The field, trade, and profession of clinical hypnotherapy is replete with numerous neuroethical debates due to societal concerns about privacy and involuntary control of others. This means that they have the ability to communicate and manipulate people intentionally without their awareness.
There is an emerging field of which hypnotherapists must become aware as understanding it sheds light on my present comments. For years biofeedback devices – as well as the polygraph versions used in police work – have clearly established the existence of preconscious awareness.
Furthermore, it doesn’t take much to realize that the recent development of neuroprothesis devices – which are designed to help patients who suffer from such pathologies as ALS, as well as numerous brain/mind computer interface devices that are emerging in the for the consumer and research markets – to realize that scientists are making preconscious communication a reality.
Ethicists are increasingly questioning the issues of mind-control, mind-reading, privacy, side effects, and the impact of these issues on societies. When people can wear an EEG-like device and use their minds to control robots through an Internet connection or when two people can simultaneously don a similar device and communicate preconsciously, there are those who begin to ask ethical questions.
The emerging concerns regarding the ability of machines to read and react to preconscious thought should not be anything new. Talented and competent hypnotherapists have always excelled in their abilities to operate in a preconscious environment.
We don’t need a device to accomplish this.
As a clinical hypnotherapist I use my skills in preconscious communication to communicate and transform my subjects. Therefore, those who are frightened by the implications of the emerging Brain/Mind Computer Interface technology should consider the ethical practice of my field. Each has had its own concerns about ethical limitations. Rarely, do you hear of a well trained hypnotherapist being accused of misconduct.
Nevertheless, I am still very concerned about the lack of formal ethical training discussed within the curriculum of the major hypnotherapy organizations.