Author Archive

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.

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.

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.

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.

July 7, 2015

Psychotherapy bodies moving towards greater cooperation

Recently the main psychotherapy organisations, particularly the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and the British Psychoanalytic Council, seem to be moving towards speaking with one voice. A good example of this is the recent Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK. The various bodies came together to denounce attempts to change people’s sexual orientation as unethical and harmful. I understand that moves are also underway to take a similar position on therapies to convert transgender people to being cisgender.

I wondered if this is the start of a trend, and both the BACP and BPC have confirmed that this is the case.

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July 3, 2015

Struck off as a psychotherapist, but still practising. Charles Davison responds

Yesterday I broke the story that a psychotherapist had been struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, but had simply carried on practising after being removed from the register. Unfortunately this is legal because “psychotherapist” is not a protected title.

I’ve had a response from Charles Davison, the psychotherapist in question. Frankly, I’m not very impressed by it.

July 2, 2015

Another therapist carries on practising after being struck off for sexual misconduct

There seems to be a running theme on this blog of psychotherapists on accredited registers who are struck off by their professional body, and simply carry on practising regardless.

Here’s another one. Charles Davison, a Norfolk-based therapist was recently struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy. The UKCP decision posted online isn’t very detailed. However, it does state that he was removed from their register for sexual misconduct. They also state that he had “an unclear and inadequately understood sense of professionalism and especially clinical boundaries.” They determined that he “lacks insight into his conduct and is not satisfied that he recognizes the seriousness of the failings in his actions,” and that it was “not a one-off situation, but rather a course of conduct that should have been identified well in advance.” They were also “concerned about his own lack of honesty in not disclosing his behaviour to his own supervisor.”

July 2, 2015

British Psychoanalytic Council to review its complaints procedures

Thanks to Client1588 in the comments threads for pointing out to me an interesting page that appeared on the website of the British Psychoanalytic Council. The page suggests that they’re revising their complaints procedures, and this is due to BPC registrants taking legal action in response to the way complaints were handled.

June 13, 2015

On Therapy as Social Control

I was reading an interesting article in the Medical Humanities journal, about use of psychological therapies to “help” unemployed people find work. The article, rightly in my view, points out that such therapies are on very dubious ethical ground.

There’s a view out there, which I think is utterly erroneous, that therapy and psychiatry can act as a remedy for all sorts of social ills. Give everyone enough CBT and fluoxetine, so the idea goes, and poverty, social inequality, abuse, bad housing etc will simply cease to be a problem. Does it work? Of course it doesn’t.

June 2, 2015

Radio 4 on Satanic Ritual Abuse

Thanks to Jo D Baker for pointing out this excellent two-part Radio 4 series on so-called satanic ritual abuse. Presenter David Aaronovitch describes how various professionals have made lurid claims about supposed rings of Satanists abusing and murdering children. Some of these claims were utterly bizarre: babies being conceived for sacrifice, ritual altars, organised conspiracies dedicated to Satan. If that sounds implausible, there’s a simple reason for that: the claims were cobblers.

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