THE ATH CODE OF CONDUCT MAY BE REVIEWED ANNUALLY IN THE LIGHT OF PRACTICE AND ADVICE FROM THE CONFEDERATION OF HEALING ORGANISATIONS (CHO) Updated Jan 2023
This is a written code of ethics, which provides a common standard for all associate and full members of ATH to follow. This has the advantage of giving confidence to the public by enabling them to know the ethical standards of ATH, and also highlights potential dangers for the practitioner. A person, by becoming either an associate or a full member of ATH, agrees to observe and be bound by this Code of Conduct and Ethics, and to submit to the jurisdiction of the Officers and Core Group in relation to it. Responsibility for safe and ethical practice resides with the individual, and the ATH cannot be held accountable for the actions of its members. Members should be aware that failure to comply with legislation relating to their practice could invalidate the cover provided by their Insurance providers.
1. Professional Responsibility
a. Members at all times shall conduct themselves in a respectful and honourable manner in their relations with their clients, with the public, and with other members of ATH.
b. Treatment of a client is legally permitted only with his or her express consent, the law regarding as an assault even the touching of one person by another without the former’s consent. If a client is incapable of giving consent, by reason of age or mental impairment, it is recommended that members gain written consent from the person responsible for the care of the client.
c. When a member of the public asks for treatment, the healer shall ensure that the client understands the nature of the treatment that will be given.
d. Healers shall recognise the client’s right to refuse treatment or ignore advice.
e. The client puts complete trust in the healer’s integrity, and it is the duty of members not to abuse this trust in any way. The focus of the healer’s behaviour must at all times be on the client’s healing process. If a healer wants to become personally involved with a client, other than in a professional capacity, he or she shall refer that client for professional treatment elsewhere. Social interaction should be avoided in order to hold and maintain clear therapeutic boundaries for the client.
f. It is illegal to claim an ability to ‘cure’. Healers must disclaim any ability to ‘cure, but offer an attempt to heal in some measure. Do not promise recovery. Sometimes healers are easing the transition to death, rather than restoring physical health.
g. For healing alone, healers should not ask clients to remove their clothes (except coat and footwear).
h. Healers must not use manipulation or vigorous massage, unless they have an appropriate professional qualification. This does not preclude gentle massage and healing passes.
i. Membership of an organisation forming part of the Confederation of Healing Organisation (CHO) must be regarded as a guarantee to clients and medical professionals of the healer’s integrity, sincerity and ability.
j. Healers must act with consideration concerning fees and justification for treatment. It is unacceptable to solicit a client by any means to accept treatment when he or she has not specifically requested it.
k. Because of the recent increase of litigation, members are advised to keep detailed records of clients and treatments. These records must be kept safely, either in a locked cabinet, or in a password-protected file on your computer. Records must be kept for a period of 7 years and in the case of children, 7 years after they reach their 18th birthday, before being safely destroyed. Those keeping information on a computer are obliged to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office. Phone 01625 545 740 for a Notification Form, or apply online at http://www.ico.gov.uk. There is a small fee for notification. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
l. The healer shall respect the confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship at all times.
When transferring a client the healer shall not divulge any information about the client without the clients consent or with consent of healer’s supervisor or mentor.
Exceptions to this are:
- The use of case histories in teaching or in supervision/mentoring. It is useful to inform the client that you may take their case history to supervision.
- The use of case histories for publication. In both of these cases the client’s anonymity shall be respected.
- if the client is deemed to be a danger to themselves the healer is obliged to inform the clients GP.
m. If another form of therapy appears to be more appropriate than that offered by the member, the client shall be given advice in this regard.
n. Members of the Association shall be responsible in their communication both to each other and to the general public, and should not state or imply that their own opinion represents the view of the Association, unless that is, in fact, the case.
o. On rare occasions, a condition may contraindicate healing (i.e. healing should not be used in certain circumstances). For example, most trainings suggest that healing should not be offered to women in the first trimester of pregnancy, unless specifically to prevent miscarriage. Members should be aware of potential problems. In the case of a potential problem, the member should refer the case to his or her supervisor for advice, and, if necessary, seek the guidance of the client’s doctor. See Section 3. Healers and the Law item e. below for further info.
p. Healers are encouraged to have some form of supervision or mentoring.
2. Relationship with the Medical Profession
Healing shall not be offered as an alternative to orthodox medicine, but as complementary.
a. The healer must ask a new client what medical advice if any that they have sought and they have received. If he or she has not seen a doctor, they must be advised to do so. It is legal to refuse medical treatment, so nobody can be forced to consult a doctor.
THIS ADVICE MUST BE RECORDED FOR THE HEALER’S PROTECTION.
b. The healer shall not countermand instruction or prescriptions given by a doctor.
c. The healer shall not advise a particular course of medical treatment, such as to undergo an operation or to take specific drugs, unless qualified to do so (eg-qualified Medical Herbalists). It must be left to the client to make his or her own decision in the light of medical advice.
d. If the healer believes that he or she has identified some aspect of a disorder, which is not covered by a doctor’s diagnosis, the client shall be advised to draw this to the attention of the doctor and a record should be made of this advice.
e. The healer should strive for a good relationship and full co-operation with the medical authorities.
f. VISITING HOSPITALS – SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES
- Be as accommodating, sensitive and unobtrusive as possible
- Ask permission of the Nursing Officer beforehand
- Support your client’s choice of treatment
3. Healers and the Law
a. Safeguarding Children
A parent or legal guardian should be present when treating a child under the age of 16.
