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I am against regulation of Counsellors & Psychotherapists via HPC

Comment 11th July 2010

The remit of HPC is too narrow to accommodate the breadth and diversity of the talking therapies. Counselling and Psychotherapy are not necessarily or exclusively health care professions. We have tried to make this point via detailed letters and proposed consultation, but so far these discussions have been inadequate at best. It seems that the decision to go ahead with enforced regulation via HPC was taken by a select few whose agendas were politically based, and aimed at fitting us into a mould that we do not fit. To explore with a client their life, their unconscious process, their existential presence in the world is not something that should be listed under a medical model.

I am a member of the BACP and adhere to its rigorous training, and continual professional development, not to mention ongoing and regular supervision with a well qualified clinical supervisor. All my clients are made aware of this, and ethical guidelines are offered and provided, as are complaints procedures. In short, what I do, how I do it and what you can do if you are not satisfied is fully transparent and discussed.

Diversity of conceptions of therapy and appropriate regulation has been proposed. This has happened in Australia and many parts of Canada and the US.

Under HPC, the public's choice of what sort of therapy they receive, and by whom will be at best limited, or could result in no choice at all. What would be the future for innovation, and research into new ways of being with clients?

I have personally spent many thousands of pounds training to be a counsellor & psychotherapist. I never believed it to be health care, and never expected to receive my personal therapy, (a requirement of my training) for free via the NHS. I am not a doctor, I do not offer diagnosis, or aim to fix people. My clients evaluate the work I do, and records are kept and stored under the guidelines of the professional body of which I am a member.

Finally, I offer autonomy to my clients, I think I deserve the same in return from society. I am not necessarily against regulation, but I am fully against regulation via the HPC, which is a body not qualified to regulate the industry of the talking therapies.   

Why does this matter?

This is important to discuss now, because the new coalition government, may be more open than the previous one to looking afresh at this issue.

To enforce regulation upon us via the HPC could cost more to implement than it would bring in. If the proposed changes are designed to bring in extra cash, this could be counter-productive as therapists are likely to refuse, go underground and/or deny the public of the opportunity to discuss their lives without the added pressure of being 'fixed.'   

Some things, the inevitability of death for example, can't be fixed. We just have to learn to live with it…

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