Did You Know…
… that anyone can legally practice as a complementary therapist with no training, no qualifications and no insurance? Given how many great therapists there are out there doing wonderful work it’s really shocking to think that could be the case. Unlike the recognised health professions, complementary therapy has no compulsory register or statutory regulation. Although I’m certain the vast majority of therapists are genuinely fantastic, it doesn’t hurt to outline why you should exercise a bit of caution when deciding where to spend your cash.
So how do you choose a good therapist?
There are a few things you can do to make sure you’re spending your money wisely and choosing a trusted therapist who knows their stuff and is qualified to help you:
- Check their qualifications are readily available on a website or social media profile page
- Check they’re a member of at least one professional association and/or the government’s voluntary regulator
- Check they’re committed to and invest in continuing professional development (cpd)
There are so many different wonderful therapies out there for us to try. How can anyone ever know which courses are good and which are average. We probably can’t but what’s important here is that the therapist is up-front about the qualifications they do have and when they got them. Some clients might like a therapists with loads of experience but some clients might like a therapist straight out of training school.
This is the important bit. Belonging to a professional association demonstrates commitment to a chosen profession. Membership commands a fee and a proof of an active public liability insurance. All the associations I’m aware of also have a strict code of conduct to adhere to as well as requiring the therapist to undertake a minimum level of cpd each year. In short, this means any regulated therapist will be up to date, professional and trustworthy.
As well as the professional associations whose primary aim is to support the therapist, the government have sponsored a UK voluntary regulator (the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)) whose primary aim is to support and protect members of the public. The set up of this is complicated and explained in more detail in my About Me page. The takeaway thing to remember is that it’s another layer of protection. Sadly not all therapies are covered by the CNHC but if they are, you’ll know your therapist has been trained to a minimum National Occupational Standard for their qualification.
This is going to ensure that the therapist you choose has updated their skills on a regular basis, usually yearly, since qualification. Things change in the therapy world. And fast. Keeping up to date with latest thinking and research is really important to be able to offer the best service we can.
Things also change on a wider level such the law when it comes to things like data protection, or best practice when it comes to things like First Aid. Personally, I’d like to know my therapist is up to date on all levels.
Why is all this important?
My personal view is that some form of regulation, alongside high level qualifications and a commitment to professionalism, is imperative. We’re taking your money! You need to know you can trust us.
I want everyone who comes to see me or any of my professional colleagues to know they’re in safe hands, but I also want complementary therapy to move forward and become more recognised for the amazing work it can do. This is especially true for groups of people that mainstream healthcare has failed e.g. those living with lifelong conditions, chronic pain, fatigue and multiple presentations as well as just about anybody who suffers from stress, anxiety and burnout and the many effects on the physical body that these issues can create.
The more professional we are, well you just never know, maybe one day complementary therapies will be available to all via the NHS. We have to dream 🙂