Examining Whiteness: White identity and racism 27th June 2020

Saturday 27th June 2020  11am – 2pm

Venue to be confirmed.  Booking link will be posted once venue confirmed

FREE – donations on the day much appreciated.

Whiteness, as a set of normative cultural practices, is visible most clearly to those it definitely excludes and those to whom it does violence. Those who are housed securely within its borders usually do not examine it. (Ruth Frankenberg,1993)

This group is open to people from all backgrounds, heritages and ethnicities who want to actively address the injustices and inequalities of racism through personal and collective work on White identity, power, privilege and complicity.

It is an open group meeting 4 times a year and facilitated since Sept 2017 by Bea Millar and Suzanne Keys, two therapists active in PCSR, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility www.pcsr.org.uk. It is not a workshop, seminar or therapy group so participants need to be prepared to participate in uncomfortable and difficult conversations in a respectful environment, with the personal content being confidential to the group, and know how to support themselves in this process.

By doing this work together we hope to actively work towards dismantling internal, relational and structural racism. The groups started because Suzanne and Bea no longer wanted to be part of a therapy profession and world where clients, trainees and practitioners of colour continue to experience oppression, discrimination and harm, where their experiences are not heard and valued and where white practitioners don’t do the necessary internal and relational work to stop this happening. It is an ongoing experience and active learning journey.

Resources gathered for Examining Whiteness    Updated March 2020

Organisations focusing on the experience of Therapists of Colour

https://www.baatn.org.uk/              https://www.aashna.uk/

Webinairs, podcasts and articles

 Whiteness, Intimacy and Everyday Antiracism.  William R. Frey

https://medium.com/@williamrfrey/sswr2020-brief-brilliant-90067f8ad147
‘White counsellors don’t understand’: Why BME students don’t get the help they need at uni https://thetab.com/uk/2019/09/11/white-counsellors-dont-understand-why-bme-students-are-rejecting-mental-health-support-at-uni-124427

What’s Missing From “White Fragility” https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/09/white-fragility-robin-diangelo-workshop.html

RACE: What is White Supremacy in Education? https://theteacherist.com/2019/02/20/race-what-is-white-supremacy-2/

What does it mean to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless?  Robin DiAngelo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A-pZH-S4jk

 Why healing from internalised Whiteness is a missing link in White people’s anti-Racism work

https://everydayfeminism.com/webinar-replay-hiw/?mc_cid=261adfd5ad&mc_eid=b9a7ca3c5e

 Whiteness on the couch.  Natasha Stovall

https://longreads.com/2019/08/12/whiteness-on-the-couch/

Pran Patel’s Decolonise the Curriculum Ted Talk https://youtu.be/8JjRQTuzqTU
Pran Patel’s Decolonise the Curriculum companion article https://theteacherist.com/2019/05/26/decolonise-the-curriculum/

Guide to Allyship: http://www.guidetoallyship.com/

So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know: https://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/things-allies-need-to-know/

#BlackSafeSpace   CiCi and Shona Hunter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlsLFWZKoZw&app=desktop

 Seeing White – explorations of White Supremacy   14 radio broadcasts

https://www.sceneonradio.org/episode-45-transformation-seeing-white-part-14/

Witnessing the wound’ 20 min video by Eugene Ellis, BAATN.          https://vimeo.com/262194819

How I learned to stop worrying and love discussing Race  (10 min TED talk)         https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdxeFcQtaU

Colonialism and the origins of skin bleaching  https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/XIfdHRAAAKbQ_FWB

4 Ways White People Can Process Their Emotions Without Hijacking the Conversation on Racial Justice. Jennifer Loubriel        https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/4-ways-white-people-can-process-their-emotions-without-bringing-the-white-tears/

http://whitespaces.leeds.ac.uk/who-we-are/

 

3 authors who have written extensively on Racism and White privilege

Tim Wise, US anti-racism activist, J.E.Helm’s White racial identity development model and Peggy McIntosh on White privilege.

