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Counselling Hypnotherapy Training Blog

Counselling Hypnotherapy Training Blog (10)

Articles on Hypnotherapy, healing, meditation, Hawaiian Shamanism, psychotherapy, counselling and much more will be posted in this blog. Please feel free to respond and contribute to the ever-changing discussion on these topics.

On August 23rd, 2020 the BC Government announced that it would be overhauling the 20 Colleges under the Health Protections Act. The intent is to reduce the 20 current Colleges to 6. This move is based on the recommendations of the Cayton report.  Learn More about the Cayton Report and the restructuring. 

What does this mean for Counsellors in BC? 

It's hard to say. There is no mention of Counsellors in the document. We assume that part will become clearer probably around May 2020, when the process begins. Below is FACTBC's commentary on these recent events which will hopefully give the reader some insights at what FACTBC's focus has been and will be in the coming months (Sheldon Bilsker, Director, Orca Institute)

Commentary by Glen Grigg, Ph.D., FACTBC Chair)

This is just a short note to fill you in on the follow-up and response FACTBC has provided to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s Thursday announcement that, supported by Green house leader Fursteneau and Liberal health critic Letnick, the government’s intention is to proceed with the modernization plan for BC’s health care regulation.

The stated intention is that the government, supported by cabinet and all parties in the legislature, will put the six new multi-title colleges and the oversight body in place by an amendment to the existing HPA in Spring 2021.

This is just a short note to fill you in on the follow-up and response FACTBC has provided to Health Minister Adrian Dix’s Thursday announcement that, supported by Green house leader Fursteneau and Liberal health critic Letnick, the government’s intention is to proceed with the modernization plan for BC’s health care regulation.

The stated intention is that the government, supported by cabinet and all parties in the legislature, will put the six new multi-title colleges and the oversight body in place by amendment to the existing HPA in Spring 2021. There is nothing in this announcement to change our plan to put a formal application designation before the Minister of Health in late September.

FACTBC has been clear that we support the modernization process, and at the same time, the government has come short of a formal, binding commitment, procedurally embedded in the requirements of the legislation, that Counselling Therapy be regulated.

Once this formal written commitment is in place, then we no longer need to, one more time,  make the case for Counselling Therapy. The Application for Designation becomes the facts agreed to by all parties, independent of who forms government, who the official is, or who happens to be the minister of health.

The practical business of the regulation of counselling therapy in BC can proceed once this step is accomplished. In short, we are respectfully, and very assertively, asking government to acknowledge that we have “done our homework” and to provide the commitment required under the HPA. 

The public-interest goal at the centre of our work and commitment is protection of the title “Counselling Therapist” under the HPA. This is the step that provides the safety and accountability that should be the right of every British Columbian seeking professional care.

Many of our association members, familiar with the historical idea that regulation requires a stand-alone college for each professional title, may need some clarification about the progress that has been made in effective professional regulation. 

Our members need to know that no profession in BC, including doctors and nurses, will have a “one-profession, one-college” regulatory system. Six large colleges will regulate all of the more than twenty-eight protected titles in BC.

Within those colleges councils specific to each professional title will take responsibility for issues like standards of practice and fitness to practice.

In this new system, the voice of the counselling therapy profession will be re-positioned bu not lost. I encourage you to communicate with your membership about the meaning of a modern regulatory system for Counselling Therapy. Timely clarification is, as we know, helpful in avoiding unnecessary confusion and distress. 

We have already reached out to government officials and the media to let them know that while we support the general direction of modernization, this announcement comes short of the formal commitment to Counselling Therapy we have been seeking and that we will be supporting the government to correct this oversight with a written submission in the near future. Hope this note provides some clarity, context, and direction.


Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703

 A current Overview of Counsellor Legislation in Canada. By IACH, and Orca Institute. This is a talk by Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC on June 20th, 2020, updating his students on Counsellor Regulation in Canada. Timeline 15 sec.- Fact BC History 3:51- Task Group 8:30- Cayton report 14:57- Ontario Legislation 18:51- ACCT 20:07- Alberta Counselling Legislation 28:26- Agreement on Internal Trade 32:05- Summary (Video Below).

Friday, 17 May 2019 22:01

Learning Ericksonian Hypnosis

Written by
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

Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist and the founding president of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis born in 1901 and died in 1980. At 17 he was paralyzed by polio. This event started a process of exploration to discover what he was capable of, which eventually would lead him to become the modern-day father of hypnotherapy. He revolutionized the field. 

