A common criticism made against people in the online therapy and coaching (as well as face to face) professions is “why is it that anyone who went through a life event thinks they’re qualified to preach about it?” Indeed, if you look at the number of self-help authors as well as motivational speakers doing the rounds, it does seem that nigh on everyone today is an armchair psychologist. Many of these people have fantastically useful knowledge to share, but how do you sort the wheat from the chaff? It can be a minefield finding a suitable professional to work with. And if it’s specifically online therapy or coaching that you’re going for, how do you go about finding genuinely qualified support?
Seeking help for psychological wellbeing via the web is no longer frowned upon when it comes to internet therapy, counselling, and coaching, – in fact, researchers recommending net-based interventions are growing quickly in number. But given that the internet is a free for all, it’s easy for anyone to label themselves worth the investment.
The good news is that there are many legitimate sites out there with real professionals providing actual help. Below are 5 things you can look out for that will help you identify which people and sites deserve your attention.
1. The practitioners have qualifications.
You’d be surprised by how many people looking for online therapy (as well as face to face) are attracted to a fancy site, an attractive photo, a punchy tagline, and a list of rave reviews. “I was suffering from anxiety attacks for years, but two weeks with Sophia and I’m completely cured!”
It may also surprise you that providing therapy services is a regulated profession in the US, but not in the UK. In the US therapists are required by law to be licensed in order to practice counselling or psychotherapy. Holding a license means that the person has completed a minimum level of training specified by the licensing board. In the UK the profession is not regulated by means of licensing, instead there are “accrediting bodies” such as the NCP (National Council of Psychotherapy), BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) and UKCP ( UK Council for Pyschotherapy) which have specific requirements in terms of training, experience, supervision, ethics and continued professional development in order for a therapist or counsellor to join.
Therefore in both cases, as well as anywhere else in the world, choosing a practitioner with credentials and accreditation with a regulating body is important. An amateur, even one who means well, is far more likely to be ineffective at best and cause harm at worst, so it’s best to uncover whether the internet therapy a website is offering is hype or the real deal.
Coaching is quite a different matter as Master’s Degrees in universities are far less common (but on the rise). However the concept still applies in terms of qualifications and accreditation/membership with professional bodies.
2. Verify credentials.
So you have the credentials of the practitioners. The next steps are (a) know the value of these credentials, and (b) check they’re real.
Where did they learn their craft, are these respected schools, centres, or universities? What does it take to earn the credentials they claimed, did they have to attend several units of lectures with hundreds hours of practice, or is this a two month course in a parish hall? Is membership in the professional organisation they’re affiliated with comprised of actual active participation or just paying an annual fee? In the applicable countries, are they licensed to practice, unlicensed, or worse, suspended? These are things you’d like to know before you sign the dotted line to begin sessions.
If you’re feeling iffy about anything you’re reading, can they prove that their credentials are real? There’s nothing to keep you from ringing the schools, institutions, and universities they claim affiliation with to check if they are who they say they are if that will give you peace of mind. You can also cross-check with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, SkillPages and Google+ to make sure they didn’t get their picture off a stock photo site. A quick search engine query, just to see what will come up, also wouldn’t go amiss.
Our next post will give you another 3 signs to look out for when choosing a therapy or coaching practitioner. If you’d like to inquire more about internet therapy, counselling, and coaching, call us on 0800 7720236 or email P-Therapy at [email protected]
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