A Message from John Butler, President
In this last newsletter of 2018, I will touch briefly on some key areas of ACHE activities in the year just ending.
Firstly, thank you for your continuing loyalty to ACHE. As President and also speaking on behalf of the Board, we deeply appreciate your support which greatly encourages us to continue the work.
Secondly, thanks to the members who over the year have communicated with us with messages of support and gratitude for the work of ACHE.
ACHE, as a nonprofit organisation, devotes itself to its members and our beloved profession, including educating the public about high-quality hypnotherapy and where to find its practitioners and trainers. ACHE is active in many countries helping practitioners and schools become established within their own legal jurisdictions while providing them with the support of an organization with global connections. This was the vision of Gil Boyne, who foresaw the spread of Hypnotherapy and was instrumental in making this happen to the point it has now reached, and who also had the vision of a future “umbrella” International organization representing many countries throughout the world.
ACHE is a very busy and complex organization with multiple functions of standard-setting and regulation of clinical practice and training hypnotherapists, providing education opportunities including running a conference, dealing with complaints against therapists or school operators, serving as a point of contact for information for enquiries about therapy and training, liaising with professional bodies and legislators, defending the free and open practice of hypnotherapy and promoting hypnotherapy in the political, legal and public arenas.
The Governing Board which oversees the activities of ACHE confers monthly by e-meetings. It is assisted in carrying out its functions as specified in the Bylaws of ACHE by the Advisory Committees the Board appoints for specific areas of the organization’s activities. The Board inaugurated two new members, Gaye Gibson and Michael Mezmer, to assist it in its work. Each member of the Board serves a 4-year term unless s/he retires earlier.
ACHE itself is continually evolving and as a group it depends on group cooperation for it to flourish. It is constantly developing, as it did under Gil’s leadership. We wish to involve all members as actively as they can, and wish to, participate in the work and the development of the organization. We are working on the administrative and political structures to involve our members as much as possible in the organization and its development. The online era has presented us with added opportunities for making this happen, though there are practical limitations and limitations imposed by state laws (primarily for protective/safety reasons) which we are dealing with to achieve the best outcomes we can. Our goal is to make the organization as responsive to the needs of the members as is practically and possible to achieve.
ACHE relies greatly on the unpaid work of its Directors and Committee members in addition to the dedicated work of administrative staff. We very much welcome volunteers willing to serve on committees. We particularly welcome individuals who can bring relevant skills to committee work. Currently, our committees include those of Educational & Training Standards; Conference & Events Committee; Ethics; Finance; Membership. Additional committees will be formed as ACHE develops. If you feel you can contribute to any of these committees please contact Administration.
During 2018, Katherine Zimmerman retired from the position of Chief Administrator. Katherine was a mainstay of the functioning of the organization but fortunately, through her we have been able to gain a highly competent Administrator in Nicole Graham, who had been ably trained by Katherine. We have also been fortunate to retain the services of Katherine to assist the organisation during times of very heavy workload for a single administrator.
One of the important events for ACHE during the year was our regular Conference. Thanks to all who attended the Conference in April. We had very positive feedback overall and I believe that ACHE has firmly established its place as a provider of the highest standard training events in hypnotherapy. This event is one of our most visible offerings to our members and highly appreciated according to the feedback we receive. It is part of the educational service which, along with our webinars and newsletters, helps keep our members abreast of significant therapeutic developments in Hypnotherapy and Hypnocoaching. It requires a lot of effort to run a Conference yearly (as requested by our members) and any assistance in the promotion of the Conference or assisting in the practical running of the event is greatly appreciated. In recent years many conferences, of widely ranging quality, have come into the market, covering, in greater or lesser depth, the financial/business aspects of hypnotherapy, entertainment, clinical practice or training areas of hypnotherapy. The ACHE Conference seeks to provide a wide-ranging span of topics, covering all main areas, with the primary emphasis on the therapeutic and personal development areas of hypnotherapy. The topics selected are from those requested by our members from the most recent survey.
