Here are some leads for research should you want to look out a therapist near you. Most professional organisations allow you to search by post code, but a phone call could well help.
British Psychological Society (BPS). All Psychologists.
Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC)
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
Eye movement and Desensitisation in the UK and Northern Ireland (EMDRIA)
The Counselling Society
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I am able to offer a free initial consultation on a face-to-face basis or using Skype provided it is requested. This meeting is intended to provide information about therapy and the value of ‘safe experiments’.
FINDING A THERAPIST
It is not easy to find the right therapist for you. You have to assess their competence through training, their versatility via their level of experience and that elusive ingredient: are they ‘right’ for you?
More problematically, you have to decide what category of therapist is right for you. You could choose:
- a psychiatrist, that is, a medically qualified psychologist. Highly educated and knowledgeable but do check on their additional training in offering therapeutic services.
- a psychologist (there are several categories of psychologist),
- a psycho-therapist (there are several ‘schools’ of psycho-therapy training),
- a counsellor (there are several categories of counsellor)
- a hypno-therapist. Be particularly careful here. Some are highly qualified, but others have done a brief training and may have little or no prior psychological education.
Only psychologists are covered by the Health Care Professionals Council (HCPC)’s State-Registered scheme. Even then, the term ‘psychologist’, on its own, is not a protected title. Be wary of the term ‘Consultant Psychologist’ and ensure the person has actual Registration.
There are large variations in the education, training and experience in the body of individuals calling themselves counsellors or psycho-therapists. Some of the training is most stringent – involving years of study, teaching placements, research and on-going clinical supervision of all work. That said, in theory, you could put the term ‘counsellor’ on your door and not be disciplined for it.
Even so, a newly-qualified counsellor might be just the best thing for you. The most experienced and best qualified individual may simply not ‘gel’ with you. The personal qualities of your therapist will be as important – possibly, more important – than their age, experience and qualification.
You are not likely to know who is best for you without the opportunity to speak with a few people so you can get their ‘measure’.
Ensure you work with some-one able to offer membership of a professional and accrediting organisation. You can then check on-line to see that their name is registered; sadly, there are some who will falsely claim qualifications and memberships. Also, there are some grand-sounding names that simply require a fee. That is not sufficient for to back up a claim of being a bona-fide therapist.
Some helpful tests might be:
- to ask for a free initial consultation so you can discuss the ‘match’ between you. Do not work with any-one who seems not to understand the importance of ‘match’ before therapy starts.
- Do not work with an individual who cannot name their clinical supervisor. No-one should be practising without regular access to a clinical supervisor. A clinical supervisor must be independent of the therapist; that is, not a manager within the same organisation.
- Do not work with any-one who tells you they are too senior to need a clinical supervisor. Beware the term ‘ I have access to …’. Clinical supervision should happen regularly, preferably face-to-face, although Skype has altered that to some extent.
- Do not work, as a couple, with some-one lacking additional training in Systemic therapy. Indeed, look out for additional certification in, just as a small sample, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) or mindfulness.
Check the level of training claimed as not all training is recognised, particularly in EMDR or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). A good therapist should be able to provide you with a curriculum vitae (CV) laying down their qualifications and experience in some detail.
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