This article was first published on Hypnosis Australia in 2005.
This paper examines the use of hypnotic language patterns used in journalism through analysing and reviewing one particular article published in The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) misrepresenting the therapy profession in Australia. The article is typical of what is called advocacy journalism where the young journalist Lisa Pryor set herself up as judge and jury of the therapy industry in Australia and constructed a feature that focused purely on what she said she believed was the problem with therapists.
Many journalists and newspeople use linguistic deletion, distortion and generalisation along with hypnotic language patterns to mislead the public into believing there has been a scandal when no such scandal exists. The creation of these stories often guides the public into believing they are in danger from certain individuals or professions, creating hysteria when, in actual fact, the article is implying a false reality.
On the 19.9.05 the SMH published an article on what it believed to be the problem with therapists in Australia, namely counsellors and psychotherapists, but also including hypnotherapists. The article was written by a young journalist called Lisa Pryor. It was described by academic librarian and winner of the 1992 Australian Human Rights Award For Non-Fiction, Katherine Cummings, as “one of most biased and unbalanced pieces of journalism I have ever seen”.
Alexandra Pope, the Sydney-based therapist and author who specialises in menstruation and women’s issues commented: “What a fit-up. It was appalling. I was shocked that the SMH even printed it. Of course, such a journalist could go to anyone’s website and construct a make-believe case against any of us if they have an axe to grind and don’t understand or appreciate the many therapeutic paradigms.”
Leon W. Cowen of the Academy of Applied Hypnosis in Sydney commented: “If the issue is hypnotherapy, then by all means discuss hypnotherapy. This story clouds the issue of hypnotherapy with irrelevant and unnecessary personal issues.”
It is not unusual for tabloid journalists to try to make professionals look bad in the press in order to create a story, but what is unusual is that the features editor of a major national broadsheet newspaper could have let such an unbalanced story be published. It seems that Pryor was out to make a name for herself as an investigative journalist and commented to me with malice prior to publication: “Although therapists are not officially registered with the government in Australia, it will want to register them when I’ve finished with them.”
Since this article is being written for a hypnosis journal I will confine myself to the section of the article, which was around one quarter of a major feature on therapists, that dealt with me as a hypnotherapist. I will look at the way the article was set up and analyse the text. From a hypnotic psycholinguistic perspective, it can be interesting to look at how the press use linguistic corruption to create non-existing scandal through deletion, generalisation and distortion, and hypnotic language patterns in order to sell newspapers.
Click HERE to read the original article by Lisa Pryor (external link to SMH site)
THE ARTICLE ANALYSIS
Be careful what the doctor may have ordered September 19, 2OO5 by Lisa Pryor
Caption: Offering advice on all sorts of ills … Tracie O’Keefe at her therapy business in Glebe.
Photo: Kate Geraghty
This photograph of myself was taken secretly without my permission with a telephoto lens at 9am without my knowledge or permission. I had just got off my bicycle, having cycled 10 kilometres from my home to work, was out of breath and dropping off a bag at work before I went to exercise in the park. It can be seen that in fact I have an elasticised tie in my hand which I used to fix the bag onto the back of my bicycle. I have included this picture that appeared in the newspaper in this paper because it clearly shows the intentions of the journalist involved.
The title of the article is purposefully derogatory in that it suggest that I am a person who is not to be trusted. The caption under the photograph further seeks to be derogatory in that it suggests that I offer unqualified advice, willy nilly. In actual fact, I offer people help in the fields in which I am qualified to do so.
All manner of therapists say they are qualified, but experts beg to differ, writes Lisa Pryor.
Pryor does not quantify what experts precisely beg to differ about whom exactly. She uses implied directive suggestion of dishonesty but avoids saying outright that I am dishonest.
Outside a shop on the main street of Glebe the words “qualified and registered practitioners” scroll across an electronic signboard.
It is normal for any business to have signage outside their premises as with doctors, dentists, solicitors, shoe shops or any kind of business, including newspapers. Over the past 35 years I have qualified in many disciplines and am registered with many professional bodies both internationally and within Australia.
The presentation is gauche, but the words are reassuring. In the therapy world, Dr Tracie O’Keefe sounds more qualified than most.
The words are indeed meant to be reassuring in that I am appropriately registered with the correct bodies for the professional services I carry out. The article omitted to say that my advertising always denotes DCH after my name for Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy.
Not only is she a doctor, she is also a professor. She heads the Australian Health and Education Centre, and the International Sex, Gender and Sexuality Clinic, establishments which are in that same shop in Glebe.
Pryor is correct that I am head of AHEC which is a clinic with four consulting rooms which I believe is one more than my colleague across the road who has a GP’s practice. AHEC is also a teaching centre and houses other projects including research. I am professor of Sex Gender and Sexuality with The Calamus International University, an international internet-based, non-campus university. I am also a sex therapist of many years experience and registered with Australian Society of Sex Educators, Researchers and Therapists (ASSERT) as a clinical member.
She offers advice on all manner of ills, from bereavement to gastro-intestinal disorders, from achieving orgasm to changing sex – which she did herself many years ago.
Pryor is correct in that I do offer help with many kinds of problems, all of which I am qualified, educated and insured to do so, as well as belonging to the correct relevant professions associations for each service I provide. This is the point when Pryor begins to show her true colours as a journalist in pointing out that I am a woman of transsexual origin.
I have so far published three books and many papers on sex and gender diversity. I am a clinical member of – and have been for 10 years – the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA). This is the international body of clinicians and academics that help people who are sex and gender diverse. I am probably one of the most published authors in the world on sex and gender diversity.
It is no mystery to anyone that I am a woman of transsexual origin since that has been public fact for many years. The phrase ‘sex change’ is a phrase sometimes used by the tabloid press in order to grab sensationalist headlines. It was first used in the US by the press when they broke the news about the American transsexual woman Christine Jorgenson in the early 1950s. In Pryor disclosing this information in this way, it is easy to see that she is using the phrase ‘sex change’ as a titillation and in order to make me appear sensationalist and even scandalous. It also discloses her own transphobia.
With such impressive qualifications, it is no surprise that she charges $165 an hour for psychotherapy, counselling, hypnotherapy, life coaching and sex therapy.
I have worked away year after year after year to gain my qualifications and clinical experience. In fact I have been both in the workplace and studying continuously for 35 years so I suppose my qualifications could be said to be impressive. They may of course also be impressive to Pryor because I have been involved in education longer that she has been alive.
