Using Your Certification From AIHCP Properly

AIHCP Offers A Variety of Certifications

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers a variety of certifications for Health Care Professionals, Counselors, and people involved in ministry.  Our primary certification programs involve Grief Counseling, Case Management, Legal Nurse Consulting and a variety of other certifications involving counseling and the health field.   A certification is an excellent way to compliment an existing career, degree or licensure.

What Is A Certification

This is a common question and the basis for much confusion.  A certification is not a licensure issued by the state.  A licensure is a state regulated field, while a certification is open to any professional who fulfills the basic requirements of a particular organization.  Unlike licensures, certifications are not issued or regulated by the state but are issued by a professional and private organization.  The organization is usually comprised of a board of peer professionals who evaluate the courses and content of the program.  If the professional fulfills all prerequisites and passes the courses, then that person is entitled to the certification.  The certification merely states the person has completed the necessay requirements to be recognized by his or her peers as knowledgable and worthy in the subject content.

As a Certified Professional, What Can I Do?

If you are not already licensed, you may find yourself as a unlicensed practitioner.  Sometimes, for instance, a grief counselor–certified–may also already be an LPC, but in some cases they are not.  This would be an example of a unlicensed practitioner in grief counseling.  Dr. Lawrence Wilson writes about certain legal guidelines that certified but unlicensed practitioners should adopt in their practices.
First, he lists a few words to avoid.  Avoid words such as cure, but instead use restore, help, alleviate, improve, balance or normalize.  Instead of treat, utilize the words handle, work with, relieve, or remedy.  Instead of diagnose, apply such words as assess, measure, check, or evaluate.  Instead of the word disease, say such words as problem or condition.  The key in this is to avoid words utilized by licensed practitioners.
Dr. Wilson also emphasizes never to misrepresent yourself.  It is very common, especially with grief counseling certifications, for people to assume they are being treated by an LPC.  Grief Counseling

Certifications are different than Licensures
Certifications are different than Licensures
, as long as it remains non-pathological, can be reserved for certified professionals.  Be extremely cautious how you market yourself on your cards, stationaries, handouts, speech or website.  Be very clear you are certified and not licensed.  Also, avoid misleading people with your Masters or PhD.  Leave an asterisk that emphasizes you are not licensed.  Remember, if not licensed, advertizing yourself with such words as law, medicine or psychology can incur possible issues with the state or your clients.
Dr. Wilson also emphasizes to behave professionally.  As certified professionals, one would conclude that this is inherent, but it is not always the case.  As licensed practitioners, certified practitioners are also called to high standards of professionalism.  Never speak unkindly or unprofessionally of other doctors and if your opinion differs, do not use words such as “wrong” but instead, use phrases such as “in my opinion, I disagree”.  It is also very dangerous to tell a patient to stop taking a particular medication that has been prescribed.  This can lead to liability if negative consequences follow.  Also, if insurance, local authorities, or other medical professionals seek information on particular individual, you need to react professionally and not feel you are being “tested”.  It is best to show respect and professionalism.
In regards to dealing with patients, it is important to remember you are never treating them.  You are offering them advice, but treatment is reserved for LPC or doctors.  Also, remember that somethings are out of your legal reach.  In this regard, building a good reputation with licensed practitoners is critical to work with them in the care of the person you are helping.
If you present yourself professionally, stay within your limits, and represent and advertize yourself honestly, then your service will flourish without much trouble, but the moment you attempt to treat diseases without the proper license, then trouble will find you.
I hope this little bit helps!  Please refer to Dr. Wilson’s short manual, ‘Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners”.
If you are interested in any of AIHCP’s certifications, please review them.

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