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?
I e-mailed Chrysalis to ask if they were still trading. I got the following reply.
Dear Mr Dore;
We are Chrysalis Not For Profit Limited. The complaint to which you refer was against Chrysalis Courses Limited and we cannot comment on it.
A quick search on Company Check reveals that Chrysalis Courses Limited has indeed been dissolved. Their business address was 30 Angel Crescent in Bridgwater, Somerset.
Company Check also reveals that there is indeed an entirely different company called Chrysalis Courses. Their business address is…er…30 Angel Crescent in Bridgwater.
Even more impressively, all thirteen of the reviews were posted on 10th August 2012. I presume these thirteen people must have been fired up with passion by Chrysalis because, not only did they all post on the same day, but for each username it’s the only review they’ve ever posted.
Not everyone has been so impressed by Chrysalis. The Advertising Standards Authority, for a start. On 20th August 2014 they published a ruling that a radio advert by Chrysalis Not For Profit had been potentially misleading in suggesting people who do their courses can expect to earn £45 an hour. The ASA stated that Chrysalis would need to provide more robust evidence that this is the case.
Whereas Chrysalis Courses Ltd has had its membership withdrawn by the BACP, Chrysalis Not For Profit is accredited by the National Counselling Society and National Hypnotherapy Society, a cluster organisation with two branches. The BACP, NCS and NHS are all accredited voluntary registers (AVRs) with the Professional Standards Authority.
I e-mailed the National Counselling Society for comment. They told me,
NCS strongly supports the PSA/AVR approach to the protection of clients and the public. The applicable standard for an Accredited Voluntary Register, we believe, is Standard 10e which requires registers to recognise the decisions of other registers when making its own registration decisions.
Regarding the individual case you mention, we understand it may now be the subject of a complaint to the PSA and perhaps also legal action. We regret, therefore, that we are currently unable to comment further.
The Professional Standards Authority said,
The Professional Standards Authority has not received a complaint in relation to this matter. We have not been informed of any decision by BACP in respect of Chrysalis Courses Ltd.
The Authority accredits voluntary registers of individual health and care practitioners. Chrysalis Courses Ltd is a training provider, not an accredited register nor an individual registrant on an accredited register.
The Authority is aware that the National Counselling Society and the National Hypnotherapy Society accredit some Chrysalis Not for Profit Ltd training courses. Both Societies hold accredited registers and are responsible for approving courses that equip students to meet the educational standards required for registration. If someone is concerned that an accredited register is failing to meet any accreditation standards they can raise their concern with the Authority.
When deciding whether a person should be admitted, kept on or removed from an accredited register, organisations must recognise decisions regarding professional conduct by other accredited registers or regulatory bodies. This relates to decisions about individual registrants, not organisational members.
The Professional Standards Authority accreditation panel issued a call for information when the NCS applied for its register to be accredited in 2013, and again when it applied for renewal of accreditation in 2014. In response to both of these calls for information, concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest pertaining to Chrysalis Not for Profit Ltd. The Panel was satisfied with NCS’s procedures for managing conflicts of interest.
All rather curious.