Code of Ethics and Rules of Membership
We really wish to have a simple – and short – code
of ethics, but in today’s world we need to take account of many factors in order
to be professional. Nevertheless, we have avoided many of the unnecessary – and
sometimes quite silly – restrictions and taboos found in some other
organisations. We hope that what we have produced is fair and reasonable. Most
of it should, we believe, be common sense, and it is intended to help and not
hinder the member. We are not just a register of members that you just pay to
join and to whom anybody is admitted. The professionalism of our Institute, and the
respect for it, will rest upon our code of ethics. This code is
based partly upon personal experience of the compilers who have encountered,
over many years, examples of the practices that are specifically regarded as
Members of all grades shall
all be known as “members” for the purpose of this code of ethics.
This code will be divided into two sections.
Section A contains clauses applicable to all members. Section B contains
“contingency” clauses that only apply to certain activities or certain
locations, where legal, professional or other regulatory issues demand special
treatment of a particular circumstance. Section B will be expanded over time to
provide guidance regarding various activities.
(1) Members may also be members of any other
legitimate professional or trade organisation or learned society.
Membership of other bodies is encouraged and the Guild does not seek to
poach members from other organisations, nor does it seek to exclude members
of any other organisation. Members are encouraged to retain memberships of
any other body to which they belong.
(2) Members undertake to practise their particular
skills and therapies to the best of their ability and should not practise
beyond their level of competence. If a member encounters an issue he or she
is not qualified to handle, or beyond the member’s abilities, the member
should seek to refer the client to another suitable practitioner.
(3) Members undertake to explain to clients what
they practise, what it entails, how much it costs and any other relevant
information. If a member offers multiple therapies, services or treatments,
it is up to the client to decide which ones are chosen, although the member
may recommend a course of action combining several methods or therapies.
(4) Members must keep all communications with
clients and all professional records strictly confidential (unless
stipulated otherwise by the law), and computerised records should be as
secure as possible. If the member wishes to describe a case in an article,
book, course, etc., permission should be sought from the client and both the
client’s name and any possibly identifiable details should be disguised,
unless the client gives written permission for the material to be used
without restriction. In the UK all records should be kept securely under the
terms of the Data Protection Act, and outside the UK should conform to local
legislation and/or professional guidelines.
(5) Members should not promise or guarantee to
“cure” any condition and should never give a “diagnosis” in the medical
sense. Some therapists and alternative practitioners use the term
“diagnosis” informally for an assessment of the situation, but that term
should be avoided as it can sound as if the member is practising medicine.
(6) Members should not normally offer money-back
guarantees for services, since such guarantees are not a hallmark of
professional behaviour (they are not offered by doctors, lawyers, and
practitioners of the best-known complementary therapies). Members should
always charge clients for their time and not for results, as results for any
complementary or alternative treatment or method cannot be guaranteed.
However, money-back guarantees can be offered for goods sold (such as CDs
and other products). If you are working in a centre or clinic whose policy
permits refunds, act in accordance with the centre’s policy.
(7) Members undertake not to exploit clients in any
way, including by charging unreasonably high fees for the service provided.
(8) Members undertake not to abuse clients in any
way: physically, sexually or emotionally.
(9) Members should observe the ethical principles
commonly found within their particular discipline. In particular, members
providing professional therapies should not have sexual relationships with
(10) Members offering any form of hypnotherapy,
hypnosis or past life regression must normally have a qualification in
hypnotherapy or clinical hypnosis. [The Institute regards past life regression
as a form of hypnosis because it involves an induction into an
altered state of consciousness, guided work while in that state, and then a
de-induction or a bringing back into the normal state of awareness.]
Exceptions will be made if the Institute member is practising in a country or
state where he/she is not allowed to legally practise hypnosis.
(11) In the case of many “New Age” services, it
might be common to have clients from within one’s circle of friends,
acquaintances and community, and the duration of the service offered might
be very limited. In such cases it is suggested that members take care to act
at all times according to the best interests of the client and in accordance
with the prevalent customs within one’s community.
(12) Members undertake to have public liability and
professional indemnity insurance, wherever available, to over their
activities. However, it is realised that cover cannot be obtained in all
countries or for all forms of work that people may practise. Where cover is
not or cannot be obtained the member is responsible him/herself for any
possible liability to clients and/or members of the public. The Institute will
not be responsible under any circumstances whatsoever for the outcome of any
action or non-action, professional or otherwise, by any of its members,
whether or not the member is insured. All actions taken by members are
the responsibility of the individual member.
