When a breach of ethics is not misconduct: The Kafka-esque language of the UK Council for Psychotherapy

In the past few months I’ve been exploring the John Smalley case, a series of cock-ups and calamities befalling a fitness-to-practice hearing with the UK Council for Psychotherapy. The sheer scale of ineptitude has been absolutely mind-boggling, and would be hilarious if the UKCP weren’t trying to regulate a profession that works with vulnerable people. In the past couple of weeks the UKCP have deployed an impressive piece of semantic gymnastics. They now state that Mr Smalley committed several breaches of his Code of Ethics; he just didn’t commit any misconduct.

Got that? Perfectly clear and reasonable? No? Me neither.

Before elaborating, further, it’s time once again to take a quick run-through….

The story so far…The UKCP took over three years to investigate complaints about John Smalley, a Jungian analyst with the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. At the end of a long sequence of delays, they decided that seven allegations had been proven. These included smoking during therapy, inappropriately setting two clients up in a business relationship with each other, and making a sexual suggestion about one client to another. Despite this they decided not to sanction him. The fact that he admitted in the hearing that he destroyed his notes doesn’t seem to have prompted a sanction. The UKCP’s laughable response to this is that they didn’t sanction him for destroying his notes because there wasn’t a complaint about destroying his notes.

I last discussed this case in a post on 14th January 2013. In that post I made the following observation about the UKCP’s online complaints archive.

There’s only one entry on it! It’s for Derek Gale, a notorious abuser who was registered with the UKCP as a psychotherapist and with the Health Professions Council as an arts therapist. The UKCP stuck him off in 2009, but only after the HPC struck him off first.

Until recently there were two entries – the other being for Geoffrey Pick, suspended from the register in 2011 for an unspecified breach of boundaries. He’s now back on the UKCP register and his entry in the complaints archive removed. As for John Smalley, the UKCP don’t intend to publish the hearing outcome until Spring 2013, a year after the final ruling.

In the past day or so I looked at the complaints archive again. Since my previous post on 14th January, the page has changed, and the Smalley case is now up online.

Well, it only took them ten months to put it on their website. So, what do they have to say about the case?

Decision regarding John Smalley

Mr John Smalley [Manchester/Leeds] six allegations of breach of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists (IGAP) Code of Ethics found proved. No finding of any misconduct and therefore no sanction.

Please find the Decision of the Panel and the Determination of the Panel here

So….six breaches of a Code of Ethics (including smoking in therapy and making sexual suggestions about one client to another) doesn’t constitute misconduct?

Also, there were actually seven breaches found proved, not six.

In fact, from reading the Determination of the Panel that the page links to, it doesn’t even say that he didn’t commit misconduct. Quite the opposite in fact.

Take a look at page 3 of the Determination.

The Panel is of the view that your conduct in relation to the instances of wrong-doing that have been found proven against you did amount to misconduct. Your attitude and behaviour regarding smoking during treatments sessions was indicative of a failure on your part to have due regard to the dependant nature of the therapeutic relationship. Your behaviour in making remarks that were capable of being interpreted as derogatory with reference to other analysands and that were liable to be overheard represented a failure to have due regard to professional boundaries. You demonstrated a further failure to have regard to professional boundaries in the context of your promotion of a gallery at which you were an exhibitor. That failure to have regard to professional boundaries or to the dependant nature of the analytic relationship was further exemplified by your conduct in introducing one analysand to another. The Panel has concluded that the nature and extent of these failures on your part amounted to misconduct which, taken as a whole, could properly be described as serious. [Emphasis added]

So, he did commit misconduct, and serious misconduct at that. But why was there no sanction?

The following pages basically describe the Panel bending over backwards to believe that this was all some time ago (not least because they dragged out the complaint process for three and a half years), that it was probably a one-off series of lapses (if that’s not a complete contradiction in terms) and that he’s reflected on the matter and the world is now lovely and filled with Disney-style bluebirds.

Okay, I’ve started to exaggerate towards the end of that last sentence, but not by much. Anyway, they conclude,

In all the circumstances, the Panel has determined that your fitness to practise is not impaired by reason of your misconduct.

So, in fact it’s not correct for the UKCP website to declare that Mr Smalley breached the Code of Ethics, but did not commit misconduct.

It’s actually correct to say that he committed serious misconduct, but his fitness to practise was not impaired by this.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

 

[EDIT: Since this post was published, the wording on the page has changed. It now reads, “The Panel concluded there was a finding of serious misconduct but no sanction was enforced.”]

