Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Complaints over Standards on Hypnosis Course Earn QAA Scrutiny

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Complaints over Standards on Hypnosis Course Earn QAA Scrutiny

Article excerpt

Investigation sparked by questions about staff qualifications and contact hours. Jack Grove writes.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has begun an investigation into the UK's only undergraduate degree course in clinical hypnosis after receiving complaints about academic standards.

The part-time course is run by a private company called the Brief Strategic Therapy & Clinical Hypnosis (BST) Foundation and is accredited by St Mary's University College Twickenham, which gained degree-awarding powers in 2007.

At a cost of about Pounds 3,000 a year, students follow a two-year course to receive a Diploma in Higher Education. A third year of study leads to a BSc with honours.

But two students contacted Times Higher Education to complain about a lack of contact hours: the course, they said, is limited to one Saturday every two weeks and is taught in groups of about 30 people.

It means there are only eight full learning days in the academic year, with four further teaching days to cover aspects such as exams and observed practical demonstrations.

"I cannot see how they can teach an honours degree within three years, particularly when it is part-time and there are so few teaching hours," said one student who has now left the course.

One of her other complaints concerned an alleged reluctance by BST to disclose information about its lecturers' qualifications.

The student - and THE - repeatedly asked BST and St Mary's to give details about qualifications, but only basic information was provided.

After the student submitted a Freedom of Information request to the college, the company's website was updated with details of staff members' credentials to teach hypnosis.

Hypnotherapists are asked to sign up to the codes of conduct of self- regulating bodies, the largest of which is the General Hypnotherapy Register. …

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