When seeking complementary or counselling therapy, it can be helpful to have some idea of what we want when choosing a therapist.
Knowing Our Limitations
We’re all individuals, and most therapists agree they aren’t the right therapist for every client or condition. Don’t be afraid to ask the therapist about their training, experience and area of interest or skill. Knowing our limitations means therapists may refer clients to other therapists for the client’s best interests. I’ll refer the client if osteopathic manipulation is the best way to treat a client’s muscular aches.
From a financial perspective, consider what you can invest. Buyer beware, you get what you pay for! Ethical therapists, however, won’t encourage clients to return for unnecessary repeat appointments. Experienced therapists value their skills and realise charging a fair amount for services prevents burnout.
If therapists overgive, we drain ourselves. Within the charge for treatment is the time to do it, rent, product costs, laundering, cleaning, insurance, admin and heating bills… as well as earning a living to pay personal bills.
Your well-being may not just benefit from a specific treatment. If stressed, anxious and holding lots of tension, it can be the “therapeutic relationship” that’s important. The relationship between client and therapist should be comfortable so you don’t feel judged. However, therapy can sometimes be uncomfortable, and genuine authenticity and warmth are paramount for clients to feel relaxed, safe, and respected.
An ethical therapist won’t make promises or claims to cure. We want clients to be well but can’t ethically guarantee an outcome because we’re all different. I offer the therapies that I do because they work for me, but I appreciate that reiki isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – and nor is aromatherapy. We can’t give clients false hope that therapies will help.
Does your potential therapist take care of themselves? Do they practise self-care and have regular therapies too? Treatments enable us to recharge effectively. Just like we fill our cars with petrol, it’s necessary maintenance. If a therapist is “burnt out”, ie run down and stressed, they aren’t as effective. Are they able to be fully present with you?
Most therapists are members of professional organisations such as The Federation of Holistic Therapists and the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists. A professional association checks qualifications are a certain standard, requiring members to abide by codes of conduct and ethical practice. Professional membership or insurance isn’t compulsory, and membership doesn’t necessarily guarantee a therapist is ethical either!
A therapist may be warm and friendly but with professional boundaries. They are there to hold a safe space for you to relax. They may also charge cancellation fees and won’t over-run if you are late so other clients’ times aren’t disrupted. Some therapists charge in advance for sessions.
Therapists will usually be happy to chat on the phone first and some offer a short, free introductory session to see if you feel comfortable. Only when you are relaxed can you make the most of your session, whatever that therapy is.
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