The Looming Crisis at the UK Council for Psychotherapy

In recent months I’ve covered the way in which complaints are dealt with (or not!) against psychotherapists, with the result that misconduct or even abuse can continue unrestrained. In particular I’ve looked at the John Smalley case, in which the UK Council for Psychotherapy, after three years of delay, found seven allegations proven against a Jungian analyst, but failed to issue any sanction.

Complaints handling at the UKCP has for years been dominated by “crony-ism and amateurism” – not my words, but those of the former UKCP chair Andrew Samuels. But I’ve just noticed some interesting developments that may well send the UKCP sleepwalking into a crisis. It could even threaten the existence of the organisation itself.

Psychotherapists, unlike doctors, nurses, social workers or teachers, have no statutory regulator. “Psychotherapist” is not a protected title and anyone can call themselves one. However, in practice most are registered with self-regulating bodies like the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, or the British Psychoanalytic Council.

The UKCP is an umbrella body for 75 separate member organisations. Until recently, if you wanted to make a complaint against a UKCP-registered therapist, you first had to complain to their member organisation, and could then appeal to the UKCP if your complaint was rejected.

These 75 organisations have a wide variety of complaints processes. Some of them are absolutely shocking. The way to make a complaint can be very opaque. You may find that complaints panels have no lay members, so that the case is being heard only by the therapist’s colleagues. In some cases complaints have to be proven to the criminal standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” (the usual standard of proof is the civil one of “on the balance of probabilities”). For some organisations, if your complaint is rejected, you can be expected to pay legal costs!

To give an example, when I looked into the Smalley case, I contacted his UKCP member organisation, the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. Their website contains no information about how to make a complaint. Their Code of Ethics isn’t published on the site – I asked for a copy months ago and still haven’t got it. Oh, and if you’re wondering why they don’t publish an online list of fitness-to-practise outcomes on the site (in the way that bodies like the General Medical Council or Nursing and Midwifery Council do) it’s because they freely admitted that they haven’t sanctioned a member for years. I can’t imagine why not.

The UKCP is currently moving towards a new Central Complaints Process (CCP) that will handle all complaints instead of the member organisations. After the IGAP found “no case to answer” in the complaint against Mr Smalley, the complainant appealled to the UKCP, who found that the IGAP’s decision had been “perverse and incorrect”. They then ordered a new hearing under the CCP.

The new CCP turned out to be a shambles from beginning to end. It took three years of delays to reach a conclusion. At the end of it, the panel found that Mr Smalley had smoked in therapy sessions, he had made derogatory remarks about one client to another, and he had breached professional boundaries by inappropriately setting up two clients in a business relationship with each other. Along the way, he freely admitted that he had destroyed his notes – an act that would be considered serious misconduct if a doctor or nurse did it.

The UKCP’s sanction? Nothing. Not even a caution. Although he resigned from the UKCP during the proceedings, he’s still registered to this day on the IGAP website.

 The introduction of the UKCP’s Central Complaints Process comes in the wake of plans to properly regulate the psychotherapy profession. Under the previous Labour government, proposals were made for plans to register counsellors and psychotherapists with the Health Professionals Council (now the Health and Care Professions Council) which currently regulates occupational therapists, arts therapists, clinical psychologists and social workers. Although many psychotherapists welcomed this, a noisy campaign was launched, claiming that the sky would fall in if psychotherapists had to be accountable for their actions in the same way as just about every other helping profession.

After Labour gave way to the Coalition, plans for state-regulation were shelved, and the anti-regulation campaigners cheered a victory. However, the Coalition then proposed a new systems of “assured voluntary registration”. The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (the uber-regulator that oversees bodies like the GMC, NMC, HCPC etc) was renamed the Professional Standards Authority and given the power to issue an official rubberstamp to self-regulating bodies like the UKCP…..if they were deemed to be doing a good enough job. 

Key to getting this rubberstamp from the Professional Standards Authority is the UKCP’s new Central Complaints Process, even though it failed abysmally in the Smalley case. However, the most recent UKCP bulletin suggests their strategy may be running into trouble.

The UKCP chief executive, David Pink, issues a stark warning.