In earlier days and still used is what is referred to as direct approaches in hypnosis.

An example of a direct approach would be “close your eyes, breathe deeply, relax and let go,” in other words, a series of benevolent orders for the client to do certain things that will hopefully produce a state of deep relaxation or hypnosis. An indirect approach [Ericksonian hypnosis] can involve a variety of different types of phrasing such as, “and sometimes we can wonder, isn’t it nice to know that we can just let go at our own pace in our own time, I’m not sure when you’ll choose to relax, but it doesn’t really matter, and whether you choose to move into trance this way or another way it doesn’t really matter which way, as we can move all the way into trance [another term for hypnosis].”

The advantage of an indirect approach is that the client has more metonymy in choosing his or her own experience during the hypnotic session, so they do not feel as locked in. However, like anything else in this field, sometimes a direct approach is precisely what the client needs at that time. Also, some clients are more comfortable with the direct approach. It is a matter of choice, and most importantly what works.
Sometimes Milton Erickson was very direct in approach, but most of the time not. He did whatever was appropriate according to the client’s needs at that moment, and typically, he had no idea what he was going to do until that moment. His intent was always to empower the client and create an environment where they felt safe in making their own choices and finding their own resolutions.

My Story

Sometime in 1990, I was teaching classes in Vancouver on hypnosis. At the time, I was teaching very traditional and directive ways to do hypnotherapy. That is all I knew. One day I met Mahmud Nestman RCC, M.ED who happened to be teaching in the same school as me. He was a counsellor and hypnotherapist, and in our discussion, he asked me if I had ever heard of Ericksonian hypnotherapy. I said I had not.

From that time whenever I would run into him, I would ask Mahmud to tell me more about this new therapeutic approach to hypnosis. The more I heard, the more questions I had and the more fascinated I became. In one particular week, I was teaching two classes, and I asked Mahmud if he would teach my class Ericksonian hypnosis. He agreed, and enthusiastically, I scheduled him in for both classes in which case I would become one of the students as well.

The day came, and I could not wait to see what Mahmud what was going to demonstrate. I observed him working with students, and myself included, demonstrating indirect phrasing, arm levitation, utilizing stories, using anecdotes and metaphors, pacing and leading and more. What I found particularly fascinating was that this approach was almost the polar opposite of what I had been doing and had learned.
Previously, I would, in effect, “prepare” for a client that I was about to see.

Much my preparation would involve wording that I was going to use in the hypnotic induction and specific suggestions that I thought might benefit the client. I look back at that and find it slightly absurd that I believed I had to prepare in that way. The chances were that my assumptions would be way off base when it came to the particular needs of the client at that moment. As I came to this realization, I knew that I could not use my “old” approach again in my practice.

I hypnotized my first person in 1968. It was my friend’s girlfriend, and we wanted to see if we could contact spirits. I just read a book on hypnosis and decided to put it to the test. She was a willing and very good hypnotic subject and went into trance deeply. We contacted something because she was in distress for a short time until she came out of trance although I’m not entirely sure what created her anxiety. That was a long time ago, and I’ve learned much since then. The hypnotherapeutic approaches I used since then until I met Mahmud were very direct and slightly authoritative in approach.

Now, I had so many more ways of creatively and non-intrusively, helping people move into trance easily, safely, and effectively. I knew it would take a great deal of practice as these approaches were not necessarily easy to learn, although I found myself taking to this new approach as if my subconscious always knew it was there and had just chosen to reveal it. As I felt more confident in this new approach, I began to incorporate it into my classes until eventually, it became a mainstay of our training.

Many years later, this approach is still the most important thing I do when working with the client. Simply put, I allow the client to “come to” me rather than go to the client. I choose a position of openness and neutrality, which allows me to really listen to what the client is offering me. This tells me all that I need to know and what to do next. One of the things I enjoy doing with students is to put them in a position where they have no idea what they will do next in a counselling session. Most students, especially novices, will feel various stages of discomfort. It’s a wonderful place to be. It is a place of infinite creativity and choice. It also forces one to be entirely in the moment with that person in front of you.