Our political work in defence of our right to practice freely and openly as hypnotherapists and hypno-coaches continues and is expanding. There have been no major new moves against hypnotherapists and hypno-coaches during the year, as far as we are aware. Our defence strategies, originally devised by Gil Boyne, by far the most effective activist and defender of Hypnotherapy, continue to be developed to meet the current legal and political situations. Our research and collaboration with activists from other organizations and other professions is ongoing. We are keenly aware that our successes against restrictive, unnecessary legislation in recent years, driven by the over-reach of certain licensed practitioner groups, has produced a strong “chilling” effect on plans to impose restrictive legislation. Several plans have failed to be implemented as, on further consideration, the reality of a bruising fight with potential loss has led to reappraisals and caused several attempts to be abandoned. As the result of our efforts and those of other activist groups, the tide has turned in our favour in recent years but we remain very much on our guard and continue to encourage our members to be ever-vigilant about “trojan horse” legislative attempts to unfairly restrict the “free and open” practice of Hypnotherapy.
This freedom brings with it the responsibility to keep our house in order. If our standards and ethics are high we are on a strong moral basis in our profession. One of the greatest threats, perhaps the greatest threat in most countries at the moment, is the trend of “get rich quick”/“make a killing” flagrant scams in which a certain proportion of trainers and some clinicians exploit trusting individuals by means of highly inflated and false claims, mis-selling services and products and charging grossly exorbitant fees for what is actually being provided. This element in our profession is what Gil Boyne regularly referred to as “the blight on this profession”. ACHE, as an organisation, does not support, condone or wish to be associated with such exploitative individuals, whose actions, however financially lucrative, serve ultimately to undermine the credibility and good standing of Hypnotherapy. We anticipate all our members will take a stand against such individuals and groups, whose unethical and exploitative activities do not contribute to the “free and open” practice of Hypnotherapy but work against it.
I am very happy to report that ACHE continues to gain new certificants and new schools. We do not accept schools with lower standards than we require. In some cases new schools require guidance and we are happy to guide them to reach the ACHE standards if they so wish. The future of ACHE depends on recruiting more certificants and schools and also to expand our services to our members. For this we need all the help we can get. We are extremely grateful for all volunteer efforts in this area which can be coordinated with the work of our Membership Committee.
Increasingly, there is additional specialist work to be done in ACHE as we cope with an increasing burden of legal and bureaucratic demands that have to be managed, including dealing with the modern complex legal and ethical areas of responsibilities and complaints. Fortunately serious complaints against therapists and school operators are very rare within ACHE.
I am also happy to report that ACHE is in good financial health. We are careful to maintain a strong financial basis to ensure our ability to continue our vital standards and educational work as a non-profit organisation, free of various personal and financial interests that could interfere with this. The publicly available annual ACHE 990 forms filed with the IRS can be viewed online via organisations such as Guide Star (www.guidestar.org). In accordance with non-profit rules, ACHE directors are not remunerated and a great deal of work is done without payment. In keeping with this also as President I have not taken the President’s compensation ($10K) over the years. Recently the board has voted to make this an automatic payment to the President. In recent years, the presidential role has increasingly involved a role of executive director/CEO, in addition to that of the traditional president’s duties.
Our work on clinical and training standards, ethics, legal and political is needed more than ever, as hypnotherapy continues to expand. This expansion continues in spite of economic problems in many countries which have negative financial impacts on practitioners and trainers.
A lot has been achieved over the years and the future promises great opportunities for the profession and its members.
In March we will hold our Conference, now known as HypnoConnect, and I hope that as many of you as possible will join us there for a very rewarding program of teaching events from our presenters as well as the opportunity to network and socialise with your fellow hypnotherapists. Full information and enrollment details can be found on our website.
I hope to see you there and to welcome you in person.
With my best wishes to each of you for your health and success in 2018,
Dr. John Butler
American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (ACHE)