Members of the most senior and respected professional institutions and associations in the field of psychotherapy either prohibit or strongly discourage the use of testimonials from clients on websites or in general advertising.
The reasons appear to be two-fold. Firstly, no professional therapeutic alliance should impose any pressure on clients, and secondly, clients are generally not qualified to comment on technical aspects of interventions or protocols they undergo.
As an example, the UK Council for Psychotherapy is the formal Government recognised registration body for psychotherapists recognized by the government of the United Kingdom. It has the following to say about registered members (of which the developer of IVF-Assist is a member) using client testimonials in advertising:
11.3 The psychotherapist undertakes not to make or support unjustifiable
statements relating to particular therapies or therapists or include testimonials
from clients in any advertising material.
Likewise, The Australian Hypnotherapists Association, which manages the National Hypnotherapists Register for Australia, defines nine guidelines for the use of advertising by members, and those guidelines do not include the use of testimonials. In addition, the President of the AHA, in January 2015, stated that the Association does not like, and in fact ‘strongly discourages’ the use of client testimonials in advertising.
Many other senior organisations, including the International Academy of Behavioural Medicine, Counseling and Psychotherapy (in which organisation Alan Patching holds Diplomate membership) have published Ethical Guidelines which require members to remain aware of power balances between therapist and client and forbid exploitation of clients or the client relationship.
We concur with the attitudes of the international senior professional institutions regarding use of client testimonials in advertising. We might at some time in the future, with the clearance of the professional institutions in which we hold membership, include some unedited interviews with people who have used IVF-Assist. An interview, of course, gives a fuller context to a client’s comments, and questions can be structured within acceptable ethical standards and independently checked and approved prior to an interview taking place, in much the same way research questions are structured.
In conclusion, we state the following:
- We will always comply fully with the strictest ethical guidelines of the many professional institutions of which Alan Patching is a member
- We will rely on ethically controlled and appropriately supervised research to present IVF-Assist and its results
- We strongly recommend that anyone interested in using complementary therapies involving counseling, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy take care if relying on advertisements involving testimonials from clients. There are very serious and well established reasons the senior therapeutic institutions forbid or strongly discourage senior therapist members from using client or patient testimonials in advertising