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.

First, some relevant details from the UKCP Panel Decision for Sue Clancy. It’s not very detailed as to what happened, but if gives various snippets. It states that, “After being approached by the Complainant to work with her through intensive therapy with LH, the Registrant approached LB to work with the Registrant, herself, LH and the Complainant in an intensive setting when this may not have been appropriate.” It is then alleged that, “Despite the clear distress experienced by the Complainant, the Registrant participated in loud breathing exercises under the instruction of LB whilst the Complainant was held down.” Though it seems that later in the hearings, it was decided that “held” was a more appropriate description what happened than “held down.” This allegedly left the complainant “crying daily and not sleeping.” As a side issue, there’s a reference in the decision to Clancy saying, “I do not need to know your story for this kind of therapy to work….”

The UKCP decision doesn’t identify the other two therapists involved beyond the initials LB and LH, However, the BACP have just issued a decision for a Linda Bretherton. Compare the allegations from the BACP’s notice to those details in the UKCP decision. I’ve emboldened a few phrases to show where they tally with the UKCP details.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that the Complainant, allegedly as a result of her therapist taking her work with the Complainant for supervision to Ms Bretherton, then was invited to see Ms Bretherton for two three-hour sessions in February and March 2013.

In the first session, where Ms Bretherton was assisted by the Complainant’s therapist and one other therapist, the Complainant alleged that she was physically held by Ms Bretherton, whom it is alleged kept calling the Complainant ‘sweetheart’ and ‘darling’. The Complainant allegedly told Ms Bretherton that she found such loving remarks too much to handle. Ms Bretherton allegedly then asked the second therapist to look into the Complainant’s eyes and show love and compassion, an action which the Complainant states she found extremely difficult. Ms Bretherton allegedly offered the Complainant for all three therapists to bathe the Complainant in another session, an invitation which the Complainant refused. At the second session the Complainant was allegedly kept waiting. In the course of that session Ms Bretherton allegedly made loud breathing noises in close proximity to the Complainant and encouraged the other therapists to make similar sounds, which the Complainant stated made her writhe and shake, since the noises reminded her of the abuse that she had suffered when younger. Ms Bretherton allegedly used the Emotional Freedom Technique, consisting of tapping the Complainant’s face, which again caused her to writhe. The Complainant alleged that Ms Bretherton had not made any effort to take her history as she alluded to incidents of abuse in the Complainant’s past that had not occurred.

Three weeks after these two sessions, the Complainant stated that she suffered from physical effects, which included shock, shame and anxiety, she was crying every day, had nightmares and felt sick. The Complainant stated that as a result of being subjected to a therapy which she considered to be wild, unorthodox and re-traumatising, she experienced what had happened to her in the sessions as extremely damaging, repeating the effects of the abuse she had experienced when younger.

In addition to this, the complainant alleges that she felt pressured by emails from Bretherton to attend a “shamanic weekend” where her own therapist would also be present – the “intensive setting when this may not have been appropriate” from the UKCP decision?

Looks to me like these two decisions are for the same incident.

It’s important to say that not all the allegations against Bretherton were found proved by the BACP. Bretherton denied making loving comments to the complainant when holding her, or inferring facts from her history which were not true. These seem to have come down to a case of one person’s word against another, and as a result those allegations were not upheld.

However, the BACP did uphold 8 allegations against Bretherton. Much of these seem to have come down to dual relationships, with Bretherton acting as supervisor to the complainant’s therapists and also as a co-therapist. These kinds of blurring of roles are generally considered inappropriate in therapy, as it can have unintended consequences. The BACP also found that Bretherton unduly pressured the complainant to attend the shamanic weekend.

Following this, the BACP ordered Bretherton to submit a report detailing her reflections on the incident. As with Clancy she seems to have gotten off light, although her name no longer appears on the BACP register.

I emailed Clancy and Bretherton to ask if the two decisions were for the same case. So far I haven’t had a reply from Clancy, but Bretherton sent me the following email.

You might forgive me for being cautious in my response to you, having read your comments regarding Sue Clancy’s case.

I appreciate that you do not have the full details regarding the case and therefore your comments do not allow for the possibility that some people may actually say things that are absolutely untrue.

This past 2 years have been traumatic to say the least and it does not end there, now with a claim for damages and recently the complainant has warned me not to post true facts on my Facebook page about what actually happened.

The truth that is conclusive is that the complainant was happy with her TWO sessions and wanted to continue our work together, as she had benefited from them. These are her words in an email to myself.

