October 23, 2015

No professional register will take you? Just set up one of your own!

One of the arguments against regulation of psychotherapy is that if such titles as “counsellor” or “psychotherapist” are made protected titles, then those who are either struck off or were never registered to begin with will simply use other titles. “Life coach”, for example.

Parallels are sometimes drawn with other professions. Dietitians are regulated, but people get around regulation by calling themselves nutritionists. Likewise podiatrists and chiropodists have protected titles, but some people call themselves “foot health professionals”, and work unregulated. An example of someone using this to get around a striking-off order was shown to me by blog reader Patrick Killeen. It’s a tale that stinks worse than a nasty case of bromodosis.

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October 21, 2015

Camila Batmanghelidjh’s dubious psychotherapy credentials

We’re all familiar with the sorry tale of the collapse of Kids Company. While there’s been plenty of criticism of its founder Camila Batmanghelidjh, there’s one aspect of her story that hasn’t received much attention – her self-description as a psychotherapist.

In amongst all the drama from her appearance before a House of Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee, there’s an exchange which was noticed by Exeter counsellor James Banyard. He’s transcribed the conversation and posted it on his blog.

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October 1, 2015

BPC, BACP and UKCP announce new collaborative working

As I reported in July, the three biggest psychotherapy organisations in the UK – the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy and the British Psychoanalytic Council – have been moving towards a more collaborative approach.

They’ve now formally announced this, and an information video is online.

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September 28, 2015

New resources page

I’ve decided to compile a list of therapy abuse resources, which I’ve added to the website here. If anyone has any suggestions of resources to add, feel free to leave a comment below.

September 27, 2015

Cereal Killers, #FuckParade and why an easy target can sometimes be the wrong target

This blog has been a bit quiet lately, mainly thanks to my own laziness. I’ll get back on the job shortly, but in the meantime, let’s have one of my occasional off-topic rants. Don’t worry, it’s not about Eurovision this time.

Yesterday a movement, charmingly calling itself Fuck Parade (though I understand Class War are behind it) attacked the much-lampooned Cereal Killers Cafe in London, which is run by hipster twins. Because gentrification and housing prices and down with capitalism and something something stuff.

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September 1, 2015

British Psychoanalytic Council complaints procedure hit by legal challenge

In recent weeks I’ve heard reports from more than one source that the complaints procedure for the British Psychoanalytic Council has run into difficulty. Details were scant, but suggested that the procedure had faced legal challenges from BPC registrants. There were also reports that this was causing a delay in hearing complaints.

I decided to email the BPC and ask them.

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August 29, 2015

Cheer up goth: Some thoughts on the Lancet study linking goth culture to depression

Over the past week a study in the Lancet Psychiatry has caused some headlines. The authors published a longitudinal study showing that people who identify as goths are more likely to score highly for depression and/or self-harm. Having had a few days to ponder over this, here’s some thoughts from me about the paper.

Declaration of interests: several years in my early 20s hanging out in dodgy rock clubs, dressed in black and plastered in eye shadow.

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July 30, 2015

Struck-off psychotherapist makes clumsy attempt to gag social media

Former UKCP psychotherapist Ray Holland has been no stranger to this blog. You may remember him from such blog posts as, “Being struck off for serious sexual misconduct with a vulnerable client.” You may also remember him from, “Changing his name to Ray Bott-Holland, signing up with various impressive-sounding but non-accredited organisations, and carrying on practising.” And let’s not forget his mini-viral Internet sensation, “Phil Doré, I’m going to sue you if you don’t take down your blog posts.”

After I broadcast his spurious legal threats across half of Twitter, I never heard from him again. Until today.

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July 19, 2015

Therapist who left client “crying daily and not sleeping” struck off

Two months ago I wrote about Linda Bretherton, who had been disciplined by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She had reportedly conducted a therapy session with a traumatised client who was physically held and subjected to “loud breathing exercises”. The client was re-traumatised by this session, and in a separate hearing with a UKCP therapist, was described as “crying daily and not sleeping.” Bretherton was not struck off, but was ordered to write a reflection on what she had learned from the experience.

This lead to an online exchange in which I noticed that Bretherton had responded to the BACP outcome by publishing the client’s name on Facebook (subsequently removed) – a serious breach of confidentiality. Bretherton is now talking again on Facebook about the case, and states she has been struck off. From her online comments, it looks like she’s dug herself such a massive hole that no other outcome could have been possible.

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July 15, 2015

Outrage at failure to prosecute sex abuse of mentally ill woman

In 2013 I reported on the case of Geoffrey Pick, a psychotherapist who was found to have committed serious sexual misconduct with a mentally ill client. The allegations were found proven by the Arbours Association of Psychotherapists, a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and he was dismissed from his NHS post. Disgracefully, Arbours gave him a one-year suspension instead of a striking off, and then he was allowed to re-register as a psychotherapist. He subsequently resigned his registration after being contacted by a broadsheet journalist. The UKCP has since changed its rules so that member organisations are no longer allowed to investigate complaints themselves. All complaints now have to go through a centralised Complaints and Conduct Process.

I’ve since been told that a criminal prosecution of Mr Pick has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, for reasons that seem both shocking and farcical.

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