When I was first told by a friend that there was a site on the internet that was accusing me of using a fake doctorate, it took me several days to locate it. Once I found it, and quickly read through it, I assumed that it was from a source local to my area and that someone (an individual or small group) was very angry with me or perhaps was angry with someone closely associated with me. I saw no evidence at all that there was any way to respond directly to what seemed an un-resolvable personal attack. That was about a year ago, and, unfortunately, I did not look at your blog again until 4 days ago because I thought visiting it would only strengthen its position on the internet and draw it closer to my own internet materials. Please understand that I was fully convinced that nothing I could possibly do would ever halt the attack on my work and my character. I believed that the site (your blogspot with my picture) would remain online essentially in perpetuity, and that nobody was likely to be overseeing it other than to perhaps keep renewing it year after year. Therefore it seemed that my only possible reaction to was to do whatever I could to defend the degree, which I did for many months as you already know.
Back in 1993, I was looking for a way to get more knowledge and experience in my chosen field of hypnotherapy. At the time, I was already in possession of several proper, nationally recognized, hypnosis certifications, and was working in a professional office. When I heard about the AIH, the American Institute of Hypnotherapy and their DCH degree, I was intrigued. It sounded too good to be true, even though there was obviously a great deal of work involved. Ninety semester hours of study with the opportunity to do quite a bit of hands-on work, a chance to travel to locations where I could receive training from various prominent specialists, and the whole package was not excessively expensive. I started with a phone call to the California State Department of Education. They assured me that the degree being offered by AIH was a real degree conferred by the State of California. It took me 4 years to complete the program, which was August of 1997. By that time AIH was under new ownership. It was clear to me that the new owners were primarily interested in promoting NLP, and they were not continuing to develop the DCH program. So things were changing pretty rapidly in a way that did not inspire my confidence. Looking back at the events of that time from a more recent perspective, it also seems clear that the serious financial problems, that were quickly sweeping the State of California toward an impending bankruptcy, were totally interrupting the process that might have taken AIH all the way to fully accredited status. I know they had been working toward that goal by steps. Had it been achieved, I believe it would have been a major breakthrough toward a more academic basis for the field of hypnotherapy in the US. I also believe that this must be achieved eventually if hypnotherapy is to reach its full potential.
My own position is simply that I highly value the education I got from AIH, but the degree itself is not that important. The WORK is what’s important to me. It’s precious. I’m certain that it’s more important than my existence in this world or yours. We all know that hypnotherapy is a legal practice throughout the United States, and a doctoral degree is not a requirement for such practice in any state. There is no question that a practitioner can get into serious legal trouble by claiming to be a medical doctor or a psychologist, or anything else, without the actual credentials. However a hypnotist can get in almost as much trouble if a client even mistakenly presumes that their practitioner is a member of one of these professions. Every client I have seen, since restarting my practice in January of 2002, has signed a form that makes it clear that I am not an MD of any kind and I don’t have a PhD in anything. It states that hypnosis is an independent profession. While the DCH degree has apparently become problematic, I wouldn’t trade the education I obtained while pursuing it for anything. In fact, there is no accredited school in this country that offers the resources and material I was able to avail myself of during my four-year period of training and study.
This is a no-brainer. The degree is not important for me, but the work is priceless. Had I known a year ago that there was an intelligent way to respond to that blogspot with my picture on it, I would have immediately renounced all attachment to the degree. It grieves me that it took me all this time to find out (just 4 days ago) that I could do this. I fear that my reputation has been damaged. I wish I had never referred to the DCH degree in my materials, but that’s history now. I have removed all references to the degree on my website, and on all the other organization’s websites that I am affiliated with. There may be a couple of low-end sites that I have no control over, but the 2 that I could find have also been notified that I want references to me either altered or dropped completely. I have also reprinted my business cards and brochures, etc.