The Strange Family of Derek Gale

[Trigger warnings: abuse, suicide]

A bit of context to the following post. About a year ago I started writing a book on therapy abuse. The project foundered due to, well, my own laziness, quite frankly. However, before procrastination took hold I’d gathered a substantial quantity of research materials about a notorious therapist-turned-cult-leader by the name of Derek Gale. What follows was originally intended to be a chapter in the book. I recently dug it out and finished the chapter, so that an awful tale does not remain untold.

It was the Derek Gale case that first prompted my interest in therapy abuse. He was registered with the Health Professions Council (now the Health and Care Professions Council) as an arts therapist, pretty much the only branch of psychotherapy to be covered by a statutory regulator. He was also registered as a psychotherapist with the UK Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners, a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy. In 2009 the Health Professions Council took him to a fitness-to-practice hearing for multiple allegations of serious misconduct. The UKCP then followed suit and removed him from their own register.

The case provoked a great deal of debate, not only because of the lurid details that emerged. At the time the Labour government was proposing its now-shelved plans for counsellors and psychotherapists to join their arts therapist colleagues on the HPC register, and much of the discussions were framed in that context. It is a strange story, and one that ended in tragedy.

Google around for him, and you’ll find all sorts of eye-opening snippets about Derek Gale on the Internet. There’s his Twitter profile @Zabtrolian, in which he boasts that he, ‘Used to be a psychoterrorist until struck off by HPC. Now retired + wondering why I ever went to work. Oh yes also a writer of novels and travel.’ There’s a Daily Mail headline, ‘Exposed: The therapist using a legal loophole to sexually exploit his clients‘. A Channel 4 news piece on YouTube shows a baseball cap bearing the logo, ‘Gale Centre: pay up and f*ck off.’

At the end of 2014 I decided I wanted to understand the full story of Gale’s misconduct, so I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Health and Care Professions Council for the hearing transcripts. I got a polite reply back saying they would aim to deal with the request within 20 working days. It actually took them nearly 2 months before a large zip file appeared in my inbox, and when I opened the file, it became clear why it had taken so long. Inside were 15 transcript documents, many of them over 100 pages long, with various redactions for confidentiality. It seemed that my curiosity had caused some poor member of admin staff at the HCPC a lot of work.

What follows is mostly gleaned from those mammoth 15 days of hearings at the HPC.

Gale had first entered therapy towards his 17th birthday, to deal with “my own manifest and manifold problems as a teenager.” These early experiences of therapy were a mix of Jungian dream analysis, cognitive therapy and voicework. During the 1960s and 1970s he studied the work of Alfred Wolfsohn, a German singing teacher who applied singing and voicework to the practice of psychotherapy. Around 1980 he was working in a social services unit for teenagers. When the unit was closed down, he decided to enter the therapy business.

By the 2000s, he was running the Gale Centre from his home in Loughton, Essex, charging £65 an hour for drama therapy and voice coaching, both on an individual and group basis. He was also publishing psychotherapy books, some penned by other therapists, some by Gale himself. By coincidence, while I was doing some systemic/family therapy training I came across one of his books in the university library. The book was entitled What is Psychotherapy? A Personal and Practical Guide. I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that one of the chapters was called, ‘Charlatans, well-intentioned or otherwise.’

The chapter mostly referred to psychiatrists and other professionals who might claim to be “doing psychotherapy” despite not having undertaken the arduous training expected of psychotherapists. This is indeed a valid point, although one may question whether Gale was the person to make it. As for the kind of people one might normally associate with the word “charlatan”, he had this to say.

I do not intend to dwell on the proliferation of cranks and charlatans, some of whom are out to make a quick buck. Fortunately the public do not seem to be as gullible as it is sometimes assumed to be and these people do not stay in business long, unless they have some genuine service to offer.

Again, the point has a degree of validity. Psychotherapy is a crowded market, with an oversupply of people trying to work in the field. It’s by no means easy to build up a therapy practice. However, Mr Gale did stay in business for a long time, and we shall soon see whether he had a genuine service to offer.

