Top tips for finding the right therapist for you

Felicity www.gillshaw.co.uk_ 10 (13)About 10 years ago I went to see my GP for advice regarding my ongoing stomach cramps that were beginning to affect my quality of life. The GP I saw at the time did a cursory palpation of my lower abdomen, informed me I likely had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and prescribed me Buscopan (a muscle relaxant) to take daily to alleviate the cramps.

My intuition told me that, aged 25, I did not want to take any medication every day and I didn’t want to chance it with the possible side effects of the medication either! So, I took my journey into Complementary Therapies but was faced with a plethora of information and so many choices on what could help! Choosing the type of Complementary Therapy for my condition was relatively easy but then how to find the right practitioner to support me?! What should I look for? How would I know who had the right credentials? Who was the real deal?

I am happy to say that my endless researching led me to a fantastic Nutritionist and I was completely cured of my stomach cramps within a few months. A few years after this (2007) I was inspired to train as a Reflexologist to help and support others on their journey back to health.

So, now having the added perspective of being a practitioner myself, I have compiled some top tips to share with you to help you have confidence when you are searching for the best practitioner to support you:

Trust your Gut Instinct!

This tip underpins all the other tips I will share with you. When choosing a practitioner it is important to listen to your instincts and intuition (meaning a sense of knowing without conscious reasoning) – yes, I am asking you to get out of your logical mind and feel into the signals your body is giving you!

We are each so unique and individual that we will naturally resonate with different people and what works for one person may not work for another. So when you are looking for a practitioner see how reading their information makes you FEEL,  whether talking to them puts you instantly at ease or whether you get a sense that they are the ones to help you.

This may feel a bit too abstract to begin with but it can be a great way to make that final decision once you have narrowed it down to a few potentials.

Qualifications

No matter how upmarket a treatment centre looks or how wonderful the webpage is, it is important to check out the professional qualifications of any practitioner that you are considering booking an appointment with. When you receive a therapy you are sharing personal information about your health and you need to be sure that the practitioner treating you has the experience and skills to fully understand your health condition, your emotional wellbeing and to hold space for you.

If it does not seem obvious from written information provided by the therapist  then dig deeper and maybe even ask them where they completed their training, what level it was and which professional association they are registered with.

Membership of Professional Body/Association

Much like Doctors and Allied Health Professionals, there are regulatory bodies/Associations that assesses whether a practitioner has achieved a an acceptable level of qualifications to be offering sessions to the general public. Being registered requires a therapist abide by a code of ethics, to have full insurance, to offer good quality treatment and participate in Continued Professional Development (CPD) – meaning that the practitioner will consistently attend courses or study and update their skills so you can be confident that you are receiving the best treatment possible. 

AOR LOGO For example, I am registered with The Association of Reflexologists but an Acupuncturist might be registered with the British Acupuncture Council. Some practitioners who offer different therapies may choose the Federation of Holistic Therapies or Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council. There is a comprehensive listing on The Therapy Directory for more information see Professional Bodies

Website & Testimonials

Does the practitioner have a website? A well presented website can help you to really get a ‘feel’ for the practitioner and their work. Often there will be information about their Qualifications and the path that led them to choose the therapy they offer. You can also read more in depth about the therapy offered. A web presence gives an opportunity for transparency – you get to know more about what is offered before you take a chance and book an appointment. That’s not to say that a practitioner without a website is not professional, again, trust your instinct and if they don’t have a website try to speak to them on the phone or meet them before you book your session so you can ask all your questions then.

‘Word of mouth’ is a really good way to be referred to a practitioner, when someone has had a great experience or a successful course of treatment with someone they can’t wait to share this with others so they too can get the help they need.  Ask your friends/family if they have any recommendations.

However, in the absence of a ‘word of mouth’ recommendation, It really helped me to read on practitioners websites what other people said about working with both the therapy offered and then the practitioner, especially if the testimonial is recorded through Testimonial Monkey or Testimonial Parrot – this means that a testimonial is unedited and a practitioner will not have any influence on what has been written, they also cannot change it. So you can be sure you are reading REAL accounts from REAL people. Example of Testimonials.

Professionalism

This can mean many things in different professions but in terms of a complementary therapy practitioner, these are some questions to bear in mind when looking for a professional approach:

  • Does the practitioner respond to your enquiry within twenty-four hours?
  • Do they have a website and official email address?
  • Are they working from a Clinic or Therapy room that is clean, tidy and well managed?
  • Do they talk you through what to expect at the beginning of the session (or before you book the session) and let you know what to expect afterwards or provide follow up.
  • Are they friendly and approachable? Its important that a practitioner knows how to build a healthy therapeutic relationship with you and part of that is being approachable. However, look out for practitioners  who talk through your whole session and list all their own problems and life history – this has happened to me, and I ended up feeling like I was counselling the therapist rather than receiving a session!

So, to conclude, always trust your instincts when it comes to finding the right Complementary Therapy practitioner for you and remember that we are all so individual and unique that what is right for one person does not mean it is right for everybody. The above points I have included have helped me in finding reputable and amazing practitioners to support my health and wellbeing, I hope that it will guide you to finding the right practitioner for you. If you have any questions or even want to learn more about me and my own work then contact me or visit my website