Regulation continues to be a hot topic in NLP, with everyone seeming to have an opinion about how it should be regulated and who should be doing the regulating.

Well, here in the UK there have been some very interesting changes in the regulation of health professionals recently. The Health Professional Council ( has been established and from 1st July this year it is now in charge of regulating a collection of health professions (obvious really, given it’s title).

It has created a list of “protected title”, i.e, job titles you can only call yourself if you are accredited by the HPC. Calling, passing your self off, or alluding to yourself as, one of these protected titles without relevant qualification is criminal offence.

Most relevant to NLP are the following psychological titles that have been protected:

  • Practitioner psychologist
  • Registered psychologist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counselling psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Sport and exercise psychologist

There are moves to add psychotherapists to this list, but so far the psychotherapy profession has resisted the move, preferring self-regulation. However, if they cannot prove that self-regulation is effective then they may lose control of it to the HPC.

There are also rumours that hypnotherapy and clinic hypnosis will be absorbed in to the HPC regulatory framework.

If hypnotherapy is absorbed in the HPC, how long will it be before connected fields such as NLP and EFT are also absorbed?

There is quite a clear argument for such practices as hypnotherapy and EFT, etc to be more firmly regulated, as they are primarily used as a therapy. It seems absurd to me that someone who has done and online hypnotherapy course (or in the case of EFT, no training whatsoever – since it is not regulated at all and the information is free to obtain) can set themselves up and start seeing clients, some of whom may have serious mental health problems.

But that is happening. A lot.

However the problem I have with excessive regulation of NLP is that NLP has such a broad range of application. Does a person who wants to train in NLP to improve their sales ability, for example, need to be as strongly regulated as someone who intends to use it as a therapy?

Of course not.

Remember NLP IS NOT A THERAPY ( Although it may have it’s roots in the therapists and therapeutic processes of the early 70’s, but has, since the early 80’s, branched out into personal development, business, education and sports, to name just a few. It is an educational tool that can be applied to any field you wish.

But, it is becoming quite clear that something has to be done and the NLP community (for want of a better word) need to start working together or accept external regulation from a body such as the HPC.

The irony, of course, is that certain legal precedents that came out of several court cases in the 1990’s and early 2000’s (when Richard Bandler attempted to subsume control of the technology he created) essentially deregulated the field of NLP entirely, ruling that NLP had been the public domain for too long for one person or organisation to claim ownership (and therefore control and regulatory responsibility) of NLP.

But there we go. NLP, eh?