Ask an expert
Question

17 Jul 2006

Alana - WARNING
Alana has offered free online counselling, and claims to be doing a doctorate in Psychology.

To those who may be tempted: see posts 2614, 2615, and 2617. Alana in these posts is 20, a student, uses the same e-mail address, and clearly has her own difficulties. She needs help. Don't be fooled into seeing her as capable of providing the sort of help you'd expect from a professional.

To Alana: as far as I know, it is illegal to claim qualifications you don't possess. Doing a doctorate suggests you are a qualified psychologist, registered with the Health Professions Council. At the age of 20 you are probably still an undergraduate. At least provide us with your HPCSA registration number, as evidence for your claims.

Alana, you said you had lost your parents at the age of 5, and that you have seroius problems with food at the moment. Please seek help from someone qualified as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Once you've sorted out some of your personal difficulties you may be in a far stronger position to help others. Personal experience can be a helpful source of empathy for others, but if it's not properly looked at it can cause you to become so deely involved in other people's problems that you are unable to separate yourself from them. That can be very destructive and damaging, both to you and them.
Answer 428 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

A very wise, thoughtful and helpful response, Connie. If Alana the would-be counsellor wants to convince people she can be useful, it's up to her to answer satisfactorily the good questions that have been asked --- it's not my task to phone around the country checking up on her. I have already checked her claim to be a psychologist for H24, and found that this claim is untrue.
It seems there may be two Alanas or one --- but the message from the person saying they're a young student with anorexia, and the one claiming to be a counsellor, came from the identical IP address. Alana may well have been sincere and genuinely wanting to be helpful --- but there is a world of diference between helping as a volunteer at Lifeline, where there should be more senior and more wualified and experienced supervisors available if things get sticky, and trying to be an independent counsellor, especially via email which is a very difficult medium in which to work.
The planned merger between the unions of shrinks and accountants has been postponed.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.