I am currently seeking advice regarding the contents of libel, and when I am clear about this I will be ensuring that the full contents and details of the complainants case are fully published.

I resigned from the BACP in 2014 because I had decided to reduce my practice and spend more time teaching.

Unfortunately almost at the same time I foolishly offered to help two friends who asked me to provide some alternatives to what they were experienced in, to help the complainant.

I intend to be as clear and as transparent as I am able to be, under these circumstances and would be happy to meet/speak openly , should you be willing to see a different perspective on this case.

As I have said at the tribunal , I am clear that there were some boundary protocols that I could have done better, however I have absolutely no shame or guilt in the quality and content of the sessions with the complainant.

The BACP findings show that they upheld issues relating to these boundary and dual relationship issues, nothing was up held on the accusations that the complainant states about what happened in the TWO sessions.

Someone of reasonable thinking would wonder why the complainant came back after a 6 week break and then emailed requesting further sessions.

I can assure you that this case has far more complicated background issues that are not seen nor understood.

Should you wish to discuss this further, let me know.

My Facebook page is Linda Bretherton MA where you may, should you choose, read my posts.

I had a few thoughts on reading her email. The first of which was, “She posted on her Facebook about what happened?” As a nurse, I know exactly what would happen if I talked about my patients on Facebook, because my employers and the Nursing and Midwifery Council have told me in no uncertain terms.

Also, quitting the BACP in 2014 to “spend more time teaching”? Given that a misconduct hearing was underway at the time, that sounds rather like MPs who quit Parliament “to spend more time with my family” right around the time they’re embroiled in an expenses scandal. As for, “Unfortunately almost at the same time I foolishly offered to help two friends who asked me to provide some alternatives to what they were experienced in, to help the complainant.” Almost at the same time? Even though by her own admission this case has been ongoing for two years?

I had a look at her Facebook page, as well as her business page for what she calls PsychoVeda, a blend of psychotherapy and Ayurvedic mysticism. She posts a lot of New Agey content on both pages. I’ve since had another email from Bretherton in which she states she’s going to publish details of the case online, and that she has no intention of undertaking the BACP sanctions.

Mostly what stuns me about this case is the sheer level of ignorance about how to handle trauma issues in therapy. Psychotherapy for post-abuse trauma is by no means risk-free, and if you do it badly you run a significant risk of doing more harm than good. If a trauma is disclosed, you approach it slowly and carefully, and only at a pace that the client is ready and able to go at. If the client isn’t ready to face a past trauma, you leave that trauma well alone. As for placing your hands on someone who has post-abuse issues, the risks there should be obvious.

I’m also observing something else about this case. The complainant reports feeling emotionally blackmailed into attending a shamanic workshop due to expressions of love from Bretherton. If you’re love-bombing people into joining something with mystical features and a lax approach to boundaries, you have to consider whether what you’re running is a therapy group or a cult.

If, as Bretherton says, she’s being sued by the complainant, I really wouldn’t want to be in her shoes if it goes to court. She might want to settle that case quickly before she gets taken to the cleaners.

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35 thoughts on “How not to do trauma therapy: A tale of two misconduct hearings

  1. Clearly many of the allegations were not upheld but I appreciate that when it is only the client’s word against the therapist this does make it difficult for the BACP to uphold. And there we have it, a clear position of power for therapists. It is for this reason that the findings against Palace Gate Counselling Service regarding the behaviour of it’s directors John Clapham and Lindsey Talbott, were so particularly damning but then the BACP panel did hear statements from several other women who had had similar experiences with Clapham but could not face going through the Professional Conduct procedure. So his prolificness of abuse weirdly worked in my favour.

    That case aside, what I notice in the response from Linda Bretherton is a lack of empathy regarding the impact on the client. That rings a bell. Expressing regret at the client’s experience of the therapy is not an ‘admission of guilt’ and failing to address their experience at all is a travesty of everything the profession should be about, in denying or ignoring the client’s experience. Of course there may be different interpretations of the same session but (I’m assuming) unwittingly retraumatising a client is a risk and one that we as professionals should accept responsibility for if we are to deal with trauma work.

    I cannot imagine why the complainant would make up these experiences let alone elect to go through the gruelling and expensive BACP complaints process. What on earth is her motive? The Palace Gate directors came up with a whole load of utter guff regarding my so-called motives which were in reality, as with so many complainants in therapy abuse cases, a sense of responsibility that other clients don’t have to endure the same. During the hearing when I was sobbing and feeling so ashamed of how much trust I put in what turned about to be a clearly abusive man, there was zero empathy again from the members complained against – so-called therapists. A complete denial of my experience. Surely this is the antithesis of therapy?

