We’ve contributed to a BBC Radio 4 programme that focused on how to find a registered, qualified therapist.

Fiona Ballantine Dykes, our Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, was interviewed for the segment on You and Yours.

She highlighted the need for people to look for a therapist who is on a Professional Standards Authority (PSA) accredited register – such as ours.

Training and skills

She also emphasised the training and skills that therapists who are on a PSA-accredited register need to have.

The piece on therapy in the programme was prompted by us raising concerns in a BBC documentary about how vulnerable people are being exploited by unqualified therapists.

“It’s deeply disturbing because of the vulnerability of people seeking help,” Fiona said.

She spoke about how she found unqualified people offering a range of mental health ‘miracle cures’ when she’d searched online.

“We’d like to help people navigate that by being clear about where they can find people who are qualified,” she added.

Professional Standards Authority

Fiona spoke about the Professional Standards Authority and what it means for a register to be accredited by the organisation.

She described how the PSA has “already done basic checks around those register holders and how they accept people on to their registers, what training they’ve done, what the minimum standards are, and their fitness to practice. And the fact that they work within an ethical framework. The fact that they have a complaints procedure that is independent and fair.”

Fiona was asked by the presenter how you find a therapist who is right for you, and about the therapeutic relationship

Therapeutic connection

“You need someone who’s very skilled and qualified, but there needs to be that therapeutic connection – trust, respect, non-judgemental,” she said.

She also explained the extensive training that therapists go through – and how that’s very different to what unqualified people offering mental health services online may have gone through.

The programme also heard from a woman who’d had difficult experiences finding a therapist who could help her. She highlighted the importance of the therapeutic relationship and having a good connection with your therapist.

The woman said that when she did find a therapist who she ‘really clicked with’, it was ‘life-changing’ and ‘amazing’.

She added: “I believe in me now. That’s because my therapist believed in me. She didn’t just say it. She did.”

Listen to You and Yours on BBC Sounds. The section on therapy starts at 14:20.