Struck-off counsellor’s ridiculous online rants

I’ve regularly covered the saga around John Clapham and Lindsey Talbott, the two Devon counsellors struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for 30 proven allegations, including serious sexual misconduct by Clapham. They’re still in the counselling business, despite being booted out of the BACP and shamed in the Mail on Sunday.

Talbott has always taken a “stand by your man” approach to Clapham, sending threatening e-mails to the complainants and making online threats to sue them under Britain’s much-misused libel laws. Since then she’s been posting online again. Naturally, her latest burblings show every bit as much insight, reflection and remorse as she’s shown all along. None at all.

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The Palace Gate abuse case, the media and therapy regulation

Following on from the Palace Gate story (which I’ve covered extensively on this blog) appearing in the Mail on Sunday, it’s now also been reported in the Plymouth Evening Herald. After months of rumbling around social media, the abusive behaviour of John Clapham (and his co-director Lindsey Talbott) is now a mainstream story in both the national and local press.

So, what does this mean for the debate on psychotherapy regulation?

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Why we told our story to The Mail on Sunday

[Guest post by Amanda Williamson and Tina Welch]

[The Palace Gate abuse case, which I’ve covered on this blog, has now been reported by the Mail on Sunday. Here, the complainants tells us why they’ve gone public with their experiences – Phil]

Note that the title says ‘told’ rather than ‘sold’. This is important as cynics may proffer that we did it to make money. We can assure you that it wasn’t done for publicity either. Both of us are very wary of the impact that sharing our story may have on our personal and professional lives. Taking Phoenix Counselling to a professional conduct hearing has already cost us both heavily, in personal, professional and financial terms.
 
We want to make it absolutely clear that our motivation consists of two clear aims:
 

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Exeter church plays Pontius Pilate over Palace Gate abuse case

In recent months I’ve covered the Palace Gate abuse case, in which the two directors of Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter, were struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. John Clapham was found to have taken sexual advantage of two women during therapy sessions. His co-director Lindsey Talbott then aided him in a lengthy campaign of harassment and defamation against the complainants.

Palace Gate Counselling Service rents its premises in the Palace Gate Centre from South Street Baptist Church. Because counselling has only voluntary self-regulation rather than state regulation, Clapham and Talbott have been able to continue running their firm despite the striking-off order. Which is not to say their business hasn’t been impeded. Outside agencies have stopped referring clients there. Fundraisers have pulled their support. Even so, they’re still there at the Palace Gate Centre.

Which begs the question, why haven’t South Street Baptist Church evicted them from the premises? I now have a statement from the church.

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Shocking litany of abuse by Exeter counselling cult, 30 allegations found proved

Palace Gate Counselling Services (also known as Phoenix Counselling Services, and Taunton Counselling Service) have been no stranger to this blog recently. In February this Exeter-based firm published a lengthy online article claiming to be under attack from two other therapists who they said had accused them of running a “therapeutic cult”. In April they announced that they had been struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) a decision they bitterly contest but have not appealed against.

The BACP have now published the withdrawal of membership notice – two withdrawal notices, in fact: one for each complainant – under their trading name of Phoenix Counselling Services. It is horrific. No less than 30 allegations against the firm have been found proved. Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS: Exeter counselling “cult” struck off by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

In February 2014 I commented on a public statement by Palace Gate Counselling Service (also known as Phoenix Counselling Service), an Exeter-based organisation that took the bizarre step of making a lengthy blog post condemning two therapists who have made complaints against them. They stated that these two therapists have accused them of running a “therapeutic cult” and that this was the subject of a hearing at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. These hearings appear to have triggered their resignation from the BACP, though the hearings continued regardless of their resignation.

Palace Gate claim to be deeply dissatisfied with how the BACP have handled the allegations. The outcome of the hearing has not yet been published. However, Palace Gate have made a new online statement in which they confirm that allegations have been found proved and they have been struck off. Continue reading

The Exeter counselling service denying “cult” allegations – Palace Gate responds

Last week I wrote about Palace Gate Counselling Service (also known as Phoenix Counselling Service), a firm in Exeter which recently made an online announcement that they are facing complaints from two therapists who accuse them of running a “therapeutic cult”. They state that these complainants have (unsuccessfully) reported them to a number of agencies, including the police, Adult Safeguarding, the Employment Tribunal Service and the Advertising Standards Authority.

Palace Gate strongly deny any wrongdoing, and accuse the complainants of acting out of commercial motivations. They state that there is a misconduct hearing pending, but decline to say who with. However, it appears to be with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

The dispute seems to have triggered a decision by Palace Gate not to renew their membership of the BACP.

Since then I’ve had a couple of responses from Palace Gate via the comments threads to various blog posts, so I’ll collate them here. Continue reading