(13) Members should not make private or public
attacks upon the personality or reputation of any other member, or any
member's family or business interests. This includes derogatory,
defamatory or satirical comments posted on social networking sites or sent
via electronic media of any kind.
(14) Members are personally responsible as
individuals for their conduct and for what and how they practise. The
Institute, being international,
does not normally supervise its members and is not responsible for how they
conduct their activities or practices. Many forms of metaphysical or
spiritual counselling work, and emerging therapies, do not have supervision arrangements so we cannot make
(15) Members should not use Institute membership as a
justification or rationale for using any particular practice. Therefore one
cannot say, “I am allowed to work this way because I am an Institute member.”
Rather, members bring to the Institute their existing diverse ways of working.
(16) Members undertake not to use their Institute
membership in any way to endorse any CD, remedy, book, download, or other
product that they manufacture, distribute or sell, without written
permission from the Institute. The Institute cannot undertake to test and evaluate
(17) Members should conduct all their activities
subject to the relevant laws of the countries or places in which they
operate. If a person provides services across borders and they are legal in
one country and not in another, this should be made clear by the provider
(for example, radionics for humans is illegal in the USA but legal
in Canada and the UK).
(18) Members working with children or vulnerable
adults should be aware of child protection issues. Also, when treating
children or vulnerable adults there should always be another person present
who is either the client’s parent or guardian, or another responsible person. Any appropriate laws should
be followed strictly at all times.
(19) Members should not touch clients in any way
that could be misinterpreted or in any way that is inappropriate. If your therapy or practice involves the use
of touch you should have appropriate professional insurance for that therapy
and should explain to clients in advance what you are going to do and why.
(20) Members undertake to be explicit to clients
about their involvement in any metaphysical or spiritual organisation or
sect when this has an impact on their practice, for example if they teach
meditation or spiritual philosophy according to the teachings or practice of
a particular sect, this should be made clear. Clients should not be
discouraged from discovering other similar or alternative practices on their
own. Members should not present or teach their method as “the only correct”
way of meditating or of doing any other spiritual activity.
(21) Members who also belong to other organisations
should work according to the ethics of those other organisations when
engaged in any relevant activity. If the codes of ethics of more than one
organisation make conflicting demands on the practitioner, he/she should
seek clarification and advice from the organisations concerned. If a
practitioner belongs to two or more organisations that make rules about the
same behaviour, but having different levels of strictness, the strictest
approach should be followed.
(22) Members are encouraged to further their
continuing professional development in as many ways as possible. The true
professional never stops learning.
(23) Members should not participate in any activity
that involves cruelty or harm to animals. Any animal materials used for
healing purposes, etc. should be obtained from humane sources. Healing
or distance/remote therapy for
animals should only be offered as a complementary service and not as a
substitute for veterinary care. Owners of ill or diseased animals should
always be advised to consult a veterinarian. Healers or energy therapists should not attempt to
treat skin conditions in animals as they can be symptoms of serious and/or
contagious illnesses, some of which might pose risk to humans.
(24) Members should not administer any remedy that
is ingested, applied to the skin, or physically absorbed in any way unless
they are suitably qualified in the relevant therapy and insured for the use
of those particular remedies. Practices such as administering
homeopathic remedies as part of regression therapy, as an anti-anxiety
measure, should not be carried out and will be normally be regarded to be a
breach of this code of ethics. Members qualified in a therapy that dispenses
remedies, and integrating that therapy with psychotherapeutic work, should
seek clarification from the Institute as well as their insurers.
(25) Members should only work with clients if they
are fluent in the client’s language or if the client is fluent in the
therapist’s language, unless a competent translator is present who has a
working knowledge of the relevant therapy. Be aware that many people
over-estimate their fluency in a language which is not their own.
(26) Members agree to report immediately to the
Institute any of the following concerning themselves: allegations of any
therapy-related offence or misconduct by the member; allegations of any
criminal offence by the member (except minor motoring or other minor
offences for which fixed penalty fines are issued); any other convictions
(except those regarded as “spent” by law); any public liability or
professional indemnity insurance claims lodged by the member; and being
struck off from membership of any professional body. If you are in doubt
whether something should be reported, then it should be reported. Members
who fail to do any of these risk immediate suspension or cancellation of
membership and must immediately cease to use the Institute qualifications, logo
and certificates until advised otherwise.
