When you first start out as a practitioner, you are in some ways privileged as you have a clean slate and can essentially create whatever persona for yourself that you would like to have. The downside is that in the early days, you have not history and as such no credibility.
One of the things I think is crucial is being open and honest. Our NLP4Kids practitioners often ask me “If a parent asks if I have dealt with this problem or that problem and I haven’t, should I lie and say yes, or lose the business and say no?”
You should be honest, and then you should tell them what you can do. For example, if you haven’t worked with a particular challenge before, think about what you have dealt with that is in some way connected to that issue. For example, I had a parent call me once to ask if I had ever dealt with tricholotillomania. At that point in time I didn’t even know what the word meant! (It is hair pulling). I hadn’t, and I told the parent that was the case. But I also added that I had worked with plenty of people around self esteem and that my guess was, her daughter (who had the condition) was likely to have some self esteem problems, which probably were the starting point for this behaviour and that she is now caught in a vicious cycle. I added that she could find someone to treat the tricholotillomania but it might not resolve the issue completely, if the self esteem problem was not also addressed. Whereas by working on the girls self esteem there would be no need for the problem behaviour of hair pulling to continue.
Be honest, but be slick about tagging what you cannot do to what you can. Consider how you can still meet their needs.
I also think that part of being ethical is offering professionalism. You should have a DBS check to an enhanced level. If you have previous convictions you should get someone independent of you to risk assess you in your new role as an NLP Practitioner, and to give you a copy of the risk assessment. In reality the chances of a client bothering to ask to see your DBS are low, but being able to tell them that you have one is very reassuring and tells them that you take your professionalism seriously.
Likewise you should also be able to boast that you have your first aid and liability insurance in place. If you work with young people, you should have safe guarding training too.
Make a point of keeping up with your CPD (continual professional development) and subscribe to an organisation (such as www.CPDApproved.org) who will verify your credentials and your CPD as an independent body.
Occasionally bizarre things can happen, particularly in therapy because you are working with people who in a sense, vulnerable.
Consider in advance (so that you are not caught off guard) what you would do if an adult client made a pass at you, or told you that they were attracted to you. It doesn’t matter if you are attracted to them because if you are following a code of ethics from the GHSC or ANLP, there is guidance on how to manage these situations that you should adhere to.
What would you do if a relative of a client approached you asking for details about something you had covered in a session with that client? What if they claimed to be asking because they were worried about their relative in some way? Do you know when it is ok and not ok to breach confidentiality laws?
Where are you keeping your session notes? The data that you may have on people is sensitive and as such your filing system should reflect that. Your notes should be locked away in a locked cabinet in a locked room. Any digital notes should be encrypted and password protected. In addition you should be subscribed to the ICO which is the data protection agency.
There is a great deal to consider when setting up practice as an NLP Practitioner – if that is, you want to do things properly. And those that do do things properly are in a position to request a higher fee for their services on account that they are offering a higher level of professionalism than many others.
If you would like more information on insurance, data protection, DBS checks or CPD verification visit http://www.CPDApproved.org
By Gemma Bailey