My fee of $165 per hour is quite ordinary. Down the road my colleague who is a psychologist charges $195 per hour, the GP across the road sees five people per hour at $50 each. Another colleague who is a psychiatrist charges $220 per hour, my lawyer charges $350 per hour. Why would my fee be a surprise to another person, unless Pryor was trying to sensationalise the information?
But there is a catch. She is no ordinary doctor. Her doctorate comes from a hypnotherapy institute in California.
The word “but” is a negating linguistic conjunctive. It has two purposes. The first is to join two statements within a sentence together to make them into one sentence. The second purpose is to cause the second half of the sentence to disclaim the facts of the first half of the sentence. It is poor English for Pryor to begin a sentence with “but” because the sentence has no first statement. What Pryor is trying to do here is negate any possible positive statements that have been made about me before in the article. She has set up the article to say here is this wonderful therapist but in actual fact she is dishonest and running a scam.
It seems that Pryor does not understand or pretends not to understand that doctorates are awarded to many disciplines including journalism. If Pryor had not been to university, this might have been forgivable. However, what she is attempting to do is discredit me because I do not have the mysterious kind of doctorate to which she alludes would be appropriate, which she does not name.
The way in which she phrases the two sentences suggests that my doctorate is somehow improperly gained or not authentic. Pryor knew previous to publication that my doctorate was worked for over a number of years and that the thesis was published as the book Investigating Stage Hypnosis. My thesis dealt with the ill effects suffered by some people who had undergone stage hypnosis. The very core of what Pryor’s insinuations are trying to suggest is that my doctorate is from what is called a “paper mill” which is where people buy their doctorates. In fact my doctorate was issued under the direction and sanction of the California Government Department of Post Secondary Private Education and is in clinical hypnotherapy, which is one of the disciplines I practise.
As for her professorship, it is held at Calamus International University, an internet extension college. This “university” was founded in the British West Indies, where any business can call itself a university, says George Brown, a consultant to the Australian Universities Quality Agency.
Internet-based universities are legitimate in 2005. Knowledge is not the exclusive property of the privileged white middle-classes who can afford to go to university full time as Pryor did. Neither do many students wish to take out loans to survive whilst at university that can take them several years to pay back. Had Pryor travelled extensively throughout the world beyond her own parochial mindset, she would have known such facts. The Australian Government also sanctions distance education and overseas degrees given by Australian approved establishments for distance education studies that are not from accredited universities.
Pryor neither tells the reader that Brown’s expert opinion is for hire and that a vast amount of his experience seems to have been in catering, as can be seen from part of his bio from his website:
“George has held a number of senior positions within the higher education sector of Australia. These include Manager of Degree Programs for Regency Hotel School, the International College of Hotel Management, and Academic Director for Le Cordon Bleu International. George has held the position of Director, Degreeoftruth Pty Ltd (now HigherEd Consulting (Australasia) Pty Ltd) since 2001.”
It also seems that Brown was hired by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) to root out the competition. He is a hired help to protect the accredited universities’ crook of gold. The following excerpt is from a radio programme in which Brown took part:
Radio National Produced by Stan Correy, Virtual Universities – Testing Quality in Australian Higher Education, Sunday 16 July 2000. Stan Correy:
“Before the Greenwich affair, the Federal Government had already commissioned a report on the business of borderless education. One of the main reasons is Brand Protection. Australian universities have a very good brand internationally; it’s worth money, and Australia wants to protect its international status as a provider of quality education. Hence the fuss. The report commissioned by the Government was co-authored by Yoni Ryan.”
“Calamus is not a recognised university within any jurisdiction of the world. These professorships have no meaning in the world of academia that we know.” (Quote from George Brown)
Since Brown does not hold a doctorate himself and seems to be the hired guard dog to protect the fortunes of Australian accredited universities, his opinions have the limited importance of barking into the night at the boundaries of a property.
Dr O’Keefe, who runs courses in various therapies, was offering credit towards degrees and doctorates at that same internet extension college until earlier this year, when the NSW Department of Education and Training asked her to stop.
The Australian Heath and Education Centre (AHEC) has run courses in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling in full compliance with NSW laws. The Department of Education asked it to change its advertising so that the credits given towards universities are not construed as AHEC offering degrees in Australia. AHEC complied with the NSW Department of Education and Training’s (NSW DET) wishes, for which the department thanked AHEC for complying. These were simply clerical matters. However, a member of staff at the NSW DET sold that correspondence to the press, breaching the privacy laws and the NSW DET refused to disclose to AHEC how that happened.
Dr O’Keefe, who moved to Australia from Britain four years ago, said the Department of Education and Training targeted her because of “xenophobia” about qualifications obtained overseas.
Here we have the one-word quote out of a 90-minute set of two interviews that Pryor conducted with me over the telephone in both the autumn and spring 2005 and from an e-mail that I sent to Pryor in the spring. Pryor has actually misquoted me at this stage. What I actually said was the NSW DET and the AUQA, in trying to keep foreign trainings out of Australia, are being protectionist and xenophobic.
As the law stands in NSW, anyone can work as a counsellor or psychotherapist, regardless of their qualifications. The same lack of regulation applies to related professions such as sex therapy, family therapy, couples counselling and life coaching.
This situation is the same in most countries in the world and this is very little surprise to anyone. Australia’s laws were fashioned on the British system which is fashioned on the Roman system of law that gives practitioners right to practise what they like – unlike the Napoleonic system seen in some European countries that prevents practitioners from practising without government approval. Having a degree in law, it seems surprising Pryor does not seem to know this or chooses to ignore such information.
Organisations such as Relationships Australia apply rigorous standards to the counsellors they employ, requiring a three-year degree, specialised training and a practical demonstration of counselling skills.
Pryor does not mention that many therapists working for Relationships Australia also work in private practice and that many other organisations in the therapy business apply equally rigorous standards, sometimes even higher.
But when a therapist works in private practice it is left to vulnerable patients to weigh the various qualifications cited by the therapist.
Here Pryor does have a point. However, the public is able to go to their GP to ask for a referral to a therapist if they are confused. People who can afford private treatment are also generally discerning shoppers and may compare several therapists before they choose one. Again Pryor begins a sentence with the word but to attain dramatic effect and fails to state concrete comparatives.