(27) Expressions of any form of racism, hatred,
encitement to violence, or anti-Semitism shall be grounds for dismissal from
membership and cancellation of all certifications issued, without refund. A
relevant public statement may be made on the Institute website. The decision
of the Institute on such matters will be final.
(28) The Institute will not take disciplinary action
where the member is already under investigation by another body (or the law
enforcement authorities) for the same alleged conduct. Instead the
may decide to suspend the member pending the outcome, when the Institute will
decide what action to take.
(29) The Institute reserves the right to refuse
membership to any person without giving a reason.
(30) All certificates and qualifications issued by
the Institute shall remain Institute property and may be used as long as the member
is in good standing. In the case of alleged breach of discipline or other
circumstance requiring the Institute to request the return of certificates, they
must be surrendered promptly. Members should not alter their certificates or
add to them in any way. The certificate designs are Institute copyright –
photographs or scans of your certificates must not be published on your
website or in your literature without permission in writing from the
Institute. The Coat of Arms of the Founder appears on the certificates
by kind permission of the Founder and must not be reproduced in any manner
without permission from the Founder. However, your Institute
qualifications may be copied for the purpose of assembling a portfolio of
qualifications for employment, application to a course of study,
application for any type of professional membership or licence, or
application for accreditation of a course that you run.
(31) If a course receives accreditation from the
Institute, it must be made clear in the course literature and in the
school/college literature that the accreditation is private and not
government-recognised unless such recognition exists.
(32) Members agree to be responsible for their own
welfare and to stop or temporarily cease providing services to clients if
they are unable to do so because of illness or changes in circumstances that
would interfere with their ability to practise to the best of their ability.
(33) We will check Members’ email addresses at
intervals of approx. one year. Members should advise the Institute if they
intend to be unavailable for a significant period of time (a reason need not
be given). If a member fails to respond to emails and/or emails bounce over
a period of a month, and we have not heard from the member for a year, we
may delete the member’s entry from our register or note it as "temporarily
unavailable" pending clarification..
(34) Members agree to be subscribed to an email
newsletter which will be the main means of conveying general news and
announcements to members. The member’s entry may be deleted if a news email
bounces, but can be reinstated on request when we have the member’s new
email address. The newsletter may contain advertising of possible interest
to members, and members may announce their own courses, services and
products via this newsletter when its readership is large enough. However
your email address will not be sold or used for spam purposes.
(35) The Institute does not
provide legal advice and any practice management recommendations or any
clarifications to be given to individual members do not constitute legal
advice. If you require legal advice, consult a qualified solicitor/lawyer.
Many professional insurers provide a free legal advice query service by
telephone - check the information that came with your policy.
This code of ethics is a work in progress and
may change over time.
Section B – Special Circumstances
(i) Psychic phone lines and premium
Members who offer metaphysical
or spiritual counselling should not own, run or be employed in any
enterprise that offers psychic telephone lines using premium rate numbers.
However, self-employed members may offer advice, guidance and counselling
services using 07-type personal numbers or mobile numbers where appropriate, but
not premium rate (09-type) numbers. The definition of premium rate number shall
be the one applied by the telecommunications company or network or any relevant
telecommunications watchdog, regulatory, Trading Standards or consumer
Members who offer metaphysical
or spiritual counselling should never make any predictions of death,
disaster or accident under any circumstances. In particular, you should be
aware that predictions of crashes, explosions, disasters, etc. are irresponsible. In
today’s security-conscious climate, such announcements may cause panic and
security alerts, and may be thought to be hoaxes likely to attract maximum
attention from law enforcement authorities and possibly criminal penalties. If
you seriously believe, on the basis of your intuition, that a client should not
go on a particular journey, your advice should be given in a roundabout way
without making any specific prediction or mentioning any specific location at
(iii) Members providing entertainment or
Institute membership and
should not be used in connection with any form of
public or private entertainment including stage hypnosis, parties, stag or hen
nights, pub psychic evenings, cruise ship shows, radio or television
broadcasting (including religious shows), corporate events, competitions, etc.
(iv) Use of
symbols in transpersonal or spiritual therapy or counselling
Members are asked to realise that certain symbols
or expressions they might favour using may not be well received by clients from
different cultural backgrounds, and care should be taken not to use such
sensitive expressions when inappropriate (for example, non-Christians should not
be requested to ask Jesus for help; Hindu or pagan deities should not be
invoked for Christians, and the cross should never be used as a healing or
for Jews; the name “Jehovah” is only used by some Christians, and not by Jews.
