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British Institute of Hypnotherapy

I’ve been asked what my beef was with the non-existent but-always-keen-to-take-your-money British Board of NLP. Why, given so many self-appointed accreditation bodies out there, did I single out The British Board of NLP (BBNLP)? Well, the reason was simple enough – a “British Board” by definition is representative to government.

The BBNLP was not my representative, it was just a money-making scam that claimed to be my representative.

There was no board, no elected representatives, no articles of association or governance.  They did have a logo though.

Much may be said about the various societies, associations, guilds and organisations that abound in the complementary therapy field, but at the end of the day, they can only claim to represent their paid-up/signed up members.  If the members don’t like the way they are represented, then they can vote for a change or simply leave.  That is democracy in action.  Some long-standing societies and guilds survive principally because their members are quite happy with the way their representative organisation is run.  Any thoughts I may have on the way they are run are largely irrelevant if I am not a member.  A “British Board” represents me whether if I have signed up or not.  If I work in the relevant field, then the British Board is my representative at the highest level of governance of the field.

But it wasn’t.  It was just a scam, and now it has gone.  For that, we can be grateful.

I’m just surprised it took so long and that so few other people made any fuss about it.  My suspicion is that too many simply enjoyed the existence of the lie; a convenient illusion by which they feel they may garner some credibility.  Believing and conveying that a “British Board of NLP” existed somehow matched the desire for some NLPers to believe that “NLP” is somehow a “profession”.

All this happened years ago, yet do a google search on “member of the BBNLP”, “approved by the British Board of NLP” etc, and you will see just how many morons still advertise and claim this membership.

Experience tells me that most people who work in the therapy “industry” are not always all that business-savvy.  You only need to look at the “Law Of Attraction” devotees who merrily line the pockets of the LOA gurus without question.

I have a law I’d like to add for the LOA fools – “Andy’s Law:  You can always get rich by fleecing the poor and needy.”  I doubt I am the first to suggest this, it’s been a principle for getting disgustingly rich for millennia.

While I am at it, here’s another Andy’s Law: “You can get even richer by convincing people that they are ugly.”  The cosmetic surgery industry is worth billions and growing daily.  Just before Christmas, I spent the weekend in an expensive part of London hob-nobbing with the super-rich.  Many of the women had had so much plastic surgery that some of them looked disturbingly like startled burn victims.

You already know the basic commercial principle – convince people that they lack something and provide them with the solution.  Thus to be another fake board or accreditation body, just convince people that the field lacks ethics and standards, and charge them for the illusion of credibility.  A lovely certificate here, a posh looking logo there.  “Anyone for insurance?  Here’s our cheap deal”, and so on.

Let’s be realistic.  Therapy: It’s getting paid for talking to people.  Only therapists can fuck that up so royally that it requires regulation and insurance.

At business workshops, therapists ask me, “Companies who?” when I mention Companies House.  One person even asked, “How do I join?”  Therapists love joining things, getting that sense of belonging, building a better community.  It is the warm and fuzzy factor.  The same therapists often appear unaware that there are real-world laws about how one is permitted to advertise themselves and how one may do business.  Warm and fuzzy doesn’t always cut it.  Basic honesty and good business practice have been sadly lacking from the therapy industry since long before the days of the medicine shows and snake oil salesmen.  I doubt it is ever going to be any different, the fraud just evolves according to the latest trend and fashion. To the naive customer (often poor, frequently needy, and sometimes not at all pretty to look at) it can be very difficult to distinguish between a new discovery and a simple commercial lie.

The alternative therapy and medicine field is a fertile breeding ground for a never-ending number of organisations that all claim to be “promoting standards and good ethics.”  Of course, one big thing that makes the field look so suspect is the sheer number of fake groups competing with each other to be representative of the field. I’m sure it is a status thing.  He with the biggest status gets the most cash, right?

But anyway, back to those pesky business and trading laws.

The spoilsports at Companies House are quite explicit at what can be used as a trading name.  To quote:

To use “British” in a name:

    If you wish to use the word at the beginning of your company name you would need to show that the company is pre-eminent in its field by providing independent support from a representative body, trade association or government department.

If the word is used elsewhere in the name, you would be expected to show that your company is substantial in relation to its activity or product and that it is eminent in its own field.

The company’s registered office must be in England and Wales.

To use “Board” in a name:

To use this word the company must be:
a governing, supervisory or representative body of an
activity, trade, business, profession; or

 an independent advisory body; or
a deliberative assembly
Evidence must be produced to show that the company will be what it claims, and that it has the support of whoever it claims it will govern, supervise, or look to it for expertise.  In addition, the applicant should produce independent support from a representative body or government department

It is pretty clear to anyone who cares to look that The British Board of NLP was none of these things. Unfortunately a quick bit of googling shows that so many therapists, desperate for some kind of credibility, still claim that they are “approved” and/or “accredited” by The British Board of NLP.  Some even like to use the term, “fully approved” – after all, it sounds superior to being merely “approved” does it not?  After all, no one would like to be “just a little bit approved of.”