That is no easy task, when you consider that the journal Psychotherapy in Australia lists more than 120 different training bodies running courses in psychotherapy and counselling.
Within general medicine there are also hundreds of different training bodies so why should it be any different for counselling, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy? It is a difficult task to get a profession registered and registration would indeed help the public in their selection. What Pryor does not state, of which she was informed, is that the government have indicated that they do not want to be the organisers of registration. What government minsters have said to the profession in the past was that when the profession gets itself organised into a register then the government will consider making the register official.
Professor Trevor Waring, who heads the Psychologists Registration Board, urges the public to choose a therapist with qualifications from an accredited university and membership of the main professional body.
Since Waring is a psychologist, why would he want to give business away to counsellors, psychotherapists or hypnotherapists? Waring must also be aware that over the past 10 years with the emergence of counselling, psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy as professions in their own right, psychologists have lost a lot of business to these therapists.
He warns that it is easy for therapists to set up businesses that sound official but may not be. “Look, you could set up the NSW Institute of Anxiety Treatment. You could do that and everyone thinks ‘Oh, gee, that’s a big centre’. People have got to check out the veracity of the claims.”
This is another blow in the turf war.
Some therapy courses are being taught by correspondence or over a weekend. The Australian Training Centre for Thought Field Therapy, for example, offers courses in Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, where therapists can become qualified in just two days for $495.
No respected professional therapists’ organisation allows membership to anyone who has gained their qualifications by correspondence-only, of which Pryor was well aware, and they require therapists to have undergone years of both practical and theoretical experience.
The organisation claims that problems such as trauma from sexual abuse, drug addiction and grief can be fixed in minutes by tapping parts of the body.
What Pryor leaves out here is that psychologists and psychiatrists have also used these techniques.
Professional bodies are trying to regulate the therapy industry themselves, creating their own lists of therapists who they deem appropriately qualified. Well-qualified therapists always advertise the extent of their training, but again government registration would be a good thing.
Therapists who are listed on the register maintained by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, for example, are subject to a strict code of ethics, and aggrieved patients can complain to the federation if they feel they have been treated badly. But membership of bodies such as the federation is voluntary. Therapists can continue to practise even if they break the rules, simply by surrendering their membership.
Again Pryor uses but to begin a sentence to negate her previous positive statement. The Australian government only registers certain kinds of health professionals, and hypnotherapists, psychotherapists and counsellors are not among them. That does not necessarily mean the public is in danger or that those professions have done anything wrong – it simply means that Pryor is trying to talk up the danger in order to sensationalise her article.
The federation register also includes therapists with unconventional qualifications, such as Dr O’Keefe.
Here again Pryor attempts to strike a blow to decimate my professionalism. Whilst admitting that I am a member of a relevant professional body, which has strict codes of ethics, training standards and vetting procedures, she also alludes to my unconventional qualifications, ignoring the fact that I possess all the relevant conventional qualifications for my professional duties.
Her qualifications were vetted by the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW, one of the 40 or so bodies that belong to the federation. The president of the association, Christine Chinchen, confirmed that Dr O’Keefe was a member of the association. “What I can say is our process is one which is rigorous in checking the qualifications of members and their supervision and professional development is appropriate,” Ms Chinchen said.
We see here that when Pryor fails the first time to find me unsuitable as a therapist because I am a bona fide registered clinician with PACFA, she tries a second time with CAPA and fails again.
Dr O’Keefe said she was qualified in “at least seven professions”, including hairdressing, her original specialty. She said this included qualifications from The Open University and the University of Derby, and hundreds of hours of face-to-face training at the National School of Hypnosis and Advanced Hypnotherapy in London.
It is true I am qualified in several professions. As a therapist, I have in actual fact undergone thousands of hours rather than hundreds of training over many years. I did start a special eco-friendly vegan hair and beauty salon in Australia, among other businesses which I owned when I came here in 2001 and employed over a dozen Australians in that business.
Since I have been in the workplace for over 35 years I have owned many businesses and employed hundreds of people. At the last count I think I was qualified in at least seven professions. Large amounts of the money from many of my businesses ventures has gone into funding research over the years. I have always been an entrepreneur who has privately funded what I believed to be worthy causes. It is confusing to see, however, what such statements have to do with the thrux of Pryor’s article except that she uses deviation to cause confusion.
Pryor seemed to imply that it was a matter of titillation that at 16 I was the youngest person in England to qualify as a hairdresser with the government and won medal for doing so. She seems to have the idea that people who have ever been hairdressers are less intelligent than professional classes to which she obviously believes she belongs.
Ms Chinchen was unaware that the NSW Department of Education and Training had warned Dr O’Keefe to stop offering credits towards degrees from an internet university until contacted by the Herald. Dr O’Keefe is still advertising courses in clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling on her website.
Why would Chinchen know about the administration matters of AHEC? By Pryor phrasing the paragraph in this way she seeks to imply that AHEC was in some way doing something underhanded which it was not.
Pryor telephoned Chinchen and asked her if she knows about the administration matters of AHEC and that is news?
What’s more is that Pryor has actually misunderstood the accreditation of educational points towards university degrees, or distorted the facts in order that she can try to put me and AHEC in a bad light. AHEC does advertise courses in accordance with the law and to the satisfaction of the NSW DET.
The government body charged with handling complaints about healthcare has no power to discipline unregistered therapists.
Then that body is only charged by law in dealing with certain sectors of the healthcare industry. Here Pryor uses a negative truism to produce sensationalism. It is like saying that the government has no power to stop people becoming Muslims.
Between 2001 and 2004 the Health Care Complaints Commission received 27 complaints against counsellors and therapists. Unlike proven complaints against registered mental-health professionals, the nature of these complaints is kept secret – even if the complaint was proven.
Here Pryor does not mention the hundred of complaints that have been made against nurses, MDs, dentists etc. She tries to create a negative hallucination which leaves counsellors, psychotherapist and hypnotherapists looking guilty. If this body has only received 27 complaints in three years, it suggests that those professions are, on whole, reasonably well-behaved.
This is despite calls dating back a decade for the commission to be granted the power to “name and shame”.
Calls from whom precisely?
This would be very silly policy for any healthcare profession to adopt. All medical and psychological therapists often deal with very disturbed people and those patients can often act out inappropriately. Being a therapist is very difficult job and sometimes patients may not always like what a therapist has to say to them and they may take offence when none was intended.