 Classic text on these issues:      Black Skin, White Masks     Frantz Fanon     1952

 Recent relevant books

Me and White Supremacy                 Layla F.Saad         Coming out Feb 2020

http://laylafsaad.com/meandwhitesupremacy-workbook

How to be an antiracist        Ibram X. Kendi                   2019

Dying of Whiteness                             Jonathan M. Metzl      2019

https://www.dyingofwhiteness.com/

White Privilege Unmasked: how to be part of the solution    Judy Ryde    2019

White Fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism  Robin DiAngelo 2018

Natives: race and class in the ruins of empire                     Akala       2018

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race     Reni Eddo Lodge      2017

Race in Psychoanalysis                                                       Celia Brickman    2017

https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781351718523

The Challenge of Racism in Therapeutic Practice          Isha McKenzie-Mavinga 2016

Black Issues in The Therapeutic Process                          Isha McKenzie-Mavinga      2009

Being White in the Helping Professions                           Judy Ryde         2009

The Isis Papers. The Keys to the Colors          Dr. Frances Cress Welsing  1991

A collection of 25 essays examining the neuroses of White Supremacy

 

 

 

PCSR and FPN conference Rescheduled for May 2021

        Rescheduled for May 2021

PNP Conference promotion video
TICKETS: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/people-not-pathology-humanising-counselling-and-psychotherapy-tickets-91118486847

People not Pathology: Humanising Counselling and Psychotherapy

A 2-day conference in Birmingham 2nd-3rd May 2020

Psychotherapy and counselling in the UK is alive and well. The demand for therapy and the supply of therapists have been growing steadily for decades. At the same time, for the last two decades at least the heart and soul of the profession has been under attack from the neoliberal policies of the state and our own professional bodies. It’s time to take a stand and start to turn the tide. How do we stand together to humanise our profession and play our part in transforming neoliberal narratives about mental health into a vision of society organised around people’s needs? We want the conference to be as participatory and “bottom up” as possible, prioritising small group discussion in workshops.

Conference Day 1: The Problem Medical model of mental health and its treatment via CBT and psychotropic drugs; individual responsibility and the denial of the politico-social model of MH; colonisation by short-term evidence-based therapy; IAPT; professional bodies as state regulators of therapy, gatekeepers of training and employability; SCoPEd; DWP use of psychocompulsion; unpaid work by counsellors, psychotherapists, art therapists & group therapists; underpaid, overworked, deskilled gig economy for psy workers.

Conference Day 2: What are we going to do about it? How do we campaign for the social model of MH; what kinds of collective political action will challenge neoliberal attacks on relational therapy; how do we build alliances with service users and support user-led initiatives; campaigning against unpaid work; boycotting DWP psy work; organising our own bottom-up democratic professional organisations; working as therapists in communities; respecting and facilitating the psycommons; open-ended relational therapy for everyone, not just the well off.
Contact paulwilliamatkinson@gmail.com

People Not Pathology: Programme Outline

Two-Day Conference in Birmingham 2-3 May 2020

Conference Programme Outline

(in progress)

Book Tickets Here

SATURDAY 9.30am – 5pm

9.30 Arrive, register, coffee

10.00 Introductions: housekeeping & overview of the conference

Speakers: 10.30            10.45

11.00 Small groups to propose and prioritise workshop themes

11.40 Break

12.00 Plenary

  • Feedback from small groups and choose themes
  • Intro to facilitation, note taking and feed back method

12.30 First session in theme workshop groups

1.00 – 2.00  Lunch

Speakers: 2.00     2.15

2.30 Theme workshop groups

  • What are the issues and our experience of them?
  • What action are people already taking to campaign for change and/or create the alternatives?
  • What kind of action for change do we want/need?

