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Legal and Ethical issues in Holistic Therapy
Episode 230th March 2021 • The Holistic Counseling Podcast • Chris McDonald, LCMHCS
00:00:00 00:19:15

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How can you be true to yourself as a holistic therapist while providing ethical service to your clients? What is the difference between the scope of practice and the scope of competence? Are there ways you can set up your business to provide two different streams of service?

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • How to protect yourself against liability as a holistic therapist
  • Scope of practice vs scope of competence?
  • How can you expand your scope of competence?
  • How can you expand your therapy practice, ethically?

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST LIABILITY AS A HOLISTIC THERAPIST

I found the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics where it discusses treatment modalities and thought this was a good place to start.

When providing services, counselors use techniques, procedures, modalities that are grounded in theory and/or have empirical and scientific foundation. Any kind of innovative techniques or procedures, modalities explaining the potential risks, benefits and potential ethical considerations of using these … you work to minimize any potential risk or harm when using these techniques as well as discussing the benefits.

What does this mean for holistic therapy and therapists?

The important thing that you have to do is if there is something you want to get into you, have to do your own research to really see what is out there.

I found a lot of research around reiki, essential oils, and yoga and their potential benefits. Although it is also as important to research any potential risks that you need to be aware of when working with your clients. For example, if you work with yoga you have to get a separate liability, even if your yoga practice is incredibly gentle, just in case.

sCOPE OF PRACTICE VS. SCOPE OF COMPETENCE

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice is essentially the explanation of what a practice does as a whole and places limits upon what can or can not be done in that profession. My board, which is the Licensed Clinical Mental Health Board, states that:

It defines that we can provide assessments, diagnose, provide treatment plans and individual counseling using psychotherapeutic techniques.

Scope of Competence

This is more individually based on what a clinician may do and is determined by one’s education, training, and experience.

So in summary: the scope of practice is more general in the therapeutic word but the scope of competence specifies what you yourself are competent in and can do best to treat.

HOW CAN YOU EXPAND YOUR SCOPE OF COMPETENCE

It takes a lot to really gain that competence, so again, it’s continuing that education and not only taking that one workshop … I always think that one thing would not be enough. You've got to talk to other people about it and be able to network with people who are also skilled in it so get some insights, consultation and supervision.

With the scope of competence, you can build on that by taking more classes and courses, building your experience, and training more often to broaden and strengthen yourself in the field you work in.

You can also read the relevant literature at the beginning to find the research out there that supports your findings. Try to find as much as you can in books, articles, and videos.

Your scope of practice is also not only what you do but what you say to clients during sessions. This means that you need to make sure that you are clear with how you explain things to them, that they sign an informed consent form.

HOW CAN YOU EXPAND YOUR THERAPY PRACTICE, ETHICALLY?

  1. Make a service you offering, such as tarot card reading, a separate part of your business. In this way, you can fulfill two parts: being a traditional therapist and offering holistic healing as a separate business whilst remaining ethical.
  2. Do some journaling: think about what is the best way you can add different integrated healing into your practice. What are you called to do? How can you weave this in somehow so that you feel you are not disregarding your passions and your calling.

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