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Dr Bill Sheate is both an academic (in environmental policy) at Imperial College London and a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist (trained by the UK College) specialising in anxiety and stress in higher education (Imagination Therapy – www.imaginationtherapy.co.uk). His London-based practice (in Bloomsbury and South Kensington) has a strong emphasis on providing resilience skills training to students, as well as one-to-one therapy for staff and students (and others). Bill teaches on the Diploma in CBH at the College and is also a GHR Acknowledged Supervisor. Below he describes just some of the benefits of attending the Peer Support Group he facilitates on behalf of UKCHH.
Mutual Support for Therapists
by Bill Sheate
How do I get started in practice?
How will I cope with my first clients?
What support is there?
All perfectly normal questions as you are completing your Diploma training!
As you set up in practice you will want to join one or more of the professional registers such as the General Hypnotherapy Register (GHR), the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) or the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH). These invariably require – as part of their codes of ethics or conduct – some form of supervision and/or peer support as part of annual CPD requirements. GHR, for example, requires eight hours of one-to-one supervision and/or group supervision or peer support group participation per year as a minimum.
One-to-one supervision is important for all therapists, and the UK College provides you with access to suitable supervisors. But there are added benefits of also being part of a wider group, keeping in touch with people you may have trained with and making new friends and colleagues.
I've been running the peer support group on behalf of UKCHH now for the last two and a half years, bringing together a varying group of between 3-12 people quarterly who have all trained in Hypno-CBT® – the Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy – with the UK College.
This common training is important because we all share the same theoretical model and psychotherapeutic approach. But it is enhanced by the diverse backgrounds and expertise practitioners bring with them (many of us having re-trained or ‘up-skilled’ from previous professions). This makes for highly creative and stimulating discussions about cases and approaches, integrating ideas and fitting them within the overall CBH framework. And even within that framework – as all good therapists should – we bring our own unique perspectives to bear to support each other and our clients.
The group provides a confidential space in which we as therapists can open up and connect with each other in relation to shared objectives, and especially around structured reflection on cases.
In addition, we also discuss and support each other around issues as diverse as marketing and search engine optimisation to therapist anxiety with early clients, ethics, data protection and garnering feedback from clients.
Anyone who completes the Diploma and qualifies will be sent details of the next peer support meetings, and how to book via Eventbrite. These take place on a Saturday afternoon every three months (June, September, December March/April), in South Kensington London with a few places also available for Skype participants. Above 12 participants and we break into smaller groups so we can give sufficient time and discussion to case reviews and other issues.
Above all, peer support provides a network of colleagues for support and advice, not only at the meetings, but outside of them as well. Being a therapist can sometimes be isolating, even if you practice out of a larger clinic. Having other like-minded colleagues to turn to and just to exchange ideas is invaluable. Aim to attend at the first opportunity after you’re qualified, since it will help you build your confidence to grow your practice and learn from the experience of others who have been there before you.
Well worth participating in! And a great incentive to finish your Diploma assessment and get qualified.
Bill Sheate, 8 April 2018