Proposed HPD Version 2 Revisions

Proposals for HPD Revision & Improvement

Reproduced from The Hypnotherapy Journal, Issue 3 Vol. 9, Autumn 2009

Donald Robertson & John Harrington

[Addendum: I understand the Open University have now confirmed that the proposed changes would not affect the OU credits assigned to the HPD. – DR]

In accord with NCFE’s guidance, now that it’s been in use for several years, NCH have been reviewing the existing Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma (HPD) award in an attempt to make necessary updates and improvements.  We have already developed a draft document which clearly shows how the existing HPD learning outcomes might be merged into a smaller set of more generic outcomes.  NCFE have changed their standard format for the specification of learning outcomes since the original HPD was designed and they have advised us that a qualification of this kind would typically be comprised of 20-30 outcomes, whereas the existing HPD has about 86 individual outcomes.  Some of the Version 1 HPD outcomes were quite “high-level” and generic, whereas others become much more concrete and specific.  This created some inconsistency in the award which seemed to complicate the assessment process, e.g., one learning outcome seems to be trying to cover the whole history of hypnosis theory, and could be evidenced by a long essay-type answer. 

3.3 How the models and concepts in your area of practice have evolved and developed, how these tend to change with time and the similarities and differences between different versions.

Whereas others focus down upon very specific areas of practical concern which require a small amount of very specific evidence, e.g., 

15.4      When to touch the client and when not

For the sake of consistency, we’ve tried to subsume more specific issues under a simpler set of broader headings and set the learning outcomes at similar levels of abstraction.  We’ve also tried to minimise jargon, and to substitute theoretically-biased terminology with more generic language.  The “range” (explanation) of each outcome can then be used to provide further specification where needed.  Organising the HPD in a more structured way makes it much easier to read the document and work with the outcomes.  We can now outline the learning outcomes more simply in a single-page document, which provides a clear outline of what must be covered on an HPD training.

            There were also some typographical errors and minor corrections made, and some proposals for additional outcomes which seem to have been missing from the original HPD.  Version 2 of the HPD will be quality-assured by NCFE as meeting the same standard of competence, but easier to read and implement and hopefully as generic and “streamlined” as possible, to make it easier for different training schools to implement.  (To be clear, the number of outcomes has no bearing on the volume or level of work required for the award, which will remain the same.)  Below is the current draft, which is very much under discussion, and has been developed with advice from NCFE on the wording, etc.  The whole award pack provided for students and trainers will be much more comprehensive, hopefully, this is just the list of learning outcomes. 

            We are publishing these proposals at an early stage for the sake of transparency and to encourage NCH members to consider them and comment, especially trainers, who may have to implement them in relation to their existing courses.  We promise to acknowledge any feedback received and will be happy to discuss any comments or suggestions.  This is not a “final draft” until we’re satisfied everyone has had a reasonable and bona fide chance to comment.  According to NCFE, the original HPD was not formally mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Hypnotherapy published by Skills for Health, although it was very closely based upon them.  However, the Version 2 will be systematically mapped against the NOS, we hope, in a manner approved by NCFE.  There is some indication that the National Occupational Standards for Hypnotherapy will be revised themselves next year, in accord with recent revisions which have made other CAM NOS more generic.  The plus sign (+) Indicates an outcome which was previously absent from the HPD, or not clearly stated, but has been proposed for inclusion in version 2. 


1.         Assess the suitability of clients for treatment.  (Contra-indications, motivation, circumstances, nature of problem, etc.)

2.         Interview the client to assess their needs.

3.         Build rapport and a sound working alliance.

4.         Assess hypnotic susceptibility.

5.         Provide a rationale and explanation for hypnotherapy treatment.



6.         Design a treatment plan and agree it with the client.

7.         Employ hypnotic inductions and related techniques.  (Deepeners, tests, emerging, etc.)

8.         Deliver hypnotherapy treatment.

9.         Teach and assign homework techniques.  (Self-hypnosis, CDs, etc.)



10.       Explain the main therapeutic approaches used in modern hypnotherapy.

11.       Evaluate the elements of psychopathology relevant to the practice of hypnotherapy.

12.       Evaluate the factors which might help or hinder the working alliance.

13.       + Explain and evaluate the nature of hypnosis.

14.       + Explain and evaluate the principles of effective hypnotic suggestion.



15.       Evaluate the key elements of the NCH or UKCHO codes of ethics and practice.

16.       Explain the scope and limits of your sphere of competence as a hypnotherapist.

17.       Explain the role of CPD and reflective practice in maintaining professional standards.

18.       + Evaluate the benefits of different forms of clinical supervision.

19.       Evaluate the role of confidentiality in hypnotherapy

20.       Evaluate the legal issues relating the practice of hypnotherapy.  (Criminal and civil law.)

21.       Evaluate the risks attached to hypnotherapy treatment in general and specific interventions.

22.       Evaluate common ethical dilemmas in the practice of hypnotherapy.

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