The International Hypnosis Research Institute is now an Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) for over 50,000 counselors in the United States and internationally. Early last week, the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) informed us that their Continuing Education Committee completed a review of our application and made the decision to allow us to become an official NBCC CE provider. Their committee is made up of several National Certified Counselors who are also state licensed mental health practitioners. Our authorization to serve as an ACEP does not signify NBCC's endorsement of any particular theory or idea promoted by this Institute or any of the authors or instructors with whom we may associate. Rather, receiving this status means that we are qualified to administer a continuing education program within their strict guidelines.
NBCC is an authority for several different types of counselor certifications. Their main one is the National Certified Counselor (NCC) certification. NCC's are required to obtain 100 continuing education (CE) clock hours in each five-year certification cycle. NCC's who hold other specialty certifications are required to obtain a certain percentage of their CE's in their specialty area.
By being a recognized ACEP this Institute will have the ability to award CE's for in-house courses, which comply with one of eight NBCC approved topic areas. We will also be able to author additional qualifying courses and sponsor other authors who meet the NBCC's rigorous standards. The course instructor or author for each area must have certain qualifications such as a masters degree or doctorate in a mental health field or have significant education and experience in the topic discussed in their course. Two of the areas require that the instructor/author be in the first category. In order to approve courses for CE credit, the Institute will require that a course be designed to primarily benefit graduate-level mental health practitioners. Courses that are too broad in scope and/or which are specifically meant for other fields (i.e. nurses, chiropractors, etc) will not be approved for NBCC CE's.
Since its founding, core among this Institute's objectives was establishing the credibility of hypnotherapy among mainstream practitioners, research facilities, and academia. After our first year, we began conducting professional development courses, which have been taken or attended by mental health practitioners, medical practitioners, and personal development coaches. While we have had members and students from all three categories, traditionally 82% of our students have been graduate degree-level mental health practitioners to include psychologists, counselors, and social workers.
During the approval process it appeared that NBCC would have been more comfortable with us excluding non-mental health participants from all of our programs as a condition of receiving ACEP approval. We argued to the contrary and eventually made them more comfortable with our policies and activities. Even though we will focus on mental health, we will always welcome a wide range of students and members. As we are not intended to be an educational institution, which provides entry-level training for occupations or professions that require a specific health care license, we will continue to be inclusive. By associating with a wide range of helping professionals in the same educational experience, all participants benefit. This means that we feel that we can provide a better educational environment by allowing non-mental health practitioners to attend our courses. Even though the topic for a particular course may be something that is normally associated with a specific health care license, a relative outsider may provide valuable insight and experience that would not otherwise be available. The likelihood of learning from a wide range of practitioners – despite their fields – has always been a valuable resource for those attending our programs.
As an ACEP, we plan to open up course authoring opportunities to appropriate practitioners in the mental health fields as well as those who are qualified under NBCC-guidelines although they do not hold mental health graduate degrees. For the time being, we will focus on offering online courses. As we have just been approved for ACEP status, we have not had the time to fully develop an author program. Guidelines will be available within the next couple of weeks on our Author's Resources page. Meanwhile, if you want to get on our mailing list of potential authors, please send us a message using the link on that page.
As we just mentioned, all courses for which we award CE's must be on NBCC's approved list. These include Human Growth and Potential, Social and Cultural Foundations, Career Development and Counseling, Assessment, and Research and Program Evaluation. Practitioners with extensive education and experience in these topics may qualify as an author for those topic areas. However, the exception to this is that the author for career counseling topics must also have a mental health graduate degree. Additionally, authors with a mental health graduate degree may submit proposals for courses on Counseling Theory/Practice and the Helping Relationship and courses on Counselor Professional Identity and Practice Issues. All courses involving theory/practice and the helping relationship, which essentially involves various forms of psychotherapy, must be adequately supported by substantial empirical research or must have been recently included on the agenda or academic journal of a recognized mental health organization or association. Again, this strict requirement only applies to the therapy-related courses – which would also mean hypnotherapy courses. Therefore, there may be times when a psychotherapy or hypnotherapy course is being proposed by a practitioner who holds a mental health related graduate degree yet is not deemed to meet the additional quality requirements. While we will support well-developed courses without endorsing particular theories, all proposed courses must meet these standards.
Being approved by NBCC is a milestone both for this Institute and for the credibility of the field of hypnotherapy. Even though we will always offer scientifically-based hypnotherapy courses to include our signature ANNH certification program, over the coming year we will also seek to become a major player in the mental health continuing education arena. This will allow us a greater audience which to expose a wide range valid hypnotherapy courses as we benefit the wider community.