3.30 Break

4.00 Plenary

  • Feedback from workshops
  • Identifying possibilities for networking and action
  • Plans for Sunday

5.00 End day and plans for evening

 

 

SUNDAY 10am – 3pm

 

10.00 Parallel Workshops

  • Saturday workshop groups – unfinished business
  • Denis Postle’s new movie “The Climate Tsunami” (50mins) and discussion
  • Parallel workshops on various themes to be confirmed

12.00  Break

12.30 Final Plenary

  • Feedback from parallel workshops
  • Plans for next steps
  • Contact lists

1.30 – 3.00   Lunch together at the venue and goodbyes

Book tickets here

Accommodation suggestions

PCSR statement on the formation of Partners for Counselling and Psychotherapy

https://www.partnersforcounsellingandpsychotherapy.co.uk/

October 2019

PCSR was formed to offer complementary narratives to dominant understandings of our professions’ functions and values. The social, political, ecological and economic contexts of our own and our clients’ lives are inextricable from our own individual histories. Many training organisations either do not have available time for exploring these issues, or do not give them priority, knowing that they are not  primary concerns of professional bodies. But PCSR is a place where therapists can explore these issues in greater depth; we have purposefully located ourselves as a neutral space where we offer freedom for people with diverse opinions to experiment, learn, change and explore nuanced alternative versions of more powerful well-funded ideological discourses.

Over the years we have had friendly, collegiate relationships with our professional organisations understanding that they have different pressures and priorities. But for some while now we have watched as they aligned themselves to a business model rather than to models of best practice, embracing economic ideologies of self-regulating markets, reducing liability and increasing status through performance management.

We hold that neither counsellors and psychotherapists nor psychoanalysts are immune to the effects of this corporate and organisational culture, and our members have become concerned about these choices, and have reported the inevitable outcomes of this model on clients, patients, agencies, training organisations and on individual practitioners.

Events this year have crystallised our Steering Group’s thoughts on directly challenging the BACP and UKCP; over summer a number of smaller counselling and psychotherapy organisations have been discussing our concerns, jointly and separately attempting to communicate, thus far unsuccessfully, with the BACP, UKCP and BPC over the two initiatives below:

  1. the manner in which they planned an All Party Parliamentary Group, and how they responded to being told by a member of the House of Lords that they had totally misunderstood this process.
  2. the SCoPEd project and issues emerging from it

We are jointly agreed that matters are now so serious that we must unite in order to more formally reflect the concerns of counsellors and psychotherapists that have been denied, distorted and dismissed by the BACP and UKCP, and so eight  organisations have come together to form Partners for Counselling and Psychotherapy 

Our great fear is that the strategies that BACP, UKCP and BPC  have embraced distort the unique character of our professions and can cause harm to clients, counsellors, psychotherapists and society.  Our hope is that they will consent to become aware of the alarm and growing despair of their and our shared membership and respond to it, not as organisations attempting to reduce liability, demonstrate business responsiveness and maintain market share, but by beginning to re-embody the values of counselling and psychotherapy, values that we believe are the bedrock of truly sustainable occupations.

Letter to Royal College of Psychiatrists from Mental Health Resistance Network and others signed also by PCSR

Prof Wendy Burn

President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

11 September 2019

Dear Professor Burn,

I am writing to you on behalf of Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN), Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), WinVisbile (women with visible & invisible disabilities), Recovery in the Bin (RITB) and Black Triangle to express our deep concern that job coaches have been given the authority to assess the mental health of Universal Credit claimants, not for the purpose of establishing reasonable adjustment requirements but to refer them for treatment. Such a scheme is currently being piloted in Cornwall. Job coaches can fast track patients/claimants for specialist mental health treatment without the need for the involvement of a GP. We are dismayed that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has not opposed this.

Link to DWP press release, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/100000-fund-to-boost-mental-health-support-across-cornwall

As mental health services are now being forced to promote a highly biased political view of mental distress and treatment, we profoundly regret that mental health professionals’ bodies, along with major mental health charities, are so keenly colluding with the embedding of a contested political ideology into the treatment of people who live with mental distress. This ideology involves both blaming and punishing individuals who fail to conform to the demands of the free market, regardless of whether these demands are reasonable or might cause harm to the claimant. It also requires that social security is restricted to such an extent that people live with the constant fear of destitution and with actual destitution. As you know, this has resulted in a number of deaths from suicide. It is extraordinary that the Royal College of Psychiatrists is going along with this.