    From a personal perspective I can say that as a complainant I would have been satisfied with an apology and acknowledgement that my therapist had been way out of line, with an assurance that he would not put other clients through the same. As it happens, him not apologising, and my then incurring his considerable wrath aka 2 yrs of hell, as well as the wrath of a minion in his thrall (his employee, best friend and client), told me all I needed to know about the toxicity involved. Turns out there were 7 other women with similar experiences with the same therapist (that I know of).

    It’s not therapists making mistakes that’s the issue, it’s how they handle mistakes. And therapists having no awareness of the position of power they hold over clients are a danger to individuals and to the profession. Linda Bretherton’s response appears to show zero in the way of awareness of that position of power.

    Sorry if this meanders Z, I am just reminded that PG is not an isolated incident, which is why, such is the human condition, we need regulation rather than this free-for-all.

  2. Therapy to address trauma is such a terrifying and daunting process. Trust in the therapist and their approach is paramount. My recent experience of meeting a trauma counsellor on the recommendation of the counsellor saw at uni and I’ve been seeing again privately for almost a year confirmed that.

    While the new counsellor was in no way abusive, she pushed me into feeling the feelings/remembering trauma in the first session. When I had very clearly expressed that doing so feels unsafe (increases my risk of suicide attempt). This meant that I felt I couldn’t trust her to keep me safe and so shut down. Believing that if I couldn’t open up and engage with this therapy, then this was the end of the road for me. This idea in itself made me cry because it felt like a death sentence, I felt that the darkness had won and while I’d be hurting and letting everyone I love down (reason for the tears) it would be better for everyone long term if I wasn’t here anymore.
    The experience made me feel incredibly unsafe and led to self harming to remain in control.

    I am lucky to be able to return to seeing the long term private counsellor who had referred me. Someone I do trust and believe in her approach (it’s taken almost 2 years to reach that point), I was never going to get to that place of safety in a first session. While I know that it’s not my counsellor’s specialism and we’ve had to contract that if things reach a place where we’re both out of our depth, she will call in other help even if I’m scared of what that might mean.
    Having also experienced being “dropped” by a counsellor at one of my most vulnerable times too, learning to trust is even harder.

    As someone who runs therapeutic groups for children & young people I am mindful of the fact that parents, children and young people trust me and share things they might never share with another. I’m in such a privileged position but also one of responsibility too. I would be glad to be regulated to ensure proper accountability and quality across the board.

  3. I have, today, received the findings of the BACP panel regarding my complaint against my former therapist. Given that it is such a horrendously difficult process to go through, with so many hurdles to jump through that a person without any or with limited education (or confidence) or of below average intelligence would certainly be forgiven for refusing to go through. In fact, the BACP do not accept complaints, do not even read them, unless they are formatted in the way they specify. It’s almost as if they don’t want to receive them! My therapist slept with a client whom I knew, then helped her (with his wife too) write a very hurtful email to me isolating her from me, and using his knowledge of me to help her anticipate and prepare for my response. He did many other things to manipulate and abuse me, but for me this was the thing I thought the BACP would be most interested in. Instead they found that although his wife’s written testimony was believed, it did not prove that he had broken my confidentiality in doing so (they were not interested in his having had a sexual relationship with a client of 18 months, who he moved into his home with his wife and then left his wife for and ultimately lost his job for!) so they left it with the verdict of: not upheld. So my question to you is: was it ethical for him to move a client into his home, have a sexual relatinoship with her, then help her cut me out of her life because I was challenging her about it by helping her, with his wife also, write her an email? His wife testified that she knew I was his client too. A better question is: what is the point in the BACP? Are they really just a protection racket for unethical counsellors? I am severely traumatised, hopeless and despairing by the whole process, having been made a fool of by the BACP, who summarised my complaint in the pre-hearing assessment panel and then held me to their precise wording in their summary, using my own words in my verbal testimony to disprove my written complaint. How are clients supposed to fight this? Why should anybody trust a counsellor?

    • Hello Anne. There is a lot of material in your comment but what comes through is that you feel that you haven’t been treated fairly. I have a lot of confidence in the guy that runs this blog. Please take a few moments to look at the about section where you’ll find his contact details. If you haven’t already spoken to him please do so. What comes out of this – repeatedly – is that if therapists have been naughty they have usually done it before and given the chance they’ll do it again. You’re certainly right about the BACP, they’ll licence any old rubbish and then walk away when a problem appears. Good luck, my love.

