Applicability and Terms:
This code contains the ethics, practice, and conduct standards that NCHP and NSTT expect of all practitioners. Practitioners are bound by this code regardless of practice level (student, trainee, hypnotherapist, Hypno-psychotherapeutic counsellor or Hypno-psychotherapist) and whether working with clients in person, online or otherwise.
The term practitioner means an individual NCHP or NSTT member who practises under the auspices of the NCHP or NSTT. The term client includes individuals, couples, families or groups who are service users of talking therapies.
Should a concern arise about a practitioner, the NCHP and NSTT consider it against these standards under the NCHP and NSTT Regulatory Complaints Procedure.
This code does not apply to tutors or supervisors covered for these activities by specific codes.
The UKCP complaints and conduct process takes precedence over the NCHP and NSTT Regulatory Complaints Procedure for individuals accredited by the UKCP.
The practitioner commits to engage with the challenge of striving for ethical practice and conduct, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions.
In the numbered points below, we set out the things we regard as key to ethical practice and have grouped them under these section headings:
- Section 1 – Best Interests of Clients.
- Section 2 – Professionalism.
- Section 3 – Communication and Consent.
- Section 4 – Records and Confidentiality.
- Section 5 – Professional Knowledge, Skills and Experience.
- Section 6 – Social Responsibility.
- Section 7 – Trust and Confidence.
Section 1 – Best Interests of Clients:
- Act in the client’s best interests.
- Treat clients with respect.
- Respect the client’s autonomy.
- Not have sexual contact or sexual relationships with a client.
- Not exploit or abuse any relationship with clients (current or past) for any purpose, including:
- Emotional gain.
- Sexual gain.
- Financial gain.
- Not harm or collude in harming a client or a client of others.
Section 2 – Professionalism:
- Decline any gifts, favours, money or hospitality that might be interpreted as exploitative.
- Be aware of the power imbalance between the practitioner and client, and avoid dual or multiple relationships which risk confusing an existing relationship and may adversely impact a client. If a dual or multiple relationship is unavoidable (for example, in a small community), take responsibility for clarifying and managing boundaries and protecting confidentiality. Such dual or multiple relationships could, for example, be social or commercial relationships between the practitioner and a client or former client or a supervisory or training relationship running alongside the therapeutic one.
- Exercise all reasonable care before entering into a personal or business relationship with former clients, considering the time elapsed since therapy ended. Should such a relationship prove detrimental to the former client, the practitioner is answerable to any allegation of misusing their former position.
- Recognise that the practitioner’s behaviour outside professional life may affect their relationship with clients and take responsibility for critically examining any potential (negative or positive) effects to benefit the client.
Section 3 – Communication and Consent:
- Provide in their advertising, and on request, a clear and honest statement of their qualifications relevant to their practice and NCHP or NSTT registration. Advertise any services accurately, responsibly and professionally, without exaggeration.
- Ensure that the use of a title such as Doctor or Dr and post-nominal initials in communications are accurate and indicate whether medical or academic qualifications and reasonably inform the public of their relevance to the practice of psychotherapy.
- Not make any claims that they cannot evidence to be true or include testimonials from clients in any advertising.
- Explain their terms, fees, and conditions to a client (or prospective client). Have information readily available to clarify other related questions such as anticipated length of therapy, methods of intended practice, the extent of their involvement, complaints procedures (including how to make a complaint), and arrangements for referral on and termination of therapy.
- Confirm each client’s consent to the specifics of the service they offer through a clear contract at the outset of therapy (a written contract is not mandatory, but in the case of any conflict, an explicit written contract supports both the client and practitioner). Help clients understand the nature of any proposed therapy and its implications, what to expect, any risks involved, limits to what is offered, and appropriate alternative options.
- Not intentionally mislead a client about the type or nature of the therapy practised.
- Only participate in research about clients with their verifiable and informed consent before the commencement of therapy and research, clarifying the nature, purpose and conditions of any research in which clients are involved and following relevant codes and guidance. Pay particular attention to any additional guidance or considerations that may apply to specific groups, such as children and young people.
Section 4 – Records and Confidentiality:
- Respect, protect and preserve clients’ confidentiality. They must protect sensitive and personally identifiable information obtained during their professional work.
- Safeguard the welfare and anonymity of clients when considering any sharing or publication of clinical material and always obtain a client’s verifiable consent in any case where the welfare or anonymity of a client may be compromised. The safeguarding includes situations where a client or former client might recognise themselves in shared or published material despite changed details.
- Make notes appropriate to the therapy practised, and keep accurate, legible, and timely records. Keep clients’ data and information confidential (subject to legal and ethical requirements) and discuss only within appropriate professional settings.
- Notify all clients in writing and verbally at the outset of therapy (and again if appropriate) that there are legal and ethical limits to confidentiality and circumstances under which practitioners must or might disclose confidential information to a third party.
- Consider obtaining legal and ethical advice concerning the provision of information for judicial or administrative proceedings and the potential impact this could have on any commitment of confidentiality to the client, even with client consent.
Section 5 – Professional Knowledge, Skills and Experience:
- Offer only forms of therapy in which they have appropriate training and experience.
- Understand the limits of their competence and stay within them in all professional activity, referring clients to another professional when appropriate. This requirement includes recognising that particular client groups, such as children and families, have needs which not all practitioners can address. NCHP training is in adult psychotherapy only. Working with children, couples, groups, or families requires alternative qualifications. All sessions with those under 18 must be conducted with an appropriate adult present or recorded on a time-indexed video platform.
- Ensure their continuing ability to practise by securing adequate and modality-appropriate supervision and ongoing professional education and development sufficient to meet the requirements of NCHP or NSTT (see notes below).
