There are times, as a parent, that you need to seek professional help and guidance to ensure you are not only making the right decisions but so that whatever health, social, emotional or other concerns you have about your child are addressed appropriately.
You may feel pressured, isolated or confused about what to do next. You may listen to family and friend’s advice or you may search for professional advice. Bahrain has a vast amount of people advertising their services.
Great! You have choice from a number of fields to seek help. However, how can you ensure that the ‘professional’ help you receive is just that? Is their marketing literature accurate? This article will help guide you in the right direction.
What professional do you need?
Initially, once you clarify the problem you and/or your child is experiencing, you then start searching for answers and solutions. At this stage be aware of any ‘internet diagnosis’ because, although there are many sites that are up-to-date with professional advice, there are also so-called ‘experts’ writing their opinions as well, quite often unaware that they are not qualified or experienced to an appropriate level to do so.
Once you have an idea of the type of help you need (which may lead you to more than one initial choice), it’s important to ask the right questions before you book an appointment. Ask such things as what do they do, how do they do it, where, when, with whom, do they work with a team of professionals or in isolation, can you see references about their work?
Getting to the bottom of qualifications and experience
It’s not easy to work out the benchmark for qualifications in fields that you are not familiar with so do ask a few professionals about what qualifications they have so that you can see what the ‘standard’ is like.
Local and international standards can be found on-line and medical professionals as well as teachers can also advise about the qualifications required by educational psychologists, psychometrists, counsellors, tutors, physiotherapists and the like.
Getting the right help is especially important and practitioners need to have experience working with children. In Australia, for example, psychologists must be registered with the Psychologists Registration Board to practice. Other fields, such as coaching, require qualifications and a set number of supervised hours including reflection on practice.
Only then coaches can work towards being certified professionals which allows for registration with international professional bodies. This allows a person to be certified and appropriate logos from professional bodies can subsequently be used.
You may also wish to check that professionals are legally allowed to practice; i.e. do they have a company registration as an individual, or are they working for a company on the island or overseas which means they can practice in Bahrain?
It is also important to examine your ‘gut reaction’ as a parent when you engage in initial conversation because knowledge and experience is important but the right attitude is essential, too.
Ask yourself would you or your child be happy working with this person? Are they following a professional code of ethics from the onset with regards to clarifying their views on confidentiality?
There are a growing number of alternative therapies that parents are turning to for themselves and their children. How can you ensure what you are getting is the best services and advice?
Julie Lomas who owns Conscious Connections, based in Bahrain, explains that “there are many on-line courses and face-to-face schools based in the UK that teach individual holistic therapies. To become a practitioner with a professional diploma usually takes a minimum of two years.”
In you practice in the UK, this benchmark is needed for insurance and liability purposes, health and safety awareness, ethical awareness and abiding by laws such as the Data Protection Act. The same would apply in many European Countries and the USA, Julie goes on to say that “standardisation of all complementary therapies and practices will eventually become the norm over the next couple of decades. This will mean that anyone treating a patient will need to have some sort of certificate or diploma and have basic knowledge and understandings of energy and the body. This will look after the patient and the therapist.”
As Julie explains “I am often horrified about things I hear and see as well as the poor standards of life coaching and counselling of holistic and complementary therapies in the Middle East as well as other countries I teach.
“This is because there are no enforced governing bodies or required standards and so anyone can set themselves up in a so called ‘healing’ business or practice; no one is accountable. In such cases like these, where laws are not present or enforced, it’s the practitioner’s responsibility to register internationally and to keep themselves up-to-date.”
To be a really good and responsible life coach or holistic practitioner takes years of training. Often people fail to realise that holistic therapies deal with people’s health and mind, body and spirit.
“People’s lives are not for playing with,” adds Julie. “When I discuss these things or speak out about them I have people say to me ‘I don’t believe in training; either you have the gift or not, I use my intuition and that’s all that is needed, it does no harm’.
“However, this is not true in any way. In the old days, before today’s modern medicine, those who did all the healing would have been apprentices for many years, working alongside an experienced healer. They would learn the trade, the pitfalls and good things, and understand how the body works as well as the minimum. This would be followed by lessons about herbs, crystals and antidotes; it would be a gradual process.”
Not surprisingly, Julie believes that holistic therapists and practitioners — when taught properly — learn very quickly that they are just there to help facilitate the healing process.
“There is no place for the ego. A properly trained life coach would know and do the same. In their case the moment their ego steps in or they decide they know what the client needs, over the clients inner knowing or ‘agenda’, they are no longer doing their job correctly; they are probably mentoring or even just telling!”
Julie goes on to say that “…if you are going to visit a holistic therapist, check their credentials. You would not visit a medical doctor who was not fully trained and passed all the necessary qualifications. Why would you want to be healed/treated/coached by someone who has no professional qualifications?
“It is these untrained and often egotistic therapists/coaches that give the industry a bad name. In the Middle East I am often asked if I can give people a qualification without them doing all the learning, both practical and theory. I get very upset with this because people think it is acceptable practice to cheat at anything and not learn anything fully, or the parts they don’t want to know or find difficult.
“When I say no, they simply get cross or no longer want to learn. It’s like buying a degree, there needs to be learning”
“Reiki these days is everywhere and most people have heard of it,” Julie comments. “When this amazing therapy is taught properly, its healing power is simply amazing — both physically and emotionally. However, it is about healing the self before others; properly trained reiki therapists are taught this and understand it.
“There are principals that a reiki practitioner lives by and they can bring that peace to all. It is so misused and wrongly taught, with people being attuned over the Internet with so many myths and tales around it, that it too has become the source of very bad press and weirdness.”
Julie believes that holistic therapies, often know as new age, have a bad reputation because of some of the people associated with it and their lack of responsibility and yet complementary and alternative therapies are extremely powerful and when used alongside modern medicine and ways, anything wonderful can happen and does. Julie says she has seen this many times.
Take note of these tips to maximise the benefit to you:
For further information about Julie, visit www.consciousconnections.com