Earlier discussions on this thread concerning legal and ethical guidelines that
licensed therapists are answerable to:
Exactly, if one doesnt have a license to practice psychotherapy, there is no place to go to and register a complaint if one feels harmed--and no way to do research and see if the person has a track record of previous mishaps.
But one can do such searches when pondering whether to select and work with a particular therapist if that person is licensed. And, there are limits on what a licensed therapist can charge, and clear legal guidelines that govern the propriety of certain kinds of client-therapist social interactions.
In addition, licensed therapists are supposed to function as other professionals do--to work in the best interests of the client, and to maximize benefits for the client and to minimize risk--and that means sticking with treatments that have been researched according to scientific protocol (testimonials dont count. Researchers call that 'anecdotal evidence.')
Again, it is interesting various and sundry entrepreneurs find abundant energy to market their stuff and keep up to date on all the new opportunities for self promotion afforded by the Internet.
But with rare exceptions, most human potential entrepreneurs rarely muster a fraction of their ambition to get themselves admitted to accredited programs in clinical psychology and social work, study the statistics and research design courses, diagnostics, clinical technique, do the course work on transferance, counter transferance, legal issues, and then do the thousands of supervised hours needed before one qualifies to take the written and oral tests needed to get licensed in his or her state.
And, once you get that license, you are on the map, legally accountable, (namely there is an organization where people can go to and report problems if they feel youve harmed them.)
And, licensed therapists in practice have to either carry malpractice insurance (if in private practice) or work for a clinic or group that does.
And they have to work hard to keep up with the journals and continuing education coursework required to keep that license current. A therapist in practice has to remain a life long student--and a disciplined one. He or she cannot get the easy option of socializing only with those who agree.
A friend of mine who is an LCSW has been taking a months long course in transferance and countertransferance, just to keep her license current. She studied transferance and countertransferance (issues that come up with the therapist projects stuff onto clients)--but there have been new insights about this and so, my friend has had to go back to school to keep her license fresh.
The folks with licenses cannot rest on their laurels.
And one must take periodic Continuing Ed refresher courses on changes in legal guidelines, and changes in diagnostic guidelines, too.
And there are times when therapists have to take continuing ed courses on topics that may not even be applicable to their practices--but its required, they bite the bullet and do it.
Being licensed means doing a lot of things that are not
narcissistically gratifying but quite the opposite. You are answerable to someone when you harm your clients.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/27/2008 09:56PM by corboy.