When complaints are investigated and a practitioner is proved to have done wrong by their professional association, the patient may have redress in law by suing. A patient also has the option of going straight to a lawyer and initiating a lawsuit if they feel they have been aggrieved or abused. A patient can also approach the Department of Fair Trading. The law does protect patients from malpractice and abuse already.
The majority of complaints are the result of misunderstanding and to try and destroy a healthcare professional’s career over that is inappropriate and reckless. Often if the complaint is of a minor nature, further supervision and training is usually required as with psychologists and MDs. If a complaint is of a more serious nature, professional associations have the options of disqualifying practitioners from membership.
“As far as I know, it hasn’t happened,” said the Health Care Complaints commissioner, Kieran Pehm.
And rightly so, as name and shame is an infantile policy.
Its harshest penalty for counsellors and psychotherapists is to write to the therapist and their employer, telling them they have done wrong.
Again Pryor uses a truism to create sensationalism.
Mr Pehm said there was no regulatory authority that had any power to stop these people practising, even if a complaint was proved.
That is correct and concurrent with the current law.
By contrast, other professionals including doctors, nurses, psychologists, chiropractors and dentists, could be banned if they acted improperly.
That is correct.
Psychiatrists say that cases of bad therapy from underqualified therapists are common.
Cases of bad therapy by qualified psychiatrists are also equally common.
Dr Jeffrey Streimer, a psychiatrist specialising in psychotherapy, spends about 20 per cent of his time seeing people who have had unsuccessful or detrimental treatment by a lesser qualified therapist.
Psychiatry is a different discipline from psychotherapy and to be a psychiatrist does not make someone qualified to be an expert in psychotherapy.
This includes cases where patients have harmed themselves after bad therapy. One man was rendered a paraplegic after jumping out of a window following an inappropriate therapy session.
We have to ask ourselves at this point how many people have committed suicide due to psychiatric treatment. No doubt there are poor therapists, but there are also probably pro-rata as many bad psychiatrists.
This year Dr Streamer saw a similar case where a woman jumped in front of a vehicle after a session with an inexperienced therapist.
These scaremonger tactics by Pryor are unbalanced reporting. Streamer fails to mention the thousands of people that are admitted to Australian hospitals every year because of the side effects of psychiatric drugs.
There is no mention of the devastating lifelong effects of electric shock treatment that psychiatric patients undergo that can leave them emotionally devastated with defective memory capacity. As a therapist, I also spend a large amount of my clinical time fixing the problems created by poorly-skilled psychiatrists and psychologists.
PSYCHIATRIST: A qualified medical doctor who has specialised in dealing with mental illness and emotional problems. It takes eight years to qualify as a doctor and another five to qualify as a psychiatrist. They have the power to prescribe medicine.
PSYCHOLOGIST: Psychologists study behaviour and tend to focus on helping healthy people function better, rather than mental illness. A therapist must complete a four-year degree and two years of experience before they can call themselves a psychologist.
COUNSELLOR: A counsellor tends to focus on helping people deal with specific problems. They may specialise in a particular area. Anyone can call themselves a counsellor, though many organisations impose minimum standards on members.
PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Psychotherapy tends to be more intensive. Anyone can call themselves a psychotherapist, though some are doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers who have completed specialised training.
It seems negligent that in an article where Pryor talks about hypnotherapy qualifications, that she should leave out a definition of hypnotherapists.
End of newspaper article
The Schizophrenic Nature of the Press
The schizophrenic nature of the press is common knowledge. As a public figure, one day they can be your friend and flag you up to be the best thing since electricity was discovered and the next you can be demonised as the anti-Christ. All this of course can happen within a 24-hour period in the same publication. While editorial policy does determine the kind of stories a newspaper will print, the style and content of a story is largely due to the journalist themselves.
On 21 September, 2005 the SMH ran the following story:
Those who choose own treatment do better
September 21, 2005 – 2:05PM
Allowing depressed patients to select their own treatment – drug therapy, counselling, or a combination of both – may improve their wellbeing, researchers in US report. The findings were based on a study of 335 adults with a clinical diagnosis of depression. The subjects were surveyed regarding their preferred therapy and this was compared with the actual treatment received. Susan C Hedrick, from the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, and colleagues, conducted telephone interviews to assess changes in functional status, severity of depression, disability, and other health outcomes at one week, three months, and nine months. Fifteen per cent of patients preferred medication alone and these subjects were older and more likely to be white and married compared with the 24 per cent who preferred counselling only, or the 60 per cent who preferred both, the report said. Overall, 72 per cent of the subjects received treatment that matched their preference, the investigators reported in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine. Although depression symptoms improved among patients in both groups, those who received a preferred treatment experienced more rapid improvements than those who received a therapy not matching their preference.
Pryor’s story plainly implies that many therapists are quacks, but the above story offers a different perspective. Both stories appeared in the same publication in the same month, probably under the same editorial guidelines.
Email to Pryor
Just before publication of Pryor’s article, I sent an email to her to try to help her have a better perspective after a conversation with her that was purely negatively focused from her side. The email and her reply are quoted in full below:
From: Tracie O’Keefe [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, 15 September 2005 3:40 PM
To: Lisa Pryor
I was deeply disturbed by our conversation yesterday. You gave the impression that you seem to be on a crusade to somehow expose the world of counselling and therapy. If this is your quest, that would be very sad since many people in those professions spend their time working far beyond the average week to help people, including myself. I am also concerned that some of the information you believe to be fact about me is inaccurate, so I would like to clarify:
Let me reiterate that the Australian Health and Education Centre has never offered degrees or doctorates in Australia. We are a private institution that offered training in clinical hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling. We are currently only offering advanced private trainings to professionals in the field as I am involved in some research which will be occupying much of my time. Our trainings can be accredited or approved by many other training institutions, as is normal in education and counted, for example, towards the Calamus Degree and Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy. There are currently no advanced trainings to degree and doctorate level in Australia, so hypnotherapists seeking that level of training need to seek help from outside Australia. AHEC is also a satellite centre for many other services from different professions.
AHEC has always complied to all Australian laws and worked within legal guidelines and negotiated with relevant departments to ensure compliance.