It would seem that, with its vigorous promotion of what we know as the ‘work cure’, the psychiatric profession has learned nothing from its foray into gay conversion therapy. Can we refer to this new direction as “political ideology compliance therapy”?

We have the following questions for the Royal College of Psychiatrists:

  • Is the Royal College of Psychiatrists satisfied that mental health assessment by job coaches does not carry a risk of severe and complex mental health problems being mistaken for less serious problems resulting in incorrect referrals and failure to seek appropriate medical attention? This risk is surely particularly high given that the DWP and their contractors have become accustomed to minimizing the experience of mental distress for the purposes of denying social security entitlements.
  • Is there a possibility that a physical health condition might underlie the mental health problem and could be missed by not seeing a GP?
  • If people who are presumed to be well enough to see a job coach are fast tracked for treatment, does this mean that those with more serious conditions will drop down the queue? I would refer you to the case of Mr Julian Gaunt of Norfolk who took his own life last year. Link to news article https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/gaunt-inquest-norfolk-nsft-prevention-future-deaths-report-1-6025120 The senior coroner for Norfolk Jacqueline Lake said she was “particularly concerned by a statement from Michael Cummings, acute services manager at NSFT, who told the inquest that people with less serious problems could receive treatment from the county’s wellbeing service faster than those with more complex conditions.” Do you agree with a two-tier system where the provision of mental health treatment prioritizes those who are considered well enough to work over those who are unable to work?
  • Job coaches are not deemed appropriately qualified to refer people with physical conditions directly to specialists without reference to a GP. Does allowing such unqualified people to assess claimants with mental health conditions suggest to you that the government has abandoned its commitment to achieving parity of esteem between physical and mental health conditions? If so, how will the Royal College of Psychiatrists respond to this?
  • Does the Royal College of Psychiatrists consider the offices of job coaches, which are usually open plan, to be suitable places for mental health assessments?
  • Will the results of these assessment be recorded in the person’s NHS medical records or in their DWP records?
  • Given the punitive nature of the social security system, how readily do you think claimants will confide in job coaches?
  • Finally, does the Royal College of Psychiatrists believe that psychiatrists’ collusion with the ‘work cure’ enhances the patient/clinician relationship?

We now readily accept same sex marriage which is evidence that public opinion and political ideas are subject to change. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has apologized for the harm caused to LGBT people by aversion therapy. When the hostile environment for disabled people comes to an end, and we are determined that it will, how long will we have to wait for an apology from the psychiatric profession for the role it has played in enabling DWP abuse of people in mental distress?

We call on the Royal College of Psychiatrists to recommend most strongly that where a job coach is concerned about the mental health of a Universal Credit claimant that they seek to persuade the claimant to make an urgent visit to their GP, and that you support the claimant getting the full benefits the claimant is entitled to, with no sanctions, as any cut in benefit could endanger the claimant’s mental health and even their lives.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mental Health Resistance Network

Disabled People Against Cuts

WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)

Recovery in the Bin

Black Triangle

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

 

 

Open Letter regarding SCoPEd by Caz Binstead

Open letter regarding SCoPEd Project

By Caz Binstead  – Counsellor/Psychotherapist in Private Practice, and Clinical Supervisor. Currently sitting on the BACP Private Practice Executive Committee.

12th August 2019

SCoPEd – wow! If there is one word that seems to evoke or frustrate as much as Brexit, it is surely this word!

Amongst the nationwide and global uncertainty, now would feel like an opportune time for unity. Unfortunately, our caring profession, which exists to help people with their emotional well-being, has, this year, become a tense place of uncertainty and worry, and a sparing ground of accusation and recrimination.

As someone who sits on the Private Practice Divisional Executive, at the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy), and is a member in my own right, I have had to decide on which side of the debate I lie. Some of my colleagues, such as board members, Una Cavanagh and Andrew Reeves, have recently set out their own personal opinions, and so too, I am choosing here to follow suit.  