Gale had developed a reputation for being unorthodox, and for being something of a “Marmite” therapist who people either loved or hated. Over the years, more and more people started raising concerns about the style of therapy he was offering. They claim that at first their complaints were met with indifference, particularly from the UKCP. One complainant, Howard Martin, later told the Guardian, “I was trying to tell them about Gale for three years. The UKCP did nothing.”1 Eventually, action was taken. In 2006 the UKCP suspended his membership. In 2007 the HPC did the same, and ordered a fitness-to-practise hearing.

The list of allegations brought by the HPC included breaches of just about any fundamental aspect of psychotherapy ethics you can think of. Confidentiality, professional boundaries, respect for the dignity of clients…all were alleged to have been flouted by Gale. He was even alleged to have smoked cannabis in front of his clients. Gale, for his part, denied all the allegations. He claimed to be the victim of a conspiracy by disgruntled former clients.

Gale called his clients, especially those who formed something of an inner circle, his “family”. Within this family, he viewed himself as the father figure, even sending people greetings cards signed “Daddy”. The family didn’t just meet up within the boundaried confines of therapy sessions. They held social gatherings, and even went on motorcycling holidays together across Spain and Italy. If Gale was Daddy, of course that meant the clients were his children. This was not lost on the complainants, who said that the effect of this was to infantilise them.

The family had a pecking order among the siblings, with the children vying for the approval of the father. One client once cut his hair free of charge, because that gave her extra status in the family. Others renovated the Gale Centre, which just so happened to be Gale’s home, free of charge. One client testified at the hearings that he found this “exploitative.” Gale, for his part, did nothing to discourage the pecking order. He even handed out t-shirts bearing his photo and the words, “I’m his favourite.”

If there were favourites in the group, there were also prodigal children. At one residential setting, one client was alleged to have been sent to his room for a week as punishment for storming out of a session. While he stewed in his bedroom, Gale told the assembled group that they would be meeting the next day, “To find out why he is being such a cunt.” The atmosphere was described as feeling like a “lynch mob”. One witness to the incident felt that when the client had stormed out it had been an attempt to regain some sense of agency, and that, “In my view, Derek broke [the client] that day.”

If calling a client a “cunt” sounds like a deeply un-therapeutic word to use, it was by no means the only example of what Gale referred to at the hearings as “industrial language.” His vocabulary also included such choice phrases as “daft bitch” and “fucked up”. One complainant recalled an altercation between Gale and a woman in the group.

“I think it must have been one of the workshops, about how, when we all went away to Southend as a group for her husband’s birthday, she accused Mr Gale of having said to her, “That’s a really nice dress. It shows off your saggy tits.” She, kind of understandably I think, got quite upset about that. In this session, Mr Gale said, “No, I did not say ‘saggy tits’, I said ‘receding bustline.'” At the time I thought he’s never going to have said ‘receding bustline’. ‘Saggy tits’ is exactly what he’d have said if he made that kind of comment at all.”

One witness at the hearing claimed that Gale told him, “If I were you I would take advantage of the unlimited sex here.” When asked what he meant by that, Gale allegedly replied, “Well, I meant hugs, but you can have unlimited fucks if you want.” It is not clear whether there really was “unlimited sex” at the Gale Centre, but apparently two group members did start an affair with each other. At the hearing, Gale was accused of breaching confidentiality by telling the entire group about the affair.

This was not the only alleged breach of confidentiality in the group. On another occasion, Gale demanded that a woman remove a pullover that was covering her arms. When she did so, revealing to those present that her arms were bandaged, he demanded to know, “Why have you been slashing your arm?”

The group sessions seem to have got pretty wild at times. There are references in the hearings to people being kicked, bitten and spat at, with clients ending the sessions with bruises and scratches. On one occasion a client fell and hit her head, causing her to become concussed. Gale made no attempt to seek medical attention or record the incident. The HPC counsel asked one complainant whether Gale ever intervened when matters were getting out of hand. She replied, “He did once say, “Careful, you might kill her”, when they were all sitting on top of me.”

