Would you go to a GP without knowing that they have successfully completed their medical training and pledged their ethical Hippocratic Oath? The oath is a safeguard for quality and trust between a medical doctor and patient, knowing that if that is breached the patient can complain to their professional body and hold the medical doctor accountable.
Do you know if your counsellor or psychotherapist has completed an approved/accredited training course and is a member of our professional bodies, either British Association for Counsellors & Psychotherapists or UK Council for Psychotherapists, that holds them accountable to practise safely and ethically? Do you know that the professional use of calling yourself a counsellor or psychotherapist is not formerly recognised and can therefore be used by anyone? Scary? Absolutely!
When counsellors or psychotherapists are not registered with a professional body, such as the BACP or the UKCP, they choose not to be officially accountable for their work with clients. And their way of working and ethical standards are completely reliant on their individual judgement.
Why can that be dangerous? If you would ever question your therapist's' motives or methods in your therapy, you have no one to take your concerns to and therefore no safeguards.
However, as of February 2013, members of the public are able to choose a counsellor or psychotherapist belonging to a register vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. BACP's voluntary register has been accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, accountable to Parliament.
Counsellors and psychotherapists on BACP's register will be able to display the Accredited Voluntary Register quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register which meets the Professional Standards Authority's robust standards.
BACP Chief Executive, Laurie Clarke, said:
"This accreditation is great news for counsellors, psychotherapists and their clients. By recognising the important role the profession plays in the country's health and emotional wellbeing, it will give our members the status within the health and social care sector that they deserve. At the same time, given the increasing number of practitioners offering counselling services, this new safeguard provides a vital standard of service to help people select the very best counsellor or psychotherapist for them."
Harry Cayton, Chief Executive of the Professional Standards Authority said:
"Bringing counsellors and psychotherapists into a broad framework of assurance is good for clients, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality. The scheme offers enhanced consumer protection and gives counsellors and psychotherapists the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment."
The text of the Hippocratic Oath for medical doctors ends with the rewards that await those who respect the Oath ("the benefits both of life and of art and science, being held in good repute among all human beings for time eternal") and the punishment of those who do not.
I welcome this change in the UK and I hope we are moving into a less confusing and more regulated environment for members of the public seeking out help for their mental health and wellbeing!
Lecturer and Counsellor
She is now based in Wellington where she has a busy private practice and is employed as a part time college tutor. Rinske has a specific interest and passion for creativity in therapy. It has the ability to gently and playfully connect the unconsciousness to the consciousness and bring about awareness and healing.