Sunday 24 July 2011

What does it take to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine?

According to Andy Lewis, aka @lecanardnoir, the answer is around £356 for a London resident*. He revealed this discovery in a blogpost a couple of years ago. He was investigating the c.v. of Jayney Goddard, President of the Complementary Medical Association. Her website describes how she uses homeopathy, psychotherapy and hypno-analysis and ... is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Can this be true?, you might ask. Isn’t the Royal Society of Medicine like a medical wing of the Royal Society, an organisation to which only those of the highest academic stature are elected?  Er, well, no. It isn’t, and many of those working in alternative and complementary medicine are delighted at the ease to which they can gain an affiliation, and so embellish their CVs with impressive-sounding medical credentials. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that HRH the Prince of Wales was made an Honorary Fellow of the RSM in 2005.

Here are just a few of those who mention their affiliation to the RSM on their websites, and no doubt impress members of the public by doing so. I haven't been able to find a directory of members or fellows to check accuracy of these claims.
  • Dr Dato' Steve Yap. Complementary medical director, DSY Wellness & Longevity Center, Malaysia. His website has the initials FRSM after his name, even though this is specifically prohibited by the RSM. His qualifications include a Masters degree in Administration from the University of Durham, and Board certification in Nutritional Medicine and Anti-Aging Medicine from the World Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, France.
  • Terence Watts. Founder of The Essex Institute, where students learn advanced skills in both psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, and the Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy.  His website disarmingly explains how he was a late starter who came to hypnotherapy at the age of 48, after working as a professional ballroom and Latin-American dancer, supplemented by spells as aTV engineer, electronics design, tailor, carpet-layer, computer programmer, furniture shop assistant, factory hand, salesman (fire extinguishers and alarms) and part time rock 'n' roller (lead guitar). He notes proudly that he is the first in his profession to be made a Member of the City and Guilds Institute, which he states is comparable to a British Masters degree.
  • Harald Camillo Gaier. Homeopath, naturopath, master herbalist, acupuncturist and author of the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Homoeopathy. 
  • Peter King. Principal tutor at the British School of Traditional Japanese medicine. He has an MA in ‘Sports Science & Japanese Budo Studies’and also has qualifications in osteopathy, cranial osteopathy, acupuncture, Shiatsu, and Advanced Chinese Tuina. The website also notes that the Honorary Principal of the British School of Japanese Medicine, Hatsumi Sensei, has been honoured at the RSM by the permanent inscription of his name on the 'Wall of Honour'. 
  • The late Prof. Dr. Sir Anton Jayasuriya. Founder of Medicina Alternativa International, promoting and propagating acupuncture, homeopathy and natural medicine. 
  • David Reeves. President of the (British) National Register of Advanced Hypnotherapists. In private practice as a Psychoanalyst, Hypnotherapist since 1991, and as a Stress Management Consultant since 1994. Before moving into the field of Hypnotherapy and Stress, his background was in the commercial sector reaching the level of Managing Director.
  • Dr. Lyn M. Bateman. Has a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnosis/Hypnoanalysis and Doctorate and Ph.D. (sic!) in Alternative Medicine. I'm not clear which institutions offer such qualifications. Also has a seriously illiterate website, which advertises training in medical hypnosis for non-medical persons.
  • Marcus Webb. Registered Naturopath and Osteopath who qualified in 1988 from the British College of Osteopathic medicine (formally the British College of Naturopathy and Osteopathy) where he served as a part-time lecturer for four years.  
  • Iskra Harle. Naturopath offering treatment for "Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Infertility (men & women), Acne, Hypothyroidism, Allergies, Irritable bowel syndrome, Wheat intolerance, Milk intolerance, Weight control, Fatigue, Depression, Migraine & all kinds of headaches, Early stages of Alzheimer's disease/senile dementia, Back pain, Frozen shoulder, Post surgery recovery, Post chemotherapy recovery, and many more".
Do they turn anyone away? It’s hard to tell. The closest case I could find was Ingrid P. Dickenson, BRCP EMR, Electromagnetic Pollution Consultant, who is trained in Colour Therapy, Psychosynthesis Counselling, Reiki, Oneiric (Dream) Therapy, Communication Skills with children, Group Facilitation and Electro Crystal Therapy. She describes herself as a former associate member of the RSM, noting sniffily, “Due to The Royal Society of Medicine's inability to acknowledge the effects of electromagentic pollution (despite Ingrid's multiple contacts to them) Ingrid decided to cancel her subscription in early 2011.”

*Now stands at £365. See RSM site.


  1. Then there is the RSM's 'Wall of Honour', where for the not-so-small fee of $2,500, the RSM will put anyone's name up for all to see.

    There are many very respectable men and women of science and medicine honoured in this way, but their honour is tarnished by the inclusion of at least one quack: the inventor of the McTimoney method of chiropractic, John McTimoney, whose contribution to medicine and science was, of course, nil.

