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Posted by Mariette Lobo, Dec 11 2006 5:24PM

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VTCT Qualifications

Hi - VTCT recently updatd their Holistic Therapies to take into account the core curriculums for reflexology and aromatherapy. This means case studies for these subjects, at all levels, have increased considerably eg reflexology students now have to do 60.

Given that, up to now, most colleges have gone for the Holistic Therapies Diploma option (comprising several units), the case studies workload for FE students is hefty. Has anyone (individual or college) figured a way of accommodating this without resorting to offering individual units rather than the diploma?

I'm not sure the hugely increased workload for lecturers and students (and the limited timescale to achieve) was taken into consideration when these decisions were made. For example, our 1st and 2nd year students are having to do a lot more case studies (Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, and Body Massage in 1st Year - and Advanced Reflexology, Remedial Massage, and Stress Management in 2nd Year) - and are getting increasingly anxious about fitting them all in.

If anyone has any thoughts/suggestions on this - please do share them!

Mariette Lobo
Lecturer in Holistic Therapies (Scotland)
Helen Dicks
Dec 12 2006 10:26AM
Hi Mariette,
Are you saying that these students have to find sixty people to do case studies on or that they have to do 60 treatments in total on a number of case studies. For example, ten case studies of six treatments each/
Helen Dicks
Mariette Lobo
Dec 12 2006 10:33AM
It's probably the latter, Helen, but still very anxiety inducing for students. What do you think? I wondered how other colleges were going to approach this.

Mariette
Helen Dicks
Dec 13 2006 9:49AM
Hi Mariette,
Personally I don't really see the problem. When I did my training (1995 for Aromatherapy and 1999 for reflexology) I did the VTCT course as it was then but my course provider (Helen Guinness)went over and beyond what was being demanded by VTCT.
I had to do 60 case studies comprised of ten clients and six treatments each for both courses, plus all the other course requisites like learning forty oils, anatomy and physiology etc.
It was extremely hard work on both occasions and very stressful as I had a 2 and 5 year old when I started and a husband who worked very long hours and was often away.
However I managed it and it gave me an extremely good grounding in my chosen therapies and the confidence to go out and set up my business.
This may sound harsh but Doctors and Physios and anyone who wants to take up a career in health or medicine do not expect it to be an easy ride. They know it's going to be hard work.
I don't think it should be any different for complementary therapists. If we are to be regarded with any credence by the public or medical profession we have to be prepared to undergo vigorous training.
I am often amazed at the questions that are asked by student therapists in various forums on the Web. Their course providers cannot be giving them sufficient knowledge and training. I also come across therapists who appear to have little confidence in their abilities. It would be pretty scary to come across people in the medical profession that are like that.
If people are serious about becoming therapists then they must be prepared to take on the work load. If they can't do that then it may be they aren't cut out to be therapists in the first place or that the time is not right for them to do it at that particular point in their lives.
Becoming an effective therapist means constantly updating, whether that is attending post-grad courses or researching and reading. We never stop learning and the clients we treat expect and deserve more than a basic understanding of the therapies we provide.
I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm on a soapbox but it is something I feel very strongly about.
I'm very interested to hear others views.
Helen Dicks
Mariette Lobo
Dec 13 2006 7:02PM
Posted by Mariette Lobo, Dec 13 2006 10:50AM

Thanks for this, Helen. I agree with most of what you say. However, I think the key lies in the fact you did your aromatherapy and reflexology at different times/different years.

Most FE college course combine several units as part of a "course/qualification" and within this combination lies an extremely heavy workload for students and tutors. Maybe this is why there is the slippage in standards that you have noticed??

This is why I am interested in opening up this debate. Perhaps, the courses on offer, how they are delivered (ie as single units or a combination), the timescale in which they are delivered, and FE college needs vs holistic/complementary needs all should be reviewed.



Mariette

Kim Craig
Dec 21 2006 9:11AM
Hi Mariette

I would like to add my thoughts to the forum. When I trained at a FE College although it was HNC/HND in Comp therapies, I had to complete over 60 hours in each and because the criteria had changed from when I first qualified with the basics Aromatherapy and Reflexology I had to increase my case studies to suit. I did find this hard but at the same time building on myknowledge and skills.I was horrified to find at one college the hours were so minimal there was no way students could gain experience and knowledge from them. The AOR are looking for more than 60 hours for their membership criteria as with other organisations. When the students take on the course they will be working on case studies and also in my case client sessions, they all add up. As long as the support it there for the student whilst at this stage in their studies there should not be a problem. I agree with Helen that if you want to be a therapist you have to work at it and not have handed to you on a plate, after all we are dealing with people's health. I have spoken to my CM who is still waiting for the new criteria to come through so we can get on a develop anything that is needed, so cannot comment on the rest of the critera content, but we are waiting paitently.

Kim Craig
Lecturer/Therapist
Kim Craig
Dec 21 2006 9:11AM
Hi Mariette

I would like to add my thoughts to the forum. When I trained at a FE College although it was HNC/HND in Comp therapies, I had to complete over 60 hours in each and because the criteria had changed from when I first qualified with the basics Aromatherapy and Reflexology I had to increase my case studies to suit. I did find this hard but at the same time building on myknowledge and skills.I was horrified to find at one college the hours were so minimal there was no way students could gain experience and knowledge from them. The AOR are looking for more than 60 hours for their membership criteria as with other organisations. When the students take on the course they will be working on case studies and also in my case client sessions, they all add up. As long as the support it there for the student whilst at this stage in their studies there should not be a problem. I agree with Helen that if you want to be a therapist you have to work at it and not have handed to you on a plate, after all we are dealing with people's health. I have spoken to my CM who is still waiting for the new criteria to come through so we can get on a develop anything that is needed, so cannot comment on the rest of the critera content, but we are waiting paitently.

Kim Craig
Lecturer/Therapist
Nicki Lee
Jan 14 2007 10:19PM
Hi Mariette,

I don't know if this will be helpful, since our college does not do a holistic diploma anymore (not enough money in it!!) but only individual courses.

However, even with those, with many students full time employed, they also struggle to get the case studies done. This last term, I allowed them to do case studies after most of the classes were finished. Then, a month later was a final 'mop up' class. I did expect to see at least one to make sure they were on the right track. They could then focus on case studies and finishing up any outstanding written assignments.

Next term I may build into the course a break for case studies of 3 - 4 weeks, and then have them come back and do the assessments afterward. Although our department has been doing these courses for a long time, there still may be ways to make the work easier and course more effective for the students. I also think they learn the most when doing the case studies, especially the reflective accounts. (I particularly enjoy reading the remedial massage case studies - I'm always so impressed, which is encouraging.)

I'm interested in the number of case studies you mentioned- unless I've been getting it wrong (!) VTCT didn't set a specific number of case studies for Indian Head Massage, which is what I teach most often, only says they need to do them. I'm guessing this is different for a full time course.

Good luck! It's a lot to do in the time.

Nicki



Mariette Lobo
Jan 14 2007 11:11PM
Thanks for a most helpful and considered reply, Nikki. I think you've understood my concerns - which seem to be similar to the ones you have experienced. I think my college, too, might be going down the route of individual units rather than a holistic therapies diploma. I'd like to give you a ring to chat about all of this in more detail. Can I use your web page contact details to do so tomorrow?

Mariette
Mariette Lobo
Jan 14 2007 11:18PM
Sorry Nikki - I forgot to add, VTCT do specify how many clients and case studies for Indian Head Massage. Look at page 12 of VR69 and it says:

"Evidence is required of individual treatments and of 3 case studies covering a minimum of 3 treatments each".


Mariette

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