Code of Practice & Disciplinary and Complaints Procedures

Join Now

Code of Practice

1. Members shall have respect for the religious, spiritual, political and social views of any individual irrespective of race, colour, creed, sexual orientation or gender.

2. Members shall at all times conduct themselves in an honourable and courteous manner and with due diligence in their relations with their clients and the public. They should seek a good relationship and shall work in a co-operative manner with other healthcare professionals and recognise and respect their particular contribution within the healthcare team, irrespective of whether they perform from an allopathic or alternative/complementary base.

3. The relationship between a member and her/his client is that of a professional with a client. The client places trust in a member's care, skill and integrity and it is the member's duty to act with due diligence at all times and not to abuse this trust in any way.

4. Proper moral conduct must always be paramount in members' relations with clients. They must behave with courtesy, respect, dignity, discretion and tact. Their attitude must be competent and sympathetic, hopeful and positive, thus encouraging an uplift in the client's mental outlook and belief in a progression towards good health practices.

5. In furtherance of 4. above, members must not enter into a sexual relationship of any kind with a client and must be diligent in guarding against any act, suggestion or statement that may be interpreted, mistakenly or otherwise, as having a sexual implication.

6. Hypnotherapists may only make home visits to clients subject to there being a friend, relative or independent witness on the premises at all times. Stage and entertainment hypnosis is not permitted.

7. All members working within hospitals, hospices and any other medical establishment will comply with the protocols and guidelines in force at such establishments.

8. Members must never claim to 'cure'. The possible therapeutic benefits may be described; 'recovery' must never be guaranteed.

9. Members should ensure that they themselves are medically, physically and psychologically fit to practise.

10. Discretion must be used for the protection of the member when carrying out private treatment with clients who are mentally unstable, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or severely depressed, suicidal or hallucinated. Such clients must be treated only by a member with relevant competency. A member must not treat a client in any case which exceeds her/his capacity, training and competence.Where appropriate, the member must seek referral to a more qualified person.

11. Registered medical practitioners and members of other health care professions remain subject to the general ethical codes and disciplinary procedures of their respective professions.

12. The aim of CThA membership is to offer a service to clients as well as a service and therapeutic modalities to, and with, the medical profession. Members must recognise that where a client is delegated to them by a registered medical practitioner, that person remains clinically accountable for their patient and for the care offered by the member.

13. Members must guard against the danger that a client without previously consulting a doctor may come for therapy for a known disorder and subsequently be found, too late, to be suffering from another serious disorder. To this end new patients/clients must be asked what medical advice they have received. If they have not seen a doctor, they must be advised to do so. Since it is legal to refuse medical treatment, no client can be forced to consult a doctor. The advice must be recorded for the member's protection. It is not a breach of ethics to treat a client who gives informed consent to receive a therapy.

14. Members must not countermand instructions or prescriptions given by a doctor.

15. Members must not advise a particular course of medical treatment, such as to undergo an operation or to take specific drugs. It must be left to the client to make her/his own decision in the light of medical advice.

16. Members must never give a medical diagnosis to a client in any circumstances, unless medically qualified to do so; this is the responsibility of a registered medical practitioner. However, many members have a 'gift' of diagnosis and of discovering dysfunctions in the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. In this case the member may make mention of any disorder which he may discover, and advise the client to see her/his doctor for a medical diagnosis and record this action on the client’s records.

17. Members must not use titles or descriptions to give the impression of medical or other qualifications unless they possess them and must make it clear to their clients that they are not medical doctors and do not purport to have their knowledge or skills.

18. Members are forbidden to diagnose, perform tests on or treat animals in any way, unless specifically qualified, or give advice following diagnosis by a registered veterinary surgeon or to countermand her/his instructions.

19. Members must not attend women in childbirth or treat them for ten days thereafter unless they hold an appropriate qualification approved by CThA. This does not preclude treatment given with the permission of the client’s midwife, doctor or medical team.

20. Members must not practise dentistry unless they hold an appropriate qualification.

21. Members must not treat any venereal disease as defined in the 1917 Act.

22. Clients suffering from AIDS may be treated at the discretion of the member.

23. Members must not use manipulation or vigorous massage unless they possess an appropriate professional qualification.

24. Members must not prescribe or administer remedies, herbs, supplements, essential oils or other products unless their training and qualifications entitle them to do so.