Erickson always said that he had no idea what he was going to do or say next when working with the client, but he knew that the client had an extraordinary ability, as we all do, to access their own inner resources and with encouragement, support and insight, resolve their own issues.
Very few things in my professional career as a teacher has given me more satisfaction than watching a student in the situation I just described, climb out of the abyss and discover that they knew exactly what they were going to do next, because verbally, or nonverbally, the client let them know. In my opinion, that is the pivotal process of becoming a therapist. Erickson taught me that, maybe not in person, but through everything he left.

I encourage all hypnotherapy students to learn Ericksonian hypnosis and broaden their perspective on this fascinating field.


Monday, 11 February 2019 15:33

Thoughts on Cancer

Written by
Serge King, Ph.D. is a Hawaain Shaman based in Hawaii. He is the author of many books including The Urban Shaman and Imagineering for Health. 
Contact Orca Institute at 604-808-3703.

My younger brother died of cancer in his early thirties, and my mother died of complications involving cancer when she was in her eighties. And I have had the opportunity to work with many people suffering from that disease. In every case, I am familiar with, and according to many medical experts, cancer has both physical and emotional aspects. The strength of each of these can amplify the other, and the healing of either of these can help to heal the other.

My brother had lung cancer. He was a heavy smoker and had a lot of stress in his life. In addition, he fit the personality profile observed in almost 1000 lung cancer patients by Dr. David Kissen of Southern General Hospital in Glasgow: before he was fifteen one of his parents died (our father); there were marital difficulties, and there were professional frustrations. Naturally, a very large number of people may have these particular experiences, but what Dr. Kissen considered significant was how many of the cancer patients reacted to them. Typically, they held in emotional expression and denied conflicts. This certainly described my brother.

My mother had lung cancer. She also lost her father before the age of fifteen, and had her share of marital difficulties and professional frustrations, too. And, she held in emotional expression and denied conflicts as well.

Similar relationships between emotions, experiences of loss or frustration, and all forms of cancer have been noted in many medical studies (two good sources for this kind of information, if they are still available, are Psychosomatics, by Howard R. and Martha E. Lewis [Pinnacle Books, 1975} and Who Gets Sick, by Blair Justice, Ph.D. [Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1988]).

The common thread of emotional response in all forms of cancer (and, I suspect, in all disease), is a frustrated desire to control experience in some way. There is a wide variation in what people are trying to control. Some are trying to control their own behaviour; some are trying to control the behaviour of others; some are trying to control past, present, or future events; some are trying to control it all. It is not surprising that cancer is often associated with symptoms of depression, but it not always clear whether the depression is associated with the cancer, or with something else that the person cannot control.

In my own experience with an observation of people with cancer, I have noted that the most successful recoveries seem to be strongly associated with major mental, emotional, or physical behavioural changes among the people with the illness. What is major for one person, of course, may not be the same for another. Some people get results from radically changing their whole lifestyle, while others get results from forgiving a longtime resentment. I know of one success where a woman left her family, took up a different religion, changed her clothing and diet, and moved to a different country. Maybe she needed all of those changes and maybe not, but overall it worked for her. I know of another person, a man, who simply stopped trying to outdo his father, and that worked for him.

My brother, however, didn't change his reactions or his life. And my mother, right to the very end, refused to give up grudges she had held for many years against many people. If you want to change something, you have to change something.

Whenever we try to control something by mental, emotional, or physical means, and whenever we fail to control it to the degree that we want, we increase the tension in our body. The more often we try and fail, the greater the increase in tension. Not everyone gets cancer because of this since the specific outcome of excess tension depends on so many different genetic, environmental, and mental factors, but I believe that healing the control issues can be of tremendous benefit in helping to heal cancer and, probably, everything else that needs healing.

The need for control is based on fear, and fear itself generates tension. Control, then, is merely a technique for trying not to feel afraid. Maybe a good place to start the healing process would be to stop trying to control fear and do something to change the fear reaction, instead.

It is an experiential fact that you cannot feel fear if your body is totally relaxed. However, even though there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to relax, such as massage, meditation, play, laughter, herbs, drugs, etc., that does not always solve the problem. The real problem lies behind the tension, and behind the fear. The real problem is not even the idea that something is fearful. The real problem is that you feel helpless. When this problem is solved the fear disappears (not the common sense, just the helpless fear), the need for control disappears, and a huge amount of tension disappears.

