The following statement has been issued to various agencies in the Exeter area, warning them about Palace Gate Counselling Service, who were struck off by the BACP last month. It is signed by 27 counsellors and psychotherapists, including 11 supervisors. I think it says something about the service that so many of their fellow professionals feel compelled to raise the alarm. Unfortunately it probably also says something about the lack of statutory authority behind accredited voluntary registration that it’s relying on people taking the initiative in order to raise these concerns.
Findings by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy May 2014:
PHOENIX COUNSELLING SERVICES: SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT
Phoenix Counselling Services, the company who continue to run Palace Gate Counselling in Exeter, have now been twice struck off the register of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.(BACP) Two women made separate complaints about touch and nudity in therapy sessions in 2012 and this has been judged in hearings last month (May 2014) to be “serious professional misconduct”.
We below are local counsellors and members of the BACP or the UKCP who wish to inform referring agencies in order to protect clients and our profession’s reputation.
The Panel at the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure found that the Phoenix Director at Palace Gate took “emotional advantage .. of a sexual nature”, used the “power imbalance” and “abused the trust put in him”.
The Panel found that the Co-Director at Palace Gate sent “threatening emails”, “exacerbated that harm”, was “aggressive and accusatory” and breached client confidentiality on a public blog.
The Director is Mr John Clapham and the Co-Director is Ms Lindsey Talbott (nee Mitchell). He is also a director at Taunton Counselling Service and both of them are directors at Simply Counselling in Plymouth. They also manage, train and supervise counsellors.
In summary the BACP Professional Conduct Panel found that the company were in breach of no less than thirty aspects of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (11 in one case and 19 in the other). This meant the panel judged that they had been, amongst other things and at various times, unwise, unfair, untrustworthy, unjust, incompetent and harmfully malicious. (The complete BACP findings are at: http://www.bacp.co.uk/prof_conduct/notices/termination.php)
We are aware that many counsellors at Palace Gate Counselling in Exeter, Taunton Counselling Service and Simply Counselling have provided a good service. Given the BACP findings we are now extremely concerned about practice, particularly at Palace Gate, and we believe there are worrying implications wherever Clapham and Talbott/Mitchell are directors.