Therapist who left client “crying daily and not sleeping” struck off

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.

On her Facebook page, she states,

an update on my tribunal with the BACP, for those who have been caring and supported me in this horrible experience.
I received a recorded delivery letter today, this flags up ‘fear, uncertainty, panic’ as the only things in the last two years have been from solicitors, and the BACP regarding my tribunal.
After all the deep inner work, I was surprised at my feelings of dread when the postman came to my door.
It was a letter from the BACP.
After the tribunal findings I wrote to the BACP asking them why they labelled me with , ‘Serious Professional Malpractice’ , which sounds pretty bad don’t you think? Yet their sanctions asked me to write explaining what I had learnt and understood from it all ?? I asked them why such a contradiction? I would not comply with the sanctions unless they responded.
Their response was that they had nothing further to say on the matter. ( not that they said anything)
The findings had been found by the tribunal and there you have it.
Today’s letter is just as tricky, it says that, when I said I would not respond until I got a response from them, that ‘The Panel noted that she received a response’, ha ha, the clever self made rules of a self regulated business.
I resigned from BACP over a year ago, in today’s letter they are telling me that ‘The Panel have agreed to withdraw Ms Bretherton’s membership of the BACP, with immediate effect’
and holding my heart in my hands
and breathing the ugliness away xxx

Well, the BACP ordered her to tell her what she’d learned, and in a way she’s done exactly that. By reacting defensively, and without a jot of reflection, she’s told them that she’s learned nothing. It’s really not surprising that the BACP responded to her letter by striking her off. I really can’t see how they could have reacted any other way.

And that’s before you get to the issue of her putting the client’s name on Facebook, which would merit a striking-off in itself.

I notice the reference to solicitor’s letters in her post. If she acts like that, no wonder she’s getting sued.

Ms Bretherton is saying “good riddance” to the BACP. Somehow I suspect the BACP are saying the exact same thing.

16 thoughts on “Therapist who left client “crying daily and not sleeping” struck off

  1. Very confusing. Why did she not write a reflection of what she has learned?

    I had a look on her Facebook page and in one of her replies to the original post “ITS NOT NICE” she states

    “Hi June , yes that’s true, I did agree and admit that I could have done some things in a more professional and caring manner. I am very open and willing to admit these mistakes, this is noted on the BACP website. Its the horrible untruths that the BACP did not uphold that are damaging to my reputation. If anyone reads the BACPs account of the complaint it is very damning towards me, its a way to label someone. ‘The no smoke without fire syndrome’.
    Like · 15 July at 14:00”

    It is my guess that Ms Bretherton felt hurt and like a sulky teenager (who are by nature very narcissistic!) cut off her nose to spite her face.

    Therapists who have such deep narcissistic wounds that still need healing should really take a break from working with vulnerable people until they have worked through such early trauma.

    We therapists are in a profession where we have to be accountable to what we do and say, it comes with the territory.

    It can happen to the best of us to have a complaint put against us, it depends how we deal with it and how we learn from it that matters and most of all, how we treat the client in this process.

  2. I had a therapist ‘do a number’ on me to manipulate me. Offering me 8 weeks or more therapy, messing me up when I’d already dealt with the past (I was at the Rheumatology clinic for a physical complaint NOT for any mental health issues), doing weird things like getting emotional himself to make me emotional, then 10 minutes into the 2nd session, he suddenly pushed my file away from him (apparently a well-known technique), and said he could no longer help me unless I agreed to a 2 day a week physical and psychological programme, which I had refused at the outset because I was physically incapable ( I mentioned this under another article).

    Manipulating me in this way was seriously unethical! I was told to make a formal complaint, but I was so ill that I couldn’t stand having to go through anything like that. As I commented under the other article, he has banned me from the Rheumatology clinic unless I agree to his ‘programme’, and was true to his word a few years later when I had dislocated/torn knee cartilages, but insisted on seeing me first, which I refused, so I had no treatment! When I had told him that peer reviewed articles had stated how dangerous and damaging it was to force people like myself onto a physical programme like his, he said that HIS research SUPERSEDED ALL other research, and that he has proved that people are less disabled after being on his programme. I told him that his research must be skewed because people as ill as me couldn’t possibly attend a programme like that, but he wouldn’t listen.

    I remember when I left I saw a woman waiting to see him, obviously in the same position, and she looked entirely deflated and depressed. No wonder I thought to myself. Even though I was psychologically sound before his sessions, I now had to seek therapy again because of what he did. Fortunately I follow an excellent CBT online course from an Australian university, which always gets me back on my feet again.

    Psychologists do not know everything, and CERTAINLY should not have the power to prevent someone seeking treatment for a physical problem. I don’t know how many therapists there are out there like him, but these abuses have to stop.

  3. I find client1588 comments very interesting particularly as she states she is a Therapist too, although doesn’t mention what in. This is the kind of thing I absolutely detest, commenting on people and situations that you were not part of and have no information on personally. You mention rather piously that Linda Bretherton did not, as far as you know, write a reflection for the BACP, but here’s my take on this. Why do you care? Maybe it is you who needs to reflect on your own personal practice of showing integrity, and being non-judgemental towards fellow Therapists, and indeed anyone. You certainly should,nt make sweeping statements about someone’s emotional state and work ethics, based on something you saw on Facebook. I have spent a long time working with the public professionally, I am also a FULLY trained Reiki Master/Teacher with various other Therapies under my belt, including counselling, so here’s my advice to you from one Therapist to another…instead of adding to someone else’s problems, look deep inside and work on yourself.

