This month marks an important transition for the International Therapist Directory. While non-profit sponsorship enabled the ITD to get up off the ground, it has been running independently for over two years now and has been growing steadily along the way. Growth is exciting, and it takes many forms. However, the current form of growth is more about maturation than numbers. Yes, the ITD is growing up!
The ITD has been, and always will be, about providing a service to the internationally mobile community. Mental health therapy is a service-oriented profession, whether that profession takes the form of an independent business, an agency practice, a ministry, or some kind of hybrid model. The ITD itself is designed to be an outpouring of that service mindset. It is a resource. And like any resource worth its salt, relevance and sustainability are vital.
That in mind, the ITD is moving to a Membership Model. What this means from a bottom line perspective is that listed therapists will more formally agree that they meet the stated requirements to be listed in the directory and they will pay a nominal fee of $35 (USD) annually to have their information listed in this important online resource.
For those of you curious about more than just the bottom line, read on…
The new Membership process asks ITD listed therapists to formally agree that they are “a professional mental health therapist with a therapy practice who is credentialed at a masters level or higher in a psychology/counseling related field with a thoughtful understanding of the TCK and international expatriate experiences.“ It is still true that those compiling the directory offer no specific endorsement of any of the mental health therapists listed and do not claim responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided, simply cataloging entries as self-reported by each therapist. However, the ITD has a specific focus, and this more formal membership agreement is intended to help further clarify how important the integrity of each listed mental health therapist is to maintain the stated ITD standards and purpose.
In reflecting on the years past and the anticipated years ahead, one of my key goals in making the ITD increasingly sustainable is to create a working budget. While the past two years witnessed a strong foundation laid out of my own personal resources, I believe more can be accomplished with some additional partnership. There are many ways to generate funding. I have elected to ask listed therapists to directly partner with my efforts. That said, the price-point for membership is intentionally set quite low. For less than $3 (USD) a month, therapists can have their information cataloged in the directory. The reason for the low price-point is that I do not want finances to be a barrier for qualified therapists who want to be listed. However, setting any price-point at all does ask listed therapists to take their listing more seriously. My hope is that with this investment comes increased motivation to keep listed information current. It also asks listed therapists to directly support the site, helping to cover operational costs and contribute resources to allow for future ITD promotional efforts. It is my sincere hope that the financial support generated this way will free me up to invest even more of my time and energy into enhancing the site and promoting the ITD globally.
Another kind of service the ITD has been providing is to make way for internationally minded mental health therapists themselves to connect, encourage one another, and develop professional relationships. To this end, a beginning has been made through efforts with the ITD Blog, the ITD Forum, and the initial stages of some regular ITD Newsletters. However, this is just the beginning. There is tremendous room for growth in this area, and it is my hope that moving to a Membership Model will greatly enhance opportunities for developing these efforts. The past has been solid, and the future is bright for the International Therapist Directory. If you are a mental health therapist reading this now who meets the qualifications for being listed in this online resource, I hope you will register, support the site, and support the TCK and internationally mobile community with your listing. It’s an important service, and together, we can have even greater impact.
To leave comments, please visit the link in the ITD Forum here.