In today’s Guardian, a feature compiles thoughts of ‘what doctors won’t do’, including those of a psychiatrist who wouldn’t see a counsellor if suffering mental health problems, stating ‘Absolutely anyone can claim to be a counsellor – it’s an entirely unregulated area. As a result, there’s a horrifying variation in the quality, and I have seen too many patients who have been further psychologically damaged by seeing poorly or under-qualified counsellors‘.
This is a very sad thing to learn and he’s right when he goes on to say the best thing you can do if you do see a counsellor (or indeed psychotherapist) is to check out their qualifications and professional registration(s). A therapist with a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in counselling or psychotherapy and a full member of the BACP/UKCP will have more training than someone with a certificate and no such membership. My colleagues and I have attempted to unscramble this for you more here.
The BACP also has more information on the status of regulating the profession.