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.

The American Counseling Association also has such a committee, I’m told, and so do many other organizations that welcome unlicensed professionals — as most of them do.

Should you join such an organization? Probably. Not just join, but participate, too! Study their ethical guidelines. Skim their journals. Attend their meetings. Make friends! We alternative and unlicensed practitioners are often a bit isolated in our professions.

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