I can understand that organisational members might be nervous about handing over their complaints work to a team in the UKCP office, but it is vital that we take this decisive step. However diligently and carefully a member organisation handles complaints, they can never been seen to have sufficient independence to be free from accusations of bias…I am disappointed that many of our member organisations seem to be reluctant to engage with the central complaints scheme.

I’m really not surprised that there’s a lack of engagement from member organisations. Last May I e-mailed the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists to ask them if they would be signing up to the CCP. I got this reply.

Since the UKCP Central Complaints Process is not yet finalised, it is too early to say if IGAP will sign up to it or not, but is likely to do so if it is felt to match our professional standards and has nothing that contradicts our existing Code of Ethics.

Hardly a ringing endorsement. And given the gasps of horror from some member organisations at the possibility of state regulation, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of them started dragging their heels over signing up to the CCP.

Pink gives a stark warning of what this might mean.

By this time next year we need everyone to be signed up to the central complaints or in the process to becoming signed up. By then, other leading reputable therapy organisations (including BPC and BACP) are likely to be fully PSA accredited. Employers, referrers, commissioners and clients will begin to expect practitioners to be on  a PSA-accredited register as a minimum requirement. We must not fall behind.

And indeed they may well fall behind. To give an idea of how the UKCP compares to its rival organisations, here’s the hearings page for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. It gives detailed accounts of hearing outcomes and sanctions against therapists who’ve committed misconduct.

Now have a look at the equivalent page for the UKCP. There’s only one entry on it! It’s for Derek Gale, a notorious abuser who was registered with the UKCP as a psychotherapist and with the Health Professions Council as an arts therapist. The UKCP stuck him off in 2009, but only after the HPC struck him off first.

Until recently there were two entries – the other being for Geoffrey Pick, suspended from the register in 2011 for an unspecified breach of boundaries. He’s now back on the UKCP register and his entry in the complaints archive removed. As for John Smalley, the UKCP don’t intend to publish the hearing outcome until Spring 2013, a year after the final ruling.

The UKCP have been failing for years to protect the public from rogue therapists. It now looks like they’re having trouble getting their member organisations to sign up to their new complaint system, which is a shambles anyway. No wonder they’re getting worried that rival bodies like the BACP will get the PSA accreditation and they won’t.

If that does happen, the results will be utterly predictable. All the reputable psychotherapists will promptly sign up with the BACP, leaving the UKCP to shrivel into a rump organisation housing the quacks, hucksters and chancers of the therapy world. I can’t say I feel the least bit sorry for them.

UKCP and the Smalley Case – Even more allegations of mishandling

Last week I broke the news that the UK Council for Psychotherapy will be conducting an internal review into its handling of the John Smalley case, a fitness for practice hearing of a Jungian analyst. The review will examine how the UKCP managed to take over 3 years to conclude its investigation. The review won’t be asking why, despite seven allegations having been found proven, their panel didn’t so much as impose a caution, even after Mr Smalley admitted destroying his notes.

I’ve documented in detail the various ways that the case has been mishandled. But even now I’m discovering new things that seem to have gone wrong. Recently I saw a letter from the complainant to the UKCP, written in August 2011 and remonstrating bitterly about how his case was originally dealt with by them.

Rewind back to late 2009 and early 2010. The complainant had reported a series of allegations about Mr Smalley to his UKCP member organisation, the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. IGAP had ruled there was no case to answer.

The UKCP is currently trying to reform the way complaints are handled. Under the old “two-tier” system, a complaint is first heard by the member organisation. If they reject it and the complainant isn’t satisfied, they can then appeal to the UKCP’s Central Final Appeals Panel (CFAP). This system is to be replaced by a new “single-tier” Central Complaints Process. The Smalley case is something of a hybrid of the old and new. The complainant took IGAP’s “no case to answer” decision to the CFAP, who ruled that this was “perverse and incorrect”. The CFAP then ordered a new hearing should take place under the Central Complaints Process.

The complainant’s letter of August 2011 describes what happened when he appealed to the CFAP.

 UKCP took over 5 months to accept my UKCP CFAP application, which was excessive.

I submitted my UKCP CFAP application on 1 February 2009 and it took UKCP until 6 July 2009 to accept it.

In the context of responding to an appeal by a vulnerable person who alleged abuse by a UKCP registered psychotherapist and who also alleged that a perverse and incorrect ruling had been made in the Complaints Procedure of a UKCP Member Organisation by a UKCP Member Organisation, the time taken was excessive

The excessive time caused me considerable extra emotional and psychological distress on top of that already caused by the circumstance surrounding the UKCP CFAP application.