It is important to state that this article is me writing from my capacity as an independent therapist, and is focussing on my own personal viewpoints of the SCoPEd project itself, and, some of the ramifications (direct and indirect), that have come about since its launch. I wish to also critically evaluate how this project affects us as current members, and ponder how to best move forward in an inclusive and positive way.

In short, I have decided, that I cannot support SCoPEd, thereby concluding that I will need to vote for an AGM Resolution that is being put forward to halt the project (Stevens & Shennan, 2019). This is not at all easy for me as someone who holds a position at the BACP, and who supports the work of not only my own division (where I am currently the lead on an exciting project for new private practitioners), but the work and potential of the BACP as an organisation in general.  For me though, being a member of a professional body, is of immense importance and responsibility; it is a place where we work collectively, to ensure the best for our profession. I have avidly read all of the material that has been put out on the subject, and also asked questions and spoken to many people on both sides of the argument. I hope I am supported by my colleagues at the BACP in joining the wider conversation, doing what I feel deep down is right, and activating my rights as a fully paid member. For context, I am currently working as a therapist in private practice, and a clinical supervisor (including, of trainees on a BACP Accredited Training Course).

SCoPEd has been described as ‘a ground-breaking project to map professional competencies for the counselling and psychotherapy professions (BACP, 2019) .

There is so much critical debate which I could go into in this article, but many of these important themes and questions, have already been picked up on by a multitude of people via academic papers and open letters. Some of the criticisms are as follows: it creates a hierarchy, it pigeon-holes practitioners, it makes a distinction between counselling and psychotherapy in a way never done before by BACP, it denigrates counselling, it favours certain modalities,  it shows gaps and inaccuracies in the mapping itself, it poses a question of what a ‘point of entry’ actually means and how accreditation fits with this, it ignores the deeply enriching relational element of our work, and finally, it uses a particular methodology that many have criticised. On the other side, SCoPEd team states that they are aiming to promote the value of therapy and create more opportunities for members, and are listening and responding to the feedback they receive. These critiques are largely available on social media, and I would encourage everyone to seek out and read both the challenges posed, and the BACP’s responses, to some of them.

In some ways, navigating my way around the project, has felt a bit like being lost in rabbit’s warren. And at times when I think I understand it, suddenly more questions arise. One good example of this, is on the point around the titled columns (column 1; Counsellor, Column 2: Advanced Counsellor, Column 3; Psychotherapist). A question on this arose during the recently filmed interview put out by the BACP (chaired by Faisal Mahmood, senior lecturer in counselling/psychotherapy, Newman University), featuring, Chief Executive Hadyn Williams, Chief Professional Standards Officer and Chair of the Technical Group of SCoPEd, Fiona Ballantine-Dykes, and Board Chair Andrew Reeves (BACP, 2019). Fiona, in answering the question specifically on BACP’s long-standing differing position to the other bodies on the idea of rigid titles, states:

“The titles, is probably one of the biggest problems we’ve got, because it suggests hierarchy, and it suggests that they’ve been decided. And actually, neither of these things are true. If we just put aside what we call those areas of competencies, or what the person doing them is, then you start to have a more possible conversation. And I think, with the benefit of hindsight, we took a leap there, and there are reasons for that which would take a long time to explain…..we’ve got to own that – that was not a good thing to do”

 However, just two weeks later, BACP Vice President Julia Samuel says, in an article put out by the BACP and published on their website and social media sites :

“I don’t see that we are denigrating what we already have by trying to have a clear understanding of what the words counsellor and psychotherapist are” (Samuel, 2019)

But hang on – I thought we weren’t using titles? Confused?! Me too!

Ironically, given the purpose of SCoPEd was to provide more clarity for the public, much of the criticism has focussed on an ongoing sense of bewilderment regarding the muddled nature of the project, levels of miscommunication, and an ongoing lack of clarity – hardly encouraging for clients, when therapists themselves are struggling to understand. 

Some of this confusion was around what this framework meant for existing practitioners. BACP have since worked to rectify this, and it is apparent that that there are three stages to SCoPEd:

  1. Mapping (framework put together), 
  2. Consultation (present stage),
  3. Implementation (the final stage). 

As much focus to date has been on the ‘mapping stage’, I want in this piece, to reflect on the Implementation stage of the project.

