• Jordanthecounselor

The potential and problems of certification.

So you wanna be a better therapists?: Part 7


To become a SuperShrink you’d have to do the Big Three of Tracking Outcomes, Watching Tape, and engaging in Deliberate Practice. But, for most of us, that’s simply too much. To really understand your outcome data you need a deeper understanding of statistics than most counselors have. To watch tape well you’d need to spend hours of unpaid time watching your tapes. To deliberately practice micro skills you need to spend thousands of dollars on coaching. Honestly, it’s just too much for most of us to do on our own.


The problem is twofold:

  1. Most therapy practices don’t have a system which makes it easy for therapists to invest in their skills.

  2. It's unreasonable to expect most clinicians to sustain that level of motivation alone.

Which is why we need certifications.


Most certifications have levels. You start out on level one as a novice, and after so many hours working with a supervisor you move up to level two and become a “ceritified XXXX therapist.” Once you’ve become certified you’re eligible to move up to level three as a supervisor/consultant yourself. It’s kinda like a video game where the more experience you get the more you level up from newbie to mage.

This whole process also deeply involves you in the certification community. You’re surrounded by like minded people who share the same vision, can celebrate your success, and commiserate with your losses. The whole thing is beautifully designed. It’s like World of WarCraft for professionals. Seriously, video game creators intentionally build community and leveling up into their games because it’s the best way to keep people engaged.

All of this does two things.

  1. Creates a counter system which makes it easier to improve.

  2. Creates a community which keeps us motivated.

The problem, however, is that most certification processes don’t invest in The Big Three. Many have you watch tape, most do a poor job of deliberate practice, and almost none talk about tracking your outcomes.


This leads to certifications being the domain of gurus instead of experts. Which leads to problems a lot of false information being passed around.

I have hope though. One day when certifications have fully folded in the Big 3, they will be the best ways to create legions of SuperShrinks. That day is still off in the future, but it is coming. That’s why I’m excited to work on this now, because those of us who are working on this now are ambassadors of that future day when we can consistently create SuperShrinks.

 

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