eustaciavye77: (...heaving breaths...)
[personal profile] eustaciavye77
We cut because we care. Eventually I may edit these and put them on a professional blog.

Part 1 in which I get pissed off and explain why:

"Anyone can do what a therapist does. I don't see why you have to go to school for that"
"I don't bother with degrees or licensing because the way I do things crosses the conventional boundaries anyway."
"Being a therapist must be like getting footrubs for a living"

Everything I just said is something I have actually heard someone say about being a therapist. Aside from the fact that this devalues my job which, hey, society as a whole does and I can live with THAT part, these comments disturb me. They are dangerous. They perpetuate the idea that psychotherapy is nothing in particular and that one does not need qualifications or training of any sort to hang out a shingle and take money from emotionally vulnerable people seeking solutions to life's deepest scariest issues.

Think about that for a minute. The people who come to a therapist or counselor usually arrive in a time of crisis, not thinking straight, upset, scared; often they lack the wherewithall to do the due diligence and make sure the person they are talking to has some sort of clue how to help them. They are relying on the idea that no one would offer up these services unless they were legitimate. A person who decides to "just start doing therapy" is claiming to be able to assist a person in solving the biggest problem they've ever encountered with NO SPECIAL TRAINING. I hope you are feeling a bit sick reading that. Probably you've been vulnerable and needed help and possibly you've sought it from a professional. The idea that there are people out there with no education in the field filling that role SHOULD make you angry.

SO. I bring this up because at least in Massachusetts (where i live and practice) there are some regulations around psychotherapy practices, but there are also some loopholes and there are lots of people taking advantage of them. In Massachusetts, you must have a masters degree to bill someone's health insurance for mental health services. Mental health clinics won't hire anyone who doesn't have a legit degree so if your therapist works at a clinic, don't worry, you're all set.

In order to bill health insurance outside of a clinic setting (private or group practice) you must have the degree plus certain post-graduate experience, and you must pass an exam. Once you've done those things, you throw money at the state and they throw back a license. The other way to be able to bill insurance is to be a "psychologist" which is to say you have a doctorate, usually a PHD in clinical psychology or a PsyD which is a specialized degree sort of like JD (lawyer) or MD (doctor). Also some Psychiatrists (though very few nowadays) provide therapy. HOWEVER, you can open up a private practice taking cash only payments without meeting these requirements. You cannot call yourself a psychologist - that word is reserved for PHDs and PsyDs. You cannot call yourself a counselor. That is reserved for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (people with a masters degree in counseling who met the license requirements i described). You cannot call yourself a social worker. That title is reserved for LCSW and LICSWs (people with masters degrees in social work who meet the license requirements). You CAN however call yourself a therapist or life coach and charge people whatever they will pay.

Now, not everyone who does this is scamming you. Many people see clients privately while they are still working on getting their licenses. These people have the degree and the training but cannot yet bill insurance. I've known several great therapists who fall into this category. There are also some people who choose not to be licensed because of philosophical or political reasons despite being fully qualified. The best therapist I know falls into this category. Some people get training from private institutes and while they haven't taken the exact courses outlined in a typical masters degree, they have sufficient knowledge to be good therapists. People who call themselves "Life Coach" have often attended coaching institutes and workshops to learn how to coach. The coaching perspective is different than traditional psychotherapy; any legitimate coach will tell you that AND tell you where they learned how to be a life coach.

However, there's someone I KNOW for a fact is practicing without a license or degree or private training and in fact their only education is a bachelors degree from about 20 years ago and it isn't even a degree in psychology. "I give good advice" is not enough to be a therapist.

This is getting long so I will stop here. In the next entry I will describe what goes into being a therapist and after that I will provide some tips on how to choose the right person and how to avoid scammers.


eustaciavye77: (Default)

July 2015

19 202122232425

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 19th, 2017 10:18 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios