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WHAT IT MIGHT HELP TO LOOK OUT FOR

The reasons that people come to therapy are endless and I am usually happy to deal with any issue you bring.  However, if I genuinely feel that another therapist would be more suited to you, I will discuss this with you and let you make an informed choice on how you would like to continue.  I want the trust that you place in me to be justified, and be the basis for a successful outcome.

It is really important to take the time to understand what you can expect from your psychological therapist as there is a lot of variation in what is on offer and what to expect.  Research has shown that above all, it can be the relationship that you form with your therapist that can have the most impact, so feeling connected to a person can be really important.  However, you also need to ensure that the clinician is trained and qualified to help you with the issues and the level of need that you might bring to therapy. I want you to feel at ease with me but also safe in my hands and so I have outlined some brief information about what might be helpful to know when choosing a psychological therapist that is right for you.  

Titles

The title Clinical Psychologist is protected by law, so only registered clinicians such as me can use the title.  The usual route to becoming a clinical psychologist is now through a doctorate level programme which involves many years of study and practical placement-based work. This means you are guaranteed a very high level of qualification and experience from a Clinical Psychologist. However, the titles of counsellor, psychotherapist and psychologist are not protected.  This means that people with no formal training can, and sadly do, use those titles meaning you could unknowingly work with someone untrained.  I want to make it very clear that the majority of people with the title of counsellor or psychotherapist are trained to at least the minimum standard of a level 4 qualification, in a relevant subject, but it's important to check this out.  The best way to check if your practitioner is trained to a high enough standard, or even trained at all, is to ask questions and to ask to see documentation.  Legitimate practitioners will always be happy for you to do this.  

Governing  & professional bodies

Please always ask to see some evidence that your psychological practitioner is a member of a regulating or governing body such as the Health Care Professional Council (HCPC), The British Psychological Society (BPS) or The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Other governing bodies that you can look out for within the U.K. include The UKCP, the SfDBT, and the BABCP. 

 

Insurance and cover

It is really important to know you are safe and covered so ask to see a practitioners insurance details as they should hold both public liability and indemnity insurance to work with you. In addition, clinicians will ideally be registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) and be able to offer you a GDPR statement regarding how your information is collected, stored and used. 

 

Levels of training and proficiency

It can also be important when looking for a psychological therapist to understand the difference between the level of qualification and the different types of therapy that practitioners offer, as this will also impact the intensity and focus of the work that the practitioner should engage in with you. Some practitioners will only offer a single modality (type of therapy), where other clinicians such as myself offer numerous types of therapeutic models in order to best fit your needs.  Feel free to ask me about different types of therapy and how they might help you. 

 

Please always ask about your therapists' level of qualification which can range from a minimum level 4 diploma for counsellors, up to, and including, the highest level 8 which is doctoral level to which clinical psychologists are trained. Psychological work should only be carried out to the limits of proficiency of the practitioner.  This logically means that someone with a level 4 qualification should be working with less complex issues than practitioners with higher levels of qualification and experience.  Clinical guidelines clearly set out a tiered system for what mental health practitioners should and shouldn't do, dependent on their level of qualification.  Tiers 1 and 2 are not qualified mental health practitioners but are people that can talk and offer generalised support to you.  Tier 2 might be for people with some psychological training but who are not accredited.   Tier 3 is for accredited professionals who are able to assess and offer some psychological intervention for lower levels of common psychological distress.  Only clinical psychologists or psychiatrists can diagnose mental health conditions and offer psychological treatment for more complex and enduring presenting issues.  You perhaps wouldn't want someone in their first year of medical training, or who is only qualified to take blood pressure readings, to operate on you for your physical health, and the same applies for your mental health.

Checking the level of qualification, membership to regulatory and governing bodies, and a clinicians insurance offers you some assurance as to the quality, level of training, experience and competency of the practitioner, and will safeguard you if you feel you wish to make a complaint.

 

My level of training, insurance and regulatory / professional bodies

I hold one level 4, one level 5, two level 6 (Undergraduate level), two level 7 (Postgraduate level), and one level 8 (Doctorate level) qualification from some of the top universities in the country with the highest possible grades.  As part of my commitment to offer you the best service possible I have a programme of ongoing educational and personal development and receive regular clinical supervision.  I am a chartered member of the British Psychological Society (BPS), a registered member of both the Health Care Professional Council and the British Association Counsellors Psychotherapists (BACP) where I am also on the BACP accredited register.  In addition, I am now a registered member of the Society for Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and a fully trained EMDR therapist having trained with EMDR UK academy and a member of the EMDR association.  I hold the status of EuroPsy meaning my qualifications match or exceed those required in every country across Europe. I am fully insured, registered with the ICO, and I am able to supervise both clinicians and research projects as I am registered on the RAPPS register with the BPS.

Qualifications and associations

Dip TC: Diploma in therapeutic counselling

Dip SP & C: Diploma in social policy and criminology

FD: Foundation degree in counselling and psychotherapy

BSc (Hons): Criminology and psychological studies (First Class)

PG Dip: Post graduate diploma in dialectical behaviour therapy

MSc: Psychology (Distinction) - awarded the Deans scholarship for academic excellence

DClinPsy: Doctorate in clinical psychology

CPsychol: Chartered psychologist

AFBPsS: Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society

Reg MBACP: Registered member of the British Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists (on their accredited register)

Europsy: qualifications verified across europe.

 I am always happy to talk to you about my qualifications, registrations and show you my documentation including supplying a GDPR statement and copy of my insurance certificate.

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