The International Meditation Teachers & Therapists Association

Info & Legalities for Meditation Teachers & Holistic Counsellors

 

If you have graduated from an IMTTA training course, you can use the following letters after your name, depending on which level of the IMTTA training course you have completed.

Certificate level: Cert.Med.Hol.Couns (IMTTA)
Advanced Certificate level: Adv.Cert.Med.Hol.Couns (IMTTA)
Diploma Level: Dip.Med.Hol.Couns.(IMTTA)
Advanced Diploma Level: Adv.Dip.Med.Hol.Couns.(IMTTA)
Masters of Holistic Counselling: Mast.Hol.Couns.(IMTTA)

The (IMTTA) stands for International Meditation Teachers and Therapists Association

*If you have completed an IMTTA training course you are entitle to use these letters after your name, no matter which college you graduated from.


Using Titles

IMTTA graduates in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom can use the tittles Meditation Teacher, Meditation Therapist and also Holistic Counsellor to advertise their services.

Graduates in the USA can use the titles Meditation Teacher, Meditation Therapist and Holistic Therapist (not Holistic Counsellor) and advertise that they offer Holistic Counselling Services (due to inconsistent laws in various states of America prohibiting the use of the title ‘Counsellor’).

If you live in a different country, please get in touch with us to discover the laws about using titles in your country. 

 

Laws, Legislation, Responsibilities, Ethics & using the title ‘Holistic Counsellor'.

The IMTTA certificate level course gives the minimum level of education necessary to practice as a therapist offering holistic counselling.

For those with an aptitude for it, this may be all the training necessary. Bear in mind, one of the primary reasons the counselling aspect is included (in what is fundamentally a course to become a meditation teacher) is because meditation often releases traumas, phobias and fears that have been held in the subconscious and the meditation teacher needs the skills to handle those situations effectively.


For those wanting more in-depth skills the Diploma, Advanced Diploma or IMTTA Masters in holistic Counselling course maybe a better option.


There is twelve-months of free practitioner support available upon graduation from the IMTTA certificate level course regardless of which college the student graduates from. If necessary a Practitioner may book a ‘debriefing’ call with a qualified peer, during the first free year and this period of Practitioner Support may be extended beyond the first year with a Level 2 or Level 3 subscription to IMTTA Practitioner Registration and Support Service.


Laws


There is no law in Australia that requires a person who provides a counselling service to have either qualifications or experience.


Insurance


Having no qualifications and no affiliation to any recognized industry body or association can make getting insurance very difficult, if not impossible.

To practice as an IMTTA accredited Holistic Counsellor, insurance is essential, It is also usually required when hiring or leasing venues and it is certainly the safest and most professional choice.

Titles


The title of ‘counsellor’ has been the subject of much contention in the UK, Australia and The United States. In the USA, individual state legislatures have passed legislation defining the word ‘counsellor’ as a title; as such, it is only to be used by graduates from varying schools approved of by the USA government.


The IMTTA has a philosophical and ethical disseverment to legislation which places legislative restrictions upon commonly used words and in so doing change the definitions and meaning of the word.


“In the US, licensing is regulated at the state level, and it is illegal to offer services while physically within that state unless licensed by that state. If you are seeking face-to-face counselling in the United States, it is essential that you verify whether your practitioner is licensed — not because licensing provides any guarantee about the quality of the service you will receive (it does not) — but because a counsellor offering services in the US without a license is breaking the law. This would indicate either that the counsellor is unaware of the laws regulating their profession, or that they are deliberately undertaking criminal activity; neither alternative is acceptable.”


Other countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom, do not regulate the profession by means of licensing; in the UK, there is no such thing as a ‘licensed practitioner’.

Notably, a recent 3-year study in Australia*, dubbed “the most comprehensive and diverse study ever to be undertaken on the regulation of the Counselling Profession”, concluded that consumer protection would best be served by not introducing governmental regulation over and above the existing self-regulation via relevant professional organizations.”


http://counsellingresource.com/therapy/aboutcouns/licensure/


The IMTTA is an accredited training course provider with the International Institute of Complementary Therapists and the courses offered are accredited through the  IICT (and several other industry associations). Offering the best possible level of industry protection and regulation.


The etymology of the word counsellor is derived from a Latin word ‘consillum’ meaning either ‘consultation or advice’. The common use of the word ‘counsel’ has come to mean it is usually understood as advice however, ‘consultation’ is the meaning taken in the context of Holistic Counselling. Holistic Consultant may be a clearer description, particularly for those graduates practicing in the USA.


In the UK there was a great debate with submissions contesting the legislative hijacking of the word ‘counsellor’ and pointing out the many differing uses of the word and the confusion defining the word by legislation would cause.

Below is a link to one those submissions which gives an excellent overview of the debate and the counter argument to defining counsellor as a title.


http://www.society-for-philosophy-in-practice.org/journal/pdf/10-1%20017%20Brown%20- %20Meaning%20of%20Counsellor.pdf *


Following is a Press Release (23 August 2006) from the Australian Counselling Association which provides the latest information regarding speculation surrounding regulation of the Counselling Industry:


Victorian Government Says "No" to the Regulation of the Counselling Industry After 3-years research and investigation, the Victorian Department of Human Services brought to a conclusion the possibility of a regulated model for the Counselling Profession, in the State, and Nationally. For years there have been spurious rumors that government would introduce standards for Counsellor Training and Practice. These rumors were often initiated for the political and/or commercial gain of those disseminating them. Whilst government had no plan to establish standards of practice in Counselling, in 2003 it did initiate an investigation into how a model of self-regulation may be structured. This investigation was undertaken by an Industry Federation, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation Australia (ACFA), and was funded by the Victorian Department of Human Services. On August 23, 2006 at a meeting of key industry stakeholders and government, it was concluded that NO regulation of the Counselling Industry would occur. The project was undertaken in the interest of consumer protection, with the core project aim to investigate if a model of self-regulation would better protect consumers of Counselling services. The project was the most comprehensive and diverse study ever to be undertaken on the regulation of the Counselling Profession. Conducted over 3-years, the project studied the standards of approximately 50 Professional Membership Organizations nationally, as well as many International Associations. The project reviewed Training Standards for Counsellors; Accountability of Practitioners; Protection of Consumers; Practitioner Ethics Standards; Governance of Counsellor Associations; Policies for Complaints, Conciliation and Appeals; Codes of Good Governance; and modes of regulation. After a thorough and inclusive process, it was concluded that no action or intervention by Government was required. What does this mean to the Public, Counsellors, and the Counselling Industry? The decision by the Victorian Department of Human Services concludes long standing speculation regarding Training and Practice Standards for the Counselling Profession. For many years Industry groups have alluded to government intervention and a change in Training Standards for Counsellors. This information has often been […] misrepresented to the public at large, to clients of counsellors, and particularly to prospective students of Counselling. The decision confirms the intent of Government regarding the Counselling Profession. The decision unambiguously demonstrates the government has NO INTENTION of introducing standards to regulate the Training and Practice of Counsellors in the foreseeable future. The decision recognizes the extensive work of the profession to date in establishing a quality self-managed, consumer driven model of regulation in a diverse industry. So how will the decision affect stakeholders? The decision has serious ramifications for stakeholders. Whether you’re a consumer, a prospective counsellor, or a practicing counsellor, the outcome of this decision has important consequences. We’ll briefly examine them below. Consumers One of the core aims in investigating a self-regulated model for the Counselling Profession was to ascertain whether consumers of Counselling services would be better protected under a regulated model. This is of paramount importance to governments and fundamentally directs their decisions, as they are empowered by the public to implement policy in the interest of their safety. The nature of Counselling results in very few complaints being brought against Counsellors. Counselling, as opposed to Psychotherapy, is more about empowering clients to make their own decisions. Counsellors generally do not give advice, and do not deal with clinical issues. As such, the potential risk to clients from Counselling is extremely low. Implicit in the decision of the Victorian Department of Human Services not to regulate the Counselling Profession is that customers of Counselling are not at significant risk; and that the current market driven model of the profession adequately mitigates risk to the consumer. Prospective Counsellors The academic standard of Counsellors has for some time been an issue of discussion. What level of education is adequate for a Counsellor? As part of the investigation into a self-regulated model, Training Standards for Counsellors were considered. Currently, as the profession is not regulated, there is no minimum education standard for practice. Education and experiential standards are generally maintained through (non mandatory) membership with Industry Associations.


The overwhelming majority of practicing counsellors maintain membership to an Industry Association. Membership provides them with professional affiliation; access to insurance; transparency of qualifications; a means for dealing with complaints; a Code of Good Practice; ongoing professional development and much more. The industry has therefore established Training Standard benchmarks by virtue of Association Membership Levels.


These levels reflect qualifications, experience, supervision and commitment to ongoing development. The vast majority of Counsellors have a vocational level qualification, such as a Diploma in Counselling. The decision of the government not to regulate Counselling implicitly recognizes the Training Standards established through existing Association structures. Practicing Counsellors Whilst the decision means that practicing counsellors need do nothing differently, it still has ramifications for them. Most importantly, it amplifies the need for Counsellors to get involved in their industry. Whilst the decision clearly recognizes the excellent work the industry has done to self- manage, the status quo could only be attained through the active involvement of Counsellors with an interest in the political landscape of their industry. Counsellors can define their industry through involvement in their Association/s. Associations have to date achieved an extraordinary amount. Whilst there is contention on some issues, as a whole, the industry, through self-governance, has attained high and broadly accepted standards in the areas of Training, Ethics, and Complaints.”

Cautions


Safety: If you have a client who is in danger of hurting themselves, hurting someone else or being hurt by someone else, you do need to take action. This will be very rare if it ever happens at all (I have not had to do this in 30 years of counselling). If you seriously fear for some one’s safety ring the emergency number in your locality. Trust your instincts. Your client has come to you for help and if you fear for their, or anyone else’s, safety they have probably given you this information because they want you to do something to stop it.


Minors: For clients under 18 the counselling code of ethics applies. In general it is probably best to refer under 18’s to an appropriately qualified professional. Should the Holistic Counselling Therapist feel it necessary to engage with an under 18 client, it may also necessitate the involvement of another adult, such as a parent of the client or, other significant adult as nominated by the client (a parent, a favorite Aunt, older brother, etc.). In either case, the involvement of another person may only be at the request of the client. Without the client’s permission, to have another adult (whom they know) present, the Holistic Counselling Therapist should refer the under 18 client to another professional such as a GP or school counsellor.


Advice: You are responsible, on a professional level, for what you tell your clients to do. If you do not hold a qualification as a healthcare professional you should not give medical advice…ever!

Know when your client needs help beyond what you can legally, responsibly or ethically offer them yourself and refer them to someone who can provide what they need.


Titles: Holistic Consultant may be a clearer description, to avoid confusion while continuing to use the keyword most effective to attract clients, we recommend ‘Holistic Counselling Therapist’ if a job description is required.


In the USA, the use of the label ‘Holistic Counselling Therapist’ avoids claiming to BE a Holistic Counsellor. It instead describes the service provided, so as to remain a clear description for prospective clients.


In Australia and the UK, the use of the title 'Holistic Counsellor' can be used.

June 22nd 2017 K.Doolan & I Cunningham
The International Meditation Teacher and Therapists Association.