Gale showed the same disregard for clients’ dignity in individual therapy as in groups. Clients report that during sessions he would sometimes type text messages on his phone, or even fall asleep. During one session, the client admitted having sexual feelings towards him. The following week Gale turned up at the appointment wearing a t-shirt from the musical Tommy. The slogan on the shirt was, “See me, feel me.” Gale denied any ulterior motives behind the shirt slogan. Another client alleged that during sessions he had twirled her hair and pinged her bra strap. Yet another accused Gale of disclosing his sexual fantasies during individual therapy.

“He said he had his fantasy in which he would pretend to his wife that he was willing to have sex. He told me in quite some detail at the time. And at the very last minute, with his trousers down, he would pull them back up and say, “Surely you didn’t think I was going to have sex with you?””

During the hearings, questions were asked about a photo of Gale, allegedly smoking a marijuana joint. According to those who were present, there had been some discussion about marijuana in the group, which led to Gale making a comment along the lines of, “How do you know if you haven’t tried it?” This then led to a social occasion where he was alleged to have rolled the joint and smoked it, attaching a pin to it at one point in order to smoke it to the end.

At the hearing, Gale denied being a smoker of either marijuana or tobacco. He suggested that the photo must either have been Photoshopped, or was an image of him rolling a cigarette for somebody else. He claimed that most of his knowledge of drugs came from a brief period where he was involved in the 1999 comedy film Human Traffic. The movie was set on the Cardiff nightclub scene, and gave early roles to John Simm and Danny Dyer. When asked about his role in this movie, Gale explained as follows,

I was invited to go to Cannes, the film festival. It sounded like a great idea. When I got there I discovered that a lot of people involved in the film took a lot of drugs, and I made my position fairly clear, and I was asked to do things because I was known not to take drugs where other people were a little bit out of their heads. So the main role I had was handling the press and PA on Monday, but I really just went on a visit, but I did see a lot of drugs being used while I was there…And in fact, some of the people said to me, “could you help us get off”, and other people said to me, “It’s a great idea being on drugs, why don’t you take some?” And I said, “I think in my opinion it’s not a great idea.”

A filmography on the New York Times website confirms that Gale is credited as “special thanks” for Human Traffic. I have not been able to find out any other details about his involvement in the film.

Whatever Gale’s stance on drugs, it appears that he had a change of heart. Shortly after the incident with the joint, he announced that marijuana was now banned from the centre. Posters went up in the building warning of the mental health dangers of marijuana.

Gale, for his part, strongly denied all the allegations. At times he presented his own defence, and used this to harangue witnesses and accuse them of nefarious motives. The following exchange is entirely typical of Gale’s stance during the hearings. It took place between Gale, who was cross-examining, and a witness who was also suing Gale.

Gale: Isn’t it true that your witness statement is an attempt to support this legal claim?

Witness: No, because the witness statement and all of this was initiated long before I was anything to do with any kind of monetary claim through the civil courts.

Gale: That remains to be tested in the courts. It is not my understanding. Will it help your claim if I’m censured or struck off as a result of this hearing?

Witness: I guess it would.

Gale: Don’t you hope to get me struck off to support your claim?

Witness: No, I hope to get you struck off so that you can no longer act unethically, in my view, to other people and put people through the same kind of process I went through.

Gale: So you have said before that you’re not an expert on ethics.

Witness: Yes.

Gale: But you have said several times that I act unethically.

Witness: I have tried to say it, “act unethically, in my view”.

Gale: In your view.

Witness: Specifically for that reason.

Gale: If you want to have me regulated or if you want to have me struck off so that I can’t act, in your view, unethically, why are you making a legal claim?

Witness: Because the HPC are very limited in their powers as to what they can stop you doing.

Gale: But you are not making a legal claim against me, as it were, to impose a red traffic light, are you?

Witness: Sorry?

