Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute, Canada's longest running hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703
Update: Alberta will have counsellor legislation in the Fall of 2019 making it the 5th province to legally define counsellor and or psychotherapist.
Recently I posted an article
related to the impending psychotherapy act in Ontario which will go into effect in December 2019. In this article, I will focus on what could possibly happen in BC. I'm basing my information on approximately 22 years of being involved with this issue off and on in my impression of the current situation in this province including developments over the past few years in Fact BC. Please understand that what follows is an educated guess. No one really knows exactly how things will look if legislation does occur in BC but from certain factors, it is possible to draw some possible conclusions.
In a previous article, I gave a brief history of the events leading up to where we are now so I will focus on the current situation and how I view it.
Core competencies have been the cornerstone in our proposal to the BC government to create a College of counsellors. The original idea was that, rather than require a specific degree such as a BA, MA, or Ph.D., core competencies would define the minimal skill set that an entry-level counsellor should have to practice in the counselling field. Since 1997 there have been many new versions of the core competencies and with each one, the requirements for entrance into the potential new college have increased making it more inaccessible for many current therapists and students. At this point, the core competencies are almost equivalent to having a Masters level degree.
As a result, associations like the Association of Cooperative Counselling Therapists have raised their entrance requirements to include the DSM-V, Family Therapy and Abnormal Psychology. ClearMind International is another school which is adding more courses into its curriculum to meet the Ontario standards.
As I've stated in my previous article
on Ontario legislation I know for a fact that the Ontario government will not be restricting anyone from practising counselling. However, only those members of the College will be permitted to practice with client's who have "serious issues". For example, the client would like to do sessions with you and tells you that they have been diagnosed as clinically depressed. If you were not a member of the College then you would be restricted in working with this type of client.
However, if a potential client wants to do sessions with you and they tell you they have been feeling depressed but have not been diagnosed you could see them without having to be a member of the College. I should emphasize that you should not take on any client who you feel might have more serious issues even if they haven't been assessed. Always know when to refer and if in doubt contact someone with more experience in this area to advise you.
Now that we know specifically what the Ontario legislation looks like, there are some educated guesses we can make in relation to the situation in BC especially in relation to how it might affect Hypnotherapists. I will use my school, Orca Institute to show how I think will this new model will affect hypnotherapy students and practitioners in BC.
First of all, let me restate that I do not believe that any provincial legislation will contain any clause which will have the effect of restricting anyone from practising hypnotherapy within the parameters I've stated above. The reason I feel confident about this relates to governments, in general, being very reticent about restricting anyone's ability to make a living as long as they are keeping within the current laws. So simply put, I don't see that happening.
About a year ago, as President of the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists, I realized that as an association it was important to be a member of Fact BC. For those who aren't aware, fact BC is a group representing the main counselling groups in BC with the purpose of lobbying the BC government to set up a College of counsellors. Much progress has been made in the past short while and I believe that we might be close to creating a College in this province.
I believe that once a college is formed its members would be under The Health Professions Act of BC and most likely be covered by any insurance company that currently covers psychologists. In addition to having a protected title in the same realm as a registered psychologist or Registered Nurse, a member would most likely get referrals from the medical profession and possibly be eligible for employment through government agencies who typically require a Masters degree to work within their system.
For most practitioners who are not operating with a protected title, it becomes obvious that there are specific advantages to having a protected title. I can understand that how might seem daunting for some who would consider attempting to meet the core competencies necessary to attain membership in the new college.
However, a common procedure in these matters of new legislation, especially in the area of setting new standards for a particular profession, is the implementation of a grandfather clause. A grandfather clause is typically a period of one to two years where practitioners who have come up to a particular standard within their Association [member of fact BC] would be portal or grandfathered into the new college without having to meet the specific core competencies which might go beyond their current Association membership standards.
One scenario might be that a member of the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists
who has achieved the Level Of Counselling Hypnotherapist +750 hours of practice with clients at the time of the closing of the grandfathering period would be eligible for membership in the new college.
In conclusion, if you are a hypnotherapy student or practitioner I believe that you will be able to continue to practice whether you are a member of the future College or not. However, I hope you will take into account the potential of being a member of the future College.