There is an old, and probably apocryphal, story about a very wealthy businessman whose great love in life was paddle steamboats. This man was so rich that he had managed to accrue a small but nevertheless very costly collection of antique paddle steamers, all very old and mainly acquired in the Mississippi Delta, and conveyed to the river near his home at considerable further expense.
However, this particular multi-millionaire was also not rash about spending money - and even though he liked to indulge his hobby, he certainly didn't want to think that he wasn't spending his money wisely.
The day came when his favourite steamboat stopped working. The engine ground to a sudden halt, and the paddle stopped turning and the man was beside himself with dismay. "Get me the best paddle steamboat engineer in the world and get them here fast!" he called to his assistant. As it happened, the best paddle steamboat engineer in the world lived around the corner from the millionaire and a car was sent to fetch him that very afternoon.
The engineer, a wizened old man of about 83, stepped onto the boat, went straight down to the engine room and busied himself by feeling along the rusty and creaking old steam pipes with his hands. After about 15 minutes of carefully inspecting the tired old pipes with his tired old hands, he stopped. While leaving one hand on a particular spot on a pipe he took out of his pocket what looked like a thin metal hammer as used for cracking nuts, lifted his other hand off the pipe and struck it deftly, once with the hammer. With a mighty cough, the old steamboat clanked back into life and chugged away as strongly as it ever had. The engineer smiled at the businessman and handed him a piece of paper saying "my invoice".
The businessman, who was also smiling looked at the invoice and his smile turned into a frown. "Ten thousand dollars!" he cried "are you serious? All you did was hit a pipe with a small hammer!".
"Oh, I'm sorry", said the engineer, "let me itemize the invoice for you properly" - and scribbled this on the paper with a pencil:
For hitting the pipe with a hammer: 1 dollar.
For knowing exactly where to hit the pipe with a hammer: 9999 dollars.
Counsellors, therapists and clinical supervisors amass a great deal of knowledge during their trainings and then while carrying out their clinical work. But that knowledge, of itself, is useless if you don't know precisely when and how to apply it in practice.
The really good practitioners are the ones who know just how to hit the pipe in the right spot. They may not always be as expensive as those who don't - but they really should be highly valued.