Implementation, is the stage which must be of most interest to current practitioners, because, it will be at this stage where there is a degree of unknown, and that vital decisions could be made which would affect you, and your practice. This is important, because once the ‘consultation stage’ is over (even with the extension), there is theoretically, no stopping the project. Implementation means implementation. Yet, weirdly, in this case, in addition to its routine meaning, it also means adding an unquantifiable number of unknowns for current practitioners, and crucially, past the point of consultation. SCoPEd team’s answer, lies in us, trusting the process. Therefore, it seemed fitting in response, to ask myself sincerely if I do have a problem with trusting the process? Well, honestly, I can say with much reflection – I don’t. In fact, it forms a big part of my work as a therapist, both in the practice, and the underpinning philosophy of what informs my work. Do I have a problem though, with sitting with this particular uncertainty, yes…an emphatic yes, and I’ll tell you why. To trust a process, you have to feel secure in the boundaries and framework surrounding it. This, is what creates safety for people. Therapists have paid thousands of pounds to train in this profession, and of course, people are going to be concerned about any changing of the ‘goal posts’ .It is a lot to ask someone to trust the process, when what they knew before, is subject to change, and where this is based on a basic framework that many people now do not trust, particularly given BACP have had to concede that several elements are not viable in their current state. This leaves us with a real lack of backbone information about the Implementation stage in particular. To me, that does not feel safe conditions to trust the process.

Given the number of under-employed therapists out there, I in fact consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I have a fulltime private practice which I earn my entire living from, I have an interesting position at the BACP, alongside all the other wonderful opportunities I have been afforded in my career. However, I work with colleagues in all differing positions, who are not necessarily so lucky, and would be potentially more affected by the introduction of SCoPEd. Here’s a case study to illustrate:

 Sheila, a counsellor, has been qualified for 3 years, and is registered but not accredited. She has struggled with previously finding a paid position, and finds it difficult to maintain a private practice so as a result has money issues. Despite this, she been working hard for free for hundreds of hours beyond qualification, with the hope of building up more experience. The idea of SCoPEd to her therefore, brings a new level of disillusionment. She would fall into ‘column 1’, which defines her knowledge and skills in a certain way – much less than someone in ‘column 3’ who may only be newly qualified but already could be looking more attractive to potential employers. She feels that despite having worked for free to increase her employability, she is back to square 1.

What ramifications there might be for people – or not – despite, any good intentions by the bodies involved, will be of immense importance on a socio-economic level to many people. Because, to live in a world means many things, which includes, consideration of income, job security, status in the world, and how all that and more, affects our own mental health. 

Whilst I applaud any aspirations, that existing therapists can move into the higher tiers through either ‘top up’ courses or potentially CPD, how this would actually work in practice, is a huge question in itself. For instance, in an unregulated profession, there is nothing, or rather, nobody, to ensure that private training colleges’ entry access policies, will indeed evolve with SCoPEd, to provide these easier top-up routes.  In fact, there may even be more of an incentive for Psychotherapy Course fees to be increased, to meet the demand for the higher status of ‘column 3’, thereby creating further alienation and inequality in certain sectors of our field. And on the latter point regarding CPD, again, a great ideal, but frankly, this would be an absolute logistical minefield to process.

I also find myself asking, why I have to trust the process? I made a decision many years ago to train as a therapist in an unregulated profession, and those qualifications, who I work with, and how I identify, whatever, for whoever, ought, to be honoured.