Fundamentally, what I'm really talking about is confidence, a kind of core confidence not related to a specific talent, or skill, or behavior, or experience, or piece of knowledge. Lots of teachers and lots of merchants offer ways to get this kind of confidence, and my own works contain many ideas about it, so rather than limit your possibilities by suggesting a particular technique, I'm only going to share a couple of Hawaiian words for confidence whose root meanings may point you in the right direction:

Paulele - "stop jumping around"
Kanaloa - "extended calm"

There is no quick and easy fix I know of that will produce this kind of confidence. It takes internal awareness and one or more internal decisions, but even that will only work if it results in a different way of responding to life.

Learn more about Huna at

Lisa Brown is a student at Orca Institute, Canada's Longest running hypnotherapy School

A superhero movie recently trumpeted this message. A counselling hypnotherapist sat in the movie theatre all dinner plate eyes at the transformation of well, just EVERYTHING on the screen. I’m that hypnotherapist and I was watching that movie as a story filled with metaphors, symbols, mind and magic and boy was I entranced by it all! Oh my gosh! This was IT on multiple levels. This was what I did with hypnosis, what I had been and was currently going through, This spoke to me as only stories and metaphors, and suggestion can! I was a kid in a candy shop!

My unconscious mind was jumping up and down, doing backflips and somersaults. Guy goes through a traumatic and totally out of the blue experience that laid waste destroying his expected career trajectory, his whole life and outlook/worldview. His experiences changed him and who he really was, a very different life. He found his greatness in his adversity. He thought he was one thing and that the world was only one thing, so it was for him for a long time.

Then something huge happened-a very unexpected experience shook all that up and it turns out everything is really really different from how it was before. Yet all along really was there all along. Hidden in the open. Like the unconscious mind. Like neuroplasticity. Sounds like, smells like, looks like magic but actually-it is science and art. Maybe that is our “magic” after all. Science and art. It sure is our mind and reality. The superhero drew golden light sigils upon the air with his mind to change reality, we craft words and thoughts upon the spaces within us, with our mind, and change reality.

Wikipedia defines it as:

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity and neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change throughout an individual's life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time.

Research in the latter half of the 20th century showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are "plastic") even through adulthood. This notion is in contrast with the previous scientific consensus that the brain develops during a critical period in early childhood and then remains relatively unchanged (or "static").

There is a woman in Toronto who changed her brain and is teaching others to do the same and even more. Her name is Barbara Arrowsmith and her challenges growing up were quite daunting. She couldn't understand what she read. She sometimes read a sentence many many times and still never sure she understood it. Something others take for granted like reading "take the book and place it the desk" It meant nothing to her. She was 26 before she could read a clock. The effect it had on her confidence and self-esteem was tremendous.

Her story is inspiring. Many children and adults carry shame over their hidden difficulties in learning or doing certain things that they keep hidden. Getting by with compensating for whatever it is they just can't do. For me it is math. For the person who interviewed her, it is reading maps. Maps make no sense to him, as fractions and long division are a mystery to me.

Not being able to do these things caused her tremendous pain and cost years of frustration and tears. She has a photographic memory-visually and auditory. She used this ability to compensate for not being able to reason in certain areas even through college. In fact, it was in college during a science class that she decided that she needed to figure out a way to address and change how she learned directly. Without compensating for it.

 She worked hard to discover how she could change what too many neuroscientists at the time said was impossible as an adult. She did it and she has a school in Toronto, The Arrowsmith School where she teaches others how to change their own brains. Some have struggled with learning disabilities their entire life. Others are still very young her students cover the entire human lifespan from kids to senior citizens. She said that she does it so others don't have to go through what she did. Overcoming her deficits didn't change her feelings of lack of confidence and self-esteem overnight built up over such a long time. That healing took longer but after a while, it happened for her.

I love that she changed, healed, and now guides others to change and heal themselves. I think we can heal and help others with their challenges without having first experienced those exact same issues but there is something about someone who has been there that gives hope and confidence a boost. A validity born of motivation, concentration, and belief.

An interesting thing to note is she doesn't only help others bring their cognitive abilities to average-she teaches her students how to bring them to as advanced a level as possible for them. To excel. That has got to be a huge huge boost to people's self-esteem and confidence.

