January 31, 2015

My not-so-secret Eurovision guilty pleasure

Over the past couple of months some of you may have had a shock. Tuning into my Twitter account expecting some highbrow insights on psychotherapy, or politics, or mental health….and instead discovering I was livetweeting the Albanian or Maltese selections for the Eurovision Song Contest.

What can I say? Everybody needs a guilty pleasure.

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January 29, 2015

High Court upgrades McCarron case to a striking-off

In June 2014 I was alarmed to hear that the Health and Care Professions Council had declined to strike off a clinical psychologist who had committed serious sexual misconduct with someone who had recently been in therapy with him. Despite John McCarron not even turning up to the hearing, he was issued with a one-year suspension instead.

The Professional Standards Authority subsequently appealed the decision to the High Court. Today I’m pleased to hear that the High Court has upheld the appeal (see page 6) and ordered that McCarron be struck off. Continue reading

January 25, 2015

#GreenSurge and the “UKIP of the Left”

Back in November I blogged about my increasing reluctance to hold my nose and vote Labour in May. A couple of weeks I made my decision and signed up for the Green Party, becoming one of the Green Surge that we’re all talking so much about. Then this morning I saw the party leader, Natalie Bennett, fielding questions from Andrew Neil on BBC Sunday Politics.

How did she hold up against Neil’s probing? Frankly, risibly.

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January 14, 2015

New memorandum of understanding on gay “conversion” therapies

A number of key bodies in mental health and psychotherapy have brought out a joint statement condemning so-called “conversion therapies” or “reparative therapies” which aim to turn gay people straight. The memorandum of understanding is signed by, among others, the Department of Health, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Continue reading

January 8, 2015

Book Review: Sex in the Forbidden Zone by Peter Rutter

Having blogged about therapy abuse for several years, I recently made the decision to start work on a book on the topic. For that reason I’ve begun reading through the published literature, which isn’t as large as one might think. I have to thank Amanda Williamson (who has personal experience of therapy abuse) for pointing me in the direction of one of the seminal texts – Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power – Therapists, Doctors, Clergy, Teachers and Others – Betray Women’s Trust, by Peter Rutter. As well as this review, you can also read Amanda’s own review here.

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December 17, 2014

The Daily Mail’s xenophobia against overseas nurses

Thanks to Tim Fenton for (a) pointing out the Daily Mail stoking bigotry against nurses who come from overseas to work in the NHS and (b) providing a link I could use that won’t boost their online advertising. Today’s Fail front page screams, “4 IN 5 NEW NURSES ON NHS WARDS ARE FOREIGN”. Filthy foreigners, coming over here, healing sick people.

As is usually the case with such Mail headlines, the report is a mix of empty assertions, half-truths and dogwhistle politics that stoke up racism.

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December 12, 2014

I get a legal threat from a struck-off psychotherapist

Previously I commented on the case of Ray Holland, a psychotherapist who was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. Mr Holland denies the allegations despite the striking-off, and has returned to psychotherapy practice. This week I noticed that he had put up a new business website, changing his name to Ray Bott-Holland.

Today, I received two e-mails from Holland (or Bott-Holland, or whatever he’ll be calling himself next week) threatening to sue me if I don’t remove all his details from my blog.

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December 9, 2014

Struck-off psychotherapist rebrands himself

In July 2014 Raymond Holland was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, over allegations of serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. They also allege that he “threatened Ms [Redacted] in order to prevent her from reporting the matter.” The panel found he “gave no indication at all that he had learned by his experiences or that he showed any insight into his behaviour.”

In September I noticed that he appeared to be still practising. His website was up, and he turned up in the comments thread of my blog post to confirm that he did indeed plan to continue despite his striking-off. Since then his website has gone down. But now a new website has gone up. For a Ray Bott-Holland.

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November 30, 2014

New book project on abuse in counselling and psychotherapy

As the material on this blog has grown, I’ve started giving attention to something I’ve been idly considering for quite some time. I’m now writing a book on the topic of therapy abuse. I think it’s an important and difficult topic, and one that isn’t written about enough.

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November 21, 2014

Myleene Klass, Emily Thornberry and why I’m increasingly considering voting Green

I’m an instinctive Labour voter, though by no means a tribal one. I support greater social justice, less inequality and strong public services. Even so, I’m finding it harder and harder to support Labour these days.

Two incidents have left me finding it harder to support Ed Miliband at the moment – his debate with Myleene Klass and the row over Emily Thornberry’s tweet. On neither of these though, am I disappointed in these for the reasons being trotted out by the tabloid media.

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