Gale: You are making a legal claim against me, aren’t you, to get tens of thousands of pounds out of me?

Witness: Actually that’s not entirely true. What I’ve done is I’ve submitted a legal claim, attached to which is the monies and so on that I have spent with you/on you over the last 20 years. My intention is to actually donate at least the majority, if not all, of that money to the cult exit charities that helped me when I left you.

Note the reference to cult exit charities. Gale’s use of “industrial language” did not produce the only four-letter word beginning with c that featured in the hearings. Again and again the word “cult” appears in witness testimony, for that is what they felt the Gale Centre had become. One witness described the atmosphere in the centre.

I saw this group of people hanging on Derek’s every word and thinking that the sun shone out of his behind. I thought to myself I’m never going to be like that. I became exactly like that. You just get sucked in…It was a bit like you walk into a cliquey group of people and, you know, there’s a whole set of language going on that’s sort of bespoke to that crowd of people. I very much got the sense that, you know, Derek was the, I suppose, centre of this group and that everything sort of gravitated out from him. I think the thing that sort of shocked me the most was how much people waited for his opinion rather than pre-offering their own. So there was a sense that, you know, the sort of group hung on his every word. So it was almost like things didn’t happen until he said what was going to happen.

In other words, an atmosphere that sounds exactly like a cult.

At the end of the 15 days, by no means all of the allegations were found proved. The panel did not find sufficient proof that he confined a client to his room, that he allowed people to become injured in the group, or that he disclosed details of the affair between two clients to the group. However, those allegations that were found proved were damning enough. The panel agreed that he smoked cannabis in front of clients, that he breached the confidentiality of the client who had been cutting her arms, that he blurred boundaries by taking clients on holiday, that he called a client a “cunt”, that he kept inadequate notes, that he talked about his sexual fantasies in front of clients. This was sufficent to merit only one possible outcome. Gale was struck off by the HPC. Subsequently, he was also struck off by the UKCP.

In the striking-off order, the HPC gave their impressions of what sort of “therapist” Gale was, based on their 15 days of intense scrutiny.

Having had an opportunity to observe Mr Gale over a long period of time, both as a witness and as person conducting his case in this hearing, the Panel has come to a firm view that he has a cavalier attitude towards the needs of his clients and the requirements to follow clear guidelines. This is demonstrated by numerous instances, including his evidence in cross-examination that he had never read the HPC’s Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics, the fact that he had failed to heed the warning and advice given to him to exercise caution over socialising with clients and the fact that in stating he had now modified his practice to accord with restrictive rules he was only doing so because of the rule and without embracing the rationale behind the rule.

The story has a tragic end. One of Gale’s clients was a talented singer-songwriter called Gena Dry, who was among those testifying at the hearing. Following her “therapy” with Gale, she had been plagued by suicidal thoughts, which she had recorded in her diary. On 9th February 2010 she turned up unannounced at her mother’s house in Chippenham. Her mother later told the Daily Mail, “When she arrived Gena looked to be in a terrible state. She was tearful, her face was swollen and she was unsteady on her feet. I asked her what the matter was. She was not coherent.”
The following morning her mother dropped her off at the train station so she could get back to London. She boarded the train, but never arrived. Her body was found by the railway line.

If you have been affected by any of the above issues, you may wish to contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 or

If you have been affected by issues involving professional misconduct, you may wish to contact the Clinic for Boundaries Studies on 0203 468 4194 or

28 thoughts on “The Strange Family of Derek Gale

  1. Just to be clear, Phil, are you saying that Gale was responsible for this death? As I understand it, he said that they had had no contact for a long time. Was he lying? Is there evidence that her suicidal thoughts were directly caused by her involvement with him? If true that is utterly horrible. I can’t quite see how the facts join together though from your writing to get a full picture so I am left in some doubt.

    • Directly responsible? No, I can’t say that. History doesn’t come with a rewind button, so I don’t know how events would have turned out had she never gone to him for therapy.

      But it is true that he abused and damaged her through his inexcusable behaviour.

