Sometimes it seems as though our pets really understand how we’re feeling. They cuddle with us when we’re feeling down, and they never interrupt when we just need someone to listen. Yet, could a cat ever be qualified as a licensed psychotherapist?
One man set out to prove that it was not only possible, it was actually laughably simple.
Psychologist Steve Eichel, frustrated by the number of mental health practitioners using unmerited credentials, decided to see how hard it would be for his cat, Zoe, to get certified. First up for Zoe D. Katze: a certification whose only requirement was to pay a fee. That first certificate made it a breeze to get a few more.
With several certifications under their belts (or collars), Eichel and Katze moved on to something a little more reputable: board certification from the American Psychotherapy Association. They met a bit of a hurdle after applying to the APA when asked for a curriculum vitae from Dr. Katze. Undeterred, Eichel whipped up a resume, including such experience as working at the “Tacayllaermi Friends School” (“I’m really a cat” spelled backwards). The CV was accepted, and Zoe D. Katze was made a Diplomate. Zoe was now officially a Certified Hypnotherapist and Board Certified Psychotherapist. All without a day in the classroom. Whew.
With her newfound acclaim, Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, started receiving emails, including one from “a reporter from a major magazine [who] wrote to ‘Dr. Zoe D. Katze’ for input on an article she was writing on hypnosis for childbirthing. She had stumbled across Dr. Zoe’s name on the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists’ website. I had to tell her the truth,” wrote Dr. Eichel.
At that point the cat was out of the bag, so to speak, and Eichel had proven his point. When you’re looking for a (human) psychotherapist: “Licenses, certifications and graduate degrees do not guarantee a competent hypnotist/therapist, but they are a good start.” (If you’re looking for a non-human therapist, nutritionist, or business professional, there are many to choose from. Plus, check out Dr. Zoe’s facebook page, where you can see photos of her and some of her degrees.)