When a client asks for a referral.
Scenario: A new client comes to you for an assessment for counselling. During the session, she asks you about hypnotherapy and how it might help her. Interestingly, you’re not a hypnotherapist … you’re a counsellor with a psychodynamic core model with no professional knowledge of hypnotherapy. What might be a helpful and ethical response to this client’s request?
I’d suggest that there are (at least) two things going on here.
Firstly, based more on working with unconscious processes, the client appears to be inviting the therapist to speak from a position of authority (i.e. knowledge). As this therapist is not qualified in hypnotherapy, one response might simply for him to say “I don’t know”. However, from a psychodynamic perspective the therapist might be curious as to what could be happening within the question and to respond according to how the therapist notices his “self” is being pulled (counter-transference) by the enquiry. For example, instead of responding from a position of false authority: “it can be very effective for all sorts of things…” the therapist might share his puzzlement with the client about what is truly being asked (and quietly pocket the sense of false authority as a tentative hypothesis for later). Of course, this is just one example of a number of different responses.
Even though this situation might simply be that the client does not know that we therapists have different schools of training, there can still be potential learning by being tentatively interested in the interaction between this client and therapist.
Ethically Empowering the Client.
Secondly, a therapist who cannot (and, for ethical reasons, should not) make any recommendations as to the effectiveness of hypnotherapy (or any particular therapy in which the therapist has no training or experience) may still be able to effectively support and empower the client into finding the information for themselves.
By using The Marple Cross Centre’s free Find a Therapist online service, the therapist could pop in a query for “hypnotherapy” and email the list of discovered-therapists to the client. This would be a therapist beginning a process on behalf of the client – and, of course, some therapists’ approaches might not allow for this.
The video along to the right shows how easily this can be done.
… and this (scarily long looking!) URL is an example of what the therapist might send to the client:-
… click on it yourself to see what happens.
When the client receives & clicks on the URL, they can continue their research into hypnotherapists - choosing, perhaps, to discuss the matter further with their choice of therapist from the list. Further queries are not put to the appropriately qualified people.
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