Muslims do not appeal to any power or guide except Allah.) If any procedure
involves a form of prayer or a request to the Supreme Being for help, the client
should be asked initially what sacred names or phrases would be appropriate to
use. Members should ascertain that the client is comfortable with their
approach and answer any questions regarding it. Members should not assume that
the client practises or believes in any particular faith (if in doubt – ask.)
Clients will vary in their degree of observance of their own faith or tradition,
and their openness to other views and models. Some clients have eclectic
spiritual beliefs or even have an outlook that combines two or more faiths. It
should be noted, though, that in an altered state of consciousness (e.g. trance
or regression) clients may perceive symbols or figures that are outside their
(v) Use of Titles
After much thought, it has been decided that the
Institute will not list members’ titles (such as Doctor, Professor, Reverend,
Most Reverend, Swami, Sensei, etc.) in any public lists of members, and will only list
membership letters and awards immediately after the member’s name. In this
way, the Institute is acting in a similar way to certain other UK and US therapy
organisations. Members will still be able to list the therapies they offer
and various qualifications they have in the description of their services.
The policy will avoid the existence of any
“class system” within the Institute based upon having higher academic or theological
qualifications which often bear no relation to the professional abilities, spiritual gifts and/or
talents of the member. It will also avoid the situation of a member without a
degree being in awe of another member introducing himself/herself as “Professor
Doctor” or “Reverend Doctor”, or one member insisting that (s)he is entitled to
a specific high form of address whilst another member with similar status is
quite relaxed about just using his/her name.
We urge the style of communication between members
to be informal wherever possible, using first names, as is common in
English-speaking countries and increasingly in international contacts. However
we do recognise that certain cultures preserve a greater degree of formality.
Members will be asked to supply details of
their qualifications when applying for membership, as naturally we are
interested in your knowledge and achievements and they are an essential part of
your application. Many of us will have higher degrees and titles, but the
will strive to be a guild of equals with different gifts.
You will also be free to use whatever
qualifications you have on your own website and in your own business
literature and advertising, etc, alongside the Institute membership letters, as long
as they are reasonable and not misleading. And by all means, you are encouraged
to earn more qualifications!
However, it is your responsibility to be aware of
any relevant restrictions within your state, country or profession and to use
your qualifications in a way that is fair. For example in the UK, in January
2008 a voluntary regulatory body for hypnotherapists voted to restrict use of
the titles Doctor, Reverend and Professor for professional practice purposes. If you are a hypnotherapist in the
UK who might be affected by this decision, you should look out for guidance on
this matter from your professional hypnotherapy organisation.
In the UK, unless you are medically qualified and
registered to practise medicine, the title “Doctor” should not be used in any
way that could suggest it is a medical qualification, and an explanation should
be given for the use of the title. We recommend avoiding the use of the title
“Doctor” before the name, and giving an explanation of any doctoral initials
used after the name, such as “Doctor of Philosophy in…” or “Honorary Doctor of
Divinity”. In the UK, doctorates from non-UK universities should also be noted
as such, for example, “holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from an overseas
Knighthoods, medals and aristocratic titles should
not be used in connection with therapy or metaphysical practice, even if they
are issued by a religious or esoteric organisation.
The matter of use of tiles, initials, etc. will be
kept under review as various professional groups and/or authorities issue
guidelines from time to time.
These guidelines do not mean that we disapprove of
titles, etc. The Institute has no official opinion about them. However we wish to be
responsive to indications about the issue from within the world of therapies and
complementary medicine especially in the UK where the Institute is based at present
and where we hope to have a growing membership.
Where a possible breach of the code of ethics or an
allegation of gross misconduct is brought to the attention of the Institute, the
Institute Executive will first seek an informal explanation from the Member. If
this is not satisfactory, or if the Institute decides that an investigation is
necessary, the Institute may co-opt an ad-hoc committee consisting of senior
Members which may convene by any feasible means (including teleconferencing or a
secure Internet link) to consider the matter.
If the committee considers there is a case to
answer, the Member will be advised of the procedures. Members against whom an
infringement is reported will be responsible for bearing the cost of any
expenses relating to any investigation of their conduct, though every attempt
will be made to minimise such expenses. If expenses are likely to be
significant the member will be presented with an estimate, and will have the
opportunity to decide whether to proceed or whether to withdraw from the
Members will be bound by the decisions of the Institute.
A fuller statement on disciplinary action will be
elaborated at a later date.