In late1998 around 100 professional self-employed stress managers from across the UK met in a hotel conference room in Derby to debate how best to legitimise and gain official recognition for their profession in the eyes of the UK Government, the National Health Service (NHS) and the public. After several hours of informed debate the concept of a new professional body was proposed to the meeting. The motion was carried by an overwhelming majority and “The Society of Stress Managers” (SSM) was born and registered with Companies House on 4th February 1999.

It was agreed that SSM be registered as a not for profit company limited by members’ guarantee which means there are no shareholders and all income from members’ subscriptions are used solely for the legitimate and necessary cost of running the Society.

It was agreed that the Council of Management (legally Directors) would not receive any remuneration but would be entitled to their agreed costs only.

It was agreed that any member could nominate other member(s) willing to stand as a Director and all members would be entitled to vote for such nominated members at Annual General Meetings (AGMs).

It was agreed that the Directors elected would serve for a maximum of three years unless re-elected at an AGM.

In 2016 SSM was renamed as “The Association of Hypnotherapy & Stress Management” (AHSM) because it was felt that the name of the organisation no longer adequately reflected the key areas practised by its members. However, this rebranding did not change the original principles under which SSM was established.

Put simply, AHSM is non-profit making, controlled by the membership in the interests of the membership and thus cannot be dominated by a single individual or small group.

The original objectives of SSM, which still apply to AHSM, are –

To establish and promote a professional association for those persons qualified to nationally accredited standards in the skills of stress management and hypnotherapy;

To promote the training and continuing professional development of those persons;

To do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objects.

It is important to note in relation to the second of these objectives that while AHSM may advise potential students on which organisations provide training to nationally accredited standards, AHSM does not itself provide basic training. To do so would distract from the first objective and the prime income stream. AHSM’s sole objective is to support and promote the work of qualified therapists, whilst allowing trainees with accredited providers licentiate status. However, AHSM does provide Continuing Professional Development training for its members.

AHSM has established –

  • Membership Standards,
  • Codes of Conduct, Ethics and Practice for its members
  • General Data Protection Regulations and a privacy statement
  • Training Standards
  • Access to Disclosure and Barring Services for its members.

AHSM requires every practising member to have a stress check with a Fellow grade member every six months to support their competence to practice.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) on a regular ongoing basis is also a requirement of membership.

AHSM publishes a Journal on a regular basis containing articles of interest for its members.

SSM was a founder member of the United Kingdom Confederation or Hypnotherapy Organisations (UKCHO) with the secretary of SSM also being the secretary of UKCHO for a number of formative years.

UKCHO, comprising a number of professional hypnotherapy bodies, was influential in the government recognising complementary therapies in general through the formation of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).

AHSM has in the past seen itself as a relatively small but influential body backed by a huge wealth of knowledge and experience. The Covid 19 pandemic circumvented the previous high level of friendly personal contact between members and interrupted some of the member support routes. As a result of this experience AHSM has decided to embrace the benefits of modern technology and publish its expertise online for the ongoing benefit of its members through ToolBox.

At the time of writing, ToolBox is a concept that will rapidly grow into a reference library for qualified practising Stress Managers and Hypnotherapists. The build process is happening now. Contributions are welcome from all members of AHSM, both old and new.

AHSM is looking to the future by developing –

  • software solutions to common causes of stress related problems such as time management and task prioritisation.
  • stress management processes for organisations.
  • processes for dealing with stressed clients online.
  • ways of quantifying the success rates of treatments such as hypnotherapy

If you like what you are reading, apply to join us in AHSM now to assure your future practice in Stress Management and Hypnotherapy.

AHSM Membership Application Form.