It may be that you decide to engage the services of a professional who can help you come to terms with your abuse and support you as you move to dins resolution in whatever form that means for you. However, it is very important that you hold out for the best quality therapy or counselling possible. This is important and intrinsic to your sense of self and future well-being, and it needs to be handled in the best way possible for you, in the safest and most effective way.
These are some basic tips on how best to find someone to offer support and help.
Firstly, you have the right to choose.
At this point in the process, you are in effect the customer, so you have the right to ‘buy’ precisely what you want.
So what is important to you about the person that you work with?
A good therapist – someone who is boundaried and ethical – will appreciate and be OK with you asking lots of questions on the phone, perhaps, or with a preliminary chat in person. If they are not OK with that , then you might consider whether they are the right therapist for you.
Remember: YOU CHOOSE.
We can only offer you an example of some of the questions that some people would like to know, but feel free to email us with other pointers for other survivors. Some of these may be important and some may not, but they will give you an idea.
- How long has the professional been qualified?
- How long did it take them to qualify?
- Where did they qualify?
- What is their professional registration?
- What inspired them to become a therapist or counsellor?
- What professional body do they belong to?
- Can they supply a copy of their ethical framework?
- Has a client ever made a complaint about them?
- What is their experience of working with survivors of abuse?
- Specifically, what about their experience of working with survivors of clergy abuse?
- What is their model of therapy?
- What is their religious affiliation?
- How can they ensure that their spiritual or faith stance does not influence their work with clients?
- How much will therapy cost?
- How long will therapy be?
- How confidential are the sessions?
- Are there any areas in the work where the professional may need to break confidentiality, if any?
- Do they take notes?
- Do they allow you access to the notes, and how secure are the notes?
- How can you be sure the professional is fit for practice?
- Does the professional have supervision, and how regularly?
- What happens if the professional is taken ill? What are the procedures for continuing therapy?
- What is the notice of cancellation of sessions?
There are lots more questions that might be worth considering, specific you your needs, but as a minimum these are a good starting point.
You have the right to check out credentials with the relevant professional bodies so you may like to ring up and verify the professional’s qualifications.
If you feel uncomfortable at any point in the initial conversation, you are unhappy with an answer, or you just don’t feel that you connect with the therapist you can say that you will need to get back to them.
Therapy is not for everyone, but if you feel that you might benefit remember that you, as the client, are in charge of who you give your money to and, most importantly, who you feel you can trust to respect and work with you in a way that suits you.
Remember that you are going to be talking about some hard situations and that it may not be quick to work through. You should hold out for having a safe, non-judgemental, therapeutic relationship with your allocated healthcare professional; anything else is not good enough for you. What you are about to do is too important to settle for poor quality, unethical practice.