The Geoffrey Pick Case: The UK Council for Psychotherapy Responds

Last week I broke the news that a psychotherapist who had sexually abused his patient had been allowed to re-register with the UK Council for Psychotherapy. Yesterday that the UKCP issued a statement on their website.

 

A UKCP complaints case has attracted interest in the blogosphere. We would like to issue the following statement.

*waves*

The next part is more-or-less identical to the media release they e-mailed me last week:

In January 2011 Mr Geoffrey Pick was dismissed by his employer for gross professional misconduct. Following on from this his UKCP organisation, the Arbours Association of Psychotherapists (AAP) considered the matter in relation to his fitness to practise. It found Mr Pick to be in breach of Article 6 of the AAP Code of Practice, and Mr Pick was suspended from the membership of AAP and, therefore, UKCP for a period of one year from 16 May 2011.

AAP notified us of the decision and this was published on the UKCP website.

At the end of the suspension period AAP confirmed that Mr Pick had complied with the conditions imposed during his suspension and that it was now permissible for Mr Pick to resume membership of AAP and, therefore, UKCP.

In April 2013 Mr Pick informed us that he was resigning from AAP and UKCP with immediate effect. In compliance with this notification his name was removed from the UKCP Register again.

Plus there’s this bit about what’s happening in UKCP.

How UKCP is improving its complaints system

We are now working with our members to implement an improved central complaints and conduct process. This new system has been designed to be clear, fair and independent. Cases involving serious allegations, including gross professional misconduct will receive the highest priority in terms of both speed and depth of enquiry.

The complaints and conduct process was launched at the end of 2012 and we aim to cover all members by the end of this year.

The Geoffrey Pick case highlights the contrast between old and new ways of doing things. Under the old system, complaints about a therapist were directed to the therapist’s UKCP member organisation. Pick’s organisation, the Arbours Association, is still using the old way. It seems they thought that an appropriate sanction for the worst possible betrayal of a duty of care was to exile him from the club for a year, and then all would be forgiven.

The UKCP knows that this way of doing things is untenable. They also know it won’t pass muster to get accreditation from the Professional Standards Authority, which they need in order to compete with rival bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Hence the new central complaints and conduct process which they mention.

The first time the new process was used was for a Jungian analyst called John Smalley. It was a total shambles. The process took over three years to complete. At the end of it seven allegations were found proven, but the panel declined to issue a sanction: not even a caution.

Last week a second decision was published under the complaints and conduct process. This one seems to be a much more rigorous hearing. The process was resolved in less than a year. Aggravating and mitigating factors appear to have been taken into account. What looks like a proportionate sanction (a conditions of practice order) was issued. Let’s hope this means the UKCP has learned some lessons from the Smalley case.

The Arbours Association has not yet signed up to the complaints and conduct process, but it seems clear that they are simply incapable of dealing with misconduct. They’ve shown this not only in their handling of Geoffrey Pick. As I previously mentioned, they also showed it in their co-authorship of the Maresfield Report, a 66-page work of steaming bullshit in which they’re kind enough to detail the various ways in which they simply don’t understand safeguarding and fitness-to-practice issues.

The Arbours co-authored the Maresfield Report with 9 other psychotherapy organisations. Those other bodies, so you know to avoid their therapists like the plague, were:

Association for Group and Individual Psychotherapy
Association of Independent Psychotherapists
Association of Psychoanalysis Users
Cambridge Society for Psychotherapy
Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research
The College of Psychoanalysts-UK
The Guild of Psychotherapists
The Philadelphia Association
The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis

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