When I first went to university in the 80’s Introductory Psychology classes, biology, anatomy, human development classes taught what was commonly believed to be true at the time. That neurons don’t grow, and that once an area of the brain is disrupted, injured, damaged, or otherwise undeveloped/malformed it is gone forever, can't regrow, that what you had at birth was what you would have throughout your life, that there was a small, all too brief window of opportunity when you were young in which you could learn languages, develop talents and abilities.

if you missed that window-you missed the train so to speak to ever learn and develop those things and more. Research and better brain imaging proved that this wasn’t true at all. In reality, our brains can and do grow new neurons throughout life. Our brains can and do grow pathways around damaged areas. Old dogs can and do learn new tricks. All the time.

Not only does this make sense in keeping with what we do commonly see happening around us in our experiences, but it has also been verified in studies and research. More so every day across the world.
Ask yourself in what ways can you take your highly malleable brain & using the art and science of what you do as a counselling hypnotherapist, make some magic in your client's lives?

Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703
Do Not Use While Driving or Operating Machinery.

This video consists of a few hypnosis inductions of different types blended together. As you hear the voices you might find that it is hard to listen to both voices at the same time. In hypnosis terms, this is called "confusion".The intent is to give the conscious mind lots to a certain point, the conscious mind gets overloaded and the subconscious comes more to the surface. The result being that relaxation begins to take over, and it doesn't really matter what the voices are saying. The person listening becomes much more focused on just letting go and relaxing.

The images throughout the video also have a similar intent to keep the conscious mind busy so it eventually "throws in the towel and begins to relax and let go". there are many approaches to helping people relax and sleep between comfortably in hypnosis. This hypnosis video is typically good for people who think a lot, especially just before they go to sleep. Feel free to experiment with the different approaches which we will be offering at the Orca Institute's Channel shortly. Watch more hypnosis videos on our Youtube Channel.

Orca Institute is Canada's longest running (est. 1986) and only PTIB (Gov. Agency) Designated counselling hypnotherapy school.

Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703

Important Update: 9-1-20 (Learn More)

On August 23rd, 2020 the BC Government announced that it would be overhauling the 20 Colleges under the Health Protections Act. The intent is to reduce the 20 current Colleges to 6. 

Update: 5-16-20: The BC government has received formal input from the public as well as Professionals in the Counselling field. Awhile back, the government requested and received the Cayton Report. Harry Cayton was hired to write a report making recommendations on the structure of colleges under the Health Professions Act in BC. One of the recommendations was that the 20 existing colleges under the ACT should merge to bring them from 20 to 5. Counsellors and other potential new groups wanting to form a college would be slotted into one of the five new colleges. Nothing is written in stone at this point, and there has been excellent communication between FACTBC and the Deputy Minister and other key people. Here is FACT BC's response to the Cayton report. Last but not least, COVID-19 has slowed everything. Hopefully, we will be back on track soon. Recently the BC government has set aside money to cover counselling costs of those who need it at this time but cannot afford it. They approached FACT BC directly to set up a referral system from the government to FACT BC member associations. This in the works. I, for one, am impressed that they have taken this action as it is much needed. However, I do find it curious that technically we have no legal status under the Health professions Act while the BC government, through their actions, is acknowledging that we are a valid health profession.

Update: Alberta is now the 5th province to commit to legally define counsellor and or psychotherapist. They have asked FACT Alberta to begin processing new applications in preparation for future legislation.  The possible new legislation looks very similar to what FACTBC has proposed specifically in how it uses core competencies rather than requiring a specific degree. Legislation could happen by the Fall of 2020. 

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 Master's 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 does not restrict anyone from practising counselling. However, only those members of the College will be permitted to practice with clients who have "serious issues" and be allowed to use the term Psychotherapist or any derivates of that term. For example, the client would like to do sessions with you and tells you that they have been diagnosed as clinically depressed. If you are not a member of the College then you are 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, as an educator, it is not advisable to take see a client who you feel might have more serious issues even if they haven't been assessed unless you are qualified to do so. 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 Master's 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 how that 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 an expedited 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. Update: I now believe that even members of an association in FACT BC might have to show a specific amount of Supervision and client contact hours. 
One scenario might be that a member of the International Association of Counselling Hypnotherapists who have achieved the Level Of Counselling Hypnotherapist +750 hours of practice with clients at the time of the closing of the expedited 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. Learn more about what Alberta has done so far. 
Wednesday, 07 November 2018 15:14

