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Should Stupid Therapists Work With Intelligent Clients?

Should Stupid Therapists Work With Intelligent Clients?

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you might well be surprised at the title of this edition. The reason for it is due to the recent articles published in Huffington Post (UK) by the UK’s Weight Loss Master, straight talking motivator and mind programming expert, Steve Miller (this is his description from the articles in question). As a practitioner of some 25 years experience and Principal of the oldest hypno-psychotherapy college in the UK, I generally steer clear of articles which I disagree with, as we all have the right to have an opinion. However, I found Mr Miller’s two articles ill conceived, so I have decided to write this blog. I feel that I owe it to the thousands of graduates and students of the National College of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy as well as other practitioners of size to offer a different perspective than what Mr Miller puts forward.

First, I would like to declare I am a therapist of size (in other words fat). I am comfortable with it, as my clients appear to be. In fairness I have never thought to ask if they care, but I suppose it is safe to say they don’t as it has never come up (by any client weight control or not). My clients come to me, because of my 25+ years of experience in the field plus a very full CV of qualifications which show my commitment to providing the best possible therapeutic services that I can give to my clients. Weight management is a service I provide, but it is not the “bread and butter” of my practice, and as size is not an issue of therapeutic competence, I will continue to work with these clients.

Secondly, have a read of the articles, you can find them HERE and HERE The position Mr Miller is putting forward is that his articles are actually designed to protect the public. If Mr Miller wants to say that he is interested in public protection, why not question some of the abysmal training of many providing therapeutic services? Or therapists misrepresenting their qualification/experience? Rather than protecting or informing the public, Mr Miller’s position validates that people (including therapists) can feel judged about their size. This is actually one of the reasons people present for therapy in the first place. Perhaps larger therapists may be able to use empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard to help clients to feel better about themselves, which may well help them to lose weight. Direct suggestion and motivation are only two tools in a good therapist’s tool box. Research shows that it is the therapeutic relationship which makes therapy effective not using one type of technique or another.

My third point is that his suggestion about before and after pictures of clients, would be a breach of the code of ethics of many professional bodies in that confidentiality is meant to be maintained for all of our clients. Even if a client gives permission to use their images to help convince other clients, there is a thing called “photoshop” which unethical therapists can use to manipulate pictures. The ability to do this, in my opinion completely invalidates his position that this should somehow be a way to prove the efficacy of the therapist. I am not suggesting in anyway that Mr Miller uses photshop, but the existence of this surely should be considered, as he is saying that “Ask for evidence that they get results. There can be no excuse for a hypnotherapist not being able to show you several before and after photos of clients they have supported.” I believe I have provided 2 valid reasons (as opposed to excuses) as to why using before and after pictures are not best practice.

Finally, I refer to the title of this blog. Who am I, or anyone else to judge another colleague on a subjective issue which has nothing to do with the level of training or experience that practitioner has? It does the profession no credit to attack colleagues in public based on weight. I am far more concerned about therapists making unsubstantiated claims about their success and/or competence, by using terms like “Number 1 ….” or “best practitioner”. Also, claiming anecdotal evidence as being the same as properly conducted evidenced based trials is certainly not in the best interests of our clients or the profession.

I hope that we can all debate our profession in a way that is respectful to all and with as little inflammatory language as possible. Flame wars only make the entire profession look unprofessional, and I am sure that this is not something that I want to happen nor do I believe this is Mr Miller’s aim either.

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