CERTIFICATION - what does that REALLY mean?

People often want to know if they are taking courses that will lead to certification. And what would happen if they practice reflexology without some sort of 'certification'. And why are some certifications different to others in this country? These are very valid questions. Certification has various meanings. It can be misleading and can mean different things in different places and in different circumstances... and may even be confused with building (zoning) occupancy permits and municipal business licenses

While it may be possible to get away with any old title and certification in some countries, official designations are very strict in Canada and BC. In Canada's health world and health jurisdictions, almost all health modalities are controlled or organized under the jurisdiction of the provinces, except for doctors, surgeons and nurses - which are governed by federal oversight. All other healing modalities - from very mainstream to new and alternative are legislated provincially. Details and by-laws that are specific for each province, including BC.
There is an overarching concept that excludes the government from involvement and that is when a modality can be deemed to "do no harm", then it is not mandated to go through ANY government scrutiny. Buyer Beware is, of course, always important.

Professional Registrations, Official Certifications, Title Designations and Provincial Government oversight apply to those healing modalities where the practitioner CAN do harm (examples: Midwife, Massage Therapist, and to some degree Aromatherapist). All of these practitioners usually have a few letters after their names - its official and recognized. These modality designations are provincially regulated via legislation that  lays out the rules, responsibilities and duties for the respective professional associations and institutes that oversee education, credentialing and also includes a means of processing public complaints and keeping/staying accountable. Titles / certifications of these healing professionals (which CAN do harm) are recognized under the BC Health Act.
Specific 'occupational title designations', such as with Aromatherapists, a sort of grey area, is granted under the Societies Act of British Columbia (this is for aromatherapists, for example, who have been scrutinized, tested and have fulfilled particular criteria and have assembled themselves under the umbrella of the BC Association Of Aromatherapists - BCAOA.

Then there are the many healing modalities that can do NO HARM. Sometimes a school, institution or teacher hands out certifications upon completion of courses/workshops. These certifications usually clarify that someone has successfully completed a described program or has acquired a specific skill. Associations for practitioners of some modalities also can out certifications - this can be based on a few rules and the honour system all the way through to stringent requirements to supervised exams. This however doesn't stop groups from trying to impress by saying that anyone not a member of it's association isn't certified - and should not be practicing… and although one would think there's a tinge of ego in this stance, it is also due to a very broad interpretation of certification, as well as wishful thinking.
When I give my students a certificate, it means job well done and proof of attendance and mastery of that class's content.

Especially in Reiki and Reflexology there seems to be quite a muddle afoot. The words "Reiki" and "Reflexology" are not protected by any designation in Canada and can be used by anyone. Neither can do any harm. I could not find any court cases where either modality were part of a civil or criminal charge or sentencing. In essence any Reiki or Reflexology teacher, school and association can hand out certificates to students who have attained a certain proficiency. Several Reiki and Reflexology organizations/associations once accepted members on the honour system and are now evolving to be more specific (for a number of reasons) with decent baseline parameters.
So look into the letters after peoples names and check out what that means.
RM officially means Registered Midwife (long, serious, in-depth education with exams and government oversight). RM is an official, provincially accredited, designation.
RP-CRA means a Reiki Practitioner who has joined the Canadian Reiki Association - a $50 membership after a minimum 8 hour course or an on-line version of it. This latter 'letters after one's name designation' has absolutely NO official meaning or validity and was made up back in 2001. I believe it was initially added as a way to give some semblance of specialness to Reiki practitioners energy work was less know and respected.
The BC reflexologists saw the Reiki practitioners with lovely letters after their names and were not to be outdone! They added a few letters, too, once they joined one of their national and/or provincial trade associations.
Many of us feel that accreditations have evolved as they should. Important health providers that CAN DO HARM have oversight in place (without the government being to constraining) and the rest of us have associations where we can make things happen as we choose.

Separate from the actual expertise required in healing, there is another conundrum that sometimes rears it's head! Getting a license from one's city hall to do one's work and in some municipalities another licence that endorses a specific use for a specific space… can be an interesting exercise in semantics. In Vancouver, for years, there has been an umbrella designation called Healing Touch - and the processing clerk, who says yeah or nay and wants to see certificates that mean mean nothing to the presiding clerk, does not and will not understand that Healing Touch is a very distinct modality rather than their bucket containing a vast group of fine modalities as they have defined them (! nope! the list is clear and says only xxxoooxxxooo, etc).
Toronto had a more interesting problem - as ladies of the night had to find some sort of licensing for their 'work' after some new legislation was passed. Theyrummaged around all the healing modalities to see which would give them fastest and cheapest 'keys' to stay in business - Reiki won! And more on this for another time…

So BUYER BEWARE - check out the teacher you are looking to learn from.
Check out why you may need certification such as a particular employer preference. I do know that as for reiki and Reflexology, I have never once been asked for my credentials or associations… and I already have enough alphabet soup behind my name (which doesn't impress anyone…!) However, I have often been asked how long have I been doing my work. Smart question.

The classes at Pacific Holistic meet and exceed the standards of all Reiki Associations in North America.

More Reiki Healing articles at http://www.reflexologyreiki.com/Reiki


The tab "REIKI classes" and the tab "REIKI sessions" takes you to what we are offering including Reiki practitioner exchangesour regular healing sessions, special discounts and more information such as REIKI gift certificates and what Reiki certification actually REALLY means legally for you.

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Receiving Reiki healing allows you to set reduce troublesome thoughts, worries and stress.
Please look through the Reiki articles pages here and join me in one or more of the Reiki seminars offered.
Allow yourself to experience the deep, delicious benefits of the power of Reiki / hands-on-healing…  and I look forward to seeing you. 

Merrie Bakker, Reiki Master Teacher
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604-261-7742, by appointment only

we’re in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, BC


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