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Health Professions Council – not fit to monitor Counselling training/practice ..

Comment 5th July 2010

The Counselling and Psychotherapy profession has been working for the past several years (with the BACP and UKCP professional bodies) to bring in statutory UK regulation.  There is considerable concern expressed through the professional bodies – and widely in the profession itself – that the HPC proposals are not "fit for purpose".  Without going into detail (and there are vast swathes of paperwork in circulation), the over-riding concern within the profession is that the proposals are too rigid; have not been conceived with understanding of clinical and therapeutic realities;  are trying to push practitioners into "plastic, scrubbed practice rooms";  require a written outcome to each client session; give no recognition of the invaluable therapeutic traditions and approaches – developed with great care by many of the organisations concerned over many years.  This is an inadequate list, but hopefully gives some information as to why such wide-spread concerns have surfaced.  The standards for training and practice within Counselling and Psychotherapy should remain within the existing professional bodies, and be released from the wholly inadequate (and no doubt very expensive!) HPC interference.

It will be a great service to the profession if this can be rescinded successfully.


Why does this matter?

This is really important because:  a) Counsellors and Psychotherapists already have standards of training and practice within their two main professional bodies.  A career path is already in place and recognised.  b)  Training/Membership organisations are dedicated to teaching and upholding their particular therapeutic approach; this is invaluable in terms of honouring the different schools of psychotherapy and counselling, their work and input over many years, and the choice this offers to various clients and their different presenting needs.  c)  One of the HPC requirements is "to work in a washable room"; this is because they have erroneously placed the profession within the medical model.  It does not belong there.  Practitioners work in comfortable, clean consulting rooms usually, dedicated for the purpose.  They need soft lighting, comfortable chairs, ventilation, privacy – not a scrubbable, clinical environment.  d) It is detrimental to client welfare to give a written outcome (even on private clinical notes) to each session.  There seems no understanding at all from the HPC that a client may necessarily need to experience what appear to be 'negative' periods in therapy, even to project anger and grief onto the therapist.  If this is taken as a 'negative' result – it misses the point entirely that repetitions from the past are so often the absolute key to healing and repair.  It would seem from this 'tick-list' mentality from the top down that clinical understanding of the Freudian and Jungian traditions and key elements of good practice have been entirely missed.  This is dangerous and undermining to the profession, to practitioners, to training organisations in their integrity, and ultimately to potential clients.   This potential legislation has been totally misconceived. 

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