    • Ms Bretherton has shown a great deal of herself on her public Facebook, and frankly, it’s not a pretty sight. The fact that she named a patient on the Internet is simply unforgivable – anyone in the NHS who did that would be fired on the spot. Alongside that I’ve been struck by the tone of her posts. In my experience, when people respond to misconduct hearings with defensiveness and aggressiveness, that invariably says a great deal about how they wound up before a hearing in the first place.

      So, yes, I am (partly) basing my opinion of Ms Bretherton from her Facebook statements (I’m also basing that opinion on the BACP outcome) but there’s a lot on her Facebook to inform that opinion.

    • Dear Elaine

      On my blog I mention what type of therapist I am, a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic trained one.

      “You mention rather piously that Linda Bretherton did not, as far as you know, write a reflection for the BACP”

      I like your use of the word piously in connection to me. It made me smile (I genuinely mean that)

      I was/am quite sure that the counsellor had not written a reflection but please correct me and I will ask the author of this blog to take down my post or edit it.

      “Maybe it is you who needs to reflect on your own personal practice of showing integrity, and being non-judgemental towards fellow Therapists, and indeed anyone. You certainly should,nt make sweeping statements about someone’s emotional state and work ethics, based on something you saw on Facebook.”

      LB being a “fellow therapist” doesnt make her immune from my judgement which is very much needed, especially when there is a human being being hurt by her (anyone in power) actions.
      My statement was not meant to be sweeping although I agree much more could be said about the narcissistically wounded therapist, again you are welcome to read more on my blog.

      “instead of adding to someone else’s problems, look deep inside and work on yourself.”

      I very much agree with you Elaine – “let it begin with me”. That being said, I do not have to share my own personal reflections about myself here on this blog (although you are very welcome to read my reflections on my own blog).

      By the by, “This is the kind of thing I absolutely detest, commenting on people and situations that you were not part of and have no information on personally.”

      You also have commented on this subject that you were not part of, unless of course, you were art of it.

  4. I am smiling actually client1588, very much so. Obviously I have struck a chord as alot of knee jerk reactions going on here, which was precisely my point. I also find it interesting that you base your “very much needed judgement” as a therapist, from words written online and not about people you have met in person. That was and is my point here and that is what I was commenting on. Being professionals, we all need to stay ethical don’t we. To answer your last question, no I was not a part of it in any way, but neither were you and that’s the reason why I commented on your post. No one likes being judged but if you dish it out, you have to expect it in return. I sincerely wish you the very best of luck😉

    • Since you seem to think this is about “knee jerk reactions” here’s a serious question for you.

      Under what circumstances is it okay for a professional to breach confidentiality by naming a patient on the Internet?

  5. Different kind of regulation with this sort of case. If Ms Bretherton identified a client without permission on FB then a complaint could be made to the Information Commissioner who, after investigation, has the power to issue fines and other penalties. My hope would be that he throws the book at her. Nice ickle weblink

    • Good point, though as well as the Information Commissioner it would also be a breach of ethics for just about any professional body I can think of.

      Not to mention, given the context in which she named the patient, quite possibly libel.

  6. Phil Dore, is this a personal vendetta or something? Don’t start having a go at me now, because there are laws and I will use them. Firstly, I came across this page by pure chance whilst looking up something on aromatherapy by Ms Bretherton,who I have only very recently heard of. What struck me was the judge and jury tone on this page, against someone who unfortunately it seems is on the receiving end of a customer complaint. Now thankfully in all my time working with the public, I have never had this problem, but I can sympathise. Let’s face it, it could happen to anyone and there for the grace so on so forth. It’s very regrettable if the client was left upset, but people do react differently and sometimes these things happen, in all walks of therapy. As for your question, confidentiality should never be breached, but my point is, I don’t think it’s fair to completely condemn someone personally while not actually having been any part of it, whoever they are. This is what I don’t understand, and why all this is coming from people who say they are professionals too.

    • Excuse me? What laws have I broken? What exactly do you think you can have me prosecuted for? Ms Bretherton has made statements in the public domain and I have criticised those statements. It’s not a crime for me to do that.

      But to address your point:

      I don’t think it’s fair to completely condemn someone personally while not actually having been any part of it, whoever they are.

      It is absolutely fair to condemn a very public breach of confidentiality against a client.

      Regarding acting as “judge and jury”. No, the BACP did that, and they found the allegations proven.

  7. It must be such a good view from up there on your high horse, everyone chuck their books away, Phil Dore knows everything. Good luck in your caring profession but remember, there is such a thing as Karma. Goodbye😎

  8. Elaine Cooper and anyone else critical of this site and Mr Dore this is one of the few places that is a voice for the clients who are abused by these so called therapists. Having had my life turned upside down by a manipulative calculating narcissist calling himself a psychotherapist I can tell you that there is no justice for the victims. The “professionals” have their names on a website that very few in my position would think to look at then when challenged by their “regulating body” they just need to write a few pages of guff about “what they learned” and off they go again onto their next victim. Like children given lines with no thought or appreciation of the effect they have had on peoples lives. So from my perspective, that of a victim of therapy abuse, maybe if these so called professionals apologised to their victims when they have been found unprofessional by the BACP or UKCP instead of naming them on facebook and worrying about their own image maybe there could be some closure on both sides.

    • Sue I couldnt agree more.
      I have always said that disciplining the therapist doesnt mean jack shit. The client and therapist both are still left with (unbearable) projections which will fester and will most probably projected back onto the next client.

      What is needed is mediation, whether the therapist wants it or not.

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