Psychotherapists use a variety of talking therapies to work with individuals, couples, families or groups; enabling them to overcome issues and problems which could be psychological or emotional innature. The results that they deliver can be very beneficial to the quality of life of their clients, helping them to understand inner conflict, or seeking out ways to cope with, or alleviate, stress. Unfortunately,the term psychotherapist is un-licensed, so, as with other therapies, anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner with little or no training. So, how should someone go about finding a therapist and beconfident they are making an informed choice?
WHAT MAKES A GOOD PSYCHOTHERAPIST?
There are certain key areas to look at when seeking out a therapist. A good practitioner will have had the right training, achieved a certain level of qualification and then built up their experience in real lifesituations. Passing your driving test does not necessarily make you a good driver; it is the experience that you gain from hours of practise on varying road conditions that enables you to cope withchallenging situations.
THE PERSONAL TOUCH
Your practitioner will be spending time with you, getting to know all about your situation and probably asking some questions that you will find difficult or uncomfortable to answer. It is important that youfeel comfortable with them, although it may take a couple of sessions before you are truly able to relax.They should have the ability to put you at ease and give you confidence in their skills; behaving in aprofessional manner and working in a positively conducive environment.
MASTER IN PSYCHOTHERAPY
Denoted by the letters MSc before their chosen discipline, this shows that the practitioner has built on their initial studies with further academic and professional training to develop their skills in a workingenvironment. By choosing a therapist with this qualification you can be sure that they not only have the required degree of knowledge, but have also displayed their competency in practice with other clients.
CODE OF ETHICS
There are certain bodies that promote safe and professional practices in psychotherapy, belonging to one of these means that a practitioner understands these codes and agrees to work within theirconstraints. You can look for the following letters after their name UKCP (United Kingdom for Council Psychotherapy), HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) or BAAT (British Association of Art Therapists).
Even an experienced practitioner should still be under supervision; a structured form of support leading to continuous personal and professional development. Through sessions that include discussion and reflection with a peer, the therapist ensures that they are keeping up to date with modern practise and honing their skills.
It is always wise to do some research on your choice of psychotherapist. Use the areas above to find out a bit more about your proposed choice so that you can proceed with confidence.