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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Anyone who reads my full resume or view my professional signature citation, if and when I list all of my academic degrees, I have more than a few initials after my name. Of course, being in my mid-fifty’s, I have a drawer full of certifications that have associated initials. So the question is: Who cares? In my experience, some of my clients and patients really do care? Others could care less.
One way to simplistically look at this is how a person uses their brain. Some people lead their lives focused on their emotions. How does something make me feel? What does my gut feelings tell me? Others prefer a more intellectual orientation. They spend more time than the first group thinking rather than feeling.
The first group tends to be more focused on both feelings AND identity? They have strong emotionally-laden opinions and a very strong self-identity. (And the primarily vote for one type of political candidate.) On the other hand, the more cognitive group tends to figure things out, think for themselves, be less impressionable, and focus relatively less on how the feel and their identity.
So, when it comes to concerns about credentials, members of the first group tend to focus quite heavily on the credentials of the professional from whom they are seeking assistance. For instance, someone who suffers from fibromyalgia, which includes constant chronic pain with all the associated depression and negativity, will normally start out their relationship with me by grilling me on my credentials – and those who gave them to me. On the other hand, someone who comes to me merely to improve their golf game or handle a less emotional situation, rarely asks me about my training and credentials or inquires as to my training. Rather, they focus on my comments and ideas.
As a professional, should you seek more and more credentials? On one hand, they may represent standing among ones peers and even whether you meet the requirements – which are often legal barriers – to conduct a particular professional activity. Given the fact that most clinical professionals have a lot of credentials, the essential question is are they necessary for professional standing – and legal authorization to practice – or are they necessary was one establishes an effective therapeutic relationship.
My general advice to professionals is to get the credentials that you need to practice. After that, focus on being a true student of your field. When advising clients and patients, I assess their basic personality (e.g. feeler or thinker), and provide them with what they are looking for. Then even when working with identity-focused feelers, once we quickly get past the initial evaluation period during which credentials seem to be an issue, after that is all about making sure that they are comfortable with the experience.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, psychology, credentials, professional qualifications, hypnosis, hypnotherapy
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