All of the advice I have read on building a good website for private practice recommends blogging. Is this good advice? I don’t know. I’m a therapist. What do I know about building websites? I haven’t read anything saying, “Blogging is a total waste of time for counselling and psychotherapy websites.” So… I guess I should blog. Here I go.
My name is Chris Lindsay, and I’m a therapist. Technically, I’m a Social Worker. In Ontario – where I happen to live and practice – one must register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW… even the acronym is long) in order to have the right to use the title “Social Worker.” I’m not kidding. Guess what? Registering with the College means I got a cool, official registration number. Yup. This proves that I’m a member of the club, and can legally call myself a Social Worker. All very official.
Now, just to keep you on your toes, I’m a social worker based on my undergraduate degree in social work (BSW). My master’s degree is not in social work; but rather counselling psychology. Long story. Anyway, I completed an M.Ed. (master’s in education… in counselling psychology, don’t forget) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Here’s the irony: I have never taken a single course on education. Again, I’m not kidding. I can’t count how many times I have had to explain to someone, “No. No, I’m not a teacher.”
So, I’m a social worker, a counsellor and a therapist (but not a teacher). A psychotherapist, specifically. There is another college in Ontario for psychotherapists to register with (and probably get an official registration number, I don’t know), but I don’t have to register with that college. Yeah, I know. It’s confusing.
Anyhoo, as a social worker, I am officially allowed to do psychotherapy. So are a few other types of professionals, all registered with their own colleges (which probably means they have a cool, authentic registration numbers…). These include psychologists, nurses, occupational therapists, and doctors. Anyone who does not have a cool, official registation number from one of these colleges (I really wish the numbers came with secret decoder rings… I bet the psychologists have them!) has to register with the College of Psychotherapy, if they want to practice psychotherapy in Ontario. Once again, I am not kidding.
Yeah, I know. It’s confusing.
That gives me an idea for my next blog post. I often get asked about the difference between psychologists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists. There are, in fact, differences. There are also differences between social workers, nurses, and occupational therapists; but none of them start with “p” so I won’t include them in the title of the blog post… it just wouldn’t flow.
Here’s the thing. All of this stuff is probably kind of important. But I have been practicing for many years, and I cannot remember anyone contacting me and asking, “Are you a social worker? I only want to work with you if you’re a social worker.” And while it’s hard to believe, nobody has ever shown any real interest in my nifty registration number (aside from insurance companies; they want to see it before they will pay me).
On the other hand, people have told me that they liked working with me, because they felt respected and understood. And safe. I get the sense that these kind of things are what matter to people in a therapist.
So these are the things I strive for each day, when I do what I do. I feel pretty lucky that this is what I do; and it actually has nothing to do with my cool, official registration number.
And that is the end of my very first blog post. Hope you enjoyed it.