Counsellor Legislation in Ontario, Canada

Written by

Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703

 In 2007 the Ontario government created a draft proposal called The Controlled Act of Psychotherapy. On December 30, 2017, the act was proclaimed. The CRPO [College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario] has been tasked with being the overseeing body in this transition. As of December 2019, this act will go into effect. There have been many questions among counsellors and hypnotherapy practitioners about how and will this act affects their practice. Obviously, students are concerned as well in determining what specific training they will need to meet the new standards if they choose to practice in Ontario. It is that that this article intends to shed some light on.
It is important to realize that legislation of this type is always provincial in Canada and this is why when we discuss this area it is always in a provincial context. Each province tends to do its own thing. However, in 1995 the federal government introduced The Agreement on Internal Trade. It states that all professions and skilled trades have the same standards across Canada. It is my understanding that this would be a gradual change. At this time New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario [Dec. 2019] and Nova Scotia are the only provinces Canada which have legislation enacted governing counsellors. Alberta has recently passed a bill supporting creating a College of Counsellors.
When I first read Ontario's Psychotherapist Act, it seemed to say that if you were a hypnotherapist in practice, you would be restricted to only practising in areas like smoking unless you were a member of the College. The requirements of being a member under the Controlled Act of Psychotherapy are close to that of a Masters level of training.
As I did further research, I discovered that the act specifies that members of the College will work with "serious issues." This is a very important statement as it goes on to define what a "serious issue" is. The following five points provided by Heather Flanagan, president of ARCH make this quite clear.
1. Treatment— To be regulated by the Psychotherapy College one must be claiming to provide "treatment." 
2. Psychotherapy— To be regulated one must be claiming the one "treats" people " using psychotherapy technique." 
3. Therapeutic Relationship— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are "delivered through a therapeutic relationship."
4. Disorders— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are intended to "treat" "an individual's serious disorder of thought, cognition, mood, emotional regulation, perception or memory." 
5. Impairment— To be regulated one must claim that one's services are intended to treat people with such problems if they seriously impair the individual's judgement, insight, behaviour, communication or social functioning.
In other words, most areas that hypnotherapists tend to work in they can legally continue to do once the psychotherapist act in Ontario comes into effect. I hope this relieves some of the anxiety my former students might've been experiencing.
Sheldon Bilsker, HT, RCC is the Director and founder of Orca Institute and the IACH. Orca Institute is Canada's longest-running and only Designated hypnotherapy school.
You can contact him at 604-808-3703
In 1983 I was diagnosed as having Melanoma Carcinoma, a potentially lethal form of skin cancer. Needless to say, it came as a shock. It was more the word though. The word seemed to have so much power, “Cancer.” My immediate response was that Cancer was something that happened to other people. Not me. However, it was a surprisingly short time I began to accept that it was I who had Cancer.
In retrospect, at the time, I had a complete belief in my own ability to heal myself. I still hold that belief, but admittedly it has become a bit tainted over the years. It is not the pure unadulterated belief which I had back then. Sometimes I wonder if what I did would be as effective if I was in the same situation now. I don’t know. In my two years (of a 30-year practice) of working with clients who had Cancer, I have witnessed many healings which I believe were due to, or enhanced through belief in our own power (or a “higher power”). I also found that sometimes my clients would “heal into death.” That might seem like an odd thing to say, but I have witnessed incredible healing as some of my clients were preparing to die. 
I have seen very few examples of the type of peaceful state exhibited clients as they were dying. A cynic might argue that it was the drugs, but I saw and felt something far beyond the drug response in my opinion. I believe there is much we can learn from moments like these. As Ram Das has said, “if nothing happens after you die, then why do so many people experience so much growth when they are dying?”. I don’t know the answer to that one either. 
The one thing I do know is that everyone is different and responds differently to treatment, whatever the type of treatment. When I work with someone, I always encourage my clients to create a method that they feel would work most effectively for their individual situation. Sometimes my clients would look at me incredulously as if to say “this is what I’m paying you for, so you can tell me I should do this myself?” My answer, verbally or non-verbally was always “Yes I’m here to support you, not do it for you.” I can’t do it for you. I do not have that power”.  What follows is my personal experience with Cancer. 
