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Number1Counselor

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  1. I'm a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in RL, and I just wanted to echo what's been offered here already. Anyone, and certainly anyone with any RL counseling experience, would know SL is not an appropriate platform for providing counseling services. That alone leads me to question the OP's claims of RL experience in this area. Like Syo has said, specific professions within the broader mental health field are regulated by law as well as professional ethical standards. This is now particularly true for any mental health professional looking to provide services online. Even when a person is licensed to provide counseling in a particular place, it doesn't mean they can offer such services via the Internet. Louisiana, for example, requires licensed mental health providers to take additional training before they can offer services online. Even if a person is licensed as a mental health professional and to work via the Internet, it also does not mean a person can counsel anyone, anywhere. It only means the licensed person can counsel those who live in the place for which the counselor is licensed.
  2. I fully support making people more aware of mental health issues too, Serenity. We're in total agreement there, and I'd have no problem at all with the concept if therapy wasn't being offered and people weren't being charged. I'm sorry for your losses, truly.
  3. It's not a double standard because I'm not providing therapy in world that I expect people to pay me for and trust me to provide ethically, all based on my word in SL. I asked more of you because you're the one who is putting yourself and others out there as being perfectly trained and perfectly confident in SL as a legally and technically secure platform to provide counseling. If you were going to be treated by me or work for me, I'd give you my information face to face or via a platform that's designed to handle confidential information.
  4. People who are behaving ethically don't fear the truth being public. What's done right in the dark will still be right when exposed to light. Legitimate therapists who serve clients online post their real names, real country of residence, and real qualifications all the time. Your reluctance to make public what you've shared with me in private - which was not anything personally identifiable or verifiable - just proves that SL and this clinic are not the right forum for this. As I've said to you privately, if you legitimately hold the degrees and training you say, then you should have no problem finding a secure, privacy protecting/legally compliant platform to do this work that not only protects you legally and protects your clients, but also gives you credibility that you won't be able to get here. Keep in mind, legitimate online therapy companies who have far more security than SL have been sued for not doing enough to protect vulnerable clients. These companies actually collected real names, real addresses and real phone numbers from people and they STILL were sued for not using the information to save lives when they should have. Are you telling me you collect people's REAL info to cover yourself and them and you're sure said info is legitimate? I really doubt it. I will focus on the positives I see. I love that you care enough about people with mental health issues to provide a place for them to meet others in similar boats. I really think you can be a support to people.in the right way. It occurs to me you'd do more good being a friend to them rather than calling yourself or others therapists, however. If as you say people come to SL to have fun, the last thing anyone would want is another person trying to "therapize and treat them.," making it known that you're the expert and they are the people who lack something, even in a fun virtual world. What you could be, if you really wanted to give people something they can't really get anywhere else, is a genuine friend who understands, but doesn't try to "treat" or "fix." True friendship, however, doesn't cost Lindens and doesn't require a package of service that has an expiration date.
  5. It's not about ego, it's about ethics. Would you allow an uneducated, untrained, and unlicensed doctor treat you just because he really, really, wanted to? The ego you should be worried about is that of the person who wants to do just that without regard for the people she wants to help.
  6. 1. Here is my profile in its entirety: I'm excited to be part of SL's RP community. (See my picks for more information). I have 20 years of paragraph style RP experience outside SL. I'm a therapist in RL and an inquisitive nurturer interested in helping others, whether in medicine, mental health, or some other helping occupation. Always willing to make friends! Nowhere does it state I prescribe medication whatsoever. Nowhere. I say I am INTERESTED in RP and INTERESTED in medicine, mental health, and other helping professions. How you could read that and assume I hand out prescriptions to people. 2. You keep saying you provide your qualifications to people in-world, but you didn't provide them to me when I asked you. You specifically told me you DO NOT go around the world to see if people are telling you the truth about anything they've said, You also fail to realize legitimate therapists have more than their words to offer on their qualifications to potential clients. 3. You want me to come see for myself who you are and what you offer, but you say you have banned and blocked me from doing so because I asked questions you didn't like. Are you saying you are willing to let me visit you? 4. Mental Health First Aid is NOT therapy. It's an 8 hour course to start with and even if you have had several courses, it's not treatment for mental illness, it's crisis management, like CPR. Knowing CPR does not make you a doctor. 5. MHFA is designed to help people in crisis. Any legitimate therapist understands how dangerous it is to treat people at risk for suicide/violence using a platform that doesn't require people to share their names, let alone where they are so they can get real help. 6. I gave you my RL information above. Are you willing to provide that much? 7. No? Yet you expect people in SL to tell you their most intimate concerns? Think about that. You want people to tell you and other strangers their most personal problems, their most intimate details, AND you want them to pay you for the privilege, but you won't even tell us where you're from? What training you have? You don't trust me because I asked for basic information, but you think people will trust you with much more than that because you give yourself a title in a virtual reality... I have no doubt you want to help, Steffi. Maybe you can relate to this stuff in ways we don't even know. If you've been labeled by people in your RL in negative ways, I'm sorry. If the people in your RL who were supposed to care did not, I'm sorry for that too. Your compassion for people is admirable. Taking on titles you aren't qualified for is no different than letting other people label you in ways you don't think fit you.