The complainant may not have known it at the time, but this was to be the beginning of yet more delays after delays, with the result that the proceedings only finally concluded in March 2012.

His letter goes on to describe some of the correspondence that took place during all of this initial faffing.

After accepting my UKCP CFAP application UKCP twice wrote to persuade me to suspend my accepted UKCP CFAP and grant permission to UKCP to “request”/”invite” IGAP to reconsider my complaint, which was perverse.

IGAP’s Complaints Procedure was formally completed before I submitted my CFAP application to UKCP. In fact UKCP CFAP is only available when the UKCP Member Organisation’s Complaint Procedures have been formally concluded….

On 30 January 2009 IGAP informed me that their Complaints Procedure was formally concluded:

Given the Appeals Committee’s preliminary assessment, and the Complaints Committee’s decision that there is no case to answer, your complaint against John Smalley is now officially closed, and you have no further grounds for appeal to IGAP regarding this matter. [Emphasis mine.]”

Following receipt of the above “no case to answer” ruling from IGAP, that I considered was perverse and incorrect, on 1 February 2009 I submitted my CFAP application to UKCP. I included the letter that includes the above ruling in my CFAP application to UKCP.

On 6 July 2009, over five months after I submitted my UKCP CFAP application, UKCP eventually accepted my UKCP CFAP application and stated their intention to “appoint a Clerk to the Appeal Panel” and to ask the Clerk to “…empanel an Appeal Panel and notify [me] of the hearing of the Appeal Panel.”

Then UKCP wrote to me on 4 August 2009 and attempted to persuade me to suspend my accepted UKCP CFAP and to grant permission to UKCP to “request [IGAP] to instigate an investigation of [my] original complaint” and to “invite IGAP to consider my complaint”….

I responded immediately in a letter dated 5 August 2009 in which I “emphatically and categorically [refused] permission” to UKCP:

I have given careful and thorough consideration to your letter of 4 August 2009 and I emphatically and categorically refuse permission for you to refer this matter back to the Member Organisation. [Emphasis mine.]”

Though I felt that I had made my position abundantly clear to UKCP, UKCP wrote a second time with a letter dated 17 August 2009 which again attempted to persuade me in the manner as before. I responded immediately in a manner as before in a letter dated 19 August 2009.

IGAP’s Complaints Procedure rules were complete. Hence, had I taken UKCP’s advice, I would have had nowhere to stand ‘in law’ regarding my complaint against IGAP’s member according to IGAP’s Complaint Procedure rules.

What he seems to be suggesting is that UKCP were offering him advice that could have derailed his entire complaint. That’s bad enough, but here comes the worst allegation of all.

 UKCP did not offer nor inform me of my need for representation at the UKCP CFAP hearing on 26 March 2010.

I consider that I should have been treated as a vulnerable witness at the UKCP CFAP hearing. As it was I had to represent myself against IGAP’s legal team comprising a barrister and a solicitor. Although UKCP offered me representation (by UKCP Professional Conduct Officer) in the UKCP Central Complaints Process (CCP) (the UKCP disciplinary process that my compliant has since moved in to following my UKCP CFAP appeal being upheld on 26 March 2010), UKCP made no such offer of representation nor advised me of the need for representation for the UKCP CFAP hearing. At the very least I should have been informed of the need for representation.

UKCP allowed me to walk into the UKCP CFAP hearing to face a barrister, a solicitor and two of the members of IGAP responsible for making the perverse and incorrect decision that was the reason for the CFAP process, without properly informing me of what a UKCP CFAP hearing involved and without providing adequate support of a professional, legal, emotional and psychological nature. It should not have been my place to have to make a technical argument based on the proper ethics and practice of psychotherapy. A decent, ethical and empathic psychotherapy organisation would understand this and would have demonstrated its understanding by supporting a vulnerable member of the public to achieve the right outcome from the UKCP CFAP hearing in a manner that caused least emotional and psychological distress. As it was I suffered enormous stress at the UKCP CFAP hearing.

I had no idea that IGAP would be represented by a barrister or even that I was expected to make an argument. I understood that my allegations and my statement would stand on their own. As it was I had to speak at length before the hearing and make an argument that both presented my case and refuted IGAP’s position. I did not attend the hearing prepared for such an eventuality. I should have been represented by UKCP or have been advised by UKCP of the need for representation.