25. At the present time, no alternative or complementary therapy is approved as 'medical aid' under the law. It is a criminal offence for a parent or guardian not to seek 'medical aid' for a child under the age of 16. The member should secure a signed statement from a parent or guardian who refuses to seek medical aid as defined under the law in the following format: "I have been warned by (enter name of member) that according to law I should consult a doctor concerning the health of my child (enter name of the child) Signed (signed by parent or guardian) Signed (by person witnessing the parent's or guardian's signature).

26. Advertising must be dignified in tone and shall not contain named testimonials or claim to cure any disease etc. It shall be confined to drawing attention to the therapy available, the qualifications of the member and offer a general service together with necessary details.

27. Members will display their certificate of membership of CThA in their normal place of work. Members working in several locations and/or offering visiting services will have available at all times a copy of their current membership certificate issued by CThA.

28. Before treatment members must explain fully either in writing or verbally all the procedures involved in the treatment including such matters as questionnaires, likely content and length of consultation, number of consultations, fees etc. Where a client has an existing medical condition members must ensure that they have the client’s informed consent in writing to perform the treatment or that of the client’s medical practitioner.

29. Members must act with consideration concerning fees and justification for treatment. Members should not be judgmental and they should recognise the client's right to refuse treatment or ignore advice. It is the client's prerogative to make their own choices with regard to their health, lifestyle and finances.

30. Members must ensure they keep clear and comprehensive records of their treatments including the dates, advice given and all consent forms. This is especially important for the defence of any negligence actions for at least 7 years, as well as for efficient and careful practice.

31. In determining whether or not any record of the nature of any treatment administered is reasonable, it shall be for the member compiling the record to show that on the basis of her/his notes he/she can demonstrate what treatment was undertaken and whether that treatment was competently and reasonably undertaken and that the client consented to the treatment.

32. Confidentiality. Members, their assistants and receptionists have an implicit duty to keep attendances, all information, records and views formed about clients entirely confidential. No disclosure may be made to any third party, including any member of the client's own family, without the client's consent unless it is required by due process of the law, whether that be by Statute, Statutory instrument, order of any court of competent jurisdiction or howsoever otherwise.

33. Members must ensure that they comply with the Data Protection Act.

34. No third party, including assistants and members of the client's family, may be present during the course of a consultation with an adult without the client's express consent, which should be recorded.

35. All members must be adequately insured to practise. Normally this will be through CThA’s scheme but private insurance is permitted and if adopted, members must provide evidence of this to CThA. The insurance policy must state provision for public liability and indemnity as well as the provision for professional treatments.

36. All members shall ensure that their working conditions are suitable for the practice of their therapy.

37. Members will follow and abide by decisions made under the disciplinary, complaints and appeals procedures appended to this Code.


Disciplinary and complaints procedures

1. Every member is subject to the under mentioned disciplinary and complaints procedure.

2. Any complaint received verbally, electronically or in writing against a member will be verbally acknowledged by CThA and recorded in the Complaints Register. If in the event no formal written complaint is made the entry in the Complaints Register will be erased see 4. below.

3. The member will be informed immediately in writing that a complaint has been lodged and advised of the general nature of the complaint based on the information available at the time. The member may offer an explanation at that time or wait until a formal detailed complaint has been lodged.

4. CThA will request that the complainant put the complaint in writing giving adequate details of the complaint against the member, together with such supporting evidence as may be available. Immediately the formal complaint is documented in sufficient detail, a copy of the formal written complaint will be sent to the member who is the subject of the complaint requesting agreement or rebuttal within 21 days. At the same time, the person lodging the complaint will be sent written confirmation that the complaint is being investigated.

5. At the same time as 4. above, the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee will be provided with a copy of the formal complaint.

