Are we doing enough to ensure that our clients and the general public are receiving legitimate, ethical and quality support and care for their mental and physical well-being?
According to Zippia. "Health And Wellness Industry Statistics " Zippia.com. Apr. 30, 2022, https://www.zippia.com/advice/health-and-wellness-industry-statistics/
The global wellness market is worth $4.37 trillion as of 2020.
The U.S. wellness industry is valued at $1.2 trillion and makes up 28% of the worldwide wellness market as of 2021.
The retail value of the U.S.’s health and wellness products is about $168 billion.
Experts predict that the global wellness industry will see an annual growth rate of 9.9% as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global wellness industry is estimated to have a CAGR of 5.5% from 2021 to 2030.
With the predicted expediential growth of this industry, my question is this, what policies and procedures do wellness platforms, wellness communities and those that hire, promote and endorse those ‘working’ in the wellness industries, have in place to ensure the ‘wellness experts,’ are qualified and have a legal practice?
For the purpose of this article, I will refer to all Coaches, NLP practitioners, Hypnotherapists, Yoga Instructors, Reiki Masters etc. as ‘wellness experts.’
If the ‘wellness experts’ specialize in, but are not limited to, children, health/dietary/nutrition, chronic pain, depression, special educational needs, trauma, and addiction, are they asked to provide additional legal documentation such as police clearance, safeguarding, first aid, health/education, licenses etc. and are they verified? Are they asked for their business licenses so it can be verified that they can legally practice?
Whilst it is well known that the coaching industry is not regulated thankfully many of the coaching schools, academies and programs that are run by or through the ICF EMCC and AC focus heavily on coaching competencies, the International Code of Ethics and do emphasise that until you have to have a business license, insurance and contract/agreement in place before one can legally accept payment for their services.
So, whose responsibility, is it?
Should the Wellness Facebook and local communities (especially those targeting their audience around children, parenting and mental health), online magazines, nurseries, and schools be held more accountable for whom they hire, promote and invite onto their platforms?
Some may ask in what capacity can the government have a more active and supportive role in the wellness industry and those that seek to use it? My question here is, why are we waiting for any governing body to enforce regulations to guarantee a high standard? Surely this has to start with and come from us, everyone and anyone that works in and around the wellness profession.
How can we ensure that our clients and the general public are receiving legitimate, ethical and quality support and care for their mental and physical well-being if the ‘wellness experts’ are not being asked to verify and produce the relevant paperwork?
Every day I am shocked and appalled by the posts I see on social media from ‘wellness experts.’ One post was even looking for stage 2 and 3 cancer patients for their in-person event because they could guarantee that they can cure cancer with hypnosis!
I appreciate that this is an extreme example but many ‘wellness experts’ claim, for example, that they can help you with chronic pain because they have gone through it themselves and have come out the other side or that they have children with learning difficulties so they can support all parents and children who may be going through this with absolutely no credible qualifications to support this.
Whilst this in essence may be partially true for the very few (and they would be great guest speakers sharing their experiences), the fact is that everyone’s journey, situation and circumstances are different. One needs to have the knowledge, expertise, tools and strategies that are going to support the client holistically and have a deeper understanding of the psychological workings and of one’s mental well-being and mental health. If dealing with chronic pain, nutrition or weight gain/loss then some kind of medical and dietary knowledge and credentialing is imperative.
For obvious reasons I will omit your $100 coaching or awareness certification as a viable or credible qualification but will acknowledge that these are great for personal development and for exposing you to the multi-faceted niches available to you within the wellness profession.
Since starting Coaches Supporting Coaches – Dubai (a Facebook group for coaches who are in training, certified and want to connect with other coaches to learn and grow personally and professionally) and the CSC Certified Coaches Group (these coaches have uploaded their licenses and qualifications), and CSC Certified Coaches Group I have been approached by a lot of Wellness Centers and Communities, some of which have been established for quite some time and others that are new or about to launch, looking to collaborate with me and the coaches in the group.
When I inquired about their onboarding process, they all said they put a post on social media and invited Coaches, NLP practitioners, Reiki Masters, Yoga Instructors, Hypnotherapists etc. to get in touch with them.
On deeper questioning, nearly all admitted that they did not even ask if they held a business license or for the candidates to upload their qualifications! Whilst a couple did ask for proof of a business license, they did confess that they didn’t stipulate that the business license had to be within the wellness sector. I would like to point out here that during these conversations a few lightbulbs went off and some did take this on board saying that they would be implementing a more vigorous enrolling process.
Whilst I completely empathize and understand that the manhours and cost needed to have these conversations, upload and verify all the documents is immense, isn’t it our responsibility to at least make sure that we as community builders and ‘wellness experts’ are complying on ethical and legal grounds?
Let’s be honest here, so many Wellness platforms, businesses and companies are making a lot of money from those who subscribe to their platforms, attend workshops, and webinars and enrol on their programs.
What would it take for all those in the Wellness Industry (individuals, communities, businesses), those who support and promote these platforms and the ‘wellness experts’ to state that all licenses and qualifications have been checked and verified?
Obtaining a business license, relevant documentation and qualifications are, how can I put this politely, fecking expensive, but don’t the clients or potential clients, subscribers and members deserve that reassurance? Don’t we all, as ‘wellness experts’ and wellness providers, have a moral and ethical duty of care to deliver the best possible service to the general public?
Until the Wellness industry and ‘wellness experts’ are more stringently regulated maybe we should be encouraging, supporting and educating people to ask the right questions before signing up for any programs, parting with their hard-earned cash and more importantly sharing very personal and private information.
Working with and supporting those under the wellness umbrella, whether you are paid or it’s voluntary, is a privilege. This is not, and should never be viewed, as a ‘side hustle’ or a ‘get rich quick,’ scheme. We are dealing with a diversity of people who are either struggling and in pain mentally and/or physically, those who are desperate for support and there are those who need guidance with clarity, confidence, organisation, motivation and communication, to name but a few.
It is therefore not surprising that so many professional entities such as hospitals, clinics and doctors are reluctant to collaborate with ‘wellness experts’ because those that take the coaching and wellness industry seriously are being let down by those who attract, endorse and hire the ‘wellness experts,’ who are prepared to take short cuts and unwilling to invest in obtaining the correct documentation and qualifications for their chosen profession.
The well-being of all those we come into contact with should be everyone’s number one priority and we need to get more comfortable asking each other these questions:
Before collaborating with Wellness platforms, communities and businesses
What are your onboarding policies and procedures?
Do you ask for and verify the applicant’s business license?
Do you ask for and verify the applicant’s qualifications and any additional documentation that are related to but not limited to children, trauma, depression, and health?
Do you ask the applicants if they have a contract/agreement in place that covers confidentiality, liability, data protection, photo release etc?
Before hiring or collaborating with a ‘wellness expert’
Do you have a business license that is aligned with the wellness, coaching, and training industry?
What qualifications do you have? May I see a breakdown that includes: Name of the person/school, where it was obtained, training hours, how many hours they were supervised/observed, final exam etc.?
If it is for a specific and specialized niche ask for additional documentation – government (children, trauma, depression, health, therapy), safeguarding, first aid, police clearance etc.
Do you have a contract/agreement in place? – covering confidentiality, liability, data protection, photo release etc.
So, my parting question is this, how can we collectively ensure that the standards and integrity of those working in the Wellness industry are being met more thoroughly and the general public is receiving the best possible care and support for their mental and physical well-being?
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