    • Hello Anne

      The BACP’s register is accredited by the Profession Standards Authority (PSA), which is an independent statutory body that oversees the BACP’s register and complaints procedures and makes sure that it adheres to its standards. The two standards that are relevant here are:

      2. Be committed to protecting the public
      11. Manage complaints fairly and effectively

      In answer to your question “What is the BACP for?” The BACP as a whole is there to raise the standards of counselling and psychotherapy and to educate the public about it. The BACP register and its complaints procedure are there to protect the public, and if it is failing to do that then it’s something that the PSA need to be informed about.

      If you think that the BACP hasn’t met the PSA’s standards then you can contact the PSA at:
      accreditationteam@professionalstandards.org.uk

      Here’s the PSA’s page about it:
      http://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/accredited-registers/sharing-centre/share-your-concerns

      The PSA has the power to strip the BACP’s register of its Accredited Register status if they find that it doesn’t meet their standards.

  4. Having read your blog and reading the insinuations contained within it, I felt that I could no longer sit on the sidelines without countering some of your statements.

    I have no doubt that the complainant has suffered as a result of this case, but not in my opinion as a result of the therapy! After her second session she was bristling with excitement and wanting to do more – something changed. There was another critical incident involving the complainant and her therapist that I believe was the catalyst for this whole sorry affair. This occurred about 3 weeks after the complainant’s second session, when she alleged the physical effects began, coincidence, I think not! There are many things sat behind this case and I appreciate that usually you only have the shadowy details that eventually get published with which to make your judgements, but in this instance you were offered the opportunity to find out more. It would appear that you have chosen not to bother. In Linda’s email to you she quite clearly states that there are “far more complicated background issues that are not seen or understood” – you have chosen not to follow this up. Too easy I think to make sweeping simplistic summary statements and move on.

    However, I note that you have attempted to be balanced in your comments recognising that some of the allegations made against Linda were not upheld. These were in fact the ones relating to actions or words used by Linda, you refer to them as one person’s word against another’s – I think they were so wide of reality to be untrue and hence the reason the BACP didn’t uphold them. She also recognises and accepts that in hindsight she could have done better over some boundary issues.

    As you may have gathered I am an interested party in this – I’m Linda’s husband and I have witnessed at first hand the devastating effect this case has had on her. Her faith has been shattered and her health deteriorated by this affair. Sometimes it’s not only the complainant that suffers!

    • Speaking of boundary issues, I found a Facebook comment by Ms Bretherton where she not only makes denigrating comments about the complainant but actually names her. I won’t link to the comment as I don’t want to be party to a breach of confidentiality and/or defamation. Any thoughts on that?

      I know what would happen as a nurse if I named a patient on Facebook. I’d be sacked and struck off.

      • How on earth did you find that on facebook when Linda’s name has only just been published and the complainant’s name was removed a while ago on facebook??

      • Because there was a comment thread below a post in which Bretherton names the complainant. It was still there when I wrote this blog post.

        If, as you suggest, Bretherton has been removing the complainant’s name from Facebook, then she seems to have been sloppy in making sure all references to her name were removed.

        Naming a client on social media is an extremely serious breach of ethics.

  5. Can I just ask one vital questions here? Why would the complainant return for a second session if these things had happened? If your not comfortable with someone and it made you feel ill, why put yourself through another session? Clearly these accusations have been made for financial gain. Shocking behaviour is all I can say.

    • To give an analogy in a somewhat different context, it’s not at all unusual for people experiencing domestic violence to repeatedly return to their abuser. If the complainant went back for a second session, that really doesn’t disprove her allegations in any way.

      • If this is the case and the complainant was comfortable returning due to familiarity of previous abuse, why didn’t the complainant continue with the sessions and why make accusations against Linda? It’s all a lie. I believe this is for financial gain and the complainant has done this to other therapists.

    • There’s an inevitability known as the imbalance of power in the therapeutic relationship. With this, clients can be prone to thinking that something must be wrong with them if they have difficult feelings in therapy and can hide those feelings even from themselves. This can especially be the case when the therapist fulfils some
      kind of ‘guru’ role. The therapist’s fans may collude subconsciously to uphold the belief that the therapist can do no wrong.

      No, it is not clearly for financial gain at all. It makes sense when you have some understanding of cult dynamics. I’m not asserting that Linda Bretherton is running a cult but I am pointing out that the behaviour you describe is not indicative of a liar out for financial gain.
      Try reading ‘Captives Hearts, Captive Minds’ for some insight.

