This weekend I published the findings of a fitness to practice hearing for a Jungian analyst with the UK Council for Psychotherapy. It took three and a half years to find seven allegations proven, but not to apply any sanction. The UKCP is planning to replace its current “two-tier” complaints system, where people complain first to the therapist’s member organisation, and then UKCP hears appeals if the complaint is successful. Under the new system, there will be a single Central Complaints Process (CCP) which all the member organisations will be expected to sign up to.
The analyst, a Mr John Smalley, is registered with a UKCP member organisation, the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. A complaint was initially made to them, and they found no case to answer, which prompted an appeal to the UKCP. IGAP’s decision was found to be “perverse and incorrect”, and the complaint was sent to the new CCP.
I decided to ask IGAP their views on the case, and got some terse and unhelpful replies before they stopped replying altogether. Arguably these e-mails show a distinct lack of transparency on the part of some psychotherapy organisations, and possibly a lack of communication between the UKCP and their members organisation.
On 18th May, I sent them the following e-mail:
To the person responsible for handling press queries
My name is Zarathustra. I am a blogger who writes for the Not So Big Society at https://notsobigsociety.wordpress.com. In particular I write about the regulation of psychotherapy.
I understand that an IGAP/UKCP psychotherapist, John Smalley, was recently the subject of a UKCP fitness to practice hearing, and the result was that four allegations were found proven, but no sanctions were applied.
IGAP originally found that there was no case to answer against Mr Smalley., but this decision was found to be “perverse and incorrect” by the UKCP Central Final Appeals Panel. Does IGAP stand by its previous findings?
Are you satisfied with the manner that the UKCP conducted the hearings? I understand that it took two years for them to resolve the issue. Do you consider this to be a timely response?
Do you still have confidence in Mr Smalley’s fitness to practise?
Does IGAP intend to sign up to the UKCP’s Central Complaints Procedure?
The outgoing UKCP chair recently stated, “There has been too much crony-ism and amateurism in the conduct of complaints for far too long.” Do you agree or disagree with this comment?
The deadline for the article I am writing is Friday 25th May.
On the 22nd May, I got the following reply.
In response to your queries we have to state that IGAP’s ethical obligations about confidentiality prevent us from giving information beyond publicising the outcome of a hearing where there has been a breach of our Code of Ethics and Practice.
In the case you mention we confirm that IGAP found no case to answer. We cannot confirm the statements you made referring to UKCP.
IGAP Ethics Committee
Not a very detailed response, I have to say. I decided to press them for more detail.
Thank you for your response.
I couldn’t actually find those hearing outcomes where there has been a breach of the Code of Ethics. Where do you publicise them? How many such outcomes have you published in the past?
Has IGAP yet made a decision as to whether to sign up to the UKCP Central Complaints Process?
I still haven’t found anywhere that lists hearing outcomes for breaches of the IGAP Code of Ethics. As far as I can take, they’re not listed anywhere on their website. For that matter, the website doesn’t even seem to display their Code of Ethics. It doesn’t even say how to make a complaint. For comparison purposes, here’s the very extensive Professional Conduct pages for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, with their Ethical Framework here, outcomes published here and an online complaint form here.
Anyway, on the 25th May, I got this reply from IGAP.
Nothing is publicised where there has been no breach of the Code of Ethics.
IGAP has had no further information from UKCP in the case you refer to.
IGAP Ethics Committee
Well, that really didn’t answer my question. Though I find it very interesting that UKCP found seven allegations proven against an IGAP-registered therapist, but IGAP appear to be suggesting that UKCP haven’t told them that! Or have I read that wrong?
I sent them another e-mail.
Thank you for your information.
In such cases where there has been a breach of the Code of Ethics, where are they publicised? How many such cases have there been?
Does IGAP intend to sign up to the Central Complaints Process?
So far, no response to this e-mail. [Edited to add: I’ve since had a further reply from IGAP. The discussion continues here.]
This shows the lack of transparency of some UKCP member organisations. I still don’t know where they publish outcomes of breaches of ethics, or what their Code of Ethics even is, for that matter. I don’t know whether they plan to sign up the Central Complaints Process. But I just can’t get over their claim that they’ve “had no further information from UKCP” regarding the case.