I realise from looking at information about you on the SMH website that your education was at an accredited university in Sydney. Education, however, is far larger than Australia and many so called unaccredited universities, colleges and training companies throughout the world offer superb services to students. I am not referring to the ‘paper mill’ type establishments – I am opposed to these myself, but not all ‘unaccredited’ training institutions operate on this basis and do in fact offer high standards of distance education to people wishing to take their studies further (such as Calamus and the AIH where I gained my degree and doctorate in hypnotherapy after completing hundreds of face-to-face classroom hours of training at the National School of Hypnosis & Advanced Psychotherapy in London), and it is important to differentiate between these establishments. Academic snobbery is always about money and protectionism. What also might be useful to remember is that education throughout the world is often very, very different from Australia and those in Australia who refuse to recognise the benefits of those educations are simply xenophobic and short-sighted, particularly as many of Australia’s population are immigrants. It is also wise to remember that there are other institutions in Australia who specialise in education and are sanctioned by the government to issue degrees which are not necessarily accredited universities.
As you may know from your research, I have always supported the concept of compulsory board registration for therapists and believe many in the industry also feel the same. At the moment there is no government registration in Australia. However, there are very good organisations like PACFA, CAPA, and the ACA that thoroughly vet the education and experience of their members. Many of us from outside Australia possess a level of training in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling that is far higher than the standards set by Australian organisations such as these (including the minimum requirement of face-to-face classroom hours). Members of these organisations also remain in constant clinical supervision and each year have to undergo advanced trainings (continuing professional development).The industry itself is moving towards registration very swiftly.
Training in therapy takes place in many settings, often in private training establishments that often do not seek government accreditation. Why? Because the world does not work like that. In therapy, it is not the institution that will teach you the skills you need to be a great therapist but the teacher who has the skills to do that. I have trained in many professions over the past 35 years. This includes hairdressing, which you seemed to take issue with during one of our conversations. I trained and qualified as a hairdresser when I was 16 yrs old and during the past four years I have been in Sydney, I owned a hair and beauty salon giving people jobs as well as running a clinical therapy practice and teaching, working six, usually seven days a week because that’s what immigrants have to do. Oh and did I forget to tell you that all that time, when I had chance to breath, I was involved with political pressuring for equal GLBTI rights. I also co-edited a book published in 2003 by a mainstream US publisher (Jossey Bass, a division of international publishing house Wileys) during this time.
Since last July I have been running AHEC full time, as well as undertaking research. I have trained over the years at many different institutions in different countries, some of them were government accredited, some of them were not. The highest standards were often in the private institutions because if they did not have to go that extra mile they would not remain in business. Let’s be honest there are some great teachers in accredited universities but there are some absolutely lousy ones too, who are poorly monitored. I have boxes of qualifications and certificates from various institutions, and the ones I learnt most from were the private trainings and tutors, not under government control.
One cannot quantify many of the skills and commitment it takes to be a great therapist. Governments do not want to get involved in monitoring therapists. What the therapy profession is doing at the moment is getting itself organised sufficiently to become a registered profession. Surely the profession deserves accolades for that, and not criticism that will damage the efforts of those professionals pushing for registration. You yourself have written about how many government quangos and committees never actually produce anything so I would suggest that perhaps it might be a better idea in your article to support therapists who are trying to gain registration against the government’s apathy instead of trashing people, such as myself, who have often spent years of dedication to a profession in order to help people.
Should you wish to clarify any points, you have my contact details.
Thank you for your email, Tracie. Your points are noted.
This email clearly demonstrates that Pryor ignored much of the information she possessed in order to create a story that was specifically designed to trash Australian therapists and me in particular.
In reviewing Pryor’s actions, in constructing the article in the way that she did, we need to ask ourselves some basic questions:
Was Pryor aware that Australian federally-approved institutions offered degrees from some so-called non-accredited universities?
The answer to this is yes. During interviews before publication Pryor informed me that this was the case. She was aware that accredited universities were not the only institutions in Australia to issue approved degrees. She was also aware that this is the case in many other countries and that such qualifications are considered academically acceptable. She chose, however, not to put that information into the article.
At the time of writing this article the Australian government had a trade exhibition travelling the world to encourage professionals to immigrate to Australia. Some of those professionals will have qualifications and degrees from non-accredited universities.
Was Pryor aware that the government itself paid for the services of counsellors and psychotherapists who were trained at institutions other than accredited universities?
The answer again is yes. During interviews she was told that within the healthcare industries there are many routes of training recognised by the industry, government and by academia that are other than at accredited universities.
How would Pryor’s article have stood up academically?
It is likely that her article would have been failed as an effort as a first-year journalist student. One of the main problems with the structure of the writing was that she gave no balanced perspective in her story. While she had more than 90 minutes of telephone interview material from me and an extensive email, she only put a one-word quote from me into the article. The rest of my perspective on the subject that she offered was paraphrased in order to support her slant on the story that I was really a quack. It was plainly unbalanced journalism.
What were Pryor’s intentions in writing the article?
When we look through the article we can see that that several things were trying to be achieved. Firstly Pryor was trying to make a name for herself as an investigative journalist.
Secondly, looking at what she left out of the article it is clear she had manipulated the information she reviewed to try to create a sensationalist story.
Thirdly, in order to exalt herself as a reporter, she believed she needed to expose scandal. She initiated contact with me originally in autumn of 2005 on the pretence of asking my opinion on the subject of struck-off psychologists and psychiatrists working as counsellors or psychotherapists. I told that I really did not have much of an opinion on the matter as it was not my area of expertise, and that therapists who belonged to reputable organisations were asked if they had ever been struck off for misconduct. She then hijacked me by saying she had become aware of letters between AHEC and the NSW DET that had been sold by one of the NSW DET employees to the press and asked if I would comment. I told her I had no comment.
Fourthly, even though I as a therapist had not contravened any laws or behaved inappropriately, she purposefully constructed her article to imply that maybe I was really untrustworthy or improperly qualified for the professions I am involved in, which is totally untrue.
Did Pryor mention the millions of people each year who had been helped by therapists?
No, because that would not have given her the kind of slant of scandal on her article that she plainly sought to portray.
In a letter to their membership after publication of the article, CAPA president Christine Chinchen, representing 500 therapists in NSW wrote:
“The reason I am writing to you is to let you know that CAPA and PACFA have been working hard to counter the Sydney Morning Herald comments made about us. It seems unfortunate that they chose to undermine the efforts we have been making to protect the public from unscrupulous people such as deregistered psychologists and psychiatrists they mention.”
We can also note that PACFA represents thousands of therapists in Australia.
