Author Archive

November 21, 2014

Myleene Klass, Emily Thornberry and why I’m increasingly considering voting Green

I’m an instinctive Labour voter, though by no means a tribal one. I support greater social justice, less inequality and strong public services. Even so, I’m finding it harder and harder to support Labour these days.

Two incidents have left me finding it harder to support Ed Miliband at the moment – his debate with Myleene Klass and the row over Emily Thornberry’s tweet. On neither of these though, am I disappointed in these for the reasons being trotted out by the tabloid media.

October 25, 2014

How my Mum’s dead cats became registered professionals

I’ve argued in favour of statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy, and for making those professions protected titles. An argument against regulation is that those struck off from the profession would simply give themselves other titles, such “life coach” or “mentor”, which aren’t regulated or protected.

I’ve since discovered that there’s an International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring, which operates as a community interest company. But is it really a regulator?

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October 23, 2014

McCarron case referred to High Court

In May 2014 the Health and Care Professions Council made a heavily-criticised decision not to strike off a clinical psychologist who had been found to have committed serious sexual misconduct. John McCarron was instead given a one-year suspension.

The Professional Standards Authority has now referred the decision to the High Court. The hearing will be on 22nd January 2015. I’m pleased that such a highly-questionable outcome will receive further scrutiny.

October 18, 2014

Physical healthcare for people with mental health problems: Why do we so often get it wrong?

I recently completed some postgraduate study in systemic and family therapy, which I did in order to help me work more effectively with the very vulnerable families that come into contact with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). What I didn’t expect was the way it made me reflect on communication between various agencies, and how bizarre and dysfunctional it can be. There was a prime example of this on Twitter today, courtesy of @debecca.

People with mental health problems sometimes have physical health problems. In fact, they’re statistically more likely to have such problems than those who don’t have a mental health problem. There are a number of reasons for this: if you have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to live in poverty, or in substandard housing, to have a poor diet, to be engaging in risky behaviour or drug/alcohol use, to be experiencing the side-effects of psychiatric medications, and so on. And of course, there’s the simple fact that people with mental health problems are people, and people sometimes get sick.

September 30, 2014

What kind of regulation for counselling and psychotherapy?

On this blog, I’ve highlighted the need for statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy. This is demonstrated by cases such as Palace Gate, where a counselling firm was struck off by the BACP due to 30 proven allegations, but has no legal impediment to stay in business. And indeed, still is in business.

What I haven’t talked about so much is what kind of regulation might work. Time to muster some thoughts.

September 20, 2014

Strange goings-on at counselling training provider

In August 2014 the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy withdrew the membership of Chrysalis Courses Ltd, which provided training in counselling and hypnotherapy. Allegations were upheld over failure to provide appropriate feedback to coursework, and the company was heavily criticised for failing to respond to the allegations or to engage with the complaints process. According to the BACP the company was dissolved in May 2014.

However, there’s still a website up and running for Chrysalis Courses, advertising training in counselling and hypnotherapy. So what’s going on here?

September 18, 2014

Struck-off psychotherapist still practising?

The UK Council for Psychotherapy recently struck off Raymond Spencer Holland for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client.” They allege he “threatened [the client] in order to prevent her from reporting the matter” and “spoke with the absence of empathy towards [the client] whom he said he believed was ‘a fantasist’.” The UKCP found that he showed no remorse or insight into his actions.

But is he still practising? Web searches suggest he may well be.

September 12, 2014

UKCP strikes off psychotherapist

Following the godawful decision by the UK Council for Psychotherapy to impose a 6 month suspension for serious sexual misconduct (after which the therapist was allowed to re-register), there’s been another hearing outcome, again involving serious sexual misconduct. This time however, the registrant has been struck off.

Obviously, that represents an improvement on the terrible decision-making in the Rob Waygood case. But does it mean that the UKCP’s complaints process is becoming more robust? Personally, I’m not convinced.

September 11, 2014

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.

August 31, 2014

Come see me at Cardiff Skeptics in the Pub

I’ve been invited to speak to the Cardiff branch of Skeptics in the Pub. It’ll be at Porter’s bar on Bute Terrace, on Monday 15th September at 7.30pm. I’ll be speaking on the topic, “Dangerous Methods: The Abuses of Psychotherapy.”

The Facebook event page is here

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