This shrieks of a lack of care. If the above account is accurate (and the transcript of the CFAP hearing seems to corroborate it) then a vulnerable adult was suddenly, and without warning or time to prepare, expected to act as a litigant in person before a trained barrister.

I’ve invited the UKCP to comment on these allegations, but they’ve declined to do so at this stage.

To be continued…

UKCP to review handling of Smalley case

Over the past few weeks I’ve been analysing the John Smalley case, a botched fitness to practice hearing by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, which took over 3 years to find seven allegations proven, but decided not to issue any sanction.

I’ve just heard the welcome news that the UKCP is now to “review the actual processing of the complaint, and in particular the factors that contributed to the complaint taking so long, so we can learn from the findings of the review, and try to improve our systems for the future.” According to the chief executive David Pink, “Our internal review will focus primarily on the management and handling of the case, and the contributory factors that together created an unprecedentedly case that travelled a long and tortuous path that must surely have felt unsatisfactory to all the parties.”

This is indeed good news, though only partially so, as the review will only be of the length of time taken, and will not consider the eventual decision of the panel, which seemed to feel that seven proven allegations did not merit so much as a caution, even after Mr Smalley admitted having destroyed his notes.

Separately to this, other parties have asked the UKCP to investigate how the complaint was initially handled by Smalley’s UKCP member organisation, the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. They want to know the IGAP found that there was no case to answer, a decision ruled “perverse and incorrect” by the UKCP Central Final Appeals Panel. Currently, there is no word on whether the UKCP will do this.

Eventually, all the member organisations, including the IGAP, should be subject to the UKCP’s new Central Complaint’s Process. According to UKCP, that should be in place by the end of next year, though the IGAP seem rather off-message on that.

Last week the UKCP responded to the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence’s consultation on Voluntary Assured Registration. This proposed scheme will allow self-regulating professional bodies such as UKCP to obtain a “Quality Mark” from the CHRE (to be renamed the Professional Standards Authority). The Central Complaints Process is a key part of their aim to receive such a Quality Mark.

The CCP was found severely wanting in the Smalley case, and in any case member organisations like IGAP haven’t confirmed that they’ll even sign up to it. If the UKCP is to deserve its rubberstamp from the CHRE, then it still has improvements to make.

 

 

UKCP, IGAP and John Smalley: New investigation needed

There’s been yet another twist in my exploration of the John Smalley case, a mishandled UKCP investigation into a Jungian analyst with the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. Josefa Bayes-King is a former IGAP member, now an academic living in Australia. She has left comments on my blog posts, stating her own concerns about the effect of Smalley’s statements on the reputation of the late Dr Anne Maguire. She also stating that she has contacted the UKCP asking them to investigate the ethics and practices of the IGAP.

Obviously, I’m not a position to ascertain the truth of what happened in Smalley’s supervision, but the IGAP should be. Mr Smalley may no longer be registered with the UKCP but he is still an IGAP member, and still advertises his services on their website.

It seems to me that there are two investigations that need to take place. The UKCP needs to investigate the IGAP, as called for by Ms Bayes-King. Also, the IGAP needs to investigate Mr Smalley.

Questions for the IGAP investigation into Mr Smalley

1. Mr Smalley claims that his misconduct was sanctioned by his supervisor, the now-deceased Dr Anne Maguire. However, he did not provide any firm evidence of this. The complainant’s wife submitted a statement to the UKCP saying that she had spoken to Dr Maguire and does not think she did so. In addition, Ms Bayes-King does not seem to believe that Dr Maguire would have done anything of the sort. Hopefully, a definitive answer should lie in the late Dr Maguire’s records.

2. Mr Smalley told the UKCP panel, “It’s not my practice to keep notes and there’s no professional requirement to do so. Any notes that I did hold in relation to the case would have been destroyed when the relationship terminated.” Did Mr Smalley destroy notes or fail to make them in the first place? Either act would normally be considered professional misconduct.

Questions for the UKCP investigation into the IGAP

1. The IGAP found that there was “no case to answer” against Mr Smalley. The UKCP’s Central Final Appeals Panel found this decision to be “perverse and incorrect”. The UKCP’s Central Complaints Process went on to find seven allegations proven against Mr Smalley. How did IGAP come to this original conclusion?

2. Why is IGAP’s complaints procedure not listed on its website?

3. Why is IGAP Code of Ethics not displayed on its website? Why, when I e-mailed them asking to see a copy of their Code of Ethics, did they not e-mail me a copy?

