1 PEER REVIEWED. Becoming a psychotherapist or counsellor: A survey of psychotherapy and counselling trainers JENNI RICHARDSON, LIZ SHEE AN AND MAT THE W B A M B L I N G. Individuals seeking a career in the diverse field of psychotherapy and counselling in Australia may be confused by the different prerequisites and level of training required for entry into the field. Little information is available in the public arena to answer the typical professional pathway questions asked by prospective students. This exploratory study used a survey method to identify the position of Australian psychotherapy and counselling training bodies in relation to typical questions that cover the domains of: the differences between psychotherapy and counselling ;. years of study or training required; relevance of previous life experience; personal qualities required; motivation for entry into the field and reasons not to enter the field; personal therapy requirements; work opportunities on graduation; and, level of training and experience required for private practice.
2 Survey data were analysed qualitatively and implications are discussed. I n Australia, the professions of psychotherapy and counselling have evolved within an unregulated a clear divide has occurred between professions recognised and not recognised by government for inclusion Literature review A central and pervasive issue for this survey focuses on the environment with practitioners in this programme. distinction between psychotherapy ' and drawn from diverse professional Within this diverse environment, counselling '. While these terms are used and theoretical backgrounds. While individuals who seek a career in interchangeably in everyday language, regulations govern the use of the psychotherapy and counselling may be they are assigned many different term psychologist' in Australia, there confused by the different prerequisites meanings by the helping professions.
3 Are no regulations to govern the use and level of training required for entry Such disparity can present a significant of psychotherapist ' or counsellor'. into the field. The psychotherapy and source of confusion for prospective Standardised pathways have been counselling Federation of Australia students. The literature provides no established for professions such (PACFA) provide a set of generic conclusive definitions. as psychology and social work, training and course accreditation Corsini and Wedding (2008). while training in counselling and standards that training organisations suggest that the processes that occur psychotherapy can take many forms. might aspire to meet. However, little in psychotherapy and counselling Training programmes relevant information is available in the public are identical and only differ in time to psychotherapy or counselling arena to answer the more generic spent.
4 They observe that, in general, vary widely; from the doctoral level professional pathway questions often the helping professions understand through to diplomas of one year or asked by prospective students. counselling to be a short-term, less. Turf wars exist around questions This exploratory study used a problem oriented process, whereas of what constitutes adequate training, survey method to identify the position psychotherapy is person-oriented and supervision and experience before of Australian psychotherapy and can continue for many sessions or even an individual is considered fit for counselling training bodies on typical for years. professional practice. With the questions asked by prospective students McLeod (2009) acknowledges introduction in November 2006 of about entry into the field.
5 Survey the many different definitions Medicare rebates through the Better data were analysed qualitatively and and understandings of the terms Outcomes in Mental Health initiative, implications are discussed. psychotherapy ' and counselling ' that 70 psychotherapy IN AUSTRALIA VOL 16 NO 1 NOVEMBER 2009. Copyright 2013, PsychOz Publications range from a view of psychotherapy skills result in better alliances with qualities that psychotherapists and and counselling as the same, to a clients. However, they conclude, We counsellors are encouraged to aspire view of counselling as a junior simply do not know enough yet about the to including empathy, sincerity, partner of psychotherapy . From this latter therapist factor to specify when and how integrity, resilience, respect, humility, perspective, counsellors receive a shorter it makes a difference, nor when it matters competence, fairness, wisdom and training than psychotherapists, and work more than technique ' (p.)
6 168). courage. They draw attention to the with clients or patients with less severe problems.' ( ). PACFA (2009) states that individuals who seek a career in counselling and psychotherapy practitioners work cooperatively with psychotherapy and counselling may be confused clients to develop responses to difficult life circumstances' (para. 4). They suggest by the different prerequisites and level of that while counselling and psychotherapy may be viewed as being on a continuum, training required for entry into the field. there can also be considerable '. (para. 7). They make the following distinction: counselling usually Wampold (2007) highlights the ethical or moral component of many of addresses particular issues or concerns considerable empirical evidence to these personal qualities.
7 For an individual, couple or family support the view that interpersonal PACFA (2009) identify that psychotherapy is generally a long term aspects of psychotherapy created by individuals who seek admission to process that focuses on the self both the therapist are reliably related to counselling or psychotherapy training conscious and unconscious.' ( ). outcome. There is increasing evidence programs need to demonstrate: some In Australia there is no legislative that it is the therapist and not the fundamental human capacities' (not recognition of psychotherapy and treatment per se that is responsible for specified); self-awareness; a relational counselling as a distinct profession or therapeutic change' (p. 868). capacity; and, a capacity to understand professional role. The Health Professions The British Association of counselling and practice ethical behaviour.
8 Council (HCP), an independent body and psychotherapy (BACP, 2009 list While few would argue with these responsible for regulation of UK. healthcare professions, is undertaking a consultation on the statutory regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors to be completed late 2009. (HCP, 2009). The HCP's Professional Liaison Group is proposing a legal separation of the titles of counsellor'. and psychotherapist '. Key distinctions are that psychotherapists have the capacity to make a diagnosis and to treat more serious mental health problems. McLeod (2009), in response to this initiative, argues that to secure a sustainable future post-regulation for counselling , a case must be made for counselling as a distinct professional activity. He warns in the longer term, a vague understanding of counselling as a dilute, lite' or junior' version of psychotherapy will result in its eventual disappearance and replacement by evidence based therapies.)
9 ' ( What needs to be done to put these ideas into practice?, para. 3.). Personal qualities A widely held view is that the therapist's most valuable instrument is his or her own self '. Lambert and Ogles (2004) report that individual therapist variables such as interpersonal Illustration: Rob Colvin, Stock Illustration Source, Getty Images. psychotherapy IN AUSTRALIA VOL 16 NO 1 NOVEMBER 2009 71. Copyright 2013, PsychOz Publications lists of desirable personal qualities', However, some forms of motivation basis of their previous track record in being there is no empirical evidence in the are positive. For example, Duncan able to establish and maintain caring literature to indicate what specific & Miller (2008) suggest that the relationships, often in highly challenging personal qualities make a good motivation to help others' can situations.
10 ' ( ). therapist. Lambert in Barletta (2006) be associated with superior client Graham Music, Associate Clinical highlights the logistical complexity in outcomes. The field is characterised by Director of the Child and Family research efforts to determine whether these paradoxical forms of knowledge'. Department at The Tavistock Clinic, desirable personal qualities' used advises that a counselling training Life experience in traditional selection criteria do lasts three years and results in masters contribute to effective psychotherapy Many prospective students perceive level qualification, whereas one in and counselling outcomes: their own life experience to be an psychotherapy requires a masters level You've got to take people who don't adequate qualifier' for entry to the qualification to enter, lasts a total of seven have the trait, as well as people who psychotherapy and counselling field.