- Ensure that they do not work with clients if they cannot do so for physical or mental health reasons or when impaired by drugs, alcohol or medication.
- Make considered and timely arrangements for the termination of a therapeutic relationship. If unable to continue to practice, ensure that clients are informed, and alternative practitioners are identified where possible.
- Have arrangements in place to inform clients and, where appropriate, support them in the event of the practitioner’s illness or death.
Section 6 – Social Responsibility:
- Actively consider issues of diversity and equalities and how these affect all aspects of their work and maintain a related continuing process of self-enquiry and professional development.
- Not allow prejudice about a client’s sex, age, colour, race, disability, communication skills, sexuality, lifestyle, religious, cultural or political beliefs, or social, economic or immigration status to adversely affect how the practitioner relates to them.
- Not engage in behaviour that could be abusive or detrimental to any client or colleague based on the above factors.
Section 7 – Trust and Confidence:
- Conduct themselves to uphold the profession’s reputation and promote public confidence in its members, including outside their professional role as an NCHP or NSTT practitioner.
- Maintain awareness of, and comply with, legal and professional obligations and NCHP or NSTT policies applicable to their practice.
- Ensure that any communication in which they engage, including social media, is carried out in a manner consistent with the requirements of this code.
- Safeguard children and vulnerable adults, recognise legal and moral responsibilities concerning their rights, and take appropriate action should any such person be at risk of harm.
- Ensure they are familiar with and understand the NCHP and the NSTT published policies and guidance (particularly those on safeguarding) and the UKCP policy on the memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy.
- Challenge questionable practices in themselves and others. Reporting to NCHP and NSTT potential breaches of this code and activating formal complaints procedures, particularly where there may be ongoing harm to clients or significant grounds for believing clients to be at risk of harm.
- Ensure adequate indemnity cover for their professional work by appropriate personal indemnity insurance or under an employer’s indemnity insurance in contracted circumstances.
- Co-operate with any lawful investigation or inquiry relating to therapeutic practice. Inform NCHP and NSTT if they are:
- Charged with a criminal offence.
- Convicted of a criminal offence.
- Receive a conditional discharge for a criminal offence.
- Accept a police caution.
- Disciplined by any professional body or membership organisation responsible for regulating or licensing a health or social care profession.
- Suspended or placed under a practice restriction by an employer or similar organisation because of concerns relating to their competence, health or practice of therapy.
- Are refused insurance in any related professional capacity.
- Not use hypnosis for entertainment or in any other way that could:
- Demean a client or member of the public.
- Contradict the practitioner’s duty of care (for example, inappropriate physical, sexual or social contact with a client).
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – This section should be read in conjunction with the NCHP/NSTT CPD policy.
Hours of CPD
The requirement is that members normally conduct a minimum of 250 hours of CPD over any five year period and a minimum of 20 hours in any one year. For breaks in practice please review the return to work policy.
Acceptable CPD activities include*:
- clinical supervision
- peer support groups
- professional qualifications or formal courses of study e.g. Masters degrees, PhD
- attendance at events such as
- private study such as
- reading relevant books
- writing of
- case studies
- watching relevant DVDs, online resources
- participation in profession-related work such as
- committee participation
- attendance at professional gatherings
Normally a proportion of CPD will address the awareness of developments in contemporary thinking and best practice, particularly with regard to diversity and equality and give evidence of reflective/reflexive practice.
Members should undertake an appropriate range of CPD activities. Above you will find a list of activities that may be included*. It is up to the individual therapist to determine the right mix for themselves as long as they can justify it. Each member needs to demonstrate a balance of activities which are applicable to their level of practice.
Normally registrants would be able to demonstrate a proportion of their activities via objective processes (eg certificates of attendance) and be able to justify the reason why they cannot if that is the case. The aim is to provide the maximum flexibility while recognising that as a regulator UKCP needs to see evidence to back up members’ claims.
Review of CPD
Your CPD will be reviewed annually and at your five-yearly re-accreditation.
Members not registered with UKCP
NCHP and NSTT members not registered with the UKCP must be able to evidence a minimum of fifteen hours of CPD per calendar year. Some appropriate CPD examples are:
- Attendance at relevant conferences.
- Further relevant training (live, online or distance learning).
- Participation in professional organisations.
- Research or writing on relevant topics.
- Other activities such as journaled reading or watching video content may qualify in certain circumstances, such as illness or caring for a family member. If in doubt about the validity of CPD activities, please check with the NCHP in advance.
- Supervision – UKCP registrants must adhere to the supervision requirements of the UKCP. NCHP and NSTT members not registered with the UKCP are required to have supervision or peer support appropriate to their level of experience and as follows:
- Practitioners must be in a supervisory relationship with a qualified supervisor for the first three years or two hundred hours in practice, whichever is the longer. Supervisors maintain an ethical requirement to ensure that supervisees have adequate supervision. Accordingly, this code does not specify the required amount or frequency of supervision.
- After three years or 200 hours in practice (whichever is longer), practitioners must either be in a supervisory relationship (as above) or be an active member of an appropriately experienced and modality-focused peer support supervision group. We expect this group to provide adequate guidance and support for client work, recognise its potential to have a negative psychological impact on its members and recognise the potential risk of developmental stagnation and narrow focus.
At any time, supervisors or members of peer support supervision groups may be required to produce a report on the participation of the supervisee. The supervisee’s standing as an NCHP or NSTT registrant in good standing may be affected by this report.
- Working Online – anyone wishing to offer online therapy must have an appropriate qualification specifically for working in this way.
Code adapted with permission from the UKCP document ©2019.
Date of the last amendment to this document and ratification by The Academic Board – 16-5-22.