Although the two terms can be broadly interchangeable, there are some subtle differences between a counsellor and a therapist and they centre more on the patient’s needs than the practitioners themselves.
A counsellor is usually someone who treats patients over a relatively brief period of time to address behavioural patterns whereas a therapist, or psychotherapist will treat patients long term to resolve more deep-seated issues. There can be some overlap where counselling can form a part of a longer psychotherapy programme.
What kind of insurance do counsellors & therapists need?
There may be subtle differences in the work they carry out, but broadly speaking, the insurance needs of counsellors and therapists are the same.
Whether you are a sole trader or business owner, it’s essential to have public liability insurance in place. This will protect them for claims made against them if a client or member of the public is injured, falls ill or has their property damaged.
Public liability for counsellors and therapists may only certain types of claims and you may need to take out malpractice insurance to ensure the majority of your work is covered. This will cover you for claims made specifically by clients how believe you have been professionally negligent in some way. They may allege that they have been wrongly diagnosed, been injured as a result of their treatment or that your treatment has had an adverse effect on their condition.
Claims for professional negligence can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds so it is cover worth having.
Employer’s liability insurance
If you employ anyone at your therapy business, you’re required by law to have employer’s liability insurance. This protects you against claims made by employees if they have been injured, taken ill or had their property damaged as a result of working for you. You can be heavily fined for not having employer’s liability insurance and you are also required to display a copy of your valid employer’s liability certificate of insurance at your place of business.
Personal accident & sickness insurance
Many therapists and counsellors are sole traders or self-employed and so rely on working to bring in an income. They cannot rely on sick pay or holiday pay and so personal accident and sickness cover is designed to help compensate for lost earnings if they cannot work for an extended period of time.