Medical Hypnosis Programs: Degree, Certificate and Training Options

Students of medical hypnosis programs learn to help patients overcome social and mental obstacles by using hypnotherapy to manipulate the subconscious in a safe and controlled manner. Certificates and doctoral programs are typically available.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in medical hypnotherapy are fairly common and don't have any education or experience requirements. Students complete classes and clinical training programs that last a few weeks to a few months, covering topics such as stress management or mental disorders. Graduates may qualify to apply for professional certification in clinical hypnotherapy.

Doctoral programs, open to students with bachelor's degrees, are less common and much more intensive, requiring five or more years of study and clinical training. These programs include courses in psychology and counseling as well as internships and research projects. Graduates may need state licensing to practice, depending on their specialty.


Certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy

Certificate programs in medical hypnotherapy vary in length from 100-500 hours of combined classroom and practical training. Some schools offer online or home-study coursework, but require on-campus participation in the hands-on portion of the program. Professional certification in hypnotherapy, dental hypnosis or hypnosis instruction may be offered to students through a school's program. There typically are no prerequisites for a certificate program.

Self-study, online and classroom lessons teach the different methods of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Students learn to set an environment, regulate speech and offer suggestions to hypnotized clients. Safety and patient trust are primary concerns. Some class topics include:

  • Clinical integrity and ethics
  • Personal exploration
  • Pain and stress management
  • Treating mental disorders
  • Breaking patterns and addictions

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Medical Hypnosis

Accredited doctoral programs that focus on or include training in medical hypnosis are uncommon, though a few schools offer this type of education through counseling, psychology or clinical hypnotherapy programs. These programs combine applied studies with research to prepare students for either professional practice or a scientific career. Depending on the primary field of study, doctoral students could participate in clinical internships, research projects or specialized coursework. A doctoral degree can usually be earned in 5-7 years.

Some doctoral programs accept graduates of bachelor's degree programs, though applicants might need to hold a master's degree in a psychology, counseling or a related field. Most programs limit admission and only accept candidates once per year.

Depending on the program, students could take core courses in counseling or clinical psychology with electives in hypnotherapy. Students explore the ethics, theories, limitations and practices of medical hypnosis. Some schools allow students to concentrate on the specialization through independent research or dissertation study. Possible course topics include:

  • Self-hypnosis
  • Induction techniques
  • Basic psychology
  • Managing stress with hypnosis
  • Legal considerations for hypnotherapists
  • Patient ethics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a doctoral program could practice medical hypnosis in several settings. Institutions that employ hypnotherapists include hospitals, counseling centers and wellness clinics. Professionals also could enter private practice and specialize in such areas as trauma, occupational or pediatric hypnosis. Additionally, Ph.D. holders might qualify for careers in academia at the university level.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not publish statistics for hypnotherapists as of October 2016. The BLS did report that psychologists in general could expect job growth of 19%, much faster than the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024, and for the same decade, mental health counselors could expect job growth of 20%, much faster than the average for all occupations. As of May 2015, the BLS reported, psychologists earned a median annual salary of $94,590 and mental health counselors earned a median of $41,880.

Continuing Education Information

The Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCH) credential is offered by the American College of Hypnotherapy (ACH), a division of the American Institute of Health Care Professionals. To earn the CCH designation, candidates must currently be certified by an ACH-approved credentialing organization or complete approved education and testing. Certification is valid for three years and requires 50 hours of continuing education to renew (www.aihcp.org). Additionally, those specializing in dental hypnotherapy can earn diplomate or fellow status after becoming a member of the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association.

A few schools offer workshops for clinical hypnotherapists to specialize their skills or participate in seminars and group practice sessions with instructors, professionals and peers. These workshops could meet continuing education requirements for professionals who need credit to renew a license or certification.

Depending on their chosen profession, some medical hypnotists could need licensure. Those who provide school, family or general counseling services typically must obtain some form of state licensing. Requirements vary, though a doctoral degree satisfies the academic requirements for all states. Additional experience requirements might exist, and individuals must usually pass a state-issued examination.

Most commonly, those interested in careers in hypnotherapy choose to pursue certificate programs and later apply for professional certification or licensure, depending on the specific profession. Doctoral programs are less common and more intensive than certificate programs and lead to professions in academia, but some doctoral graduates choose to open their own clinics.


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