Why have a fitness to practice policy?

Although our having a fitness to practice policy might feel a bit intimidating, that is not its intent. It is important to YHT that we maintain the highest standards in our students and graduates, not just in academic achievement but in all their dealings with practice volunteers and clients.

You will notice we use the word concerns, and not complaints, in this policy. Concerns about fitness to practice in hypnotherapy students are extremely rare, but having a policy means we have a framework to fall back on if they do arise, and that (in turn) means they are dealt with quickly and fairly. We can evaluate any issues that are brought to our attention; keep students, their volunteers, and their clients safe; and provide appropriate support and guidance to the person involved.

The policy applies to students from the time they send in their application form to the point at which they receive their final qualifications.

Students are made aware of this policy on our website, in our learning contract, and in the Student’s Handbook which you receive in module one.

What is fitness-to-practice?

Fitness to practice is about more than your ability to pass an exam, submit a good essay, or complete other assessed activities. The Health and Care Professions Council (https://www.hcpc-uk.org/, last accessed 1.11.22) says:

Fitness to practise may involve issues outside of professional or clinical performance.  The conduct of a professional outside of their working environment may involve fitness-to-practice where it could affect the protection of the public or undermine public confidence in the profession.

If a registrant’s fitness to practise is impaired (in other words, negatively affected) it means there are concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively. This may mean that they should not practise at all, or that they should be limited in what they are allowed to do.

We hold ourselves to this same standard, ensuring the people who hold our qualifications meet the highest possible standards of training and conduct.

Impaired fitness to practice

Examples of concerns that could be raised include but are not limited to:

  • Lack of competence,
  • Ethical misconduct,
  • Conviction or caution for a serious criminal offence,
  • Physical or mental health issues that adversely affect a student’s ability to work with other students or clients,
  • A determination by another therapeutic, health or social care body.

Lack of competence should be picked up during assessments, of course, but the other issues mentioned might not. (Note that point two refers to serious criminal offences. We’re not talking about a parking ticket.)

Our contract asks students to tell us if they feel their health or circumstances change in a way that might affect their ability to practice hypnotherapy or complete the course. However, we recognise that it is not always possible to accurately assess one’s own mental health or the effect of other changes, and students should therefore be willing to seek medical or other relevant advice on this issue if requested to do so.

Raising concerns

Anyone, including but not limited to fellow students, assessors, tutors, or practice volunteers has the right to raise a concern. This should be reported to the school in writing, by letter or by email. Anonymous concerns will not be actioned.

Fitness to practice procedures will be treated as confidential and will involve the minimum number of individuals necessary. However, confidentiality does not mean anonymity.

As our classes lead to professional qualifications, it may be necessary to disclose information about the concern to relevant professional bodies or other accrediting or registering agencies, especially if a long-term fitness to practice concern is upheld by an independent reviewer.

Reviewing concerns

  • YHT reserves the right to ask students not to attend classes or practice hypnotherapy whilst concerns are being reviewed.
  • No certificates or qualifications will be issued until final decisions have been made on the student’s fitness to practice.
  • Students will be notified in writing of decisions at all stages.

Emergency action

Students may be asked to leave a class at any time if there are concerns over their safety or fitness to participate in the lesson or the safety and well-being of other students. The fitness to practice review described below should be started as soon as possible after taking this action.

Stage one – initial review

The student will be told of the concern raised and given 7 days to respond in writing. In most cases, the class tutor will assess whether further action is required. If the class tutor has raised the concern, the initial review will be carried out by one of the observers or examiners working with the class.

A decision will be made within 7 days of receiving the student’s response and might include:

  • taking no further action (e.g., if the concern has already been addressed, or is felt to be spurious),
  • ongoing monitoring of the situation and further review,
  • putting additional support in place for the student,
  • the student deferring training until the situation is resolved,
  • the student leaving the course,
  • the school temporarily withholds qualifications until appropriate learning, care or support criteria are met,
  • the school permanently withholds qualifications.

If the student is unsatisfied with this decision, they may, within 7 days of receiving it, ask for a second, independent review.

Stage two – second review

If the student requests a second review, all information will be sent to a suitably experienced and qualified person who has not otherwise been involved with the student’s training. Our right to do this is granted by the clause in our contract that allows us to share student information with “any person necessary for the successful administration of the course”.

The student and reviewer will each be informed of the other’s identity 7 days before the information is forwarded for review, to allow any potential conflict of interest to be ruled out. 

The reviewer will be asked to:

  • confirm the exact nature of the cause for concern,
  • collect and review the relevant information, including the decision reached during the initial review,
  • come to a conclusion as to the student’s fitness to practice and make appropriate recommendations as to what action should be taken.

The reviewer will send written recommendations to the school and the student within 14 days of receiving the information. This may be extended to 28 days if further evidence needs to be collected, for example, statements from other students.

The recommendations will be binding, and there is no right of appeal, although the student has recourse to the complaints procedure of the course’s accrediting professional body if they feel they have been unfairly treated.

Reviewers’ recommendations may include:

  • taking no further action,
  • ongoing monitoring of the situation and further review,
  • putting additional support in place for the student,
  • the student deferring training until the situation is resolved,
  • the student leaving the course,
  • the school temporarily withholding qualifications until appropriate learning, care or support criteria are met,
  • the school permanently withholding qualifications,
  • any other sanctions or actions the reviewer feels appropriate.


Students’ liability for fees in the case of deferral or withdrawal part-way through the course is outlined in the student contract. In the case of leaving the course because of fitness to practice concerns, the date of withdrawal is the date the concern was raised or the last date the student attended a class, whichever is later.

No refunds will be made for coursework already completed.