Having blogged about therapy abuse for several years, I recently made the decision to start work on a book on the topic. For that reason I’ve begun reading through the published literature, which isn’t as large as one might think. I have to thank Amanda Williamson (who has personal experience of therapy abuse) for pointing me in the direction of one of the seminal texts – Sex in the Forbidden Zone: When Men in Power – Therapists, Doctors, Clergy, Teachers and Others – Betray Women’s Trust, by Peter Rutter. As well as this review, you can also read Amanda’s own review here.
Thanks to Tim Fenton for (a) pointing out the Daily Mail stoking bigotry against nurses who come from overseas to work in the NHS and (b) providing a link I could use that won’t boost their online advertising. Today’s Fail front page screams, “4 IN 5 NEW NURSES ON NHS WARDS ARE FOREIGN”. Filthy foreigners, coming over here, healing sick people.
As is usually the case with such Mail headlines, the report is a mix of empty assertions, half-truths and dogwhistle politics that stoke up racism.
Previously I commented on the case of Ray Holland, a psychotherapist who was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy for serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. Mr Holland denies the allegations despite the striking-off, and has returned to psychotherapy practice. This week I noticed that he had put up a new business website, changing his name to Ray Bott-Holland.
Today, I received two e-mails from Holland (or Bott-Holland, or whatever he’ll be calling himself next week) threatening to sue me if I don’t remove all his details from my blog.
In July 2014 Raymond Holland was struck off by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, over allegations of serious sexual misconduct with an “evidently vulnerable client”. They also allege that he “threatened Ms [Redacted] in order to prevent her from reporting the matter.” The panel found he “gave no indication at all that he had learned by his experiences or that he showed any insight into his behaviour.”
In September I noticed that he appeared to be still practising. His website was up, and he turned up in the comments thread of my blog post to confirm that he did indeed plan to continue despite his striking-off. Since then his website has gone down. But now a new website has gone up. For a Ray Bott-Holland.
As the material on this blog has grown, I’ve started giving attention to something I’ve been idly considering for quite some time. I’m now writing a book on the topic of therapy abuse. I think it’s an important and difficult topic, and one that isn’t written about enough.
I’m an instinctive Labour voter, though by no means a tribal one. I support greater social justice, less inequality and strong public services. Even so, I’m finding it harder and harder to support Labour these days.
Two incidents have left me finding it harder to support Ed Miliband at the moment – his debate with Myleene Klass and the row over Emily Thornberry’s tweet. On neither of these though, am I disappointed in these for the reasons being trotted out by the tabloid media.
I’ve argued in favour of statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy, and for making those professions protected titles. An argument against regulation is that those struck off from the profession would simply give themselves other titles, such “life coach” or “mentor”, which aren’t regulated or protected.
I’ve since discovered that there’s an International Regulator of Coaching and Mentoring, which operates as a community interest company. But is it really a regulator?
In May 2014 the Health and Care Professions Council made a heavily-criticised decision not to strike off a clinical psychologist who had been found to have committed serious sexual misconduct. John McCarron was instead given a one-year suspension.
The Professional Standards Authority has now referred the decision to the High Court. The hearing will be on 22nd January 2015. I’m pleased that such a highly-questionable outcome will receive further scrutiny.
I recently completed some postgraduate study in systemic and family therapy, which I did in order to help me work more effectively with the very vulnerable families that come into contact with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). What I didn’t expect was the way it made me reflect on communication between various agencies, and how bizarre and dysfunctional it can be. There was a prime example of this on Twitter today, courtesy of @debecca.
People with mental health problems sometimes have physical health problems. In fact, they’re statistically more likely to have such problems than those who don’t have a mental health problem. There are a number of reasons for this: if you have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to live in poverty, or in substandard housing, to have a poor diet, to be engaging in risky behaviour or drug/alcohol use, to be experiencing the side-effects of psychiatric medications, and so on. And of course, there’s the simple fact that people with mental health problems are people, and people sometimes get sick.
On this blog, I’ve highlighted the need for statutory regulation for counselling and psychotherapy. This is demonstrated by cases such as Palace Gate, where a counselling firm was struck off by the BACP due to 30 proven allegations, but has no legal impediment to stay in business. And indeed, still is in business.
What I haven’t talked about so much is what kind of regulation might work. Time to muster some thoughts.