    • One question for you, though. Why is it, that after reading that utterly horrific litany of abuse, your instinct is to try to defend Derek Gale?

    • One final comment, which is in response to your question of, “Was he lying?”

      In that particular instance, probably not. However, in a more general sense, I can say from my time immersed in the HPC transcripts that lying was something that came as naturally to Gale as water comes to a fish.

      • I am struggling to understand what evidence you have uncovered to connect him to the suicide.

        Accusations against him of serious boundary violations were shown to be justified by the HPC and appropriate action waa taken. That is all historical fact.

        Driving somebody to suicide would be in a totally shocking but different league of hideousness and since the death happened after the hearing, it is a completely new accusation of yours. You sort of insinuate it through the rhetoric in your writing, but you don’t have much actual grounds for doing so as far as I can tell. Perhaps I am wrong and there is clear evidence that you can point to. If so, can further action be taken?

      • Because around the time of her death I was in contact with people who knew her, who testified alongside her, and they certainly seemed to feel Gale bore at least partial responsibility for what happened to her. OKAY?

      • OKAY what?

        If that is what you are basing it on then that is what you are basing it on. The other stuff is well sourced in the text. Your implication that he drove her to suicide is not currently. Now we know that you based it on some people she knew who you spoke to at the time who seemed to feel that he was partially responsible. The chapter might be stronger if you stated that or gave more detail. It would be a truly horrible possibilty that a therapist could be responsible for such a terrible thing happening.

      • It is impossible to find the exact reason why someone killed themselves, even if they wrote a suicide note. But suicide is always in relation with/to other people (relationships) even if it is “mere chemical imbalance” depression.
        At best, the relationship with a psychopath will confuse an already vulnerable (suicidal) person. At worst, such a relationship can be the straw on the camel’s back.

        It cannot be proven why this woman killed herself but it cannot be denied that the relationship with a psychopath has not added to her mental disturbance and tipped her over the edge.

        Psychopaths manipulate, lie, humiliate, shame, etc

        Here is a case of a client committing suicide while in the care of her therapist.

  2. The reason Gale was able to speak to the victim in such a manner is because the dynamics of psychotherapy abuse go back to our attachment (or lack of) to our maternal caregivers which also explains people’s need to “defend” those with “power”.

    We must understand the dynamics in psychotherapy abuse to understand why this happened and Gale’s case is a perfect one to demonstrate how powerful an attachment to the “authority”(maternal caregiver) can be nurtured and then misused/abused.

    People like Gale play on their victims’ fears and anxieties (which were learned throughout childhood) which lets psychopaths like him seem all powerful and intelligent when really they are just little weak creatures but who do a lot of damage because his victims (as well as people who read or listen to the victims’ accounts) are still caught up in needing to protect mummy/daddy/authority figure.

    Psychotherapy abuse cases need exposing, of course, but we also need to go a step further; we need to try and understand why they are happening; why organisations such as UKCP do nothing to protect the public and why people need to defend “authority” (mummy/daddy)

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

  3. Let us look at some of the red flags. These alone are enough to indicate that Derek Gale was at risk. Years ago, RI Simon wrote that egregious overt abuse of clients never takes place ‘out of the blue’. There is a long period of boundary softening and pseudo egalitarianism before the faltering Person With a Credential acts out.

    Someone like a Derek Gale wanted the power and perks of attracting idealizing transference but did not want to take on the adult level humility, consciousness and discipline needed to maintain the boundaries and provide a safe container
    for clients. Ugh.

    I’d run like hell from anyone defending such a person.

    1) Pseudo egalitarianism. Derek Gale actually possessed the power conferred upon him by both his title and role as therapist and by the idealizing transference he elicited from these clients. Yet he created a pseudoegalitarian
    environment by calling these clients his “family”.

