning.”

While the services of a Consulting Hypnotist may well help people improve their judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning, we are not here to do that with people who are struggling with actual clinical disorders. 

in summary

As part of the 2006 legislative hearings at Queens Park in Ontario, NGH, through their legislative arm, the National Federation of Hypnotists, retained a lobbyist to represent us and our concerns at Queens Park.

Subsequently, as a result of that lobbying, we received assurances that the Psychotherapy College that it DID NOT intend to regulate the practice of Consulting Hypnotism as defined by the National Guild of Hypnotists.

We can say that it appears that the Psychotherapy College has fully kept its promises to our profession as stated in the legislative intent of the Psychotherapy Act of 2006, and as enacted in 2017, and Guild members who are in sync with Guild recommendations can practice freely.

Dr. Giles invites (current) Ontario Members who have more complex questions on the matter to contact him via his web page.

what is NOT the controlled act of psychotherapy

Sourced From “What is the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy?”
Pg. 16; Alternative Clarification Document, Final November 1, 2017

Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC)


The controlled act of psychotherapy DOES NOT APPLY in the following cases:

 Regulated or unregulated providers providing information, encouragement, advice, or instructions about emotional, social, educational, or spiritual matters where the goal in the relationship with the client is to provide support, information, and choices to the client for follow-up plans (this would include first point of contact after a mental health crisis following a traumatic event)

 Interactions whose primary goal is improvement for a client who does not have significant impairments such as a disorder of thought, cognition, mood, perception, emotional regulation, or memory that could negatively affect the client’s judgement, insight, behaviour, communication, or social functioning

 Activities such as counselling, coaching, crisis intervention/management, motivational interviewing, information/advice and knowledge transfer, spiritual or faith guidance, rehabilitation aimed at helping an individual deal with symptoms of a medical illness, clinical follow-up, family counselling (including of family members), and psychological education intended to teach skills

 Interactions that do not include a defined treatment plan and implementation of a psychotherapeutic technique and a therapeutic relationship, as defined earlier in this document.

For further clarity, the following terms are defined:

  • COACHING is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaching supports personal growth based on self-initiated change in pursuit of specific, actionable outcomes.”

  • COUNSELLING is an episodic encounter limited to providing assistance and support after making a preliminary assessment regarding a mental health concern to help a patient develop a follow-up plan involving linkages to community agencies or support networks; may include the controlled act of psychotherapy.

  • CRISIS MANAGEMENT INTERACTION is usually focused first on addressing the crisis; the therapeutic relationship is shorter term and the impairment is addressed once the person has stabilized.