It’s all lies of course.  In an attempt to not look like quacks, so many therapists reveal themselves to be merely naive quacks that tell lies.

It was over the Christmas period, whilst taking it easy and allowing the Christmas pudding and custard to migrate its way through my system that I did a bit of Googling.  I’m getting old.  I am now that man that requires children to play quietly whilst I rest for a bit after a big family dinner.  This is worrying, as I am not even 40 yet.

Dressed in my Christmas jumper and slippers and mentally preparing for family charades and noisy children’s games, what I learned to my mock horror was that despite being a hypnotherapist of many years standing, I was not a member of The British Institute of Hypnotherapy.  I didn’t even know that there was a British Institute for Hypnotherapy (BIH).  But, you see, there’s a really good reason for that. Basically, there isn’t such a thing as The British Institute for Hypnotherapy.  Just a married couple happily collecting in the cash over there in deepest, darkest Essex.

This is of course not to be confused with “The British Institute of Hypnotherapy and NLP” an entirely unrelated organisation that I am sure is perfectly legitimate.

A quick search of Companies House webcheck service revealed no such registration exists for BIH.

It’s another scam.  A blatant fraud.  Another minor criminal enterprise collecting cash from gullible therapists desperate to look “professional.”  And whilst I’m on this theme, am I the only one that finds the concept of “gullible therapists” just a little bit worrying?  Call me old fashioned, but I tend to expect therapists to be a little more worldly-wise than so many of them appear to be.

Just to be clear (for when the BIH send me that pointless legal letter):  The British Institute of Hypnotherapy is a scam and I am calling for the owners of this little criminal organisation to be prosecuted….or tarred and feathered or something.  But I have no doubt the British criminal justice system will leap into action and promptly do bugger all.  Mind you, I’m a little bit biased and still sore from being threatened with prosecution because my refuse bin lid was more than 5 degrees over the permitted level a bin lid is allowed to be open.  Yes, here in the UK it is indeed a crime to put too much rubbish into the bin.  The threat of prosecution was issued because it was only the previous week that the bin-men had located an offending bit of polystyrene block in the purple recycling bin, and for that, I was issued a written warning.

Passing the buck, I assured the council that my housemate will be thoroughly educated into what is not recyclable.  “What exactly can be recycled then?” he asked me. “Bugger if I know,” I replied, and for the following week, all rubbish went into the main rubbish bin in order to avoid getting into trouble for destroying the planet with a piece of polystyrene block for a second time; hence the overfilling by 5 degrees.

To recap:

To use “British” in a business name:

  If you wish to use the word at the beginning of your company name you would need to show that the company is pre-eminent in its field by providing independent support from a representative body, trade association or government department.

If the word is used elsewhere in the name, you would be expected to show that your company is substantial in relation to its activity or product and that it is eminent in its own field.

The company’s registered office must be in England and Wales.

And that word, “Institute”?  Well, Companies House has the following to say:

Approval for use…is normally given only to those organisations which are carrying out research at the highest level or to professional bodies of the highest standing.  You will need to explain why there is a need for the proposed institute or institution and that it has appropriate regulations or examination standards. You will need evidence of support from other representative and independent bodies.

Well, that wraps that up then.  Is Essex really the centre for research in hypnotherapy at the highest level?  I somehow doubt it, although I did think the recent TV series, “The Only Way is Essex” did show the Essex crew to be a bunch of remarkably nice people, if a little odd and a bit orange at times.  My grandmother lived in Essex, and as a child I spent many a happy holiday week in Southend on Sea, and I still visit there occasionally.  If they ever book another hypnotist as the Kersal, I’ll be sure to ask if he’s a member of the British Institute.

So, have you paid money to the BIH?  If so, what on earth were you thinking?  Demand your money back immediately!

Did you pay to attend a course that was “accredited” and/or “approved” (in full!) by the BIH?  Well, they lied to you, the rotters!

The British Institute of Hypnotherapy does not exist.  It is a scam, a lie.

The funniest thing in all of this?  On the BIH website, they hilariously write:

Warning. There is only one BIH,  and the BIH wishes to disassociate itself from any email, or other correspondence which you may receive claiming that the British Institute of Hypnotherapy is under new ownership. Any such claim is an entirely fictitious scam and should be totally disregarded.

I really couldn’t make this up.  Just too funny.

There are plenty of other fake “British Institutes”, “British Councils”, “Boards” and so on.  But more on those shenanigans later.

Andrew T. Austin
  • Andrew T. Austin
  • Andrew T. Austin is formerly an NLP master practitioner, clinical hypnotherapist, and a nurse with a background in accident and emergency (A&E) and neurosurgery.

    He is the developer of Metaphors of Movement and Integral Eye Movement Therapy.

    #NLP #neurolinguisticprogramming #hypnotherapy

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