A relaxed state of mind plays a crucial role in hypnotherapy. Tapping into your clients’ subconscious and opening them up to suggestion are the foundation of what you do.
But any sense of calm can quickly evaporate if something goes unexpectedly wrong and a client says that instead of helping, you caused them harm. It stands to reason that an accusation of professional negligence can usher in a whole world of worry.
That’s what makes it a good idea to protect yourself and your business with hypnotherapy insurance. It provides all the back-up you need in situations like these. Although we would say that, wouldn’t we? And you probably still need convincing.
So, engage the rational, decision-making part of your brain (although leave it open to suggestion). And let’s look at what can go wrong for hypnotherapists; how you can reduce the risk of that happening; and what insurance can do to help.
What can go wrong for hypnotherapists?
Matters of the mind are at the very heart of your professional specialism. And since the mind is a delicately balanced thing, there’s always a chance it could be thrown off kilter by hypnotherapy.
It depends what kind of treatment you engage in with a client of course, and the objectives. Simple suggestion-led sessions helping clients to give up smoking, lose weight or overcome phobias are unlikely to cause any particular problems.
The only real danger in such cases is that the treatment proves ineffective, or a client relapses very soon after it finishes. Then someone might demand their money back.
But clients who, maybe unknown to you, have a personality disorder, are prone to psychosis, or have severe depression can have a different experience. Their condition could worsen with hypnotherapy and they could suffer extreme distress.
That’s particularly the case if you’re regressing clients and taking them back to explore childhood or deeply affecting experiences. On rare occasions, such treatment can prompt false memories, which can become very problematic.
Accidents will happen
The other thing that can go wrong for hypnotherapists is that a client has a run-of-the-mill accident. Nothing fancy. Just a stumble over a ricked-up rug in your treatment rooms, and a face-plant that requires expensive dentistry.
The thing is, people can be clumsy. And in this day and age, accidents like these tend to lead to a call to Injuries R Us type lawyers. Then they call you, demanding compensation on their client’s behalf.
It’s the same if you visit your clients at home. Perhaps you knock over a vase of flowers, which then washes over a laptop sitting on the same surface. The laptop’s ruined and it’s your fault. So, you’re expected to pay.
How can hypnotherapy insurance help?
Hypnotherapist insurance provides practical and financial help if there’s a legal claim against you. Because unless you also happen to be a personal injury lawyer, have plenty of spare time, and a wad of cash to cover potential damages, you’re going to need help.
There’s always the potential for you to hire your own lawyer of course. But we all know how cheap they are. And it still doesn’t get round the issue of stumping up potentially £thousands in compensation if the case goes against you.
Treatment and professional liability cover, on the other hand, steps in on your behalf as soon as there’s an accusation you were professionally negligent. It pays for a legal expert to represent you and covers all legal costs, as well as any compensation due.
The same goes for public liability insurance, should a client have any sort of accident they say was your fault. Likewise, if you do any damage or cause injury elsewhere in the course of your work. Your cover pays for your legal costs and picks up the tab for compensation.
There’s another type of insurance you’ll need if you employ others, even only part-time, or every now and then. Employers’ liability protects your staff if they’re made ill or injured by working for you. And you need it by law, or you could face a fine of £2,500 for each day you were meant to have it but didn’t.
What else can I do to reduce my risks?
All good practice starts with good training, so you should ensure that the training you’ve had is of good quality and sufficient length. That way your clients are assured of the best possible treatment, while you’ll be operating at the top of your game.
Although there are no current regulations for the training and qualifications hypnotherapists require to practice, there are industry guidelines. They state practitioners should have completed at least an appropriate diploma or course involving a minimum 450 learning hours, 120 of which should be face-to-face.
Joining one of the professional associations for hypnotherapists accredited by the government’s Professional Standards Authority is also recommended. As is registering with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, which requires professional liability insurance as a condition of membership.
Committing to regular refresher training and corporate professional development can also help keep your skills up to date.
Doing the groundwork
Only a small percentage of people are at risk from anything other than minor side-effects like dizziness, drowsiness, or headaches from hypnotherapy. And the best way to identify those who are more vulnerable is to do a thorough pre-treatment investigation of their medical history.
Check for any previous experience of psychotic episodes, major depression, or personality disorders since such clients can be susceptible to much more serious disturbance. Also check that anyone hoping to use hypnotherapy for pain control has first had a diagnosis from a doctor.
It goes without saying that you should always keep written records to show you’ve carried out a proper assessment. Also write up notes after each session to demonstrate you’ve monitored and re-assessed your client’s treatment and progress throughout.
It's an equally good idea to set clear objectives and expectations for treatment before your first session with a client. That way they're less likely to be disappointed with the results and will be more realistic about possible outcomes.
A paper trail is invaluable if there’s a problem. And although it’s to be hoped you won’t encounter any serious obstacles along your professional path, hypnotherapy insurance can give you the peace of mind to practice relatively stress-free. It’s reliable back-up, should you need it - a bit like a paper trail.
For more information about hypnotherapy insurance or to get an online quote, click here. Or call the team on 0345 222 5391.
Image used under license from Shutterstock.complementary therapistsinsurance explainedmanaging risktreatment & professional liability