  7. Since I replied to the original post and sparked the discussion that has ensued, I will answer the questions posed to me directly and again explain my position. To Serenityfirefly McMahon: 1. A legitimately qualified therapist would be willing and capable of answering questions about his or her education, training, and certifications, publicly or privately. I am a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida. I earned a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of West Florida in 2007 and have 10 years of experience providing crisis counseling, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy in a variety of places, including a medical clinic, a center for abused and neglected children, a homeless shelter, a domestic violence shelter, and a community mental health center. I am a certified victim services practitioner, certified sexual violence victim advocate for the state of Florida, and a certified domestic violence victim advocate for the state of Florida. If anyone wanted to see me in person, I would happily give them my real life name, contact information, and license number to set up a legitimate face-to-face meeting where you can see my actual license on my desk, which I’m required to display by law. 2. Said information would be easily verifiable in several independent places, including state licensing boards or licensing boards representing a particular region or country. 3. “I do a couple of interviews and trust what people tell me,” as Steffi told us here, would not cut it. 4. I noticed the website offers no information about your qualifications or those of others, but you know what is very clear? How much you charge. That alone speaks volumes. 5. People offering legitimate services understand that clients and potential clients have the right to know this information up front so they can look up for themselves whether the person is legitimately qualified and doesn’t have any professional complaints against them. 6. Education, licensing and certification are not “business practices.” I’m not asking you to give me the recipe to your secret sauce or your marketing strategy. 7. I did instant message Steffi. She didn’t like the questions I was asking her and when I told her I wasn’t satisfied with her answers, she told me she was banning me from the site I had never seen. 8. She has messaged me, completely unsolicited by the way, to harass and insult me. Again, a legitimate therapist would not do this because a legitimate therapist who is qualified to work with people online inherently understands the risks and concerns people have. 9. If we were really victimizing Steffi and just not giving her a chance as you say, I would think she would be bending over backwards to explain all of the legitimate and independent protections she has put in place to make sure she is acting ethically and within the bounds of her profession. They would be on her website, clear as day, but you can’t know what to do if you’re not legitimately qualified to do it, can you? 10. Instead, what I’ve gotten, as have others, is “IM me in world,” which turned out to be the equivalent of, “Catch me outside for a fight.” Her responses were quite defensive… Very similar to the responses she has given here actually – with NO, I repeat NO, actual answers to my questions that were verifiable. I have a problem with unqualified people charging for services they have no right providing, and it’s clear to me that’s what’s going on. My professional ethics demand that I speak out against anyone who poses a danger to people I have worked hard to serve and protect. The very fact that you or Steffi would call that trolling, once again, just reinforces how unqualified you are. I have no problem with providing a place for people with mental illness and emotional challenges to get together and share experiences and provide emotional support, taking a pseudonym and expecting people to trust you are not only qualified, but that you deserve compensation, just doesn’t make sense. I have no doubt Steffi’s heart is in the right place, but her responses tell me her thinking is very flawed.
  8. As has been mentioned more than once by a variety of people every time this particular thread has been posted, it is unethical and fraudulent to present oneself as a therapist/counselor/ coach for hire without offering any actual proof one has the education, training, and licensure to work as a therapist. I'll ask again as I have in other threads and with you in instant messages in world, how do you verify the people you are seeking to hire as therapists/counselors/coaches have the real life training necessary to do this work online?
  9. People can write whatever they want on a form. The issue is, what proof do you have they're qualified? Do you ask for and receive verifiable educational transcripts and licenses? How do you define "experience"? Just because you ask the question and people give you an answer doesn't mean it's the truth. I did check out the application and that's exactly why I'm concerned. If this were a legitimate service being offered, you'd be able to answer these basic questions and your website would clearly define the staff's education and training in tele-mental health.. You would clearly define who this service is for and who it isn't for...there's literally so many things you need to make this a legitimate service, I'd run out of space here. Queen, I respect your desire to help people, I truly do, and if you labeled this as a place for role-play only, I'd have zero problem, but you're asking for trouble here, and I can't fathom why someone who ostensibly cares for people would want to subject them to something she knows she's not qualified for...and take money for it to boot. Honestly, there's so many less dicey ways to make money.
