Providing Therapy Through TCC
Originally posted 3rd October 2020
Updated 10th November 2023
Occasionally I am approached by somebody who hears about my therapeutic training and wants me to provide them with therapy. It's easy enough to make the connection that if you're in emotional distress then any therapist will help, but I cannot accept counselling clients via TCC.
I'm writing this blog post to explain why, and to signpost you to other sources of support.
How to Find a Therapist Online
Counsellors and psychotherapists are easy to find if you look online. To find a therapist in your area, Google 'therapist' plus the name of the town or city you're living in (or live nearest to), e.g., 'therapist Michigan'.
Cheap or Free Therapy
Therapy can be expensive and it's the curse of the industry that the people who need therapy the most are the ones least able to afford it. However, I can suggest an insider's trick to help you find a cheaper therapist.
To become qualified, counsellors and therapists have to see clients for a certain number of hours. Some charities know this and invite us to work for them for free or for lower pay than a qualified therapist would charge. You can Google 'low cost' or 'budget' counselling (any term that means 'cheap' should get some results. Don't forget to try 'free') to find where the student counsellors in your area are working.
A second trick is to run a search for counselling training facilities in your area (e.g., 'counselling training London'), call them, and ask them where they send their students to get their client hours.
NEW: Since the Covid era, therapists are more open to working via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, or other online platforms. Seeking specific training schools is still a good idea, but you should have an easier time finding a trainee who can see you online even if you can't travel to them.
Will A Student Be Good Enough?
Student therapists are supported more heavily than qualified therapists are, and clients are triaged to them by the charity based on their experience and training. That means that you are protected and seeing somebody whose competency is suited to the issue you declare when you request help.
Support Lines and Groups
Cheap counselling can also mean long waiting lists, so if you're in crisis and need to speak to someone now, here is a list of options:
Addiction (including Drug Addiction and Alcoholism)
Alcoholics Anonymous deal with more than just alcoholism. They are happy to accept people with addictions to all substances, and if you have an addiction that isn't related to a substance (such as gambling or sex addiction) then depending on the chapter they may still be happy to invite you to join their group. If not, they should be well-equipped to signpost you on.
Note that, if you are not religious and find that the spiritual side of Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't suit you, there are secular equivalents. Their distribution is patchier than the well-established AA, but see this page for information and a list of links.
Depression and Anxiety
Mind is a good UK-based support service for depression and anxiety, and the link provided here goes to a list of other organisations you can try.
Greatest.com has this list of organisations that you can contact.
Some of the organisations listed in the above link will actively anticipate and accommodate requests for help from men and people in same-sex couples, however as male victims of DV can struggle to find male-centric support, here are some male-centric resources.
The Samaritans offer a telephone and email-based service. The service they offer isn't counselling, it's a non-judgemental listening service. However, if that's all you need then you can find them here for the UK, and here for the US. If you live in another country then run a Google search for 'Samaritans' and the name of your country to find their contact details.
See Samaritans, above. Alternatively, for other support lines around the world see this page.
Why I Cannot Be Your Therapist
There are several reasons I cannot provide therapy to you myself:
I'm not insured to work outside the UK
I am based in the UK, and my insurance only covers working with clients in the UK, so if you're anywhere else in the world then the best I could do would be to refer you to another therapist.
I am working on a few projects at the moment, including: building up my private practice locally, maintaining and developing The Character Consultancy, writing a dissertation, running a therapy group locally, and adding to my professional development every week by attending courses and reading. I have a home, a relationship, and a social life to tend to. And finally, I am bound by two separate Codes of Ethics to take care of my own mental health so that I can support my therapy clients properly, and that involves taking time away from my various commitments to relax.
Avoiding dual relationships
Therapists have an ethical responsibility to refer clients on when they have a dual relationship with them. This means that if you and I have a prior relationship, then by default I have other priorities, goals, expectations, requirements, etc. in relation to you. The therapeutic relationship is a space where your therapist remains as neutral a person as possible in order for you to have the space you need to grow as a person. If your therapist is also your teacher, parent, friend, provider of a service, etc., then this can interfere with therapy.
Therapy requires mutual respect to work
Some people who find me via TCC, who ask me to be their therapist, ignore me when I say "no" and keep on asking in the hope that I will cave in and say "yes". This is not respectful to me. Disrespect like this would result in a poor therapeutic relationship. If you don't respect me enough to accept that my "no" means "no", then how can I develop a relationship with you that will allow me to help you?
As such, when a person disrespects my boundaries about this, I become less likely to provide them with therapy, not more so.
I prefer to keep my therapeutic life and my TCC life separate
This is a personal preference in addition to my ethical responsibility.
I have good friends and acquaintances who I have met through TCC, and have no problem being kind and listening to them if they're having a rough day or week. I only need to direct you - or them - towards a therapist or helpline if you require structured support over a sustained length of time.
I wish you the very best of luck in finding the help you need from the above advice and links. Please note that I have written this article to ensure that you get formal support, should you need it, from an appropriate source that is able to provide you with the time and attention you deserve.
Ring-fencing time and energy for my clients is an ethical requirement, and I will continue to do so. Please ensure that you look after yourself by seeking support from an appropriate organisation or person who is equipped to follow you through the entirety of your journey.
Title image by Malleni-Stock and used with their kind permission.