What Accessible Practice means to us:
“I want therapy and emotional support to reach those who most need it – and unfortunately that’s usually people who don’t have the money, time, or stability in life to access it the way it usually looks.”
“Traditional narratives around power feel outdated and harmful. So often, therapists set boundaries or read behaviour from the point of view that they need to keep their clients from gaining power over them. Doesn’t that go against what we’re trying to do? I want my clients to feel powerful in our relationship!”
“I wish more therapists listened to what their clients tell them about what they need, instead of getting defensive and digging their heels in. There’s so many ways of doing things, so many ways of being in life… it shouldn’t feel like a threat when someone is or wants differently.”
“I disagree with and refuse frames that shame someone for struggling to ‘engage’. I feel it’s our job as therapists to do our best to meet people where they are, rather than blaming them or calling them sick/manipulative/chaotic when we can’t.”
If a counsellor or therapist is listed on our website, they commit to…
Being flexible with their boundaries and contracts, when this is possible, in order to meet their clients’ needs
In the world of therapy, the word ‘boundaries’ is used a lot. These are a hugely important part of living well and building strong and positive relationships. They can also be used by people who have more power in a relationship (in this case the therapist) to justify rigid rules or ways of working that are unfair, unhelpful, or inappropriate. There are a lot of very common boundaries in the mental health world that are generally accepted but outdated.
We expect therapists to reflect on their boundaries and keep them as flexible as possible. This doesn’t mean they will always agree to a request, but it does mean that they will truly consider whether they can, rather than refusing just because it’s not how they usually work or not ‘how it’s done’.
Fighting against discrimination in their own practice and in the wider world
In their own practice, this means they will continuously work on noticing, unlearning, and challenging their biases. In the wider world this means they will call out and take action against discriminatory practice by colleagues or services, even when this is uncomfortable or feels risky.
We don’t just mean this for things that are legally protected from discrimination (age, religion, sexuality…) – we believe that no one should be treated badly, refused service, stigmatised, or ignored based on who they are or how they live their life. You can read more about this HERE
- Radical Acceptance
Believing, affirming, and respecting what clients bring to the session
Most therapists agree that a client’s beliefs, identities, and experiences should be listened to and respected. Unfortunately, there always seems to be a limit to this, especially if what the client is saying challenges the therapist’s authority, personal beliefs, or skills. We don’t believe there is a ‘too far’ in trusting and believing the people we work with, and ask the therapists we list to be open and reflective when something comes up that they have trouble doing this with.
Being open to feedback, criticism, and apologising
Therapists are not perfect, and they should never expect to get to a point of perfection. The goal should be to always be learning, and the best place to learn is the therapy room itself. We encourage clients to be vocal about what does and doesn’t work for them, and to be critical of the way their therapist works. Remember, being critical doesn’t mean criticising, it means questioning, and it is through these questions that therapists can really reflect on their work.
We especially encourage clients of therapists who are listed on our website to give us feedback about how they have found working with their therapist, especially in terms of the topics covered on this page. It’s the best way of helping us to make sure that they are the right fit for our list.
- Ethical Self-Care
Caring for and valuing themselves as much as they want to for others
The ‘us and them’ attitude that can be found in the mental health world harms both the ‘us’ and the ‘them’. Most therapists have their own experience of major life challenges, mental health struggles, and neurodivergence, but there is a constant pressure for professionals to be above this or over it. On top of that, there is a culture of valuing doing too much, being too busy, or self-sacrifice. No therapist would want to impose these pressures on their clients and loved ones, so it’s necessary that they challenge their instincts to do it to themselves.
Ethical self-care is not about about taking a break when things get too much, but rather about building a practice that allows for things not to get to that point. This includes not over-working, finding joy both in and out of their work, valuing their work, being honest with clients, and – not always but very importantly – being selfish. After all, these are the things they should want for their clients!