Therapy Ethics

 Therapy Ethics is a wide subject.

In the last post from my presentation at the NCHP conference we were talking about memory. Memory is not some ethereal concept, but is made up of specific neurons in the brain.

I work with a particularly scientific client, and  this principle opens up the idea that she is not stuck with a memory for life.

Memories change, re-frame.

Memory is malleable.

This introduces a sense of possibility and with unhelpful memories.

If things haven’t gone the way the client hoped, you’re often dealing with their attachment to how ‘it should have been’ .

Breaking the attachment to the memory (because it may not be entirely accurate) attaches the problem to the memory and not the client.

I’m not blind to the juxtaposition here with the person centred concept of self-actualisation and that the client is the expert in their problem.

I believe both these principles entirely but as with all things sometimes a perspective doesn’t work, and we need more creative solutions.

It’s strange to me too, that in therapy the idea of intervention against natural process is such a minefield

There is this idea that any sense of change in the client that they didn’t initiate themselves is somehow unethical. We do however change everything around us all the time.

We make different types of plants and foods by modification. .

It’s a complex ethical issue, and we will all have our standpoints. Putting male cells into a female body however is a different story when you’re doing it in the context of a bone marrow transplant to save someone’s life from cancer.

There always consequences to acting and there are always consequences to not doing anything.

All I am suggesting here is let’s not be hypocritical. Therapy Ethics is a lens.

Therapy Ethics are important when clients come to us as therapists to change, for us to help them change.

We work in an idiographic way of course, but change is nevertheless the brief. People will always be self-organising, adjusting to minimise discomfort but there are times when that isn’t enough on its own.

In Western medicine, we celebrate advancements and ways of changing things. One day we will beat cancer.

Will anybody be saying that we should have left that process to nature?

All I am suggesting is that we fit the methodology to the client.


Need a Therapist?

Need a Therapist? It’s a position I am often asked about by clients at the beginning of therapy. Specifically about the difference between hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and counselling, or a Psychotherapist and a Counsellor.


It isn’t an easy distinction to make, and certainly not for the untrained person looking for a therapist for the first time. So what do you need to know when you need a therapist?

Here is what you need to make an informed decision:


First, make sure that your therapist is adequately qualified. This is especially important with hypnotherapists who as an unregulated body can include anyone who has taken a distance learning or online course for half a day, or perhaps not even that.

Would you put your car in the hands of a mechanic with no formal training?… Well what about your mind?


The minimum a hypnotherapist should have is CNHC, and here’s why:

“CNHC was set up with government support to protect the public by providing a UK voluntary register of complementary therapists. CNHC’s register has been approved as an Accredited Register by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.”


Here’s the CNHC link

And here’s the logo to look out for:

Complementart and Natural Healthcare Council


A hypnotherapist may offer treatment for a range of simpler issues (such as quit smoking) but for any emotional, behavioural or psychological issue, better to seek out a Psychotherapist or a Counsellor.


The names psychotherapist and counsellor are often interchangeable but there are differences in training and practice, with UKCP’s accreditation as the most difficult and time-consuming.


For example, a Counsellor can belong simply to BACP which is the Counsellor’s governing body. They require 450 hours of tutor contact hours and training of 1 year full time or 2 years part time BUT a Counsellor can also go on to be a member of UKCP.


Becoming a full clinical member of UKCP (a Psychotherapist) takes a minimum of four years at post-graduate level, they say:

 “UKCP believes the difference lies in the length and depth of training involved and in the quality of the relationship between the client and their therapist. UKCP registered psychotherapists are trained to Master’s level.” 


As a UKCP therapist, training requirements are a minimum of 1800 hours over four years at Master’s level and include  personal therapy with a UKCP registered psychotherapist, clinical supervised practice, a mental health placement, continuing professional development and ongoing supervision.


Here’s the UKCP link

And here’s the logo to look out for:

Look for the UKCP official banner


So there you have it, my quick guide to therapists. If you’re in the position to need a therapist, or just curious about therapy at this stage, please contact someone who has the expertise to help you.


Therapy is often a demanding process, and not every therapist will suit every client, there needs to be a good therapeutic relationship.

You can get off to a good start though by choosing wisely from the beginning. My aim is to give you the information that you need to begin that search.


Oh, and please remember, it may be a little daunting to make that first contact with a therapist but we are ‘people people’ –  our training is aimed at putting you at ease from the first moment.


Best of luck…