Choosing a Therapist
If you were looking for an accountant or a solicitor or a dentist, you would probably feel quite comfortable with asking a friend or family member for a recommendation but what do you go on if you don't want to ask around because you don't want to let on that you are looking for a therapist?
Probably one of the best ways to feel confident about your choice of therapist is to check if (s)he is a member of a relevant professional association. This provides reassurance for you that the therapist has voluntarily put forward their qualifications and professional experience to be audited and approved as being relevant and of a high enough standard to be listed on the member register of the association. This process also demonstrates to the public that the therapist agrees to comply with all membership requirements and to abide by a specific professional code of conduct and ethics set by the association. Most professional associations publish a list of their members on their websites so that you can check if a particular therapist is on their member register.
It can also be useful to find out more about a therapist's background. Most practitioners didn't start out as therapists and their qualifications and experience in other fields may help you to get a better feel for whether their approach is likely to suit you. There is a wide range of therapists to choose from with diverse professional interests and what they have to offer you will be a unique blend of the personal interpretation they bring to their formal learning combined with self-education, experimentation and experience.
A good way to gain an impression of the "blend" a particular therapist has to offer is to read any material they may have produced things like brochures, newsletters or website material. As you are reading what they have to say, you will get an insight into whether it makes sense and feels right for you. If there isn't much in the way of published information to go on (and even if there is), why not give them a call and hear if what they say "speaks" to you?
About Belinda Hulstrom
Like many practitioners, Belinda didn't start out as a therapist. After graduating with honours from Oxford University (where she also completed post graduate study in education), she spent the best part of 15 years in various teaching, curriculum development and counselling and mentoring roles in adult and secondary education and also spent a couple of years in the corporate world along the way. The move she made out of education in 1998 and into the therapy profession surprised many people but for Belinda it wasn't astonishing at all: having spent many years focusing on how students, families and colleagues perceive, process and relate to their environment, to make the move into counselling and hypnotherapy as a career felt like a natural progression.
Belinda is keen to continually update her skills and to network with other therapists, both in Australia and overseas, and she is a Fellow and Professional Clinical Member of The Australian Association of Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy; Member of The Australian Counselling Association; Registered Professional Member of The Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists and also of The Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy (based in the UK). To join these professional organisations requires strict adherence to a professional code of ethics and practice and ongoing commitment to professional supervision and annual professional development via seminars and training courses.
Belinda is also an experienced conference presenter and workshop facilitator and still makes frequent use of her teaching skills and experience as a tutor for the Essex Institute of Clinical Hypnosis.
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS & ASSOCIATIONS
Australian Association of Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy (Fellow, Professional Clinical Member & Current President)
Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists (Registered Professional Member & Clinical Supervisor)
Australian Counselling Association (Qualified Member & Clinical Supervisor)
Australian Counselling Association College of Counselling Hypnotherapists (Member)
Australian Counselling Association College of Counselling Supervisors (Member)
Diploma in Clinical Hypnosis & Psychotherapy
Diploma in Personal Development
Diploma in Nutrition
Certificate IV Counselling & Conflict Resolution
Certificate IV Training & Assessment
Certificate in Applied Psychotherapy (Human Givens)
ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL TRAINING IN
Parent Effectiveness Training
SleepTalk for Children
Inner Child Therapy
Diabetes Motivational Coaching
Understanding Research Methods
The Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People
The Addicted Brain