Seeking a free service:
FOUR CONSIDERATIONS IN SEEKING VOLUNTEER-BASED FREE THERAPY:
1) Therapist qualifications. What is their educational degree? Masters (i.e. MA, MSW ), doctorate (Phd, PsyD). Are they a member of a regulatory body where members are required to adhere to a code of conduct, ethics, where they are required to keep up training (i.e. R. Psych, RCC, RCSW, RPC, MPCC). Be aware that more letters after a name is not necessarily better as some associations have no membership requirements nor ongoing training requirements.
2) Do they have disaster/pandemic skills training? COVID19 support is not typical short term therapy. In fact, some experts do not recommend typical CISD interventions (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing interventions). Clarify the type of support you will be receiving.
3) Do they make it clear what to expect from the service and that they are ethically bound to not take you on as longer term clients? When the therapist is suggesting you need more services, are they referring to the general body of counsellors referral services and/or community resources? Therapists are ethically prohibited from gaining income from pro-bono services.
4) Are they seeming to provide advertising for their practice or services in other ways? Unlike other businesses who may be providing free services to maintain customer retention or reach a broader customer base, individual counsellors are ethically not allowed to use the free support services relationship to purposely generate business gain.