4. IGAP admit they have not sanctioned a therapist for misconduct for several years. Is this because of excellent behaviour by their registrants, or because of some problem with their complaints procedure?

5. Why, when I e-mailed the IGAP Ethics Committee inviting them to investigate the dispute over Mr Smalley’s supervision, and also his claim to have destroyed his notes, did they decline to investigate?

6. While Mr Smalley was under investigation for his misconduct, he was not suspended, and does not appear to have had any conditions on his practice as far as anyone can gather. What factors were taken into account when deciding not to do so?

Anyone wishing to e-mail the IGAP Ethics Committee to make their views known can do so here.

Likewise, the UKCP Chair Janet Weisz can be e-mailed here and the chief executive David Pink here

UKCP member organisation refuses to investigate allegations against therapist

There’s been a new twist in my explorations of the John Smalley case, a bungled fitness for practice hearing by the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

I presented fresh allegations to the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, the UKCP member organisation to which he belongs, and invited them to investigate. The response was a resounding “no”. What follows may be yet another salutory tale of the lack of proper regulation of psychotherapists.

The story so far…The UKCP took over three years to investigate complaints about Mr Smalley, a Jungian analyst with the IGAP. At the end of a long sequence of delays, they decided that seven allegations had been proven, but also decided not to sanction him. The fact that he admitted in the hearing that he destroyed his notes doesn’t seem to have prompted a sanction. The UKCP’s laughable response to this is that they didn’t sanction him for destroying his notes because there wasn’t a complaint about destroying his notes.

Of the allegations found proven, one is that he made derogatory comments about other clients to the complainant, including one where he (jokingly, according to Mr Smalley) suggested to the complainant that he hang around after the session because he had an attractive female client coming. Another is that Smalley inappropriately set up two of his clients in a business partnership with each other.

In the UKCP hearing, Smalley claimed to have cleared the inappropriate business relationship with his supervisor, Dr Anne Maguire, who is now sadly deceased. If that’s the case, then this would be a stain on the legacy of an eminent figure in the Jungian community. However, the complainant’s wife submitted a statement claiming that she had spoken to the late Dr Maguire, and she had reported doing nothing of the sort. If that’s the case, then Mr Smalley would not only have lied to the UKCP panel, but slandered Dr Maguire’s reputation in order to try to protect his own.

Continuing the tale…

These differing claims don’t appear to have been looked into. It would be too late now for the UKCP to launch any new investigations into Mr Smalley, because he let his UKCP registration lapse.

Hang on a minute, he’s still a member of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, and still advertising his services on their register. And Dr Maguire was an IGAP member. Surely they can investigate the matter?

Also, there’s the fact that he said in the UKCP hearings that he destroyed his notes. Normally that would be serious professional misconduct, but the UKCP didn’t sanction him for that because, “No complaint was made against the therapist about destroying notes.” (Never mind that there wasn’t a complaint about it, what about the fact that it’s a fitness for practice issue?) Surely IGAP can take a complaint about that?

I sent them an email

Dear Ethics Committee

I am not sure if you are aware of the discussions about the UKCP hearings involving Mr John Smalley that have been taking place on the Not So Big Society website. I would like to draw your attention in particular to this article:

https://notsobigsociety.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/john-smalley-dr-anne-maguire-and-the-differing-accounts-of-supervision/

You may note that during the hearings Mr Smalley claimed to have carried out his misconduct with the apparent agreement of the late Dr Anne Maguire. However, he submitted no firm evidence to corroborate this, and others have disputed that Dr Maguire did anything of the sort.

There are two differing accounts of what happened. Are you in a position to investigate this?

Also, you may wish to note that Mr Smalley told the UKCP Panel that he destroyed his notes relating to the case, an act which would normally be considered gross misconduct. Will you investigate that also?

best regards

Zarathustra

I got the following reply, which I’m quoting here in its entirety.

This case is now closed. Any further queries can be addressed to the UKCP.

The Ethics Committee

That’s it.

Pitiful, but not surprising. The current complaints system for the UKCP is that a complaint is first heard by the member organisation, and a complainant can appeal to the UKCP if the complaint is rejected. The IGAP website has no information about how to make a complaint, and doesn’t publish their Code of Ethics. I’ve even asked them if I could see the Code of Ethics, but got no joy. They also don’t publicly list any disciplinary sanctions against members, but they’ve admitted that this is because they haven’t sanctioned a registrant for years.  IGAP deemed there was “no case to answer” against Mr Smalley – a decision that the UKCP’s Central Final Appeals Panel found to be “perverse and incorrect”, and eventually the UKCP found seven allegations proven.