Andrew Reeves has been vocal about the fact that he supports the principle of SCoPEd and disagrees with the notion it should be scrapped entirely, even though, he is critical of aspects of it. He states “The majority of the criticisms has called for it to be scrapped, but so few have offered anything in its place….I would have loved a resolution for the AGM this year that demanded BACP do something different” (Reeves, 2019). I am not sure that it is the job of the proponent of the resolution to come up with this, and I myself do not think SCoPEd in its current form can necessarily be rectified, but it did get me thinking about what might be an alternative way forward. In short, I actually see where we are at, as a great opportunity. Regulation, standardisation, licensing – these are all historically, hugely complex questions, and let’s face it, we all have differing opinions. SCoPEd, is a bit of a ‘halfway house regulation’, and with that, comes all kinds of potential problems, identified in other critiques, and also as mentioned above, questions around how you manage equality of training education, equal access to the profession regardless of class, etc, particularly, when we might even call some of the parties involved, stakeholders themselves. I personally think there is some sense, in beginning wider conversations again within the profession, to see where we are at. Mick Cooper, professor of Counselling Psychology at The University of Roehampton, who worked on the HCPC panel back in 2009 discussing regulation, recently wrote a short comment on social media regarding SCoPEd, and pointed out that back then, 87% of BACP members who responded to a survey, ‘opposed the proposed differentiation between counsellors and psychotherapists’. How interesting it would be to see if that has changed at all? We need to ask those questions. This would give BACP, in particular, a further chance to embrace their commitment to be operating through a ‘member’s lens’ (as the membership team has so successfully done with the recent generic survey). 

There is also a great opportunity here, for a broad church of collaboration. There has been much talk of National Counselling Society, who holds a PSA register and has 9000 members, being left out of talks, which clearly needs rectifying if we identify clients, as the most important stakeholders. I am also aware, of the many groups who speak for, and work for, cultural diversity within our profession. For example, a well-known community of qualified therapists, whose mission is to end the prevalence and culture of unpaid work within our profession, currently, has 5,200 Facebook group members (which appears to be their main place of operation). Given BPC, one of the three parties involved in SCoPEd has, according to their website, 1500 registered members, there is an amazing opportunity to open this collaboration up to larger groups representing voices which may feel otherwise unheard or marginalised, and really create a heard voice for our wonderfully diverse profession as it exists today.

There has been a lot of talk about courage recently in trusting the process. And so, I put this challenge back to BACP Senior Leadership – I urge you, to be courageous. If you truly believe in your plan, then yes, write your articles, put forward your argument, allow others to write counter-arguments, debate, and then……. put it to a membership vote. If you commit to a membership vote at this stage, before the implementation, I can sincerely tell you now, that I, and I am sure many others, would cease to support the resolution. If BACP themselves give their membership a voice on this issue through the most democratic process available, it can be decided fairly by professionals whether going ahead with the SCoPEd plan feels the best and most sensible option, or, whether to abandon it fully, and reconvene as a membership body to decide the best way to work collaboratively forward.

Before I conclude, it is of great sorrow for me, that I am compelled here in my article to touch on the subject of bullying and abuse, which almost feels like it’s become synonymous with the SCoPEd project. First off, I am so sorry to hear that individuals on both sides of this argument have been subject to abuse. None of us need telling that it is not okay to harass BACP Board Chair Andrew Reeves in an abusive way, neither is it okay to target the main proponent of the resolution Erin Stevens – or anyone else full-stop. I don’t need to tell anyone that it is not alright to gaslight, or manipulate, nor to use power and control as a means of intentional harming another individual. As therapists who will often come across these themes in our work, we absolutely must be vigilant to such behaviour, in all in guises; both obvious and more subtle, and whether delivered in more overt or covert ways.

We must also remember that there is an important difference between challenge and abuse. This year, I have really felt the burden of worry for some of my fellow practitioners, and immense sadness at times. We must continue to be empathic to each other and understand the level of feeling on either side of the arguments. Though we might not always agree, we must always understand that there is a human being on the other side, and that will include recognising any and all feelings that arise, even anger (as separate to aggression). To many people, this project may feel like an existential threat, and of course, that will provoke a felt response. One thing I am immensely grateful for in this process, is meeting and debating with the many passionate people on both sides who have a lot to offer. I don’t believe we can really condemn passion, or healthy disagreement/debate, or, we would surely be guilty of writing off many a historical figure, Carl Jung included! The fact that people care so much about their profession is a definite hidden gemstone in all of this. In fact, it warms my heart thinking that there could be a large collaboration of dedicated people working forward together to achieve the best for our profession, for our clients, ourselves, and, in terms of employment and recognition at government levels.