6. On receipt of the reply by the member who is the subject of the complaint, the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee in consultation with one or more relevantly qualified members of the committee will determine if there is a case to be answered. If the circumstances are of a nature that could be covered by CThA’s insurance policy the member will be advised to make immediate contact with the insurance company’s claims department for advice and the Committee will take no action until the insurance company has concluded it’s interest in the case. Regardless of the outcome CThA may still take disciplinary action against the member if in CThA’s opinion the member has conducted her/him self in any way against the Code of Practice. Such disciplinary action will follow the procedures herein set out.

7. Criminal proceedings. In the event that in the opinion of the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee in consultation with at least one member of the committee the matter complained of is in the nature of a criminal act or omission the complainant will be advised to contact her/his local police authority and the member will be so informed. If the police or the Crown Prosecution Service (or other similar statuary organisation overseas) have laid actual criminal charges against a member, CThA will forthwith suspend the member from the Register and membership pending the outcome. Regardless of the outcome CThA may still take disciplinary action against the member if in CThA’s opinion the therapist has conducted her/him self in any way against the Code of Practice. Such disciplinary action will follow the procedures herein set out.

8. If there is a case to be answered and the insurance company has no interest in the matter, the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee will consult with the committee and within 28 days of the decision to proceed make its findings known to the complainant and the member in writing.

9. If it is decided there is no case to answer, the person making the complaint will be informed in writing of the decision and the reasons for the decision. The person making the complaint will have the right to appeal against the decision and the complaints procedure will then continue.

10. The Disciplinary Committee may call/consult with witnesses, who may include the person making the complaint and/or the member who is the subject of the complaint. Additionally the person bringing the complaint and the member who is the subject of the complaint, have the right to provide a full written explanation of all the circumstances. In cases deemed by the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee to be of a particularly serious nature the complainant and the member may be invited to give personal evidence if they wish to do so and each may be accompanied by a friend or adviser. All costs of attending any such meeting(s) shall fall to the parties.

11. Having considered the complaint and the member's reply, the Disciplinary Committee will within 14 days, submit a written report and decision which will be copied to the complainant and the member.

12. All decisions of the Disciplinary Committee must be reported to the Council at its next meeting. The Council shall not have the power to overturn any decision (other than through the process of the Appeals Committee – set out below) but may advise the Chairperson of its views.

13. Members in breach of the Code of Practice are liable to expulsion or such lesser action as considered appropriate by the Disciplinary Committee in the general form of suspension from practice of any or all treatments, requirement for additional training or other similar process. Serious sexual abuse of a patient/client will result in automatic expulsion.

14. A member found to be in breach of the Code of Practice by the Disciplinary Committee has the right of appeal to a special Committee of The Council. Notice of appeal to be received in writing at CThA’s offices within 14 days of the written decision as in 11 above.

15. The name of any member expelled from CThA will be advised to any other professional association to which the member is believed to belong.

16. In the event the complaint is withdrawn at any time, the member will be immediately informed and, subject to clause 7 above, the complaint will have no significance on the member's record.

17. Costs. No costs are charged for the initial process of the Disciplinary Committee but the member will be charged a fee of £75.00 (plus VAT) to cover the costs of any Appeal.


Disciplinary Committee

1. The Disciplinary Committee will consist of a Chairperson and two other members.

2. The Chairperson will be a permanent appointment on a fixed two-year term. There is no limit to the number of consecutive terms a Chairperson may be appointed.

3. The other two members will be invited as required and will be drawn from a wide range of modalities within complementary medicine. At least one member of the committee may be appointed from outside the membership of CThA if in the opinion of the Chairperson particular expertise is needed to adjudicate the issue.

4. The Chairperson of the Disciplinary Committee may co-opt further members, with the prior agreement of CThA when considered appropriate.

Council Appeals Committee

1. In the event of an appeal against the decision of the Disciplinary Committee, an Appeals Committee of the Council will be formed by CThA and a Chairperson appointed.

2. The justification of the appeal and all documentary evidence and assessment by the Disciplinary Committee will be sent to the Chairperson of the Appeals Committee.

3. The appeals procedure may take up to four calendar months.

4. The decision of the Appeals Committee, submitted in writing to CThA, will be binding on all parties. Copies of the decision will be available to the person bringing the complaint and the member who is the subject of the complaint.

5. There is no further appeal process within CThA.