    Additional manifestations of pseudo egalitarianism–
    “Gale called his clients, especially those who formed something of an inner circle, his “family”. Within this family, he viewed himself as the father figure, even sending people greetings cards signed “Daddy”. The family didn’t just meet up within the boundaried confines of therapy sessions. They held social gatherings, and even went on motorcycling holidays together across Spain and Italy. If Gale was Daddy, of course that meant the clients were his children. This was not lost on the complainants, who said that the effect of this was to infantilise them.

    2) DK fostered dual relationships with these clients rather than taking precaution to avoid fostering dual relationships.
    A therapist should hire non clients to do renovation work – and pay those people a fair days wage for a fair day’s work. Likewise for haircuts.

    ” One client once cut his hair free of charge, because that gave her extra status in the family. Others renovated the Gale Centre, which just so happened to be Gale’s home, free of charge. One client testified at the hearings that he found this “exploitative.””

  4. Derek Gale chose the wrong profession and in doing so I believe that he enabled Gina Dry to live for a good many more years than she would have, had she not become one of his clients. Who knows what would have happened had she chosen a different therapist to see. As an opera singer/director which I believe Derek Gale could/should have been he would have been able to indulge his fascination with how and why people operate. He would have been able to bring all his characters to life and watch as they resolved their issues, or not – everybody needs to see tragedy at some time or other, to be able to know how fortunate they should consider themselves to be. His critics could have applauded or booed him from a paid for seat, instead of a public gallery at an enquiry. But to insinuate or imply that he had anything to do with Gina Dry dying on the day that she did is unfair – she was let down by a weak governing body, who failed and probably is still failing to properly vet and supervise people who wish to work in therapy. Unlike the writer of the ´chapter´ I knew Derek Gale very well for ten years, I was a client of his. I knew Gina Dry too, for probably five or six years from working in groups with her and also from spending hours and hours on the phone with her, trying to support her. I stopped working with Derek Gale because I realised that he was a fraud and I was not going to come to terms with the problems that I had, ten years earlier, arrived with – I did however come away with a stunningly good ability to Act which has served me very well. I realised that Derek really had no interest in therapy as people generally understand the meaning of the word. He did run what people could rightly call a ´cult´. I don´t think that he meant to. But because of the lack of supervision (and being in the wrong job) the lines got blurred for him and he couldn´t control the power that vulnerable people gave him. He should have known better. He did break almost every rule in the book (not the dope smoking though – he would not have done or condoned that) and so has only himself to blame. But he was not a therapist really, so it was the governing body who should be blamed (or sued). I had nothing more to do with Derek Gale when I left (his choice not mine – as I had got to know his real family quite well) which was before most of the incidents that were raised in the hearing took place.

    • “But he was not a therapist really, so it was the governing body who should be blamed (or sued).”

      If someone passes their driving test then goes on to drives recklessly and causes an accident it’s not the fault of the driving examiner for passing a reckless driver, it’s the fault of the driver for choosing to drive recklessly.

      Derek Gale chose to behave in the way he did, he chose to ignore the ethical frameworks that he had agreed to abide by. He was capable of choosing to be an ethical therapist, or resigning from the HCPC and UKCP registers to free himself to run his cult, but he chose neither.

      The governing bodies would have assessed him to make sure that he was capable of, and explicitly agreed to act ethically when he joined. When it turned out that he wasn’t acting ethically they kicked him out. They didn’t give him permission to do anything that he couldn’t do anyway, they didn’t refer his clients to him or commission him to work them, they didn’t enable him to set up a cult.

      What exactly do you think the governing bodies have done differently?

    • I would agree that at least some of the blame does lie with the lack of regulation and oversight. I’ve never heard anything good about the UKAHPP, meanwhile the UKCP initially failed to respond to concerns that were being raised, and the HCPC doesn’t even regulate psychotherapists outside of arts therapy and clinical psychology. That said, I don’t think Gale can be let off the hook by saying he wasn’t really a therapist. He was a HPC-registered arts therapist and UKCP-registered psychotherapist, and with the badge comes responsibilties.