I’ll end therefore by extending my best wishes to anybody who feels inspired and energised to contribute to this very important discussion. Truly, through conversation and working together, we can seek to make our profession the best that it can be for clients and therapists alike.
eferences

BACP, 2019. SCoPEd (Scope of Practice and Education). [Online].

BACP, M., 2019. SCoPEd Panal Discussion [Interview] 2019.

Reeves, A., 2019. BACP A view from the chair. [Online].

Samuel, J., 2019. BACP. [Online]
Available at: https://bacp.co.uk/news

Stevens, E. & Shennan, T., 2019. [Online]
Available at: https://ukcounsellors.co.uk/bacp-members-resolution-2019-vote-to-scrap-scoped/

 

To engage further with me on this debate, feel free to email me on:

cazbinstead.counselling@gmail.com

 

Correspondence re a possible All-Party Parliamentary Group on Counselling and Psychotherapy

To be read from the bottom to the top

 

Dear Gary,                                                             24th July 2019


Thank you for responding. We think it would be a constructive move if your attempts to find an MP or MPs to chair or spearhead the APPG were put on hold until all the organisations interested in this matter have had a chance to meet. Would your three organisations be agreeable to this request for a pause in activity?

In this way, we will stand a better chance of preserving the unity of the professions of psychotherapy and counselling.

Please let us know the thoughts of your member organisations.

Best wishes,

Richard Bagnall-Oakeley (Chair, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union) [Use this e-mail address for correspondence[

Maria Albertsen (for Counsellors Together)

Bea Millar (Chair, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility)

Dr David Murphy (United Kingdom Person-Centred Experiential)

Professor Ian Parker (President, College of Psychoanalysts)

Professor Andrew Samuels (Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy) 

Janet Tolan (Chair, The Person Centred Association)

 

Dear Richard,                                                                 22nd July 2019

I’m writing on behalf of the three organisations (BACP, BPC and UKCP) about your request, from a range of organisations and individuals, to meet to discuss the idea of an APPG for counselling and psychotherapy.

Given the current unprecedented political climate and the impending summer break it seems highly unlikely there will be any developments for some months. As such there is very little we can say about the issue at the moment and suggest we see where we are in the autumn when there may be something to discuss.

APPGs are, of course, created by Parliamentarians and its membership is only Parliamentarians. There seems to have been some misunderstanding about this by some in the psychotherapy and counselling profession. If such a group were to be created it would then be for the Parliamentarians to engage with whoever they chose.

I hope this helps and suggest we pick the thread up in the autumn.

Yours sincerely,

Gary

Gary Fereday Chief Executive | British Psychoanalytic Council

 

 

Dear Chairs and Chief Executives of BACP, UKCP and BPC,    17th July 2019

Following correspondence, including with yourselves, the seven organisations listed below request that you meet with us. Together, we are, at present, the main stakeholders from within the fields of psychotherapy and counselling.

Our own organisations represent approximately 6,000 psychotherapists and counsellors and we feel that it is important to discuss the proposed All Party Parliamentary Group on psychotherapy and counselling before further approaches to MPs are made by yourselves.

It is clear that there are significant concerns about recent developments in the field of therapy, and a risk of conflicts and hostility between organisations and an erosion of trust in the professional bodies.

Hence, we are seeking dialogue between our organisations to avoid further damaging conflicts about the future of psychotherapy and counselling in the UK.

We look forward to hearing from you – with, we hope, a proposal for the kind of meeting we describe in this letter.

Richard Bagnall-Oakeley (Chair, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union) [Use this e-mail address for correspondence[

Maria Albertsen (for Counsellors Together)

Bea Millar (Chair, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility)

Dr David Murphy (United Kingdom Person-Centred Experiential)

Professor Ian Parker (President, College of Psychoanalysts)

Professor Andrew Samuels (Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy) 

Janet Tolan (Chair, The Person Centred Association)