I had an experience related to certifications that I wanted to relate where an organization didn't turn out to be what it seemed.

A past teacher of mine recommended a certifying organization that he is a member of. Well, more than that, he's a member of their leadership team. So, in my typical style, I started to investigate the group. On the surface, they seemed legit. Founded by someone who is something of a legend in hypnosis circles and I even recognized a few other names on their leadership team.

Going off nothing more than that, I decided to apply. I was promptly rejected.

The reason should have been a huge red flag, but at the time, I was disappointed. They declined my application because I had not come up through their own training/schooling/education system. Though I was disappointed, that nagged at me, so I began digging and what I found was enough to make me glad that I wasn't accepted.

First, I could find no evidence that their educational requirements were ever accredited by anyone but themselves and no evidence that any of their "schools" here in Washington could even legally call themselves that. Of course, if you have read my site you already know that I value that sort of "checks and balances" system and am a graduate of a school with an accreditation from the United States Department of Education, and for which it is easy to find all the licensing documents you need to prove the pedigree.

As an aside, when it came to both training hours and hours spent in practice, I also far, far exceeded their requirements.

Since their schools didn't pass the "sniff test", I began to look into the the "certified" members they listed on their publicly available member roster and what I found shouldn't have come as a surprise after that, but the scope certainly did.

Of the folks on their membership roster in Washington, more than half were not legally entitled to practice in Washington. Most of those did not hold the legally required Washington registration and some of them actually had things I could find that would legally disqualify them from ever being able to obtain that registration. One was even a registered sex offender. All easy information to find with even a few minutes of looking.

Yet, this organization claims to hold itself and it's members to the "highest ethical standards".

It makes my head ACHE when I think back on it.

I consider my self as very fortunate. I dodged a bullet on that one. I would have hated to have been associated with that organization in any way.

I did inform them and my old instructor of my findings before I broke off contact with both, then removed all references from my site, but neither responded. With a quick glance I don't see that anything has changed since then in how they do business or represent themselves.

They are still out there, churning out "certifications" like a puppy mill.

You can learn more about what it takes to be a hypnotherapist in Washington on my "Choosing a Hypnotherapist" page.

Please be cautious when you are considering any kind of therapist. Do your homework.