Australian Hypnosis Legislation

01st May 2009
Hypnosis training group on completition

The practice of hypnosis is no longer overseen by any particular State or Federal Government body, and complaints against hypnotherapists are attended to by individual State Health Departments and Health Rights Commission offices.

The clinical use of hypnosis in Australia is now self regulated by various State and National hypnosis associations. However the associations have no legal rights outside of themselves or their particular constitution, and can only discipline their members within the boundaries of their constitutions. There is no hypnosis association in Australia that has any favour, or recognition with, or that is consulted by Government regarding the practice and uses of hypnosis as a clinical therapy.

Until 2008 and 2005 respectively; the laws in relation to the practice of hypnosis in South Australia and Western Australia were legally controlled and restricted by those States relevant psychologist's acts. For the most part, those now obsolete acts deemed that only the following practitioners could legally practice hypnosis:

  • Psychologists
  • Medical Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Other Persons As Approved By The States Psychologists Board

However, probably because of the ambiguity of the laws and the impossibility to prove exactly what a hypnotic trance is, or is not, there was never a successful recorded prosecution regarding "Non Approved" people practicing hypnosis.

Whilst the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have never had hypnosis regulation, in 1998 the state of Victoria quite rightly de-regulated hypnosis. New South Wales has long allowed self-regulation, which is responsibly and fairly guided by associations comprised mostly of professional clinicians, who freely devote much time and input to ensure high industry standards. Presently all of the major Australian hypnosis associations are investigating, "called for submissions" regarding responsible self-regulation of hypnosis and this now appears to be the preferred position.

The South Australian Government Review of Psychological Practices Act 1973 in terms of Competition Principles Draft Report of the Review Panel, dated October 1998, recommended that all references to hypnosis, principally Section 39, be deleted from the Act.

  • Proposed Tasmanian Legislation to replace the aging, Psychology Registration Act, will not have any restriction on Hypnosis as a therapeutic practice. Minister for Health Office November 1998.
  • The recent Australian Health Minister's Advisory Council (AHMAC) decision on this issue is that the 'regulation on Hypnosis, as an occupational group is not warranted at this time.*
  • The Queensland preferred position that existing controls within the Psychologists Act 1977 over the practice of Hypnosis be repealed as recommended in the Draft. - Policy Paper September 1996. In accordance with these recommendations the practice of hypnosis in Queensland was de-regulated in May 2002.
  • Western Australia: The control and regulation of hypnosis was removed from the Western Australian Psychologists Act on the 5th December 2005.
  • The NSW decision was to not regulate Hypnosis; the debate appears in Hansard 6797, 19 April 1989.
  • The Northern Territory and ACT have never legislated to regulate hypnosis and have no intention to do so.
  • Victorian deregulation was legislated in 1998 when the Psychologists Registration Act 1967, relating to Hypnosis regulation were removed from the act and ceased to have effect from 1 January 1998.
  • In 1993 here was a federal government decision to rescind the National Health and Medical Research Council 1983 Report "Hypnosis in Clinical Practice".

In The Final Analysis as of June 2010

The practice of hypnosis was never regulated in some States and since the 1998 when the removal of exclusivity of the practice de-regulated, all other States have followed suit, except for South Australia where the health minister and other members of the South Australian state Parliament have continued to hold up the passing of the legislation.

Update. In July 2010 the deregulation of the practice of Hypnosis in South Australia was passed into law. Therefore the practice of hypnosis is no longer restricted to the professions of Medicine, Psychology, and Dentistry. In the past significant penalties applied to non approved hypnosis practitioners, and although there were many threats there was never a successful prosecution in Australia against any person, and nobody was ever charged under the archaic and antiquated laws that once applied to the practice of hypnosis and hypnotherapy.

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