Seeking Professional Help

It may be that you decide that you need to engage the services of a professional who can help you come to terms with your abuse and support you as you move to find resolution in whatever form that means for you. However it is very important that you hold out for the best quality therapy or counseling 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.

Here are some basic tips on how best to find someone to offer support and help.
At this point in the process you are going to be the customer in effect 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 pre-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 add others onto the forum or email us with other pointers for other survivors. Some of these may be important, some may not but they will give you an idea:

– How long have you been qualified?
– How long did it take you to qualify?
– Where did you qualify?
– What is your professional registration?
– What inspired you to become a therapist/counsellor?
– What professional body do you belong to?
– Can I have a copy of your ethical framework?
– Has any client ever made a complaint about you?
– Do you have experience of working with survivors of abuse?
– What about specifically survivors of clergy abuse?
– What is your model of therapy?
– Can I ask what your religious affiliation is?
– How do you ensure that your spiritual/faith stance does not influence your work with clients?
– What is your position on clergy abuse?
– How much does this cost?
– How long do you envisage me being with you?
– How confidential are our sessions?
– Can you explain areas in our work where you may need to break confidentiality if any?
– What about notes – do you take them, do I have access to them, how secure are they?
– How sure can I be that you are fit for practice?
– Do you have supervision and how regularly?
– What happens if you are taken ill – what are the procedures for continuing therapy?
– What is the notice of cancellation of sessions?

There are probably lots more questions that might be worth considering, specific to 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 qualifications.

If at any point during your initial conversation you feel uncomfortable, you are unhappy with an answer, you just don’t feel that you connect with the therapist you can say that you will need to get back to them.

It 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 you are going to be talking about some hard situations and it may not be quick to worth through – you should hold out for having a safe, non-judgmental, therapeutic relationship with your allocated healthcare professional – anything less is not good enough for you, what you are about to do is too important to settle for poor quality unethical practice.

If you have any doubts please do contact Survivors Voice who whilst they cannot vouch for counsellors can support you in finding someone to work with you.

We can hardly recommend this therapist:

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