Discussion Point : The Spiritual Worker Fees and Costs
Before the New Year a friend of ours commented on Facebook that there needed to be a consideration of fees for readings, and we would extend that to workshops and courses. At the same time she mentioned that rather than worry about recouping the costs of expensive stalls at Mind, Body and Spirit Fayres, readers could choose to avoid those which seemingly had exorbitant stall fees.
In so many ways we couldn’t agree more (Thanks for opening the debate Angie).
What could be considered as being reasonable, exorbitant or even immoral is perhaps the question.
We know of one therapist who has charged £300 for a ninety-minute session and recommends at least 3 sessions for the effect of the therapy to be ‘felt’.
At the other extreme we know of many spiritual workers who ask for a donation only and often do not take a fee.
When it comes to courses we know of some workshop leaders who will charge in excess of £800 for a two-day workshop and others who charge very little.
In comparison, by the way, other professionals have interesting fee structures too…
Lawyers average up to £230 per hour (plus VAT) 
Plumbers can charge up to £130 per hour (plus VAT) 
Mechanics average £76 per hour (plus VAT) 
And a letter from your Bank can cost £50
Coaching, Counselling, Therapy Sessions average around £45 (that’s for between 60 and 90 minute sessions) in Cornwall and can be as much as £150 – £200 (or more) ‘up-Country’.
A professional level training session (or CPD – Continued Professional Development) could cost between £120 and £500 per day and professionally qualifying courses will cost between £2000 and £6000 again depending on their duration, academic level and professional recognition.
Now we’re not for one-minute suggesting that spiritual workers should take these rates as measure of their worth, but they do give a little context perhaps.
As for costs involved in Mind-Body-Spirit Fayres – well hall hire and insurances are obviously the direct costs – but one of the major expenses is advertising. Of course there’s a wealth of free advertising out there, Facebook and other Social Media, however the persistent and possibly more direct advertising has a cost in terms of time, money and resources. Anyone who has organized such an event will be fully aware of the time-costs and hassle sometimes levied at them because stall-holders are not happy with their position, the foot-fall, the timing, the parking – and so it goes on.
From a Therapist or Workshop leaders point of view some of their costs are often forgotten about by their clients and learners.
There is obviously the investment they have made, and continue to make, in their own professional development and skill sets, but then there is their own insurance (for their practice and their teaching); professional memberships and for courses, accreditation costs – all of which are on-going and of course completely separate from the costs of venue, materials and any equipment required. Then there is of course some Health & Safety and Safeguarding issues which also must be considered DBS (also known as Criminal Records Check) when working with certain clients; Data Protection licensing if keeping client data on a computer. It’s all very well recalling the days gone by when the village healer/teacher worked for barter if not for the community – and these changes are not the fault of the Government necessarily nor the spiritual worker directly. In many cases it is the result of the demands and expectations of the clients/learners; some of whom in recent years have found their litigious streak fueled by the legal claims culture. Recent legal changes which have placed a good deal of what we could call spiritual/psychic practice now falls firmly within the legislation of consumer protection, only compound the issue.
Trying to create a meaningful and appropriate scale of fees for work in a spiritual/counselling context is therefore a bit of a nightmare. Especially since it must be remembered that even the most giving of spiritual workers or teachers has to live – they have their own living expenses to cover.
In our work we try to maintain an awareness of the true costs of running a course or a workshop and the fee’s we request from our leaners.
We charge £60 a day for most courses and that includes the printed material, the input, the costs of running that course (insurances and accreditations) and – and we feel this is what is important – individual mentoring and support after the course has finished. For our long courses this mentorship is a life-time commitment and does not have any fee attached to it.
So for The Craft and Celtic Shaman Course which run over 13 weekends and 10 weekends respectively – you may be looking at a maximum fee of £1560 and £1200 – over a year which translates to 26 and 20 days of workshop session; 13 or 10 120 – 150 page course books; materials for the practical sessions; and one-to-one mentoring/support during and after the course has been completed…
Moreover the maximum fee quoted in the last paragraph has been discounted in the past and does come with a range of payment options. Of course we’re still talking about a financial commitment but it is one which is balanced by a commitment in time and on-going support.
Hopefully by making a statement about fees at the outset individuals can decide whether or not they want to explore what is really involved in the course being offered.
The importance of our accreditation to third party organisations is that we become accountable to our stated code of ethics and conduct. In many ways we could not bother with such accreditation – indeed many courses chose not to – for us, however, having an independent sounding board helps us focus on the content, quality and after-care of our training. It requires us to maintain our own professional development and, in many cases, our own level of professional supervision.
Striving to be spiritual does not in any way detract from the desire to be professional. This is the attitude we find in a number our closest colleagues and practitioners – the drive to be caring, professional, fair and conduct themselves in a way which echoes their higher (spiritual) goals and aspiration.
So back to the comment which prompted this missive…
We are in total agreement with Angie about the question of fees and recognize that it has been and continues to be an important consideration.
Perhaps one way to think about this is to ask what you are getting in return – is the value immediate, short term or long term?
Are you being inspired, supported and ‘healed’ by the course/therapy/modality that you are paying for?
Like many of our colleagues there are aspects of our work for which there is rarely a direct fee or charge and we tend to see the income from School courses as supporting this other work. As we enter into 2016 there are some exciting plans for The School, which will further establish the community (from Heart to Heart) focus on the School with some major ambitions – more of that soon.
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