  2. So homeopathy is fine, but "electrosmog" isn't?

    That's unfair. At least electromagnetic radiation actually exists, and does affect some things - like phones.

    Homeopathic remedies don't affect anything. Except stuff that can get wet.

  3. @Neuroskeptic, they did not turn the electrosmog quack away, she cancelled her subscription. I guess they refused to publish something of hers. They may well refuse to publish dodgy homeopathy material as well. It still does not stop anyone paying to be a 'fellow'.

  4. I would like to assure you that non medical people can train in medical hypnosis. Medical hypnosis is working with anaesthesia and pain control etc which all courses in hypnosis teach.
    You want to get your facts right instead of sitting on your fat arses worrying about every body else and try doing something for your self instead of more than lightly being of low intelligence and the type who has never done anything substantial for themselves and don’t want others to achieve either.
    Get yourself a life for Christ sake.
    Lyn M. Bateman.

  5. Very professional Ms Bateman. Can't imagine why anyone would want some random person with a dodgy "hypnosis qualification" anywhere near them while undergoing a medical procedure.

  6. Looks like Lyn likes his titles too...

    He holds the titles and honours of Professor of the syllabus of Clinical and Medicl Hypnosis with I.B.A.M. Doctor of philosophy PhD. Alternative Medicine, Doctor of Science DSc. in Therapeutical Hypnosis and Counselling, and Doctor of Clinical Hypnosis and Hypnoanalysis.

  7. Quote from Lyn M Bateman: "...instead of more than lightly being of low intelligence..." Err, didn't you mean likely? Low intelligence is indeed a terrible thing.

  8. Here is where 'Dr' Bateman awards others PhDs in Hypnotism.

  9. Lyn M. Bateman: "... instead of more than lightly being of low intelligence..."

    I suspect you are more than LIKELY of low intelligence yourself Ms. Bateman!

    1. I believe she is speaking as to the degree of low intelligence one is in possession of.

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  10. I've noticed that pro-junk-science forces seem notably more humorless, sensitive, and instinctively censorious that pro-traditional-science. Someone should do a no-peer-review study of that, possibly involving crystals or auras or something.

    Actually, I think I just did. Ms. Bateman's comment carries in it the memory of the views of all other woo-merchants. I just conducted a homeopathic study!

  11. Apparently, everyone's favourite Houston-based cancer "specialist", Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, is also an RSM member.....

  12. Oh no... again Andy Lewis jumps in and splurges all over the page like a premature ejaculation.

  13. Dr Richard Rawlins1 February 2012 at 22:39

    Can anyone identify anyone on the Wall of Honour who uses that fact in their promotional material?

    And I note terence Watts is "Proud to be a freeman of the City of London".

    Why is he proud? Anyone over 21 can apply, and become, a Freeman - for the princely sum of £25.00.

  14. Anyone can apply.... being accepted is something else entirely. Give it a try.

  15. BrainWork. I get occasional invitations from them urging me to apply, but I really would not want to join a club whose membership included those listed above.

  16. Becoming an ASSOCIATE member of the Royal Society of Medicine is easy... Member is not so easy and Fellow requires evidence of higher-than-average levels of expertise in the chosen field. Application for Fellowship do sometimes, maybe often, get rejected.

  17. Six of those listed in my post describe themselves as Fellows. As does Aric Sigman.

  18. Well, maybe they ARE Fellows? If so, then what's the problem with them describing themselves as such? Of course, if they're NOT, then that's a different matter. Must be easy to check, surely? Personally, I'm not fussed what people call themselves as long as they are not trying to cheat somebody. And re the 'Freeman' thing, perhaps Terence is proud of being part of an ancient tradition? Just saying...

  19. Looking at 'Professor Dr Bateman's' website, I see he claims to have a PhD, a DSc and the title of Professor. Does anyone know which University Lyn got his PhD and DSc from? The DSc degree is normally awarded by a University for a portfolio of related work and should only be considered through an appropriate peer review process. Perhaps Lyn could come back on here an explain all?

    While I'm at it, the British way is to use the title of Professor or Dr but not both. To see them both used raises a number of concerns. I have no problem with hypnotherapy or hypnotists as such but I do have a real problem with people who claim to have legitimate doctoral qualifications, the origins and legitimacy of which are less than transparent

    The Voice of Reason

  20. He probably wrote 40,000 words and awarded himself a PhD. And then wrote another 100 words and awarded himself a DSc.
    - Professor Dr D'Souza BA MA BSc MSc PhD DSc

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  23. I am very sceptical about the claims.. as far as I am aware there is no such thing as a phd in hypnotherapy. I do believe that a Scotish university is now offering a degree. Hypnotherapy is studied at Diploma level and higher Dip. I worry about a person claiming the title DR. if they have not got a medical degree and have not studied in a recognised institute. Same goes for PhD claims.. I know Hypnotherapy is valied treatment for many conditions and much has been scientifically proved.. nueroscience. Many REAL doctors and dentists are studying for the DIPLOMAS to enable them to practice

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