This is odd. An Exeter-based counselling firm has published a lengthy blog post claiming to be under attack by certain nefarious individuals who have apparently accused them of running a “therapeutic cult.”
The firm in question is called Palace Gate Counselling Service. They have a very professional-looking website, as well as a blog which has a fair amount of somewhat New Agey content. The directors are John Clapham (who also runs Taunton Counselling Service and Phoenix Counselling Services) and Lindsey Talbott, who seems to be writing most of the blog content.
Talbott has a lot to say about this apparent attack. Her blog post, entitled, “The Conflict” is long. Very long, in fact. She must view this as something important, as there’s a link to it on the header bar of the blog’s main page. She states that a “battle between therapists” is taking place.
Here’s a few excerpts from the blog post.
All those involved are linked, some in multiple ways. So this is a group phenomenon – not a simultaneous ‘breaking cover’ of independent complaints. Clearly that makes a material difference to the overall picture, in terms of how group process operates, and the potential for cognitive dissonance/process contamination.
To us, it looks like a classic witch hunt. A group of people who have created, signed up to and perpetuated/cultivated a distorted reality, based on interpretation and assertion – unsupported and/or contradicted by the evidence.
In the past year, we/two of our other supervisors have been on the receiving end of five linked formal complaints to one membership association for therapists (besides those made to other organisations against the practitioner concerned by the same people). These five complaints were made by three therapists working collaboratively, the two complainants and one other…The evidence suggests to us not an intention to work through legitimate concerns in a legitimate way, but rather to cause damage and destruction.
The first complaint centred on ‘ethical concerns’ arising out of some therapy complainant A choose to do with our supervisor in private practice… the complainants also made some ancillary allegations about not liking how we do things as a person-centred service and/or our supervision arrangements (stating we do not do things in the ‘Proper’ way – which they see in terms of rules, formal policies and management committees)
There appears to be at least two complainants (who they refer to as Complainant A and Complainant B in the blog post). These complainants have been very busy by the sounds of the things. Talbott lists the people who she says have received complaints about Palace Gate:
– A organisation that offers training in another form of therapy (than person-centred talking therapy) in which the practitioner concerned had trained;
– A church;
– An organisation offering subscription membership and a professional conduct process for talking therapists;
– Our landlords (also a church);
– The Employment Tribunal Service – 3 linked claims (the complainants and one other);
– The police: repeated approaches in at least three towns, all by members of this group;
– Adult Safeguarding, initiated by the same people (when their police approaches failed);
– At least four different counselling training providers locally (we take placement students at this service);
– The Advertising Standards Authority;
– Repeated direct approaches to our own therapists;
– Highly unethical direct ‘cold’ approaches to least 3 private clients of the practitioner concerned;
– An anonymous complaint to our local M.P.
Wow, that’s a lot of people.
According to Talbott, all these complaints have been apparently unsuccessful. However, she also states, “We are now close to a hearing within another process.” She doesn’t say which process, but there’s references in the blog post to the Ethical Framework of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. In another blog post, they say this.
We are also unhappy with the BACP’s handling of a conflict arising between us & a couple of other therapists. We therefore decided not to renew our membership when it came up for renewal in October 2013.
I think it’s safe to say something very bizarre and dramatic has happened here. On their “The Conflict” post, they also offer a prediction about what they suspect may happen next.
We are crystal clear that any form of decision against us will be used by the complainants as a base for further public comment
It sounds as though a very interesting tale may be about to unfold.