Protecting Your Safety

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Protect your safety when using this or any other directory of counsellors or therapists by being aware that all databases are subject to computer error, human error, and even deliberate human corruption with false information. And we’d recommend being outright wary of any directory that is not right up front with you about the risks of such errors.

Data Integrity

However authoritative they might claim to be, however thorough they say they have been in vetting counsellor or psychotherapist qualifications, no organisation can eliminate the risk of error — human or computer — or the risk of deliberate human manipulation of data within a directory.

And while every effort has been made to represent the information contained within this directory accurately, the onus of responsibility ultimately is on you, the consumer, to protect yourself by verifying independently that any person claiming to be a counsellor, psychotherapist or any other type of mental health service provider really is who and what they say they are. As indicated on our page About This Directory, our information has been sourced and indexed from other publicly available websites — as Google does when setting out to index the entire web — or provided to us directly by an individual self-registering on the site as a practitioner. But while all information contained within this directory has either been supplied directly by an individual self-registering as a practitioner or has been corroborated by one or more other sites which we believe to be authoritative and which have separately made the information available, in neither case have we independently investigated the authenticity of this information.

As an absolute minimum, you should verify a practitioner’s claim of membership in one or more professional organisations, such as the BACP, BABCP, or UKCP (each of which also provides an old-fashioned form-based therapist directory).

Ethical Frameworks and Complaints Procedures

Each practitioner listed in this directory has indicated their membership in one or more professional organisations with an ethical framework and a complaints procedure. This is, in effect, your second line of defence against poor practice. The first line of defence is your own healthy skepticism and capacity for critical thinking, combined with your willingness to communicate directly with the practitioner about any and all concerns which may arise during the course of working with that practitioner.

Accreditation and Therapeutic Effectiveness or Safety

As discussed separately in our note on Therapeutic Effectiveness, there is little empirical evidence that the types of characteristics required for a practitioner to be accredited by a national organisation have any correlation with therapeutic effectiveness. But in the context of safety, it is even more important to observe that the UK’s national counselling and psychotherapy organisations have so far paid little notice to the kinds of practitioner checks which, unlike accreditation, really can do something to protect public safety — such as background checks carried out by the UK government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

It is not the aim of to argue the merits of accreditation or to lobby for or against the use of accreditation schemes as a central marketing tool of the large counselling and therapy organisations. Nor is it our aim to lobby for or against CRB checks. However, until such time as any positive empirical evidence emerges that would indicate a correlation between accreditation and safety, we would urge you to remain agnostic about the relevance of accreditation to concerns about safety.

This article was originally published by on and last reviewed or updated by Site Editor on .

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