How to Tell When Therapy Is Safe and Effective

Here’s what you really need to know before seeing a therapist.

Key points:

  • Feeling safe in therapy is imperative
  • But therapy must be effective as well
  • Prospective clients need to know how to judge effectiveness

“If you wanted to see a psychotherapist, what would you be looking for?” I asked a friend. She thought for a moment and then said, “Someone who knows what they are doing, someone safe that I can trust”.

Without realising it, she had echoed almost exactly what the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) sets out to ensure. The PSA is an independent body, overseen by the UK Parliament, which aims to “protect the public by improving the regulation and registration of people who work in health and care” so that clients can “feel confident that the person you see is competent and trustworthy”.

The Human Givens Institute’s register of qualified therapists is accredited by the PSA, which means that we have met their stringent standards in areas such as governance, education and training, information giving and complaints handling. But what the PSA does not look at is effectiveness. To me that seems strange. While safety and good complaints procedures are key, surely it is just as important to know whether the therapy you are considering will actually work.

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