Writing about this topic is very important as well as alarming! Imagine a world where an unprofessional was permitted to build a house or teaches a subject or treats a human being! We would end up with flawed buildings, generations of ignorant and untreated diseases! The same thing is when people who are not qualified start acting like psychologists.

This article aims at understanding this dangerous phenomenon, its reasons and possible negative consequences.

Many people think that psychotherapy is like a chit-chat or simply sitting with someone who would end up giving wise advice. Guess what? That is not true! Counseling is way more serious and it needs years of studying and hundreds of hours of supervised training. Being a good listener is not enough qualification for someone to become a therapist. If you have that skill or if you think you possess a high level of emotional intelligence then you could either be a wonderful friend or pursue a degree that would allow you to use that skill professionally.

Lately, I have been meeting many people who think that they can perform the job of a therapist and I personally believe that such a thought could be due to various reasons:

1- Inflated Ego

Unfortunately, many people have a problem in acknowledging the importance of seeking help. Therefore, they would get offended if they felt that there is something that they cannot do. Also, having some interpersonal qualities such as being wise for example, could make them think they are qualified enough to help others. Moreover, the endorsement they receive from their surrounding reassures them, therefore reinforces their therapeutic behavior and help to inflate their ego more.

2- The charm of the profession

The idea of being a therapist is very appealing to many people. The image they have about the career is very idealistic. It gives an impression of power, mystery, wisdom, and kindness. So, they start behaving like counselors to live that fantasy. They are unaware that being a therapist is like any other profession. It has its positive as well as negative aspects.

3- Materials and accessibility

How can you overcome depression in 10 steps? How to treat Phobias? …etc, anyone could Google anything any time! Although the ease of research could be convenient, at the same time it is also dangerous because it gives the reader an illusionary knowledge that they think they can use with other people.

4- The persistent stigma

Mental health problem is still considered a stigma till today. Therefore, it is easier to open up to anyone from outside the profession to avoid being labeled.

The most important point now is what could be the consequences when unqualified people think that they can actually treat clients? The result of such behavior is disastrous, to say the least.

* Deadly consequences

Dealing with serious mental problems requires more than just talent with people! One wrong word might lead someone to commit suicide or even a crime!

* Aggravated complications

I have personally dealt with a client who came to me after he was advised by a motivational speaker to stop his medications because he was told that medicine is a weakness! The client’s condition got worse to the extent that he was hospitalized after the sudden stoppage of medicine.

* Spreading ignorance

Sometimes people read a random article and start quoting it then spreading its info, assuming that it is a reliable source. Then the info keeps on spreading all over, spreading questionable information.

The lack of professionalism could be destructive especially when it is with a sensitive profession such as Psychology.

Therefore:

  •  You have the right to ask about the qualifications and training of your therapist
  • Do not take any random advice
  • Medicines should only be prescribed by physicians
  • Always remember that friends are not “therapists”!

If this article triggered you in any way, please do not hesitate to seek professional help from a reliable source

Noha El Nahas, MA. is a professional psychologist who has been in the field since 2006, she started her journey in public hospitals , receiving intensive trainings in various psychological assessments, then worked as a clinical psychologist with prof Ahmed Okasha . After that she moved to the AUC counseling center to start counseling students.Then, she moved to Paris for 2 years where she worked in an organization that helps managing family problems. After coming back she spent a couple of years as a school counselor then became a senior counselor at the office of student well-being at AUC. Noha is a member in the American Psychological Association (APA) and PSI CHI (International Honor Society in Psychology) . She is also the founder and owner of Heal Counseling Center as well as an Adjunct Faculty in The Psychology Department at AUC.