AIBU to want to say something?(30 Posts)
Need some help dealing with this. So I've been having some mental health problems (nasty anxiety and depression). I'm much better than I have been, but there is still some way to go. I've had time off work, counselling, CBT and medication.
There is a lovely instructor at the gym I go to. She's a young woman. I love her classes and attend regularly. She is now planning on running a course to help people like me with confidence, feeling happy in their own skin etc. (This course is not related to the gym.) Sounds excellent. Main ingredients are exercise, worksheets/discussions and diet advice. She has emailed me more information about it, and now I'm a bit concerned. Main issues:
She is not a counsellor, but essentially taking on mental health treatment (even though she doesn't want to call it that). I'm worried that she has no proper training and support to do this. She is also not a qualified dietician.
It's a long commitment (12 weeks), and she's not run something like this before.
Her pricing (per hour) is essentially what a counsellor would charge, but this is group work (plus individual phone calls). The whole package is very expensive.
I want to continue with her classes at the gym but not do this course. I'm torn between sending a polite "thanks but no thanks" message, and voicing my concerns. I know her intentions are good (she really is lovely), but I can see potential for this to go quite wrong if her clients have mental health issues and she has no training (but has experienced mental health issues herself). AIBU to want to say something, or should I keep out of it?
Do you need any qualifications to be a counsellor though?
Are you 100% sure she has no kind of training or support and is not running the course according to any accredited model or similar? I'd definitely turn it down but I guess I'd ask more questions before raising concerns and then do so gently. It does sound concerning but at the same time she's presumably put a lot of time into planning it and might be unlikely to abandon the idea at this stage.
Caveat emptor. It's up to her customers to check out her credentials, really. The western world is full of pseudo "life coach" types and most people can see them for what they are. I doubt this venture will take off tbh.
I'd keep out of it.
Good point. I assume so? My own counsellor is qualified and member of a professional body.
I would just send a friendly thanks but no thanks message with a short comment at the end reminding her that she needs to make sure sure she has adequate insurance to offer this sort of support because she doesn't want to be personally liable if something goes badly wrong for someone and the finger gets pointed at her.
Then the insurance companies get to ask the awkward questions about qualifications and experience.
I know most counsellors are qualified and hold a professional qualification but I don't know if this is actually needed, if you see what I mean.
Yes, she has no qualifications or accreditations in the field. She states so on her website.
Wouldn't she get into a hell of a lot of trouble with the gym? She is essentially poaching their clients, isn't she?
All you need to say is, "I'm happy with my counsellor, thanks. I love these classes so will carry on with them, too."
Nor to be a nutritionist!
I ran a similar course myself about 15 years ago. Just healthy eating advice, some group discussion about coping techniques and triggers, signposts to lots of support and advice and lots of home exercise suggestions.
It worked really well. One of the participants went on an exercise course and took it on herself. It became the model for similar local, community based courses.
I would add that starting such groups was my job, I also have relevant education / degrees and worked with the local PCT. But, as long as she doesn't claim to treat and facilitates a help yourself vibe, she is probably not overstepping herself.
Give it a whirl, add your voice. See what you think.
Eep well in that case I reckon caveat emptor is right. She obviously reckons she's up to the job - I doubt that you pointing out she's unqualified will change her mind. Yanbu to be concerned, I just don't think you're likely to influence her.
Imperial I was thinking that too. But then all the instructors are self employed, and most teach in several gyms, as well as community centres etc. I think it would be impossible to tell the instructors not to take on any private clients from any of the places they teach at.
Ok thanks everyone for your opinions. I'll probably leave it at the polite decline. I don't want to create an awkward atmosphere with her for the gym classes.
This is the kind of situation where white lies are useful. Just say you can't make it on the dates she's mentioned or that you can't afford it. You have no obligation to join her class. Don't feel guilty.
LazyLouLou that's interesting. It sounds like you had a good background to run something like this. This course is quite ambitious (turn your life around kind of stuff) which is why the lack of experience and qualifications concern me.
She is probably pricing herself out of the market though, so I'm not sure she will get enough interest to make it viable. It really is very expensive.
Thanks janet. White lies it will have to be. I just hope she doesn't ask me what I think of her offering. I don't think I can lie my way out of that one.
I would voice your concerns to her. As she is starting up a new venture the feedback will be useful and help to improve, get the right qualifications, insurance etc.
If she asks you can just say your happy with your current counsellor and exercise etc or dates don't work/money...
If she asks what you think of her product and your not happy to be completely honest then something non committal like looks interesting but not for you...
YABU. Sounds like she is trying to use her proven experience and yes-training- in fitness combined with diet advice in a tailored upbeat way to then increase confidence and happiness- which exercise is proven to do. Have I missed the bit where she says she will given actual counselling? Just say thank but no thanks and don't meddle.
Sadly as long as she isnt claiming professional membership qualification - it really is a case if caveat emptor....
Although is it a million miles away from slimming world 'consultants' and the like?? ... Who from all i can see receive training in their business model to ensure the boss can keep her luxury yacht...
Starkers thanks. I don't want to out me (or her) so I can't be too specific, but she offers significantly more than exercise and diet advice. It has elements of counselling (from what she told me, her approach sounds similar to MBCT and CBT, not just up-beat-ness delivered with a smile). Some will be group work, and some 1-to-1 in phone calls.
My worry is that even if her intention is not to offer anything like counselling, the way she has set it up means it will most likely turn into counselling, at least on occasion.
My worry is also about her own wellbeing. Dealing with other people's MH issues can be very upsetting (speaking from experience). She may not have proper support or supervision in place. And if she can't deal with it, it all goes tits up. What if one of her clients turns out to be suicidal?
But maybe I'm overthinking this.
I'm probably extra sensitive at the moment as I've had to withdraw support from a friend after she disappeared one night, suicidal, not answering her phone, and I had to go and search for her in the dark (stormy night too) and pick her up from near a river! I marshalled her to the doctors to get her professional help the next day, but it's really knocked me back and affected my own MH. Hence I firmly believe that just having experience of MH issues doesn't put you in a position to help other people with their MH.
tbh I don't see what the issue is - from what you have written she has said nothing about counselling. if you don't want to do it you don't have to.
My problem is that her offering is aimed at people with MH problems and contains elements of counselling and therapeutic work. If it was just a weekly healthy eating & exercise seminar I wouldn't care so much.
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