How many of you knew that the word ‘Institute’ is protected by law, in that you are only allowed to use it with the permission of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills? I’m guessing not a lot of people within the world of Hypnotherapy, and we were among the ignorant.
Until we got a letter.
From Companies House.
It told us that we had been reported for use of it within our company name, and unless we could put together a case within 28 days as to why we qualified for authorisation to use the word, we faced prosecution.
The difference between Bex and I in our response to this news – after we’d stopped swearing – was a microcosm of our relationship, both as business partners and husband and wife.
Me: “Oh well…Hey what shall we call ourselves instead?” I started disappearing into my head to consider the exciting possibilities of rebranding our whole business.
I was brought back by Bex clapping her hands to get my attention.”Whoa there cowboy, not so fast…” Me: “But why? It could be fun.” Bex: “Because I know who’ll have to do most of the work while you have the fun. We should at least try to make a case. ”
We played a brief hand of Face Poker. I led with a pout. Bex saw my pout and raised me an eyebrow. I folded.
We’d make a case.
It led to a torrid summer. We put together an application, and were turned down. We responded to their feedback, and tried again. It was denied a second time. Bex spent many hours communicating with the accrediting bodies who validate the standard of our work – the NCH, The CNHC and the NCFE – and especially the helpful staff at Companies House. More hours were spent sitting in our office trying to decipher some of the correspondence we received, and planning our next steps. I helped with some words, and, in my head, planned what we would do if we were up against a brick wall – as a small business this was tying up a lot of time, and at some point we’d have to move on or lose momentum. We decided to try one more appeal.
Looking at it, we thought it looked convincing – and, actually, I felt very proud of just how far we’d come in the 13 years since we launched Quest. We like to think that Quest is leading the way in establishing the use of outcome measures as standard practice for hypnotherapists in the private sector. Working together with Bill Andrews and the Pragmatic Research Network we now have an ever-increasing number of our qualified therapists entering client feedback on our tailor-made research database. We’ve been finding out first hand that conducting this type of research is fraught with problems, especially when trying to do it outside of the resources of the NHS and medical establishment, but we’ve persevered. Bex and our Research Manager, Julie Gibbs, were very proud to present the provisional findings from our 6 month pilot study as a poster presentation at the College of Medicine in June this year.
We are now working on getting our results written up and published. Our provisional results indicate a success rate in reducing symptoms of both anxiety and depression which compare very favourably with other talking therapies such as CBT. We’re not published yet, and of course wouldn’t want to be seen to be making any wild or unsubstantiated claims, but it’s all very exciting. So we crossed our fingers, and sent our application to Companies House.
A while later, we were walking in Virginia Water with our grandson, Heath, when we got a call from our office manager and right hand woman, Jan. As an aside, Jan is one of the main reasons why this was worth fighting for. A Suffolk girl, she answers our phone with, “Hello, Quest Instatoot?” which is guaranteed to make us smile. It would be a loss to the world if we had to change our name, just for that. It’s actually worth ringing her number just to hear it. Go on, she won’t mind.
Anyway, it was a Saturday, so a call from her was unusual. As it turned out, it was for the best of reasons. She wanted to tell us that we’d had a letter from Companies House…and we’d been approved!
Heath happily joined in with the hugs and high-fives, and the celebration Bakewell tart. Later, without him, we popped a cork. We’re an Institute. That feels pretty cool, which is weird because, in our minds, we always have been. But now we’re an Institute because we’ve shown to the satisfaction of Companies House that we’d fulfilled their criteria. They’d previously informed us that, ‘institutes are organisations that typically undertake research at the highest level or are professional bodies of the highest standing.’ We hope that’s how they’ve seen us, because a lot of work has gone into getting us to this point in our evolution, not just from Bex, me and Jan, but the scores of Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapists who help so many– and especially the ones who are part of our Research Team, led by Julie. We really are grateful to them.
I’d also like to thank the folks at the National Council for Hypnotherapy, who were very helpful and supportive, and those at the Surrey Institute of Clinical Hypnotherapy, who were placed in the same boat, and generously collaborated with us. Happily they were also successful.
And most of all I’d like to thank whoever reported us. We’d never have become The Quest Institute, for real, without their help.