Code of Ethics

Australian Hypnotherapists Association Code of Ethics

The following is a code established to set minimum standards as guidelines for the ethical behaviour and conduct of Members in their practice.

Ethical Principles
  • Members respect the essential humanity, worth and dignity of all people and promote this value in their work.
  • Members recognise and respect diversity among people and oppose discrimination and oppressive behaviour.
  • Members respect the privacy of their clients and preserve the confidentiality of information acquired in the course of their work.
  • Members protect the rights of their clients, including the right to informed consent.
  • Members take steps to maintain and develop their competence throughout their professional lives.
  • Members abide by the laws of the society in which they practice.
Ethical Responsibilities

Responsibilities to the Client

  • Members take all reasonable steps to avoid harm to the client as a result of the therapeutic process.
  • In the event of harm resulting from therapy, Members take responsibility for restitution and professional indemnity should be considered by all therapists.
  • Members promote client autonomy and encourage clients to make responsible decisions on their own behalf.
  • Members consider the social context of the client and their connections to others.
  • Members are responsible for setting and maintaining professional boundaries within the therapeutic relationship.


  • Members must not exploit clients, past or present, in financial, sexual, emotional or any other way.
  • Members will not accept or offer payments for referrals, or engage in any financial transactions, apart from the ordinary fee charged to clients for interviews.
  • Sexual relations between the Member and the client can never be acceptable and constitute unethical behaviour.  This is not restricted to sexual intercourse and includes any form of physical contact, whether initiated by the client or the Hypnotherapist, which has as its purpose any form of sexual gratification, or which may be reasonably construed as having that purpose.
  • Members should consider that the deeper the involvement with a client’s emotional life during therapy, the less likely is the possibility of a subsequent equal relationship following termination of therapy.  Members must seek professional supervision should any attempt to build a relationship with a former client be considered.


Members treat with confidence any personal information about clients, whether obtained directly or by inference.  This applies to all verbal, written or recorded material produced as a result of the relationship.  All records, whether in written or any other form, need to be protected with the strictest of confidence.

  • The client must not be observed by anyone other than their therapist without having given informed consent.  This applies both to direct observation and to any form of audio or visual transmission or recording.
  • Exceptional circumstances may arise which give the therapist good grounds for believing that the client will cause serious physical harm to others or themselves.  In such circumstances, the breaking of confidentiality may be required, preferably with the client’s permission, or after consultation with the therapist’s supervisor.
  • Any breaking of confidentiality should be minimised both by restricting the information conveyed to that which is pertinent to the immediate situation and by limiting it to those persons who can provide the help required by the client.
  • Agreements about confidentiality continue after the client’s death unless there are overriding legal considerations.

Special care is required when writing about specific therapeutic situations for reports and publication.  The author must have the client’s informed consent should there be any possibility of identification of the client.

Members and supervisors are responsible for protecting the client’s rights of confidentiality and any shared information should be disguised where appropriate.


Therapeutic activities are to be undertaken only with professional intent and not casually and/or in extra professional relationships.

  • Contracts involving the client should be realistic and clear.
  • Any publicity material and all written and oral information should accurately reflect the nature of the service offered and the training, qualifications and relevant experience of the Member.
  • Members are responsible for communicating the terms on which therapy is being offered.
  • Members will disclose any conflict of interest which may arise in relation to a client and will seek supervision to resolve appropriate action which may include referral.
Responsibilities to self as a therapist

Members have a responsibility to themselves to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and ability to help clients.  They are expected to monitor their own personal functioning and to seek help or withdraw from their therapy practice when their personal resources are sufficiently depleted to require this.

  • Members will not continue to practice when their functioning is impaired due to personal or emotional difficulties, illness, alcohol, drugs or for any other reason.
  • Members will have regular suitable supervision and will use such supervision to develop their skills as a therapist, monitor performance and provide accountability for practice.
Responsibilities to other professionals
  • Members do not conduct themselves in their practice-related or private activities in any way which undermines public confidence in either their role as a therapist or in the work of other professionals.
  • Members are committed to the ethical code of the Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association and breaking such code may lead to withdrawal of membership for unethical practice.
  • Members who suspect conduct by other therapists which cannot be resolved or remedied after discussion with the professional concerned should approach the Ethics Committee of the relevant professional body.
  • Members do not solicit the clients of other therapists.  They have an obligation not to impair the work of their colleagues.  Nevertheless, therapists need to be aware of the client’s right to seek a second opinion.
Responsibilities to the wider community
  • Members work within the law.
  • Members take all reasonable steps to be aware of current legislation affecting their work.
  • Members are committed to protect the public against incompetence and dishonourable practices and are prepared to challenge these practices.
Research Ethics
  • The psychological well-being of the individual subject is always more important than the research itself.
  • For all practical purposes, a “research subject” should be considered identical with a “client” and accordingly, all relevant Clauses within the general section of the “Code of Ethics” remain applicable.
  • Members must ensure that informed consent has been obtained prior to the commencement of any research project. This is especially so in the case of Minors or Persons with Special Needs. (N.B. This does not apply where general research of a purely statistical nature is carried out).
  • Members accept that all participation by subjects must be on a completely voluntary basis and that no pressure of any type should be exerted in order to secure participation.
  • Members maintain complete openness and honesty with regard to both the purpose and nature of the research being conducted.
  • Prior to asking for the subject’s consent, Members consider any potential adverse consequences to the subject as a result of any intended research project and take all necessary steps to ensure that the subject will not suffer harm from any such a study.
  • Confidential data obtained during research studies must never be disclosed in situations or circumstances which might lead to identification of the subject, unless prior consent to the disclosure of such information has been received.
  • Members are not to use a position of authority to place pressure on prospective subjects for the purpose of securing their participation and consent in any research.
  • Where relevant, Members provide for the ongoing care of participants with regard to any adverse effects that might arise as a consequence of and within a reasonable time period after, their involvement within any research project.
  • Research must be carried out so that bias is not deliberately introduced into the planning, conducting, or reporting of a research study.
  • Members must give adequate supervision to those who may be assisting them with their research to ensure that AHA ethical principles are not disregarded.
Writing and publishing ethics
  • Members are not to publish as their own something which is essentially not their own work, or to which they have not made a major contribution.
  • Members are not to try to prevent the publication of a review that is critical of their work.
  • Every applicant for recognition as an accredited supervisor for the AHA must first be deemed likely to be accepted without reservation by all the clinical members.
  • Every Clinical Member and above is therefore entitled and obliged, if an applicant is considered unacceptable (with particular respect to good fame, personal reputation and character), to report any such reservation, substantiated in writing, for consideration by the Executive.
  • The AHA will always uphold the principle of natural justice / procedural fairness; however, every applicant is required to acknowledge that the Executive may refuse to accept the application, or may refuse to admit the applicant for accreditation, without the Executive being required to provide any reason or explanation for its actions.
  • If any clinical member considers that a current applicant is not acceptable, they are to forward their substantiated report to the Executive.  The Executive will treat all such reports in the strictest confidence.
  • If no such report is received within two weeks of distribution of the applicant’s name, the nominated referees will be contacted to confirm the Applicant’s bona fides.  The Interview Panel will be convened as soon as practicable thereafter.
Complaints procedure

The AHA takes complaints seriously and complaint procedures are clearly defined in the Association’s Articles of Association.

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