Getting the right counsellor for you.
Searching the Counselling Directory (other directories are available) for a counsellor in Southend and surrounding area, brings up over 120 results within a 5 mile radius of me. Yikes! – Where do you start?
It can be mind-boggling for someone looking for help for the first time. There are many reasons why you might choose to call a specific counsellor listed in the directory: their location, experience, fees, client feedback, or any number of other factors. But what you most certainly need to be assured of is their professionalism, competence and adherence to ethical practice. So how do you go about checking that?
I was prompted to write this post by a recent BBC news story: “Can anyone call themselves a therapist?” And the simple answer is “Yes, they can.” It may also surprise you to know that unlike protected titles such as ‘nurse’, ‘PC’, ‘GP’, ‘MP’ and many more, anyone can also call themselves a Doctor too. Like ‘Counsellor’ & ‘Psychotherapist’, ‘Doctor’ is not a protected title either. (It is however illegal to pretend to be a medical doctor, GP or surgeon etc.) Medical doctors must be licensed and registered with the GMC (General Medical Council) in the UK.
The fact that absolutely anyone with no training or qualifications can just call themselves a therapist and start charging people for their services would be a worry if it weren’t for the Accredited Register Scheme.
The Accredited Register Scheme
The Accredited Register Scheme was set up in 2013 by the Department of Health (DoH) as a way to recognise organisations that hold voluntary registers which meet certain standards. These standards are set by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
As of February 2020 there are 11 associations and organisations that hold registers that meet the standards of the PSA. They are, in alphabetical order:
- Association of Child Psychotherapists
- Association of Christian Counsellors
- British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy
- British Association of Play Therapists
- British Psychoanalytic Council
- COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland)
- Human Givens Institute
- National Counselling Society
- Play Therapy UK
- UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners
- UK Council for Psychotherapy
You can check any of the registers above to see if a therapist is listed on the register that they claim to be on. If you’re using a reputable website like the Counselling Directory then they’ll already have checked before listing a therapist. I think that you’ll find that virtually any counsellor in Southend that is listed in the Counselling Directory is a member of one or more of the above organisations.
Counsellor in Southend
My own accredited body is the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy), which at 50,000 members is the largest in the UK by quite a long way. Follow this link to see my own entry on the BACP Register.
To read more about my professional practice and the services that I offer, please take a look at my main website: MichaelFieldhouse.org