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What Qualifications are necessary for a Therapist

posted Feb 8, 2011, 2:46 PM by Bruce Cowper-Smith   [ updated Feb 8, 2011, 5:56 PM ]
It can be confusing when looking for a therapist.  Even trying to understand what qualifications a person has, and what qualification are probably necessary can be a challenge. 
Let's start with the letters that appear after a person's name.  Most well-qualified professional therapists want to let clients know about the training they have.  The letters after a person's name are usually the university degrees they earned and the professional accountability they maintain.  Going to university and getting a degree doesn't mean they are better therapists but it can mean they are a little more knowledgeable in certain areas than others.  Training in psychology, social work, and marriage and family therapy are common areas of training for therapists.  Usually it's not considered enough to just get the first level of degree in these fields because it provides a general base to build on but doesn't allow a person time to specialize.  Some people think a medical doctor must be the most qualified professional because it generally takes years of study to become a medical doctor but that is not quite accurate.  A medical doctor is a specialist in some field of medicine.  They are not specialists in counselling.  It's a good idea to ask your therapist what university training they have. There is a second set of letters that you need to ask about.
A professional will belong to a professional association that governs their practise.  For example, the Social Work Association governs my work in the area of counselling.  People who do not belong to a professional association are not governed in their practise, so if you have a problem with anything they have done, your only recourse is to see if what they did is illegal, or talk to a lawyer about a law suit.  Again, if you have any questions or doubts about your therapist's qualifications, you should ask, because a properly qualified peofessional will be pleased to let you know whereas unqualified people won't want you to know.