On Therapy as Social Control

I was reading an interesting article in the Medical Humanities journal, about use of psychological therapies to “help” unemployed people find work. The article, rightly in my view, points out that such therapies are on very dubious ethical ground.

There’s a view out there, which I think is utterly erroneous, that therapy and psychiatry can act as a remedy for all sorts of social ills. Give everyone enough CBT and fluoxetine, so the idea goes, and poverty, social inequality, abuse, bad housing etc will simply cease to be a problem. Does it work? Of course it doesn’t.

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When does sexual attraction turn into sexual misconduct?

Given that I’ve blogged about serious sexual misconduct cases in counselling and psychotherapy, @sameihuda on Twitter drew my attention to this article in BPS Research Digest. It deals with the tricky topic of when therapists develop a sense of sexual attraction to their clients.

The article refers only to when therapists have sexual feelings, not when this turns into actual sexual acts (fortunately, none of the therapists surveyed in the research cited had done this). I’ll give some thoughts on when this could happen.

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Another questionably lenient misconduct outcome by the UKCP

The UKCP may have now achieved accredited voluntary register status with the Professional Standards Authority, but even now some of its misconduct decisions can raise a few eyebrows. In January 2014 they gave a Jungian analyst, Rob Waygood, a 6 month suspension for serious sexual misconduct with a client. With statutory regulators such as the General Medical Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council, such behaviour pretty much guarantees a striking-off, not 6 months on the naughty step.

Here’s another decision by UKCP that raises concern. In December 2013 an outcome was reached for Susan Clancy, a psychotherapist who seems to have inadvertently traumatised a client through some intervention that involved holding them. Misconduct was proved, but the UKCP simply decided not to issue a sanction. Continue reading

Health Professionals: How Not to Use Social Networks

Increasingly there’s guidance being issued by the various regulators – General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council etc – on how health and social care professionals should behave on social networking sites. I’m a firm believer that professionals can and should use blogs, Twitter etc in order to facilitate dialogue between the people who work in and use services. I think so long as you follow a certain amount of common sense, it can be done in an ethical and responsible way.

This evening I’ve been watching various paramedics risking their registration by talking on Twitter in a way that could get them fired and hauled up before the Health Professions Council. Here’s a prime example of how not to do social networking.
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