I had just moved from Montréal to Vancouver, but in that short time, I had taken courses in a variety of alternative and/or complementary fields. I had studied hypnotherapy in Montréal and had a small client base there, so I was eager to get started with my practice in Vancouver. Then I got Cancer. The realization came that everything else I was doing in my daily life had to be put on hold. Within eight days of seeing the oncologist, I was in the hospital. The Melanoma was almost directly over my heart, and there was a concern that it would spread quickly. Afterward, I learned that another month and I probably would have been dead. It was decided that surgery was needed as soon as possible. My surgeon was great. She explained to me in great detail what would happen in the procedure as well as post-surgery. 
Although I wasn’t thrilled that at least two lymph nodes would be removed at least, I wouldn’t be losing any muscle. In deciding to have the operation, I also chose to do everything possible to stimulate my body's own immune system. Since there was some question of the cancer spreading, using hypnosis, I started visualizing my healthy cells being protected. I breathed in deeply while imagining a white light surrounding all of my healthy cells. I mobilized an army of PAC men (1983 reference) seeing them devouring all unhealthy cells moving them swiftly out of my body. After that, I breathed in Pink energy to enhance healing. I began seeing the future operation as entirely successful. That night after the surgery I had a very vivid dream. I have heard that this is common after an operation but what amazed me is not just the vividness but the effect. After the dream, I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cancer did not spread and I was fine. I hadn’t talked to anyone, but I knew. 
The next morning I awoke, and although experiencing some pain as a result of the skin graft for the sites on my chest, I was secure in the knowledge that all was well. The situation I was in became a challenge for me. The skin graft from my thigh to my chest was left partially open to drain. The pain and discomfort were getting worse, so using hypnosis I visualized an orange colour surrounding and penetrating the afflicted area. Although not disappearing, the pain or rather my perception of the pain had definitely subsided. That night the nurse arrived with some morphine. She proceeded to get very flustered when I refused the shot. Throughout the following few days’ pain killers of various sorts that had been reserved for me were piling up, and I became the center of considerable controversy among the staff, especially when it was discovered that I was using hypnosis. 
I started getting visits from Doctors, nurses and social workers, all of whom expressed a healthy curiosity about what it was I was actually doing. My favourite person in this group was probably the Social Worker who in no uncertain terms let me know that “hypnosis was the work of the Devil.”  She seemed to have a genuine interest in saving me, but I guess I just wasn’t ready for that at that time. Being in a shared room and getting a bit bored I began to teach two other patients self-hypnosis. One of them even refused a painkiller or two. He told the nurse he was using self-hypnosis for the pain. I kept practicing self-hypnosis and visualizing myself getting healthier. 
Shortly after my stay at the hospital, it was recommended that I see a physiotherapist. I could only lift my extended arm about 1 inch above my waist. The graft would have to stretch. The physiotherapist said it would take six months of therapy before I had full movement in the arm. I told her it wouldn’t. In six months tennis season would be over, at least outdoors. Three weeks later I had a 100% movement in my arm. Using hypnosis and visualization, I imagined my arm going higher than it actually was each time.
On the other hand, maybe my arm was going as high as I imagined it but just not in this reality. I’ll leave that for another article. If I had believed the physiotherapist, it would've taken six months (possibly precisely six months). A Harvard University study was conducted in which they chose 10 cancer patients and taught them self-hypnosis hypnosis. After recording their white blood cell count, the researchers had their patients use their self-hypnosis and visualize their white blood cell count increasing.
This method was practiced every day for five days. Each day the patient's white blood cell count increased significantly. Medically, this was considered impossible. Although it was a small study, the possible implications are interesting. Many people know, or at least have heard of someone who has overcome what seemed like insurmountable odds to achieve success. Hypnosis is an ability we all have which is just as natural as sleep, although it isn’t a sleep state.  It can be a very useful tool in opening the doors to the power within each of us.

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.

Over the years many aspiring hypnotherapists and students have asked me about hypnotherapy legislation or lack of relating to their ability to practice in their location. This issue can be quite complex considering that each province and state is responsible for making its own legislation. In part 1 of this article, I’d like to focus on legislation in British Columbia, Canada. I’m starting here not just because I am based here but also because of the interesting history and progression of dedicated practitioners to create new and innovative legislation in the province relating to counselling in the broad sense of the term [hypnotherapy included].
A Brief History
In 1997 the task group for counsellor regulation was formed. Their mandate was to determine if the various stakeholders in the counselling field in BC should come under the umbrella of the Health Professions Act. Their decision based on a variety of factors was not to take action at that time. It was disappointing but only enhance the willingness of the stakeholder groups to move forward.