Two months ago I wrote about Linda Bretherton, who had been disciplined by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. She had reportedly conducted a therapy session with a traumatised client who was physically held and subjected to “loud breathing exercises”. The client was re-traumatised by this session, and in a separate hearing with a UKCP therapist, was described as “crying daily and not sleeping.” Bretherton was not struck off, but was ordered to write a reflection on what she had learned from the experience.
This lead to an online exchange in which I noticed that Bretherton had responded to the BACP outcome by publishing the client’s name on Facebook (subsequently removed) – a serious breach of confidentiality. Bretherton is now talking again on Facebook about the case, and states she has been struck off. From her online comments, it looks like she’s dug herself such a massive hole that no other outcome could have been possible.
In 2013 I reported on the case of Geoffrey Pick, a psychotherapist who was found to have committed serious sexual misconduct with a mentally ill client. The allegations were found proven by the Arbours Association of Psychotherapists, a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and he was dismissed from his NHS post. Disgracefully, Arbours gave him a one-year suspension instead of a striking off, and then he was allowed to re-register as a psychotherapist. He subsequently resigned his registration after being contacted by a broadsheet journalist. The UKCP has since changed its rules so that member organisations are no longer allowed to investigate complaints themselves. All complaints now have to go through a centralised Complaints and Conduct Process.
I’ve since been told that a criminal prosecution of Mr Pick has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, for reasons that seem both shocking and farcical.
Recently the main psychotherapy organisations, particularly the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and the British Psychoanalytic Council, seem to be moving towards speaking with one voice. A good example of this is the recent Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK. The various bodies came together to denounce attempts to change people’s sexual orientation as unethical and harmful. I understand that moves are also underway to take a similar position on therapies to convert transgender people to being cisgender.
I wondered if this is the start of a trend, and both the BACP and BPC have confirmed that this is the case.
Yesterday I broke the story that a psychotherapist had been struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, but had simply carried on practising after being removed from the register. Unfortunately this is legal because “psychotherapist” is not a protected title.
I’ve had a response from Charles Davison, the psychotherapist in question. Frankly, I’m not very impressed by it.
Thanks to Client1588 in the comments threads for pointing out to me an interesting page that appeared on the website of the British Psychoanalytic Council. The page suggests that they’re revising their complaints procedures, and this is due to BPC registrants taking legal action in response to the way complaints were handled.