      • Linda has had 100’s of returning clients that she has helped over the years and is highly experienced in all psychotherapy. No one else has made a complaint against her so obviously this IS a financial gain in my eyes.

      • What financial gain? The BACP doesn’t award any compensation, and a lot of people I’ve spoken to who’ve gone down that route have wound up out of pocket due to the time and travel needed.

        As for suing, it’s by no means an easy money making scheme. It’s stressful, expensive, risky and the courts spot moneygrubbers a mile off. If I wanted to make some cash I’d open a shop, not sue someone.

      • A burglar doesn’t burgle other houses in the street. That’s not evidence that he didnt burgle my house!
        I was abused by a therapist who had 100’s of happy clients. How does this in any way negate my experience? By your ‘reasoning’ my experience couldn’t have happened. I find that shortsighted and although I’m sure you don’t intend this, highly offensive.

      • Yes Amanda, I do agree with you here about the power in the therapeutic relationship. I saw a Christian ‘counsellor’ who operated much like a cult leader or guru, albeit without the knowledge of the church he worked for, but even there I believe they are culpable for their naivity and ignorance. You simply should not set up a counselling service without knowing what counselling is and then giving the newly qualified counsellor carte blanche to do what he wanted in it. Who authors the book you recommended? I knew for a long time that ‘something was wrong’ but put it down to me. Even when I did have the courage to query him on this wrongness, he would scapegoat me or tell me to go see someone else because I didn’t have ‘what it took to make counselling work’, so I felt like a failure and determined to push through and work through my dysfunction, taking all the blame and giving him hero status. This was because he told me that I would learn about Jesus because of his own personal modelling. Then he slept with a client friend of mine and betrayed my confidentiality with her. He used his knowledge of me to re-enact the power dynamics that had taken me to counselling in the first place. It was horrendous. I find it hard to explain to people who have been raised to know their own power and use it, but that wasn’t the case for me, and I went to my counsellor for help to overcome trauma, and he traumatised me further. It’s not the end of my story and I’m not going to let him have the full stop in it, but people who don’t know what this is like really shouldn’t be making assumptions about motive and financial gain. It is traumatic submitting a complaint, thereby reliving the pain, let alone the rest of the process.

    • This comment displays an absolutely appalling ignorance of how trauma affects people, and of how the power dynamics and imbalance in therapy can impact on their perceptions and behaviour.

  6. Pingback: How not to do trauma therapy 2: Mere negligence, or a therapy cult? | The Not So Big Society

  7. As a therapist myself I have seen first hand the arrogance and narcissism of so many tutors, therapists and supervisors. I am not referring to this case but my own experience as a therapist, a trainee, a supervisee and a patient who was emotionally abused (and financially exploited). We ALL have narcissistic wounds and if we, as helpers, are unaware of them, we will, sooner or later, re-abuse. I say re-abuse as it will be an acting out of our own internal state of mind in response to the client’s internal state of mind.
    I have complaint against the therapist who abused her power and the whole procedure is horrendous. Because those narcissistic therapists, tutors and supervisors also find their way to the Hearing Panels!

    I have complained twice, once with the BACP, which handled it very well and I felt treated very fairly, the BCP however have closed ranks, and make it as difficult as possible for me to get a hearing, to the point of totally abandoning their complaint procedure. I have now appealed against the dismissal of the complaint as I was told I would have a hearing but then received a letter some weeks later that the hearing was held in private and ruled against me! On top of that non of my evidence (tape recordings) were asked for although I offered them.
    It is absolutely shocking to what lengths some therapists go to, when all the client really wants most of the times is to be heard and understood, and have their pain acknowledged.
    But it is the narcissism which will not allow the practitioner to give this to the client as in their mind “I am sorry” means “I am guilty”
    This is not so! Many times the therapist really wants what is best for the client and things happen which escalate. The client wants mediation and a voice in these circumstances but that is only possible via a hearing most of the times. Most clients do not want to complain. I certainly didnt. I tried 3 years to resolve it but hit my head against the superior and grandiose wall the therapist had build up around her.

  8. Dear Blogger,
    I do not know what motivates you to spew your hate – but it is obvious it is motivated by envy or a grudge, and it has no rational bearing. I would like state that I know Linda Bretherton for quite a few years, since we me in Oxford to be certified in psychometrich tools (MBTI – Myers Briggs). I have rarely met someone that lives and practices integrity, professionalism and compassion in her work and as a person as Linda Bretherton.