Self Employed Healer members who treat children must undertake a Basic DBS check themselves.
They can also get a Basic Check through a Responsible Organisation see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/responsible-organisations
If a Healer is employed by an organization they should get a Standard or Enhanced check through their employer.
Before treating any person under the age of 16, the healer must obtain the consent of their parent or legal guardian. However, even with this consent, members shall be aware that a parent or guardian who fails to provide adequate medical aid for a child under the age of 16 commits a criminal offence. Since Healing is not medical aid as defined in law, a healer who treats a child whose parents refuse medical aid runs the risk of being considered as aiding and abetting that offence.
Where it is known that the parents are NOT facilitating the provision of medical attention for the child, members are most strongly advised to secure the signature of the parent or guardian to the following statement:
“I have been warned by (name of member) that according to law I should consult a doctor
concerning the health of my child”, Include the name of child). Signed (Parent or guardian)
and Dated and Witnessed by (signature of person witnessing)
This statement shall be kept with the client’s records.
b. Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
eg those with a psychiatric condition or drug addiction should ideally have a chaperone. A responsible adult should be present when the Vulnerable Adult is receiving healing. Healers should consider doing Distant Healing if no chaperone is available.
Members practicing privately must hold a valid Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate, also known as Basic First Aid for Appointed Person, which is a one-day training. Those running their own centre’s or training schools should ensure that they or a member of staff hold a current First Aid Certificate, or First Aid at Work Certificate, a four-day training. These can be obtained through St John’s Ambulance http://www.sja.org.uk, or the British Red Cross. http://www.redcrossfirstaidtraining.co.uk
- The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 prohibits anyone other than a qualified veterinary surgeon from treating animals, including diagnosis of ailments and the giving of advice based on such diagnosis. However, the healing of animals by contact healing by the laying on of hands or by distant healing is legal and acceptable to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
- The rendering of emergency first aid to animals is, however, permissible for the purpose of saving life or relieving pain. What constitutes an emergency must be a question for the judgment of the individual healer.
- Under The Protection of Animals Act 1911, the owner of an animal needing treatment by a veterinary surgeon is obliged to seek such treatment, and the owner should be so advised.
The law relating to the sale and prescription of herbs is obscure, but if a member does sell or prescribe herbs, he or she must check that they are legally entitled to do so. Healers shall not advise the use of particular herbal prescription unless qualified to do so.
e. Pregnancy & Childbirth:
“a person other than a registered midwife or a medical practitioner shall not attend a woman in childbirth.” (Nursing & Midwifery order 2001 clause45) It is advisable therefore for all healers to cover themselves by ensuring a pregnant client signs a consent form. In the case of a hospital birth, healers are advised to obtain permission from both the midwife and consultant in charge. It is advisable to get the client to sign that she has informed both her midwife and doctor in charge (whether consultant or GP and whether in hospital or not) that she is having healing.
Distant healing is not covered in law and so is recommended if it is not possible to see the client during pregnancy.
Example of the consent form from CHO 2018
I (client’s name) have been advised by (healer’s name) of The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 and that I should inform my midwife of my decision to receive Healing.
I acknowledge and accept that Healing is a complementary therapy and does not replace medical diagnosis and prognosis. I would like to go ahead and receive Healing in full acceptance of the responsibility of the above.
As a patient, I exercise my right to request and receive Healing.
Patient signature…………………………………………….. Date
Healer signature …………………………………………….. Date
The Dentists Act of 1984 prohibits the practice of dentistry, unless the member holds an appropriate qualification.
Full members of ATH must be insured against possible claims for damages.
- They must hold an appropriate level of insurance against any claim for negligence and or mistreatment whatsoever in respect of any treatment undertaken by the member. A copy of their Policy of Insurance and Certificate of Policy Renewal must be delivered with a FULL members annual registration renewal.
- Shall a claim be made against a member that member shall indemnify the ATH and its members from and against any or all claims made against them for whatever reason resulting from the claim and reimburse to the ATH and its members all and any costs, expenses and losses incurred because of any and all such claims against the member.
- Members shall not claim in any advertisement that healing can do more than that which is stated on the ATH website. It is legal to offer a general healing service for all diseases, but not to advertise healing for any particular disease.
- Members shall not advertise themselves as professional healers or teach healing unless they are Full Members of ATH and are covered by appropriate insurance.
- Advertisements shall not make detrimental comparisons between organisation’s or healers.
5. Consideration of Safety and Surroundings
- All sessions should be given in as clean and comfortable environment as possible.
- Healers should act with integrity and discretion, and take sensible precautions, particularly when working in isolation. Do not work alone with clients who are mentally unstable (unless qualified to do so), or addicted to drugs or alcohol, or who are hallucinating or apparently possessed.
- Whether teaching or healing, members must be aware of current Health and Safety guidelines regarding public spaces, business premises, and working privately from home. This includes fire regulations and emergency procedures. If necessary for their work, members must hold a current Health and Safety certificate.
For further information, contact The Health and Safety Executive online at https://www.hse.gov.uk.
Courses are available through local adult education colleges, and online.
d. Members must hold adequate public liability insurance.
- Full members shall have attained a minimum of two years training.
- Full member’s training shall include basic anatomy and physiology, and counselling (or listening) skills
7. Complaints Procedure .
ATH has a structured Complaints Procedure, the documented details of which can be made available on request. Contact us for a copy.