Note: The message below was posted in response to a message from Dr. Michael Stower, a clinical hypnotherapist and holder of a doctoral degree from a nonwonderful school. Since it covers some issues common to unaccredited programs that aren't out-and-out frauds, I thought it might be useful to some of the folks here. Dr Michael Stower wrote (in response to one of Steve L's famous "in-your-face" posts): > You don't know a damn thing about me or my education. Actually, Steve probably did as I just did and checked out your web page, which is listed in your sig. You have to recognize that when you come into a distance education newsgroup and claim a doctoral degree, people will check your credentials. So... here is what one finds: In your bio at http://www.hypnosisworld.com/bio.html, one can see that your doctoral degree (which, for those who haven't checked is not a recognized doctoral-level credential such as a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. or even a D.D., but a DCH (Doctor of Clinical Hypnotherapy) -- a completely unrecognized credential, from the American Institute of Hypnosis in Irvine, which is unlocatable. AIH appears to have become Tad James' unaccredited, Hawaii-based American Pacific University. James himself holds an unaccredited doctorate, and runs NLP and hypnosis seminars around the world. He is also the chancellor of APU, and modestly puts a picture of himself on almost every page on APU's site. (www.ampac.edu) The curriculum for APU's DCH degree is extremely substandard when compared with a legitimate, accredited doctoral degree program. As is often the case with unaccredited degrees, the core courses for the doctoral programs are not even comparable to a 100 or 200 level undergraduate course. And I see no way that clinical skill, particularly in the very subtle mechanisms of Ericksonian hypnosis, could possibly be developed in a distance learning environment, without extensive clinical practice in the presence of a skilled professional hypnotherapist. The faculty's credentials, with a few notable exceptions, reads like a who's who of less-than-wonderful schools. A large percentage of faculty members hold degrees from AIH or APU, and an equal percentage hold degrees from other nonwonderful programs. Not a sign of a quality program. I also notice that APU is in violation of Hawaiian law requiring that they clearly disclose that they are unaccredited. Oh... and APU allows oral exams to be conducted by telephone, and even defense of dissertations can be conducted by phone. Not exactly a bulletproof proctoring setup. For purposes of program comparision, I have a total of 100 hours of clinical hypnotherapy training (certification oriented, not academic), and the majority of material in the "doctoral degree" was covered in my 100 hour curriculum... but I would *never* consider myself as having doctoral level knowledge in this field. Is this your answer to something other than going to college and studying enough to just pass tests? This is the common argument that holders of unaccredited degrees make whenever someone questions their credentials. If you did your homework, you would know that Steve holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees, all earned by distance learning... but his are from REGIONALLY ACCREDITED schools. None of the regular participants have any problem with legitimate distance learning programs, but we spend a lot of time helping people to avoid less-than-wonderful unaccredited programs. The real learning COMES FROM WORK. Not in the hypnotherapy field. To be a qualified clinical hypnotherapist (not somebody who makes people quack like a duck in front of an audience), one must have a very complete understanding of personality theory, the conscious and unconscious mind, general clinical psychological issues, and, if one is using Ericksonian technique, a thorough understanding of all of the elements of Erickson's practice, which requires considerable clinical study. Not to mention skill and clinical practice in containment of abreaction, clinical contraindications, and other elements. These are not skills that "come from work", although they are certainly enhanced by clinical practice with a qualified ON SITE supervisor. And I work at what I do, and until you've asked some questions rather than voice an UNEDUCATED OPINION.... You announce to all LOUDLY that you have a prejudiced, biased and rigid mind. Uh, no. As I've said, you put your information out there for Steve, I and everyone else to see... so the opinion that Steve voiced (while maybe somewhat impolitely stated) actually holds up quite well, particularly added to the supporting information supplied above. Don't get me wrong... I suspect that you're probably quite good at what you do... but Steve, I and most of the other regulars here strongly believe that it is inappropriate for individuals with degrees from substandard, unaccredited schools to call themselves "Dr. so-and-so". Several states have declared it illegal to hold oneself out as a doctoral degree holder with degrees such as yours, but Texas is not one of them. The good news is that, if you chose to pursue it, you could probably convert the learning and work that you have done into a legitimate degree, if you chose to. There are a number of flexible, innnovative programs offered by schools such as Union Institute, the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, Walden, and Capella that would probably work for you... but you'd undoubtedly have to do additional work, since the academic work you've done so far (if it's equivalent to what's on the APU site) doesn't come *close* to qualifying for a doctoral degree. But the option is there if you choose to pursue it. I hope the above is helpful to you. It is intended with that in mind.