Is Your Therapist Qualified?

CBT counselling brightonWhen choosing a therapist in the UK, how do you know if that person is properly qualified? I realised the other day that no-one coming to see me for counselling or psychotherapy has ever asked to see proof of my qualifications. For that matter, neither have I asked some of the therapists that I myself have worked with to show me their certificates or professional body membership cards. We are a trusting bunch!
In the UK, the provision of counselling and psychotherapy is not currently regulated. Potentially, anyone can call themselves a counsellor or psychotherapist. For someone unfamiliar with the profession and how it functions, how can you be sure that the person you are working with has been trained and also, crucial in my mind, has undergone sufficient therapy themselves (see my post of 7th March 2013, ‘Taking the Client’s Chair’)?
Therapists who are members of a professional body (e.g. UKCP or BACP) will have provided evidence that they have passed an approved training course, that they are insured and that they are properly supervised. These bodies also require that members keep themselves up-to-date through continuous professional development. If you are searching for a therapist online, most reputable directories – e.g. RightTherapist and the UKCP’s own listing, Find-A-Therapist – will require that therapists provide proof of professional membership or that certain criteria are met before including them on their site.
If you are unsure, asking your counsellor or psychotherapist to see their professional membership card at the first meeting might be a good way to confirm that the person is who they say they are. There is no guarantee that this particular therapist will be the right one for you, however you will know that they have been trained to a certain standard and are required to maintain that standard.
Image courtesy of suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos

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