Following a recent controversy over conversion therapy and transgender people, I contacted the Professional Standards Authority for comment. Today I received a reply.
Conversion therapy is a controversial form of psychotherapy which aims to turn gay people straight, or in some cases to revert transgender people to their birth gender. Pretty much all the research evidence suggests it’s ineffective and harmful. Most psychotherapy organisations in Britain have condemned conversion therapy for gay people, but have not done so for transgender people.
Some survivors of therapy abuse have asked me to put out an appeal to other survivors who want to tell their story. These will be anonymised, and put online here. They have also set up a discussion forum here.
If interested, email the site owners at email@example.com
In January 2015 a memorandum of understanding was signed by a host of organisations, including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS England. The memorandum condemned so-called “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”, which aims to turn gay people straight.
I fully agree with the memorandum that such “therapy” is both unethical and harmful. However, it was criticised for not also condemning such tactics when used with transgender people. Just under a year ago the UK Council for Psychotherapy announced it was “developing its position” on transgender people and conversion therapy, but since then nothing has happened. Yesterday Dominic Davies, a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, resigned in protest over what he feels is foot-dragging over the issue.
Readers of this blog will be familiar with the story of Ray Holland, the psychotherapist who was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy in 2014 for serious sexual misconduct with a vulnerable client. Since then he has changed his name to Ray Bott-Holland and carried on practising, registering with a string of impressive-sounding but non-accredited bodies. Along the way, he’s occasionally sent me spurious legal threats for having the temerity to put information in the public domain that was already in the public domain to begin with. Continue reading
From November 2015 to January 2016, the Professional Standards Authority briefly suspended the UK Council for Psychotherapy from their list of accredited registers. After the UKCP made a number of changes, the suspension was lifted. The PSA have now published their reasons for the suspension. When I commented about it online, various people suggested I was making a fuss about a “storm in a teacup”, and that this was simply a normal part of the reaccreditation process.
From reading the PSA’s review, it becomes clear that this was no storm in a teacup. It involves, among other things, the apparent mishandling of a sexual misconduct case.
[Trigger warnings: abuse, suicide]
A bit of context to the following post. About a year ago I started writing a book on therapy abuse. The project foundered due to, well, my own laziness, quite frankly. However, before procrastination took hold I’d gathered a substantial quantity of research materials about a notorious therapist-turned-cult-leader by the name of Derek Gale. What follows was originally intended to be a chapter in the book. I recently dug it out and finished the chapter, so that an awful tale does not remain untold.
From reading the UKCP page on the Professional Standard Authority’s list of accredited registers, it appears their suspension has now been lifted.
UKCP’s accreditation was renewed by the Panel on 18 January 2016. The Panel’s decision will be published in due course.