Saturday, November 13, 2004
Credentialing: It May Not Be the Cat's Meow
Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D., ABPP
"After many months, I've finally been pushed to finish this article on questionable credentialing in hypnosis and 'psychotherapy.' A reporter from a major magazine wrote to 'Dr. Zoe D. Katze' for input on an article she was writing on hypnosis for childbirthing. She had stumbled across Dr. Zoe's name on the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists' website. I had to tell her the truth.

Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, is a cat. In fact, she is my cat. Those familiar with basic German have probably already enjoyed a laugh. 'Zoe Die Katze' literally translates to 'Zoe the cat.'

Dr. Katze's credentials look impressive. She is certified by three major hypnotherapy associations, having met their 'strict training requirements' and having had her background thoroughly reviewed. She holds a Diplomate in psychotherapy from an association that claims to promote the highest standards among psychotherapists.

I was motivated to credential my cat by two circumstances. First, I have become increasingly heedful of all the questionable credentials out there, and I've grown tired of sounding defensive to therapist-shopping clients who confront me with something along the order of: 'I found somebody with all these certifications and diplomas and he/she charges half of what you psychologists charge.'

The last straw (and my moment of inspiration) came during an internet search for a colleague. I accidentally came upon the website of another 'psychotherapist' who listed a doctoral degree from an infamous diploma mill. Along with his degrees, he listed a veritable alphabet soup of impressive-looking letters after his name, corresponding to various 'board certifications' and his status as a 'Diplomat [sic] and Fellow' of the 'largest professional hypnosis association in the world.'

I decided to credential my cat."

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