    Inner child work can be confronting, but incredibly healing. However if you have lived a lie, and build your life as house of cards – there is work to be done. Work that not everyone is willing to do – So they prefer to be victims, instead of victors.
    Instead of putting your energy on your lurid crusade (well meant or not), I would invite you to look at yourselves, and what triggers or motivates you to do so. Unfortunately – you might lack the courage or are unwilling and unable to introspect !

    As a professional in the leadership arena, I can only strongly recommend the work Linda does! Integrity is and means everything to her. – No wonder she became your target!

    Peter Sieber, Amsterdam

    • Serious question for you, Peter. When is it ethical for a therapist to publish a client’s name on the Internet without their consent?

      • Phil, you say “A good therapist would say to such people. “Fine. Come back if and when you’re ready.””

        I suggest that actually a good therapist would be patient, and would work to build a safe space so that in time the client feels safe and ready to do the work. Which is surely the most basic part of a competent therapists skill-set.

    • Peter

      “However if you have lived a lie, and build your life as house of cards – there is work to be done. Work that not everyone is willing to do – So they prefer to be victims, instead of victors.”

      No one has the right to decide when a client should be “confronted” (which implies force) with their past. And no one (esp. not a therapist!) has the right to call another person victim if s/he chooses not to follow your (therapist’s) demands (to heal).

      • I agree. Calling someone who isn’t ready for therapy “victims, not victors” is just inappropriate. A good therapist would say to such people. “Fine. Come back if and when you’re ready.”

      • Phil, I would go even further. It is not just inappropriate but gives us a peak into the workings of a grandiose/still very wounded mind.
        Can you imagine being a vulnerable client who takes “longer” to trust than the therapist sees fit and is then judged to not only be a victim but they choose (as the “prefer”) to be a victim!

        This is the sort of “therapist” talk that makes me sick to my stomach. This is NOT a safe space — it is a JUDGEMENTAL space!
        And when the client reacts against this judgement (as s/he picks up on it consciously or unconsciously) s/he is labelled yet again (as it cannot be the CARING (narcissistic) therapists fault.

  9. Phil, do you know about this case in more detail? Who is this “therapist” “interviewing” the victim? And where was he trained?

  10. “I criticised the outcome, because despite finding that Clancy had committed misconduct and harmed the client, the UKCP declined to issue a sanction.”

    Hmm, I have had a not dissimilar experience recently with UKCP where I put in a complaint and was told after a process of a few months that the therapists involved had indeed acted in a way which breached several items in the Code of Professional Conduct, but that the complaint was not going to be taken further or upheld. Which left me wondering what the point of the whole (very unpleasant) exercise actually is. And what the point of having a CPC is if there are no consequences attached to it.

    I think perhaps UKCP thought that the incident was not serious enough, and it is true that it was not at the most extreme end of the spectrum by any means. But still it took over a year to fully recover from, real harm was done, and the way the therapists acted was clearly in breach of the guidelines and good practice, so why is there no way to get redress for this kind of thing? I didn’t want them struck off or anything like that, I just wanted formal acknowledgment of what had happened and to feel that they had learned from the experience so that their clients would be safer in future.

    I don’t know what UKCP think they are playing at really—the complaints process is in my view abusive in itself (quite needlessly so) and completely biased towards the therapist. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of understanding of how the complaints process itself can sustain and perpetuate abusive dynamics that were happening in the therapy, and there is absolutely no support or care for clients in the process. It was a careless shambles which has in itself has taken a long time to recover from, let alone the events in the therapy itself.

    Fortunately I am quite resilient and I had the time and intellectual resources both to take it on in the first place and to process it afterwards. I really hate to think how the process might affect someone who was in a less strong place—I think they could have been absolutely devastated by it, and that thought upsets me. I’m sure it must have happened.

    • Well said, Marcus. Which begs the question WHY are these governing organisations (UKCP, BPC) doing what they are doing if it is NOT to protect the public. This is a very important question to ask i think….

      • Yes, it’s a good question! I have to admit that after having experienced the process myself I can only conclude that they are doing what they are doing primarily to protect the profession, and to give the illusion that they are ‘doing something’ while hiding from the public the risks inherent in therapy. Having said that I like therapy: overall I think it is a force for good, but I have been lucky enough to have worked with some excellent therapists up until the incident I mentioned. I have since been shocked to find the attitudes and behaviour which are considered acceptable and normal in some parts of the profession….

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