  10. I would hope they wouldn't apply, Fionalein, and I would hope no one looking for legitimate help would go there either, but I felt compelled to point out concerns anyway. As a legitimate RL professional, my ethics tell me to speak out against fraud and advocate for my profession. The owner doesn't scare me, but having read the prior thread, I hear what you're saying and appreciate where you're coming from. ?
  11. I'm definitely not trying to reason with the company (I've been there and done that too), i'm just speaking to potential job seekers, hopefully, as the owner I mentioned in my post, is still a part of the business even though she didn't post this ad this time. In fact, I'm not convinced the staff listed on the website aren't the alts of that very owner. Again, I'd have no problem if this were clearly labeled an opportunity for role-play only, but it seems the staff are intent on claiming they are something they are clearly not qualified to be. I took a peak at the employment application and potential staff are asked to check whether they are interested in providing, among other things, "therapy," counseling," or "psychotherapy." Yeah, legitimate professionals would not present at all like this.
  12. I sincerely hope no one is considering this job opportunity for reasons already raised above. Interestingly enough, I found the link below concerning this clinic in one of its similar versions from a bit ago. https://blogveridical.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/the-truth-about-tranquillity-therapy-clinic/comment-page-1/#comment-303 In addition, if you search this place in the world employment foum, you will find a May 13 thread with a similar title to this employment posting. In the six pages of the May 13 thread, many similar concerns were raised by other members. The owner of the clinic was asked no less than four times to provide proof she and the rest of her therapist staff were qualified in terms of education, training, and licensure, to provide therapy. Each time, the owner offered no proof and insisted people contact her in an instant message to discuss the issue further. I would link the thread here except I can't find a direct URL on my iPad. Just in case anyone is unaware, there are laws governing online therapy in the United States and abroad. Online therapists, like those you would see face-to-face, are required to have education, training and licensure, and they must be able to provide proof of their qualifications to practice to consumers, not just their employers, so the notion all you need to do is put it on your application, is incorrect. In addition, online therapists go through additional training to serve clients online, so it takes more than just having a degree or real life experience to do this work over the Internet. I know this because I'm researching tele mental health practices now that I am licensed in my state as a mental health counselor. I see no mention of any of that on this place's website. I'm deeply concerned that places like this are putting people at risk just to make money. Please, please, please, don't take this kind of service lightly even if so many owners have. LL might not take this kind of thing seriously, but that doesn't make it right.
  13. A very good question. According to the ad, no experience is required and yet, therapists will offer a simplified version of cognitive behavioral therapy, a therapeutic approach that, speaking as a licensed therapist in RL, does require training. Also, if you look at the application for therapists and coaches, all that is required is to be 18 or over and a willingness to commit to a certain # of hours online. I support increasing awareness of mental health issues, but I do not support taking money from people for therapy by unlicensed professionals. If this is meant to be role-play only, it does not specify that and this is the wrong forum for it. Frankly, I'm uncomfortable with the whole thing and how misleading it is.
  14. Hi all, Is it permissible, per LL or SL rules, to offer therapy for pay in SL? I ask because I came across an ad for a "health clinic" in the in-world employment forum looking for "therapists" who "aid patient therapy services via CBT and talk therapy, and they may specialize." There is no representation made that applicants must be certified therapists of any sort. I know SL residents come to experience a variety of things and are willing to pay for a lot, but I'm wondering, are there restrictions on this sort of thing on ethical/legal grounds? ~Lori
  15. It's worth noting the therapy being offered here is NOT strictly limited to RP. According to the owner, people are encouraged, if they want, to apparently discuss their real life problems with "therapists" who are paid to listen and advise them. I'm relatively new here so I'm not sure of LL's stance on this as a service and not an RP endeavor, but it makes me quite nervous. I like the idea of therapy role-play myself as a creative writing adventure. It's a chance for me to be creative without having to write treatment plans, clinical summaries, and deal with insurance companies, but I fear people in real distress could be harmed if they pay for a service like "therapy" from people who are not therapists. Medical services are obviously role-played since the person behind the computer screen doesn't really swallow the pill, get the shot, etc. Therapy's a different animal altogether. Anyone know if there are policies on this? ~Lori
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