Was Pryor aware of the damage that would be done both to therapists and to patients by her article?
Her article showed little regard for the thousands of therapists in Australia who daily help people with a very wide variety of psychosomatic and mental disorders. The article also showed little regard for the damage that such an article would do for therapists’ businesses; and the devastating effects on patients losing faith in their therapists and leaving therapy because they had got the impression from her article that their therapist may be dangerous.
Were Pryor’s intentions purely egocentric without concern for the harm her article would cause?
The article does seem to suggest that mainly self-interests were present, in the way she had constructed her story and that she showed little social conscience for the damage that the article would do.
Can innocence, naivety and inexperience as a journalist be held responsible for Pryor’s actions?
Pryor has a double-degree with honours in both law and art. It could not be said that she is uneducated. She also worked at the SMH for three years before publication of this story. It is likely that she has had some kind of training in journalism. She must plainly have known the difference between presenting balanced journalism and creating a story with a slant designed to assassinate a professional’s reputation and a profession at large. Furthermore in an interview pervious to publication she had indicated malice to me by suggesting that she would expose therapists in any way she could in order to get the government to register them.
What about Pryor’s sources?
Journalists generally do use sources to verify their stories and this can happen in two ways. The journalist can either source an expert to get an opinion or they can source a specific expert to support an opinion the journalist holds.
It would be difficult to know what happened in the case of Pryor’s article at times. We know from the structure of the article that she sought to discredit many of those she wrote about and may have sought the specific expert opinions to support her smear campaign.
George Brown, of HigherEd Consulting, is well known in a protectionist way for looking after the financial territory of his clients: the accredited universities. How much Brown used the naivety of Pryor or Pryor used the prejudiced opinions of Brown we shall never know. Both knew that many fine teaching institutions that train therapists are not accredited universities. They also both know that many internet distance-learning teaching establishments are respected and not necessarily accredited universities. All of these facts were known to both parties and manipulated to achieve self-interest.
One cannot, in all due conscience, be expected to believe that Pryor was the innocent here, as she had all this information while writing her article.
Could Pryor have presented a more balanced perspective?
It had been pointed out to Pryor how the counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy industries were becoming more organised and are attempting to move towards registration of practitioners. It was also pointed out what a huge task this is and how complications arose because of the state and federal dividing laws, and what a huge effort the industry had made to resolve the situation. Pryor was also aware of the huge progress that had been made by bodies such as PACFA, ACA, ATMS, CAPA and other such bodies.
Pryor choose to ignore what huge progress had been made by these industries and what effort was currently going into moving towards registration. While she mentioned bodies such as PACFA and CAPA, in the same article she dismissed them as not really monitoring standards because they were voluntary registration bodies at present not government monitored.
Did Pryor’s article achieve what she wanted it to?
This would be impossible for us to answer but we can make some educational guesses at what it did not achieve. It did not hasten the path of registration for counsellors, psychotherapists or hypnotherapists with state or federal government health boards. The path to registration is a far more complex mechanism with needs and impetus other than the influence of the ramblings of a sensationalist journalist.
It did not did alert the public to ill-trained therapists because it left the reader even more confused than if they had never read the article at all.
It did not show me up to be a charlatan which was the loaded intention of Pryor getting a photographer to hide in the bushes outside my clinic to take a secret photograph, and then to use a series of rent-a-quotes to reflect unfavorably on my professionalism.
What it did show was that Pryor was a ruthless and thoughtless journalist who had little regard for those who she profaned as long as it got her a byline (name underneath the title of the article).
What would have been a better article for Pryor to write?
Pryor could have written an article that was more constructive, praising the efforts of many in the therapy industry who were tirelessly working towards getting the industry as a registered health profession with the government registration board. It would have been wise to investigate that in some states there is not even a proper registration board, and in that context the responsible therapists who are members of good professional associations were acting supremely responsibly.
She could have considered the wonderful work that therapists do every day in a fully professional manner and how they save many lives and resolve misery and illness.
Recommendations could have been made to the public for appropriate professional bodies that the public might be able to trust to find a therapist.
Pryor could have constructively separated the unqualified and unregistered therapists debate from the therapists who were qualified and registered with voluntary associations. Instead what she did was try to tar a whole series of professions with the brush of irresponsibility in order to make her look good as an investigative journalist.
What effect did the article have on the professions of counselling, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy?
People do tend to believe articles written in national newspapers, even though the level of journalism in the 21st century is considered to be getting worse. It seemed that Pryor had started on the SMH in the property section and appears to have had only one solo major investigative feature in the newspaper before.
There is little doubt that for a few weeks this story did hurt the confidence of the public in professional therapists. In the long term, however, it is unlikely that this article will have any serious effect on the therapy business because of its deficiencies as a piece of journalism.
What effect did this article have on hastening the progress of the registration for counsellors, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists in Australia?
Its effect is likely to have been zero.
What effect did this article have on my practice?
I got telephone calls from ex-clients who had seen the article who were horrified and offered me their support. I was even stopped in the high street by an ex-client on crutches who insisted on telling me how grateful they were for the help I had given them.
Colleagues contacted me expressing their horror at the article and offering me their support.
Some clients did leave my practice mid-treatment due to fears that there was some truth in the derogatory slant the article sought to portray about my professionalism.
For me, that was the greatest tragedy, as one patient acutely went into crisis, believing the appalling slant of the article and I was unable to help her and had to recommend her to seek treatment elsewhere.
There was little damage to my ego as to be attacked in the press by a hack like Pryor has no shame. If she had had a real story or had been a writer that I considered of any note, I may have taken it more seriously.
Is Press Accuracy Important?
Quotation from the Australian Journalists Association Code of Ethics:
“Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis.
Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.”
It is plain from the analysis of the text of the article that Pryor did not follow the very principles of fairness by which journalists are supposed to operate. Her use of paraphrasing instead of direct quotes distorted the story and led to many of the readers getting the impression that I was not actually recognised as being qualified in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling in Australia.
It can be seen from the item below that even the journalism industry has recognised that reporting in Australia has often been distorted in recent years, rather than being factual, in order to sell newspapers:
Press Council head slams media ‘feeding frenzy’
The media have gone into a “feeding frenzy” over independent MP Pauline Hanson and were to blame for the resulting damage to Australia’s reputation, according to the the head of the Australian Press Council.
