On this blog, I’ve highlighted the need for statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy. This is demonstrated by cases such as Palace Gate, where a counselling firm was struck off by the BACP due to 30 proven allegations, but has no legal impediment to stay in business. And indeed, still is in business.
What I haven’t talked about so much is what kind of regulation might work. Time to muster some thoughts.
In August 2014 the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy withdrew the membership of Chrysalis Courses Ltd, which provided training in counselling and hypnotherapy. Allegations were upheld over failure to provide appropriate feedback to coursework, and the company was heavily criticised for failing to respond to the allegations or to engage with the complaints process. According to the BACP the company was dissolved in May 2014.
However, there’s still a website up and running for Chrysalis Courses, advertising training in counselling and hypnotherapy. So what’s going on here?
The UK Council for Psychotherapy recently struck off Raymond Spencer Holland for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client.” They allege he “threatened [the client] in order to prevent her from reporting the matter” and “spoke with the absence of empathy towards [the client] whom he said he believed was ‘a fantasist’.” The UKCP found that he showed no remorse or insight into his actions.
But is he still practising? Web searches suggest he may well be.
Following the godawful decision by the UK Council for Psychotherapy to impose a 6 month suspension for serious sexual misconduct (after which the therapist was allowed to re-register), there’s been another hearing outcome, again involving serious sexual misconduct. This time however, the registrant has been struck off.
Obviously, that represents an improvement on the terrible decision-making in the Rob Waygood case. But does it mean that the UKCP’s complaints process is becoming more robust? Personally, I’m not convinced.
I’ve regularly covered the saga around John Clapham and Lindsey Talbott, the two Devon counsellors struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for 30 proven allegations, including serious sexual misconduct by Clapham. They’re still in the counselling business, despite being booted out of the BACP and shamed in the Mail on Sunday.
Talbott has always taken a “stand by your man” approach to Clapham, sending threatening e-mails to the complainants and making online threats to sue them under Britain’s much-misused libel laws. Since then she’s been posting online again. Naturally, her latest burblings show every bit as much insight, reflection and remorse as she’s shown all along. None at all.