The UKCP is currently trying to replace this “two-tier” complaints system with a “single-tier” Central Complaints Process (CCP) that all UKCP registrants will become subject to. The Smalley case is essentially a hybrid of the old and new, in that it first went before the member organisation, and then when the appeal was allowed it was sent to the new CCP.

Not that the Central Complaints Process covered itself in glory either. They took three years to complete the process, and despite seven allegations being found proven, they didn’t think that merited a sanction. Not to mention that they didn’t sanction him for destroying his notes on the entirely technical grounds that the complaint wasn’t about destroyed notes.

I previously asked IGAP whether they intend to implement the CCP, which the UKCP expects to apply to every registrant by the end of 2013. IGAP replied,

Since the UKCP Central Complaints Process is not yet finalised, it is too early to say if IGAP will sign up to it or not, but is likely to do so if it is felt to match our professional standards and has nothing that contradicts our existing Code of Ethics.

They have professional standards?

John Smalley, Dr Anne Maguire and the differing accounts of supervision

Time for another instalment on the Smalley case, a spectacularly mishandled fitness for practice hearing by the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

The story so far…The UKCP took over three years to investigate complaints about Mr Smalley, a Jungian analyst with the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. At the end of a long sequence of delays, they decided that seven allegations had been proven, but also decided not to sanction him. The fact that he admitted in the hearing that he destroyed his notes doesn’t seem to have prompted a sanction. The UKCP’s laughable response to this is that they didn’t sanction him for destroying his notes because there wasn’t a complaint about destroying his notes.

In the two instalments we discussed two of the allegations that were found proven. One was that Smalley inappropriately set up two of his clients in a business partnership with each other. The other is that he made derogatory comments about other clients to the complainant, including one where he (jokingly, according to Mr Smalley) suggested to the complainant that he hang around after the session because he had an attractive female client coming.

This time, let’s look at a dispute that erupted in the case regarding Smalley’s supervision. His supervisor was the late Dr Anne Maguire of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists, who sadly passed away in August 2011. Dr Maguire was a very eminent and respected figure, both as a Jungian analyst and as a dermatologist. In 1998 she gave the valedictory address at the funeral of Marie-Louise von Franz, founder of the CG Jung Institute and colleague of Jung.

During the Smalley hearings, the question of supervision came up, particularly with regard to the inappropriate business relationship that Smalley set up.

Later in the hearing, the questions returned to supervision.

The “ethical position”, the panel later concluded, was that this was misconduct. If this is as described, then Dr Maguire gave him carte blanche to carry out this misconduct. It would be a stain on the reputation of an internationally-renowned Jungian.

But did she do this? After the hearings, the complainant’s wife submitted a statement to the UKCP panel. In 2007, she and the complainant had a split in their relationship (one of the allegations found not proven by the UKCP was that the complainant seemed to blame Mr Smalley for the split). They subsequently reconciled and married. Around this time, she was attending analysis with Dr Maguire.

Mr Smalley hotly denied the claim.

To corroborate his insistence that he discussed these matters in supervision, Mr Smalley gave the panel receipts for supervision, and entries from his work diary showing his appointments with Dr Maguire. However, Dr Maguire’s records were not presented. I have no idea if they were sought from her estate.

The complainant then responded pointing out that the receipts and diary entries do not provide a complete record of his monthly supervision.

The “diagnosis of PPD” mentioned is a reference to one of the allegations found not proven – that Mr Smalley (who is not a medical doctor) diagnosed the complainant with paranoid personality disorder.

Here we have, as in many areas of this dispute, two wildly differing accounts. One, in which the late Dr Maguire sanctioned Smalley’s misconduct. The other, in which she hadn’t seen him for a while around the time of the inappropriate introduction. A record to show that Smalley had supervision was provided, but this record was incomplete. And in any case, it showed no evidence of what was actually said in those supervision sessions.

This needs investigating, and the records need to be sought if they have not been already. It may not fall to the UKCP to do this, as Mr Smalley is no longer a member. However, Mr Smalley is still a member of the IGAP, as was the late Dr Maguire. They have a clear duty to investigate.