Professor David Flint, addressing the ninth conference of the Samuel Griffith Society in Perth on 27 October, 1997, said such damage could not be blamed on politicians.
“It was media indulging in its own fantasies, believing its own stories, which turned Ms Hanson into a spectre stalking the land”, he said.”
The SMH has had its share of lawsuits filed against it for libel. What major newspapers actually do is use lawyers to protect their right to print what they wish. They make more money printing sensationalist stories than they pay out in damages or to lawyers to protect them against people seeking redress.
Accuracy is imperative for good reporting but that does not always produce sellable copy. On days when news is slow, papers fill the headlines with eye-catching stories and features that are specifically designed to engage the readers in an emotive way so the reader feels that they have got their money’s worth for their purchase.
The internet over the past 15 years and its ease and freedom of information has caused newspaper sales throughout the world to fall. In order to remain competitive, newspapers have employed younger, less experienced journalists to fill copy and produce the bulk of copy, but naturally with a decline in accuracy.
The SMH has had lawsuits against it before for articles implying lack of professionalism, such as the one below:
O’Shane awarded $220,000 libel damages against Herald
March 16, 2004 – 5:14PM
NSW Magistrate Pat O’Shane was awarded $220,000 in damages today after taking defamation action against The Sydney Morning Herald.
In 2001, a jury found the newspaper had defamed Dr O’Shane by publishing an article that implied she was biased, incompetent and unfit to be a magistrate.
NSW Supreme Court Acting Justice Rex Smart today awarded her $220,000 in damages over the December 1999 article, written by Janet Albrechtsen.
The Sydney Morning Herald defended the article by saying it was fair comment on a matter of public interest.
Outside the court, Dr O’Shane said she felt vindicated by the result and hoped it sent a message to the media to be more diligent in their reporting.
“I hope it sends a message to the media generally to be responsible in the way they comment or report,” she said.
“As far as I’m aware there are no institutions of accountability to ensure that the media as a whole behaves in a responsible matter.” (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/16/1079199215467.html?from=storylhs)
The SMH generally has three lawyers working for them which Pryor would likely have passed the article before prior to publication. What Pryor did was use implied directives to suggest that I was not really a valid professional because I was not trained in Australia and also that I was somehow being dishonest with the public. During our last interview she told me, with great relish, that it would be impossible for me to sue her, no matter what she wrote.
Are All Journalists Seeking Sensationalism?
There are many equitable journalists operating throughout the world who produce constructive and accurate work. They produce high-quality, balanced reporting that gives equal weight to either sides of a debate. They do tend, however, in many cases, not to work for major dailies because they often feel compromised by the pressures of those newspapers to produce copy in bulk and meet deadlines, no matter what happens.
In reading this paper, it would be easy to think that I might be anti-journalist myself. Nothing could be further from the truth. For 12 years I have lived with my partner, who is a journalist and whose work I greatly admire. I have also been quoted extensively in newspaper and magazine articles in my professional capacity, offering expert opinions. I am also a professional writer who has written in newspapers as well as academically
The Hypnotic Effect of Newspaper and Media Imbibed Information
The act of reading itself is a hypnotic experience where attention is focused to the exclusion of surrounding sensory information. The same can be said about watching a television, focusing on a computer screen or listening to the radio. Reduction in external sensory attention takes place alongside reduction of the conscious critical defense mechanisms that are more prevalent in the ordinary waking beta-wave brain activity.
There is also the expectation to consider with newspapers, in that people are expecting to get accurate news for their money. Whether the news source is of a right-wing or left-wing political persuasion is irrelevant once the average reader commences to sift through the news. So when the reader comes upon a story that claims to be an exposé, they expect to have some kind of revelation imparted to them and for that news to be accurate.
A lot of what we learn from the media is very useful to us and helps us negotiate our world, society, and aids the management of our lives, careers, money and personal affairs. As human beings in a modern developed world we need to be kept up-to-date with the news to service our survival in a consumer society. The more developed and sophisticated the society, the more news individuals seem to need to survive in that kind of world.
So when the average person picks up a national daily newspaper they immediately go into a trance state by means of a learned response mechanism which carries the expectation that they are going to learn true information by which they can survive.
The Power of Suggestion and Acceptance of the Veracity of That Suggestion Delivered by the Media
Do people believe what they read in the newspaper?
The plain and simple answer is yes. People place their trust in the media to deliver accurate information. With newspapers particularly, people have an overriding faith that if it has made it all the way to the page, it will be accurate reporting.
In modern societies we have also been led to believe that it is noble to read and gain knowledge. The major religions of the world are fueled by written propaganda to support the tenets of that religion. People also read their newspapers, watch their television and surf online, taking each as a source of dependable suggestion, sometimes with religious-type conviction.
When America and its allies invaded Iraq the newspapers were full of stories of Iraq being in possession of nuclear weapons. Despite the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) saying they could find no evidence of nuclear weapons people tended to believe the stories in the newspapers that such weapons existed. The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mohamed ElBaradei, Of the IAEA which verified that its calls for the world not to panic before the invasion of Iraq was correct. What the online reporting about the peace prize left out, however, was how much the war was due to media hype.
All governments try to get the press on side when it is coming up to an election. People look to the media for much of the information for their daily needs. So undoubtedly people do believe to a large extent what they read in the newspapers, even if that information is deficient.
Many of the people who read Pryor’s artfully-crafted story in the SMH, about me and training standards in hypnotherapy, were left with the suggestion that I was somehow a charlatan. The average person has not been to university and neither do they possess the critical analysis to be able to read between the lines of that story in order to see that I had transgressed no laws or contravened no code of ethics. Pryor intended to imply guilt by association in talking about lack of government registration and using my profile in the same article. Her suggestion was that somehow I was an improper practitioner of my professional duties. To the masses on the first reading, the public will have been left successfully with that suggestion in their minds.
Further continual damage has since been done to me when the article was immediately put on the SMH website and remained floating around in cyberspace.
Surface Structure and Root Structure of the Article
When we consider this article from a transformational grammar perspective we can plainly see after initial analysis the clear difference between surface structure and root structure of the text.
Primarily the surface structure suggests that here is a wonderful-sounding therapist who on further inspection does not really meet Australian standards although there are no real government-approved Australian standards. Our experts suggest she is really is a fraud and as the title of the article suggest even though she is registered with PACFA twice in two different sections and with CAPA. “Be careful what the doctor may have ordered”, suggests I am to be avoided at all costs.
