Counseling and psychotherapy are professions that should be held to the highest standards—ethical standards, professional standards, and scientific standards, just as all health care services should comply with high standards. In providing health care services to clients, we are asking them to come to us in a state of vulnerability and trust that we are acting from a position of authority with their best interests at heart. And to that end we have developed rigorous education, supervision, licensing, credentialing practices, and requirements for ongoing training. But somewhere between the process of training and the practice of running a business, many practitioners have introduced practices based not on the research of what works but instead on some sort of misguided sense of what the client wants to receive.
An exhaustive study of over 100,000 websites belonging to licensed clinicians discovered 21,758 advertised therapeutic approaches and confirmed that almost all of them lacked any credible reason for using them. Many of these have names similar to proven techniques. Many of them use the language of known academic, scientific, and philosophical orientations. A significant number of these approaches are aimed at incorporating religious, and often specifically Christian or another religion’s values into the therapeutic process, which should raise ethical concerns for any practitioner. There are also any number of approaches that are unambiguously based on new age practices and some that can’t really be categorized beyond saying that they are indeed unusual. The therapists who are promoting these unorthodox approaches to mental health threaten the safety of their clients as well as the survival of counseling and psychotherapy.
Test whether you can recognize the difference between these unvalidated counseling approaches and those that were made up by the author.
Featured Image Credit:by Julien Tondu on Unsplash