      The dope-smoking incident did happen – there were multiple witnesses and photographic evidence. That said, from the transcripts it seems that this was probably a short-lived episode. Not long afterwards posters went up in the Gale Centre warning of the dangers, which suggests he had a change of heart.

      Regarding Gena Dry, I agree with you that we simply can’t know what would happen if she’d gone to a different therapist. As I said earlier in the thread, history doesn’t have a rewind button. I was in contact with some of his other former clients around the time of her death, and they seemed to hold him at least partly responsible, though it would probably be fair to say they had their own biases about the matter.

  5. Eric, without wanting to sound patronising, I am very sorry that you are still in that place of having to protect Gale.
    Have you heard of the term “flying monkey” in relation to the narcissist?
    Flying monkey are those of us the narcissist uses to to do their bidding, to build his/her empire etc….

    A quick google search will explain more.

    It is interesting that you learned how to “act”… that is what flying monkeys have to do too….

    Peace be with you

    • I don’t think Eric is protecting Gale – he states that Gale was a fraud running a cult, and that he broke off contact with him.

      That said, there is a lot of descriptions in the HPC transcripts of people acting in that way, some of whom would later also break off contact with Gale and then testify against him at the HPC.

      • I am hearing it differently, Phil. In my opinion Eric still “protects” Gale. It is very subtle the message of protection or “no guilt”, Gale must have been a good acting teacher.

        “I don´t think that he meant to. But because of the lack of supervision (and being in the wrong job) the lines got blurred for him and he couldn´t control the power that vulnerable people gave him.”

        These messages are very important and unconsciously have huge power, I just thought I make them “visible”. Here he even blames the vulnerable people who gave him the power.

        “But he was not a therapist really, so it was the governing body who should be blamed (or sued)”

        These messages are either said to clear Gales name (in the mind of others, or throw doubt into the mix – flying monkey) or because the victim (eric) is still trying to make sense of the experience (hence the contradictory messages of Gale not being good (but not bad either) but not responsible etc.

        Narcissism and the effects on the people around the N can take a very long time to get over, and most of the time they are undetectable by those who were not directly involved.

  6. Client 1588 is partially right Phil and so are you. This is the first time I have ever written about what I experienced with Derek Gale (DG) I did not even know at the time that there was an enquiry – I had moved away from the UK eight or ten years ago. I was aware that DG was being discussed in the media and I did try to contact one of the people involved after DG was struck off (I had been shunned not only by DG ((who also said that I could have no further contact with his real family again “you either continue the work with me or you can have no further contact with me or my family, because every time that I would see you, it would be like an arrow in my heart” chilling words that I will never forget and which I have to live with. I had gone on holiday with his family as a baby sitter I ate at their house I slept at their house on occasion, and saddest of all things I was loved unconditionally by his young son who I had often looked after as a baby and young boy, I was even asked to move into their house and look after him and his younger brother if anything should happen to both DG and his wife, if they died. That was the real torture of why it took me four years to leave and for that alone I would have to say that DG was a wicked man and that was a wicked thing to do to me…..remembering that and many other things make me want to change my statement about DG – – he was not only a bad therapist he was also a bad man to, ouch that hurt)) but by all the other members of his regular group – that´s what made me realise that it had become a cult – I was told that as I was not prepared to work with DG that they could no longer associate with me, they had to make a choice). If you don´t mind the language – when I first answered an ad in a local paper that DG had put there saying that he had a lot of experience of working with children (which he had, as a foster parent) I didn´t know my arse from my elbow – I was very immature and vulnerable. How could I have made an informed choice about DG´s suitability at that time? Of course I couldn´t. That is why I do blame the people who gave him the licence or what ever to practice THEY SHOULD HAVE PUT BETTER SAFEGUARDS INTO PLACE, for people like me, did they really do everything that they could have, maybe they did and I am looking for someone else to blame. But I watched and I learnt. After I read the ´Chapter´ above I really just wanted to say – that DG´s madness may well have captivated and entranced Gina and distracted her from dying earlier – what do I know? That was my opinion. Now, I can say clearly that DG was a bad, bad therapist for me – but it took me four years to leave him – he owes me every cent that I ever paid him for entrapping me into his ´real´ family and home. Of course I loved it at the time, the feeling of being special, the attention, the space —— you know the profile of a cult leader. I was the classic victim: foster kid, school failure etc etc. Client 1588, I am sure that I am still and always will be screwed up about my relationship with him – I expect that is sort of to be expected, isn´t it? I will look at the ´monkey´ in relationship to me and the situation, thank you. Trust me – I didn´t want to go anywhere near another theraputic relationship with anyone, ever again. Gina was a good person and I was sorry to hear that she committed suicide. Writing this has been very helpful, to me – I am not really sure what this ´blog?´is for, but I feel better for finding it.

