National Hypnosis Association Professional Hypnotist Directory


Frank Garfield of Warren, MI

Robert Michael Merlin of Greensboro, NC

Alison Sonenfeld of Portland, OR

Stephen Shady of St. Louis, MO

Karen Stultz  of Whitefield, ME

Vance Larson of Millsboro, DE

Joan Nolting of Leslie, MO

Nancy F. Sharp of Woodbury, CT

Steven Wentworth of Eugene, OR

Chase McKenna of Reno, NV

Susan Posada of Tampa, FL

Dr. Mark Abrahams of Miami, FL

Rie Anderson of Tampa, FL

Thomas A. Gonda, Jr. of San Francisco, CA

Denton M. Kurtz of Winter Park, FL

Dr Golnaz Rafalian of Beverly Hills, CA

Lata Sonpal of Miami Shores, FL

Jed Shlackman of Miami, FL

Zilla Adams of Houston, TX

Janice Knowles of Folsom, CA

Ellie Zarrabian of Los Angeles, CA

James Hilton of Athens, GA

Lisa Hubbard of Portland, OR

Shauna Davis of Columbus, OH

Wendy Tedesco  of Westchester, NY

David W. Duncan, ACH of Washington, IN

Carson O'Keeffe Satterfield of South Hadley, MA

Cristina Di Nardo-Dupre of Agawam, MA

Kristin Rivas of Seattle, WA


This year, the National Hypnosis Association sent out a 4 question  survey to over 5000 hypnosis professionals across the country.  The survey results are finally all in and calculated, along with the great comments that were given.  The “top comments” chosen to share in this article were those that carried the most common themed responses to a particular topic. Here are the results.

 We asked: Do you think the lack of title distinction for hypnotists hurts the profession?For example, there is currently no professional title distinctions between stage, spiritual, new-age, medical, and clinical hypnotherapists, nor are there educational distinctions (someone professionally trained or with a university degree vs. someone who is self taught.

You answered:  71% yes, 19% no, 10% undecided.

 Common feedback/comments: 

Lack of standardization is detrimental to the profession.
Self taught is dangerous. Other professionals don't do this.
It’s unfair that a trained, highly educated professional has to share an identical professional title with someone who is not equally trained and educated. There need to be legal distinctions.

We asked: 
Do you think stage hypnosis hurts the profession?
You answered:  60% yes, 30% no, 10% undecided.

We asked: Do you think that hypnotists discounting services by advertising with Groupon, Dealsaver, Living Social, etc., hurts the profession?
You answered:  55% yes, 40% no, 5% undecided.

Common feedback/comments:

If we want to be seen as helping professionals, then we have to act like other helping professionals.
Discounting services in this way makes us look unprofessional.
Discounting makes hypnosis look ineffective

 We asked: What do you think the hypnosis profession/industry needs to help it progress?

Common feedback/comments:

State level certification
More truth and information to the public
Positive media exposure, publicity, and education.
Professional recognition
Higher education requirement and ongoing continue education requirements.
Distinction/Classification would help.
States should adopt the same distinction/classification/naming system would be most beneficial as well.
Education and Consistency
Clearer distinctions about training/certification
For hypnotherapists to take the professional seriously. We are not novelty acts.
National standardization of credentialing
Standardization for licensed and lay certified practitioners.
Regulations and licensing
More control over who has the needed education and training. There are too many people making money who don't know what they are doing.
It needs to be taken as a serious business.
A licensing board independent from the psychological association.
We must organize if we are to survive the constant legal encroachment from the M.D.'s, the psychologists, and even the N.D.'s. in upcoming years. Or else we will become legislated into extinction.

What’s the NHA’s response? Our board members agree with the majority of the responders to this poll. The NHA believes that there needs to be a shift in the profession. The lack of standardization, title distinction, education, and professional conduct is exactly what is holding the profession back and keeping the true professionals from helping people who can truly benefit by hypnotism with the help of a skilled professional. It places everyone at a disadvantage. It makes it harder to make a living as a hypnotist and causes the public to be leery and skeptical.  Point by point, the lack of legal title distinction downgrades the educated who have actually earned a title. Hypnotists are now making up new “titles” that are essentially meaningless, because anyone can use them anyway. This needs to change.

Does stage hypnosis hurt the profession? The NHA’s stand is that it should come down to titling and distinction. Stage hypnosis can promote misconceptions and can create public resistance and fears. However, by providing a legal title separation, there can be room for the performer as well as the serious clinician.

With the issue of discounting services, offering coupons, etc., the NHA’s stand is that it’s short sighted and lowers the professional image. If we want to be taken as serious health professionals, we need to conduct ourselves as such. When was the last time you saw your surgeon offering a 80% discount on Groupon or placing ads on Craigslist?
NOTE: Since releasing these survey results we have been getting emails from hypnosis professionals telling us how their business has been destroyed due to these types of discount practices. Clearly, discounting is bad practice and dangerous.

Which brings us to the big issue. Most of us recognize that there's a problem, but what do we do about it? What do we need to do to move forward? We think there’s room for various levels and types of hypnotism, be we also agree that there needs to be a standardization in education, licensure, and credentialing. If we ever hope to help more people and even possibly get insurance companies on board with helping, we have to create lines that determine the lay hypnotist from the serious professional, and it should not automatically be handed off to mental health agencies. 

Hypnotism should be its own category, with its own educational and/or internship requirements. 

Performing, clinical, and alternative hypnotists are not the same, nor should they be treated the same. Someone with years of education and experience is not the same as someone who is self taught or got an on-line “certification”, nor should they be treated as such. We need distinctive categories, not only for those of us who are choosing to use hypnosis as our means of making a living, but the public needs the distinctions as well. Then we can begin to educate the public in a much clearer way, and bring the power of hypnosis into the mainstream of helping professions.

As hypnotists, we need to change in order to evolve in a productive way for us all. We need to somehow unify in order to begin to present state legislators with reasonable and fair methods in which create our own independent classifications.

The NHA is ready to help start this change, but we are asking for your help too. We need your ideas and feedback, to find common ground and take that first step. The first thing we’d like to do is determine what those title distinctions should be, and what do you think the educational requirements should be to earn those titles? If we can create some parameters, then we can start approaching other hypnosis organizations to promote unity. Then we can move forward from there.  

 Here are some examples: “Performing Hypnotist”, “Alternative Hypnotist”, “Hypnosis Practitioner”, “Clinical Hypnotherapist”, etc.

What title distinctions would YOU create?

What do you think the educational requirements should be for your specific titles?  For example: a “Performing Hypnotist” might not need any formal education, but a “Hypnosis Practitioner” might need a minimum bachelor’s degree.

 Together we can make a difference.



​The National Hypnosis Association is a network and directory of hypnosis professionals dedicated to advancing the field of hypnosis and hypnotherapy by promoting a high level of professionalism and advocating the valid and therapeutic uses of hypnosis through increased public awareness.

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