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PSA logoA milestone achieved!

The Human Givens Institute (HGI) is the professional body which oversees the work of Bindi, myself and all our colleagues who are human givens psychotherapists. I have been a member of this organisation since I qualified and a Fellow for more than a decade. And this week, the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) in the UK accredited the Human Givens Institute as an approved register of counselling services.

The PSA mark of quality assures the general public, service commissioners and employers that Human Givens practitioners belong to a register vetted and approved by an independent statutory body. This puts the HGI Register on an equal footing with BACP, UKCP and all other accrediting organisations. There is no higher form of accreditation than this.

Why is it such a big deal?

When speaking to doctors and other NHS health care professionals, the first question asked of us was frequently “But are you a member of the BACP or UKCP?” (The BACP is the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, the UKCP is the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy). Anyone calling themselves a psychotherapist or counsellor who was NOT a member of these institutions, effectively did not exist.

We are pioneers!

Human Givens practitioners are often very enthusiastic about their training and their work – because they have direct experience that it really works. But we have frequently had to remind ourselves that we are pioneers (picture raised fist punching the air in a spirit of defiance!) The truth is that we don’t fit into the established picture of psychotherapy. We don’t do some of the things that many people (and most of the media) assume to be part and parcel of the therapeutic approach. For example, we don’t expect or encourage our clients to come back week after week for many months or years. We don’t assume that they need to get emotional before healing can occur – we don’t display a suggestive box of tissues in out therapy rooms (though we have them handy in the rare cases that they are needed). We don’t routinely ask them about their relationship with their parents (we do this when appropriate, but we are trained to know exactly when and why it is necessary to revisit the past). Our sessions almost never include long and intimidating silences. And we do not expect therapists to need many hours of personal therapy before they can practice. If if we are struggling, then we should be seeking help and not working as a therapist. If we are not struggling, then we should not need therapy.

Now I am fully aware that there are thousands of other counsellors, psychotherapists and hypnotherapists who have also moved on from these older styles of therapy in the modern solution-focused world – but I still regularly get new clients who have recent (and often unhelpful) experience of these more traditional approaches.

Joining the club

“I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member!” – Groucho Marx

Another thing that human givens practitioners often avoid is becoming members of institutions who have a large number of members who do still use these approaches. This is why I have never wanted to be a member of either the BACP or the UKCP. To put it bluntly – I do not feel that these institutions reflect my values or promote my interests. Yes, I know what you are probably thinking – I’m just being difficult. There may be a little truth in this – but it is because when you are a true pioneer you also have to be somewhat idealistic and stubborn. You have to stay true to the core of what matters to you.

I’m happy this week!

So this is why I am particularly happy this week – I can now talk to any NHS doctor or health professional knowing that this week, after twelve long years of being invisible – the government now fully recognises my profession and the value that I bring to my clients. Hurray!

And also because . . .

Another reason is that I am also genuinely excited to be launching my “illuminate 22 Day Challenge” next Wednesday 18th May. This is an interactive exploration of one of the fundamental organising ideas that underpins the human givens approach – and you really should not miss it!

You can sign up for free here: http://in8.uk.com/illuminate-22-day-challenge