Buyer Beware!

The article in the Saturday Telegraph Magazine this weekend prompted me to reflect on the importance of checking out your chosen therapist very thoroughly. Are they a member of a professional body with a Code of Ethics or, at the very least, a member of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council? What qualifications do they have? Do they receive regular supervision for their work? Testimonials claiming success of treatments are often not permitted on websites but if you can obtain a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation from a former client, then that will be reassuring.

I have seen many clients who have been seriously damaged mentally, not only by talking therapy and complementary therapy practitioners but also by health professionals such as physiotherapists, consultants, GPs, etc. An ill chosen remark or a patronising approach can be devastating, as can a patronising or overbearing attitude.

Boundaries to the therapeutic relationship are also important. Sessions are normally time limited – counselling sessions typically last 50 minutes to one hour. Hypnotherapy sessions are sometimes longer but no session should ever be open ended. There may be an occasion, if the client has become very distressed for example, that a session may be extended but this should never become the norm.

Many different therapies can be effective in healing old wounds, dealing with the past or relaxing a client physically, but an ill chosen word can easily re-traumatise a client or dramatically reduce a client’s confidence. The therapist is often perceived as a figure of authority so any unfortunate remark will have a much greater impact.

So, buyer beware! Make sure you have chosen your therapy practitioner carefully and gathered as much information as possible about them before you enter into a relationship with your chosen therapist.