  7. Ok, Client 1588……..the ´flying monkeys´ thing- I am not sure I fully understand it but I think I can see some of what you mean after reading up about it…..ok, I can see that I was in some way trying to explain why I thought DG did what he did, maybe that was wishful thinking on my part – but after writing my last post I am remembering more of the things that happened and can see that what he did to me was awful, absolutly awful – in it´s totality. I thought I was stronger, thought that I had escaped – maybe not – I realise that I am still scared of his power, oh shit…..not your problem. Thanks for pointing it out to me. Can I wipe out some of the things I wrote earlier, probably not, never mind???? Whatever I said before I don´t want anybody thinking that DG is good person, I got that wrong in even slightly trying to give him a way out (quick turn around I know but now that I remember…..) he did awful things not only to me but to other people who left him long before I did. I don´t really want to talk about it anymore – I am fine but I have to deal with the fact that part of me still likes/is attached to, part of him, and I don´t think that is either right or good for me but it´s there. I hope that no one else gets abused by him ever again, but knowing him, they probably already have. He won´t ever change. Thank you.

    • Eric, my heart goes out to you. You are healing and it is a painful (but rewarding!) road to travel. Please dont beat yourself up and keep talking about it if you need to talk. If you dont want to speak about it here you could always speak to someone safe offline or join our forum at

      Remember, it wasnt your fault, just like it isnt your fault that you still sometimes fall back into protecting him.

      Take gentle care of yourself

  8. Although I could edit out some of your earlier comments if you want, actually I think what you’ve said gives a very insightful account of Gale’s cult, and also illustrate the difficulties and dilemmas that people can be wrestling with years after the event from such incidents. That particularly comes across when reading your comments in sequence rather than simply taking each of them in isolation.

    And I want to thank you for writing it.

    If you do want your earlier comments edited, email me on thus_spake_z at hushmail dot com with the requested amendments.

  9. Thank you Phil for picking up on my “can I wipe out some of the things I wrote earlier” comment and offering to edit out anything I might want taken out – I didn´t realise that you had that role – It´s ok, it can all stay. What I wrote is how I felt at a particular moment and although I may be seen as gullible and mixed up (even now) It´s ok because that is what I was and am, in parts. There might be other people like me who read this and then ´recognise´ something about themselves or their positions and it might help them. Anyone who was around DG from about 85 -95 would know me by my first name, later ones may have heard of me. My brief testament should stand, for whatever it is worth – and I do hope that someone benefits from it. I don´t know how I would have acted if I had been around at the time of the enquiry, maybe I wouldn´t have been able to help give a proper view of DG (thank you Client 1588). It appears that the people who did know about the enquiry and did make statements and spoke at the enquiry did a good enough job and I can imagine that doing that would have been a hard thing to do with DG in the room. It takes guts to stand up to someone like DG he was undoubtably a bully, so they did well. I hope, Phil, that you decide to finnish writing your book, it would be a very interesting read.

  10. Client 1588 thank you for your suggestions – and it was nice to hear you say ´it wasn´t´ my fault – because I don´t think I have ever said that to myself, and I probably should. Thank you.

  11. Pingback: Ep. 33: Microcults | Paregoricon

  12. I was the original complainant in the Derek Gale case at both the UKCP and (what then was) HPC

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