Category Archives: Professional Growth

“How Can I Get Licensed Practitioners to Take Me Seriously?”

How Do You Avoid Getting the Cold Shoulder, or Worse?

Licensed therapists often want to stone unlicensed practitionersA few years ago, shortly after I’d started my practice, I naively decided to reach out to licensed counselors. Why not? I love a good conversation about the different ways we see the change process happening, and I learn so much from a conversation with a counselor, psychologist, or other therapist. I especially like talking with folks who don’t think or work the same way I do, who bring a different approach to their work.

For example, I’m currently attending an attachment training that facilitates a deep sense of connection between therapist and client. But the counselor I’m talking with most lately does dialectical behavior therapy, and while she’s excellent at facilitating connection with her clients, DBT skills are quite different from the ones I’m learning in the attachment training. If I hung out only with clinicians who thought like me, how would I keep learning? Talking with practitioners who do things differently from how I do them alerts me to other ideas, other trainings to look at, and other ideas to consider. And it helps me know who to refer clients out to when my approach isn’t the right fit for them.

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How I Saved 97% on Training Costs

donkey courtroomI’m a compulsive researcher. Or maybe “research” isn’t quite the right word. Maybe self-help, continuing education, or ongoing training. But whatever you call it, I’m studying stuff all the time. But I don’t like spending money! So I’ve researched the question: “How can you get high-quality trainings for pennies on the dollar?”

I’m going to focus on getting video trainings for almost nothing, but I’ll talk about doing the same with books and audio trainings as well. And while I’m coming at this from the point of therapy training, these tactics apply to every kind of field, whether professional, hobbyist, or self-help.

Save Money on Trainings: Get Them on Video

People like talk about being all up-to-date on their therapeutic concepts and techniques, but the therapeutic landscape isn’t really changing all that fast. This means that a slightly outdated edition of a book, video training, or audio training has most of the value of the current edition, but can be picked up for a fraction of the price.

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Gregory Bateson and Choosing Your Assumptions Wisely

gregory_bateson_steps_to_an_ecology_of_mindSo I’ve been surveying brief therapy techniques and advanced modalities, and what do I find? Most of them seem to have a direct connection with one man, Gregory Bateson: brief therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP,  Hakomi, sensorimotor psychotherapy, family therapy, and many more.

Wait, what? Gregory Bateson wasn’t a therapist, he was an anthropologist. He studied cultures in New Guinea. (He was married to Margaret Mead, another famous anthropologist.) But maybe that’s the point. Big changes tend to be started  by outsiders who bring a new perspective. Typically they’re from a related field. Freud wasn’t a psychiatrist: he was a neurologist. Louis Pasteur wasn’t a physician: he was a chemist.

Being an anthropologist gets you out of the office and into the field, watching people interact with each other in ways that seem weird to you but (mostly) work for them. You can’t understand it you never see it!

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Why Join a Professional Organization?

Licensed professionals like to claim that “unlicensed people can’t be trusted because they have no formal code of ethics and no committee that hears complaints.” Setting aside the crucial issue of whether this kind of formalism has  any real effect on misconduct (and, if so, in which direction), the premise itself is false. Lots of professional organizations have codes of ethics and compliance boards.

I belong the the National Guild of Hypnotists, and it has an ethics committee that can throw me out if I do something they find unacceptable. But more importantly, if I mess up and someone complains, they’ll try to set me straight first. There are some very good people on that committee, because the best of the best always believe in the power of helping others.

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