The root structure of that article tells a different story completely in that here is therapist (me) who is appropriately qualified for what she does and Pryor cannot find fault with me. Pryor in her writings shows that she really does not have any kind of comprehensive understanding of therapy training. She acknowledges that I belongs to the appropriate professional bodies for what I do and have attended a number of legitimate trainings institutions, both accredited and unaccredited; but Pryor as a journalist does not like me for reasons unbeknown to the reader – she is simply prejudiced.
In reality Pryor is left completely without a story because there is no scandal, even though during her investigations she rang several of my professional colleagues to try and find some dirt on me. We can see by the way she put the article together that she attempts a smear campaign by using the suggestion of guilt by association. Her strategy is to talk about poorly-qualified therapists who misbehave and to drop my details right into the middle of that story and this is pure gutter press tactics.
She leaves the surface structure of the article to do the damage while getting the SMH lawyers to check that the root structure of the text so that by law it does not actually libel me, or so they believe. It is worth remembering she had told me herself that she would be getting the lawyers to check the article before it went to press.
Positive and Negative Hallucinations
In the process of constructing human experience, people delete some experience from their attention (negative hallucination) and at other times construct unreal experiences into their sense of reality (positive hallucinations). As hypnotists we use suggestion, either direct or indirect to get our clients to experience both negative and positive hallucinations in order to help them ameliorate their ills and illuminate their abilities.
Writers also use the same techniques to get the readers to imagine different experiences that the writer wishes them to experience. The novelist may suggest the cruelness of the sea by using adjectives and phraseology in ways that never actual says cruelty but implies it. The gossip columnist may talk about how attentive a particular senator may be toward one of his very young female aids and they may not libel the senator, but they will clearly imply impropriety.
In Pryor’s article it is clear to the ordinary person that she implies I am an unprofessional charlatan, although she never comes out and says so or offers direct evidence to support that idea, so she invites a positive hallucination in the reader’s mind that this is the case. To support her hypothesis she then goes on to invite negative hallucination in the reader’s mind by inferring that the professional organisations I belong to may be very good on paper but they do not have government approval, therefore demoting them to being inconsequential.
Journalist as Judge and Jury
There is an active debate in journalist circles as to the authentic role of the journalist. Traditionally journalists with integrity have generally been journalists who have stuck to the facts in an article and given balanced points from either sides of a debate.
In more recent times, however, due to the competitiveness of a growing media there has been a tendency towards what is known as advocacy journalism. This is where the journalist clearly takes strong judgmental position on the story and bends the implication within the story to where they believe the truth of a debate lies.
“During the early years of the 1960s, a new breed of journalists started to file copy from Canberra; most had formal economics training and were critical of the protectionist policy of the Government. The arrival of these journalists coincided with the appointment of Alf Rattigan as Chairman of the Tariff Board. Rattigan, who died earlier this year, and the journalists would together pursue the reduction of tariff barriers and succeed in a critical reshaping of Australian economic policy, the legacy of which remains today. The contribution of the journalists in this key policy battle is clear and provides an important example of advocacy journalism. The ambition of the Government at the time to limit public debate through restricting media attention is apparent and sounds a warning to journalists in any era.
It is clear that Pryor sees herself as an advocacy journalist by the way she writes her unbalanced article. What makes her reporting dangerous is that in order to ingratiate herself as a journalist, she chooses to imply untruths and leave out vital information that would enable to reader to come to their own conclusions. She did not fulfill her social responsibility to tell the reader the whole story.
In critiquing this paper I have to consider whether my writing of it is mainly driven by my own emotional reaction to the article in that it seeks to damage my reputation. I can say without doubt to begin with, there may have been a element of an emotional reaction in my action. However, as time has passed it became apparent to me that the analysis of the subject of the media’s use of distortion, deletion and generalisation of language and the use of hypnotic language patterns was worth considering from a linguistic perspective.
I also had to consider if my analysis was too subjective, but because I was the only one in possession of a large amount of information on this incident I decided it would be responsible of me to put my knowledge to what I considered good use.
I consulted a lawyer who told me that he believed I had been libelled and that I would be able to bring a case against the SMH. I have sued for libel before and won and may well sue for libel again before I die. In this case the lawyer advised me that I had a right to reply under what is know legally as qualified privilege. As a social scientist, however, I decided on this occasion to turn what had happened into a study which was the most natural thing for me to do.
Hypnotherapists are often mauled by the press for the jobs that they do and the fact that it is not a government-registered profession does not help this situation. This can also be said about counsellors and psychotherapists. In her article it was suggested by Pryor, because of the way she framed the article, that therapists were not a very trustworthy bunch, particularly me because I was not trained in Australia, even though I met and exceeded Australian standards. The fact that I underwent a much higher level in hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, and counselling training in another country, for longer than Pryor had been alive was ignored by Pryor in order that she could create a sensationalistic article.
It is very easy for journalists to use linguistic deletion, distortion, generalisations and hypnotic language patterns to imply anything about anyone in order for them to create a story. In the newspaper business, no news is bad news and any news is good news. It is clear in Pryor’s article that she tried to create a story out of nothing about me in order to create copy that she believed would get her noticed as a journalist. Her writing style, researching and reporting were so poor that she created an article that was designed solely to assassinate my reputation, the reputations of therapists, and glorify her. To that end, she plainly used sexism, racism and intellectual snobbery and ignorance to frighten the public. The hypnotic effect of this caused damage to my own practice and reputation and to the reputations of hypnotherapists, psychotherapists and counsellors, and the wellbeing of those practitioners’ clients.
This kind of press is not new and has been happening since before the French Revolution when Mesmer made hypnosis popular in the 18th century in Paris. The reality probably is that this kind of journalism will continue until hypnotherapy, along with counselling and psychotherapy, is a legal government-registered profession. Journalism itself, however, seems in Australia to often be operating without social conscience, with journalists terrorising the subjects of their stories by constructing their work purely for sensationalism to sell newspapers and ignoring the facts.
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Doyle, Alister in Oslo, UN’s nuclear watchdog wins Nobel Peace Prize, October 8, 2005
Higher Education Consulting (George Brown)
O’Shane awarded $220,000 libel damages against Herald, March 16, 2004 – 5:14PM
President of Counsellors & Psychotherapists Association of NSW, Christine Chinchen to CAPA members, October 2005.