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Challenge to Counselling and Psychotherapy
Transcript of Challenge to Counselling and Psychotherapy
1. What is a counsellor?
2. Do professionals do the job better than lay people?
3. How far can or should counsellors be professionalized, organized or purchased?
4. Can we 'produce' the right kind of counsellor or at least discover them among candidates?
"Care and concern have become central within the mission statement of many state and private corporations and they certainly do not intend to keep quiet about it."
What is Counselling?
Professionals in the field are unable to describe or distinguish what they do other than that it is 'a relationship'
If you try to describe it, it can mirror many other services including prostitution
What works for a particular individual or situation, can be ineffective at a later time
Counsellors are not sure what they are offering and clients are not sure what they want, what they should want nor if they got it.
Who Does Counselling?
Doctors & Nurses
Priests & pastors
“Insecurity is the wave of the future, it seems, and we must all, like surfers, learn to ride it. If you can afford their fees, there are scores of image consultants, counsellors and skills trainers only too willing to show you how."
What Makes a Good Counsellor?
Counsellors must be good people – show love, fellowship, courage, humanity, humility, faith, grace, honour, duty, discipline and wisdom.
41 experimental studies comparing the effectiveness of professionals with non-professional helpers:
28 - no difference
12 - non-professionals more effective
1 - professionals more effective
Difficult to determine which form of therapy is better as clients are usually offered what is available
There is one absolute, not to engage in sexual relations with client but there is no evidence that training, supervision or experience make a person less likely to abuse a client
Market pressures & fashion make professionals exaggerate the power & uniqueness of their particular 'product' - just rebranding the same ideas
Client centred therapists - Utopian & naive
Psychodynamic therapists - Stick you in an endless process to 'find yourself'
Cognitive-Behavioural therapists - Try to be objective and scientific
Training in Clinical Psychology - "Therapy is an unidentified technique applied to unspecified problems with unpredictable outcomes, for which long and rigorous training is required."
Can essential virtues be detected, taught and accredited?
Reliability, adequacy and competency are hard to measure so institutions rely on number of training hours.
Counsellor training and accreditation agencies are gathering momentum, yet they appear to be a long way from establishing:
An adequate definition of counselling
Reliable research evidence into its efficacy
Adequate boundaries between counselling and related activities
Agreement about theories, practices and suitable clients
Agreement about which categories of professionals should own, control or share in counselling
What has it done?
BACP / UKCP / BPS
Ensures job security
Gives status / power
but what has this done for the client?
Any attempt to standardize or technicize therapy detracts from it
Finding a genuine counsellor is primarily a matter of luck