April 29, 2015

Are some accredited counsellors more accredited than others?

There’s been a lively debate on the comments thread to a blog post I did back in September 2014. I’d written about Chrysalis Courses, a counselling training provider which had been struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Chrysalis continues to be registered with the National Counselling Society, which has become an Accredited Register with the Professional Standards Authority. Some of those leaving comments seem to be former students, unhappy with the quality of training they received. Others have raised criticisms what they perceively to be an excessively-close relationship between Chrysalis and the National Counselling Society.

Both the National Counselling Society and British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy have routes to become accredited counsellors. But what does the word “accredited” actually mean, and does it necessarily mean the same thing between different registers? Continue reading

April 6, 2015

How not to do trauma therapy: A tale of two misconduct hearings

I must be spending too much time reading the various hearing outcomes on the UKCP and BACP websites. A year ago I posted about the case of Sue Clancy, where a client had been left traumatised in a therapy session gone badly wrong. I criticised the outcome, because despite finding that Clancy had committed misconduct and harmed the client, the UKCP declined to issue a sanction. Not even a warning.

Earlier this week, another sanction notice went up, this time on the BACP website. There were a lot of similarities between this case and Clancy’s, which seemed seemed to suggest it was the same incident. It gives more information about what has happened here, and it’s a disturbing tale.

Continue reading

March 22, 2015

On Kanye West, Glastonbury and Online Petitions

In three months time I’ll be heading to the Glastonbury Festival, where I’ll be doing voluntary work with the Oxfam Stewards [n.b. I’m writing in a personal capacity here, not as a representative of the Oxfam Stewards.] As I write there’s an online petition demanding that Saturday headliner Kanye West be cancelled and replaced by a rock band. There’s 123,000 signatures on it. Given that 135,000 tickets have been sold for Glasto, at some point (probably in the next couple of days) more people will have signed the petition than are actually going.

This leaves open two possibilities. One is that in June the population of Worthy Farm will be Kanye, me and some cows. The other is that a lot of the people signing had no intention of going in the first place.

Continue reading

March 16, 2015

2015 – The Year Punk Broke at the Eurovision

Apologies to those of you who’ve had your Twitter timelines clogged up with me livetweeting the various national selections for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The good news for you is that all the entries have now been announced (with the exception of Montenegro, who for some reason are waiting until next weekend to unveil their act).

Watching all these shows has been at times fun, at times exhausting. I’ve seen some great entertainment, and also some rubbish along the way. Having gone through this process, I’m now going to reveal my top ten acts that you’ll be seeing perform at Vienna in a couple of months. Naturally, these are my own subjective opinions, so feel free to disregard them as worthless.

Continue reading

March 16, 2015

UKCP to “develop its position” on transgender conversion therapy

Following yesterdays blog post about so-called “conversion therapy” which aims to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity, the UK Council for Psychotherapy have alerted me to a statement on the issue. The UKCP is already a co-signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding which condemns therapies to turn gay people straight as unethical, ineffective and harmful. However, the Memorandum currently makes no mention of similar therapies that aim to convert transgender people back to their birth gender.

I’m happy to hear that the UKCP are looking to expand the memorandum to also include trans conversion therapy.

Continue reading

March 15, 2015

It’s right to condemn gay conversion therapy, but we need to do the same for trans conversion “therapy”.

A number of key bodies in mental health recently signed up to a memorandum of understanding on so-called conversion or reparative therapies, which aim to turn gay people straight. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK Council for Psychotherapy, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and the Department of Health all (rightly, in my view) condemned such “therapy” as unethical and harmful. They do nothing to “convert” people who don’t need converting, and only serve to deepen human misery and potentially drive people to suicide.

I fully support this memorandum, but it needs to go further. It should be expanded to also condemn therapies aimed at converting transgender people back to their birth gender.

Continue reading

March 9, 2015

On the Eurovision Song Contest and Disability

I’m sure some of my regular blog readers are rolling their eyes and skimming past whenever I go off-topic to talk about the Eurovision. It’s something that outside of May tends to be feel (in the UK anyway) like a bit of a niche interest. Which is odd given that it’s the biggest musical event in the world. Personally I enjoy following it because of the way an ostensibly-silly show has a habit of highlighting all kinds of interesting topics.

Last year’s contest highlighted the issue of gender identity, with bearded drag act Conchita Wurst taking the prize. This year, 3 of the acts have physical or intellectual disabilities. This leaves me wondering whether 2015 will do for disability what 2014 did for gender.

Continue reading

March 8, 2015

TV Review: #BeingBipolar

I just had a chance to catch up on 4OD today with the Channel 4 documentary Being Bipolar. I wasn’t watching it when it was first screened on Channel 4 earlier this week, but it’s sparked off quite a few reactions on social media, most of them negative. Charlotte Walker and Laurie Hastie have both written negative reviews of the show on the Mind blog. Meanwhile Henrietta Ross has given a more mixed review at Madness Matters. Given these responses, I decided to see for myself and watch the show.

Continue reading

February 15, 2015

The punk band with learning disabilities competing to represent #Finland at the #Eurovision

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been going a bit off-topic recently on this blog, talking about my guilty-pleasure Eurovision hobby. As it happens, there’s a development which neatly juxtaposes this with my professional interest in health and social care.

In a fortnight’s time, Finland will pick their Eurovision entry. In the running is a punk band called Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät (which means Pertti Kurikan’s Name Day). They all either have Down’s Syndrome or are on the autistic spectrum.

Continue reading

February 11, 2015

Praise the Lordi! Further Adventures of My #Eurovision Guilty Pleasure

It’s time for you all to roll your eyes again as I present a follow-up to my previous post about the Eurovision Song Contest. I have no doubt that in recent weeks my Twitter followers have been scrambling for the mute button as I livetweeted various national selections around Europe.

Time to reflect a little on what’s been learned so far. Continue reading


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