Looking for a therapist?
Whether you are looking to try reiki or massage, acupuncture or aromatherapy, it’s important to find the services of a suitably qualified and professional therapist. These guidelines will help you to find a complementary healthcare therapist that is right for you, and answers some frequently asked questions.
What should I look for in a therapist?
There are many qualities that make a good therapist, but above all else, it is important to check that he or she is appropriately qualified and insured to practise.
How do I know if a therapist is ‘appropriately’ qualified and insured?
All of the therapists that appear on this FHT Complementary Healthcare Therapist Register are registrants of the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) - the UK and Ireland’s largest professional association for complementary healthcare therapists. Registrants of the FHT must:
- abide by a strict FHT Code of Conduct and Professional Practice;
- be qualified in the therapies they practise*;
- be insured to practise;
- undertake continuing professional development (regularly update their knowledge/skills).
*Registrants have undertaken training that meets the National Occupational Standards (NOS) of skill, competency and safety for that therapy, or; have achieved a competency to the level of the NOS for that therapy concerned, by means of relevant experience of at least three years and/or relevant training, and been assessed by their peers as having met those standards.
Ensuring that treatment is right for you
As part of your first treatment you will receive a full consultation, during which your therapist will ask a range of questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. This will help the therapist to decide if the therapy you have chosen is right for you, or whether any adaptations to the treatment are necessary to meet your particular needs. In some instances, your doctor’s permission may be required before treatments can begin, for example, if you are pregnant or have a chronic medical condition.
Many FHT registrants are multi-skilled, which means they can offer a range of different therapies. If you are not sure which therapy to choose, your therapist can help you decide. Alternatively, if they feel you might benefit from a therapy or treatment they do not offer, they may advise you to see another suitably qualified professional.
Questions to ask your therapist
While you can rest assured that all FHT registrants are professional, qualified and insured, you may find it helpful to ask some questions, before you book your first treatment. For instance:
- ‘Where are you located?’
Some therapists will work from their own home, or in a clinic, salon or similar. Others will work on a mobile basis and will be happy to visit you in your own home, or at a local hospice – something that is important if, for instance, your personal health or circumstances mean you have limited mobility. Similarly, many therapists will gladly visit clients at work, or travel with them, if required (for example, a sports team on tour).
- ‘What experience do you have treating someone with my needs?’
You may wish to ask whether the therapist has had any specialist training or experience working with people who have similar needs to your own. This might be particularly relevant if you have a medical condition, are pregnant, or if you are an aspiring or professional sports person.
- ‘How much do you charge?’
The cost of a treatment may vary according to factors such as where you live; the type of therapy you are having; the length of treatment; whether you are booking just one treatment or making a block booking, and so on.
- ‘What are your typical working hours?’
If you are looking to have appointments in the evening or at weekends, it will be important to establish whether your therapist can accommodate this.
A professional therapist will always make you feel at ease, and will be polite, thoughtful, confident, honest, and in good emotional and physical health.
Complementary, not alternative
While many therapies can be used to support people who have a medical condition, it is important to note that these should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult your GP, midwife or other health professional for medical attention and advice. Similarly, if under the care of a GP, midwife or other health professional, seek their advice before undertaking any therapy.
Not happy with your therapist?
If you ever feel uncomfortable or unhappy with your therapist, or you’re not sure whether something is appropriate, you have the right to stop your treatment at any stage.
All FHT registrants and must abide by the FHT’s Code of Conduct and Professional Practice. If you have any concerns about the professional conduct of one of our registrants, please contact the FHT. We treat complaints very seriously and aim to deal with these fairly and as quickly as possible.