Therapeutic CompetenceRead Now
I am happy to report that I recently passed the BACP competency test. But because the test has a pass rate of around 93% my achievement can hardly be called exceptional. Still, it is noteworthy in that it helps to secure my status as a member of the largest body of counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK. I have actually been a BACP member ever since I began training as a counsellor and therapist and perhaps like most people who have joined, I see membership as a useful credential in plying my trade. But I also believe in the BACP's mission to uphold ethical standards for our profession. For counselling and psychotherapy depend on the therapist's ethical commitment to the psychological welfare of clients; any practitioner who violates that trust by exploiting the vulnerability of clients for his own personal gratification should not be practising at all. But the BACP does more than try to uphold ethical standards for the profession. It also attempts to inculcate methods of good practice for which the competency test serves as a standard. There are some essential tasks such as record keeping, therapeutic contracts, and above all, client confidentiality, which all practitioners should understand and manage responsibly and the BACP is right to insist on their importance. But beyond these things, I wonder what constitutes good practice and wonder even more how it can be tested. I don't doubt the possibility of learning to be a good therapist. Indeed, learning to be a therapist is a necessity, though I believe it can only be learned through experience, not by didactic teaching methods that are more likely to inhibit the intuitiveness and spontaneity which I believe are essential for therapy. But if these essential skills can only be learned and not really taught, how can they be tested?
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