Open Letter regarding SCoPEd Project by Caz Binstead

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.

References

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

 

 

PCSR AG and AGM   Saturday 9th November 2019

10am – 4pm   Refreshments from 9.30am 

St Pancras Community Centre 67 Plender Street London NW1 0LB  www.spca.org.uk

Nearest tube: Mornington Crescent   15mins walk from Kings X, Euston and Camden Rd

Drinks and snacks provided, but not lunch.  You can bring your own food to eat on the premises or there are plenty of local cafes and shops nearby.

Morning Event (Annual Gathering) £10*  Click below to book https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pcsr-annual-gathering-and-agm-tickets-65102219491

Dissent, Collusion and Context 10am – 1pm.

Discussion facilitated by PCSR Steering Group. Members and non-members welcome.

As a group, we in PCSR share many ethical/moral values, principally our belief that social justice is inextricable from therapy practice. But there can be tension between these values and the contexts in which our professional organisations function, both in what they expect of us, their members, and the way they relate to government policy.

In the final session of the PCSR Psychotherapy and Politics Conference in May 2019 ‘Dissent and Collusion’ we were exploring where we stand in our attitudes and relationships with mainstream therapy culture and with societal attitudes to mental health and general well-being.

It is a given that many therapy trainings are aligned to a more individualistic ethos, which lends itself to itself to being exploited by a capitalist system. So if we envision the ethical practice of psychotherapy and counselling as inherently political, how do we respond more collectively to dilemmas facing our several ideologies, and our ethics and morals?

Some are personal: for example, how does the need to make a living impact on the way we practise? Others are institutional: for example, how do we respond to the willingness of our professional bodies to collaborate with the DWP, to embrace IAPT, and the pressures to produce ‘throughput’ of apparently functioning but compliant citizens? Do we accept that trainees and newly qualified therapists be exploited by having to work for no pay?  Do we challenge the ongoing discrimination in therapy training and the profession against people of colour and people of diverse sexualities.

Do we collude? Or do we dissent by generating sufficient collective energy to make a public stand to challenge the utilitarian imperative of government policy? If so, on what grounds, and on whose behalf do we take such positions?

We only just got started last May, so we’ve decided to devote the morning session before the November AGM to continue these explorations of dissent and collusion, looking at the contexts within which we’re thinking, living and working.

LUNCH 1-2pm    AGM  2-4pm     All welcome, but only PCSR members can participate in decision-making.

* If you can’t afford £10, book directly with Bea:  beatrice@bmillar.com

 

PCSR Response to SCoPEd

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (www.pcsr.org.uk) are opposed to the SCoPEd project.
1. Many BACP members have not received the draft SCoPEd consultation. On this basis alone responses will be unrepresentative.
2. The BACP treats its members with suspicion, believing that therapists are inherently a potential threat to clients and the public.
3. The competence frameworks were developed using Anthony Roth and Stephen Pilling’s methodology designed for manualised IAPT work. It is not appropriate or sufficient for the relational, dialogical encounter that typifies the practice of most therapists, and does not represent the core values of therapy.
4. Attempting to align training to competency frameworks undermines training by prioritising means over ends. Standardisation entails a shift from education to compliance.
5. The Expert Reference Group (ERG) is made up of 14 practitioners, only two of whom are explicitly humanistic. Eight are explicitly psychoanalytic. The Chair is a psychoanalysist and co-author with Roth and Pilling of their paper on psychodynamic therapies.
6. A generation of work evidencing the equal value of training, experience and work of counsellors as being equal to that of psychotherapists has been casually swept aside.
7. Embedding a hierarchy of therapists does not protect clients: an ‘Advanced’ counsellor may be much less experienced and skilful than a ‘Qualified’ counsellor who has not completed an expensive, time-consuming assessment. Both may be wiser, more experienced, better trained, have more insight and be more effective than a ‘Psychotherapist.’
8. Once more, the BACP mistake the understanding of the word ‘voluntary.’ ‘Advanced’ status – like the current ‘Accredited’ and ‘Senior Accredited’ statuses – are presented as voluntary assessments, but are essentially marketing tools. It is entirely reasonable for clients to seek the most skilful, qualified practitioners and the proposed scheme, like accreditation, misleads clients and applies unreasonable pressure onto therapists to pay professional bodies for unnecessary assessment.
9. The constant drive towards normalisation, standardisation and competition will not improve opportunities for employment for therapists. Our professional bodies continue to distort the fundamental core of our professions in an attempt to conform to political changes, while ignoring the professions’ deeply embedded structural problems around who may access therapy training and practice.
10. The desire to seek equal status with prestige professions by over-valuing and imitating the language, methods and culture of those professions denies, distorts and distracts from the fundamental value of the individual, therapeutic relationship without which all other ‘competencies’ are meaningless.PCSR values the individuality of clients, therapists and professional body staff, whether we agree with them or not. We believe this to be more important than ever at a time when tribalism and marginalising has become routine.
We respect and understand the desire of all involved in SCoPEd to ensure that clients are offered the highest quality therapy and to increase employment opportunities for members. We believe that this can only be sustainably achieved by constantly returning to the fundamental philosophical foundations of our professions, which must be rooted in trust in and respect for the members of each professional body; and in values that are not altered by political or economic vagaries, or the desire for acceptance, influence or dominance.

 

Examining Whiteness: White identity and racism  Saturday 7th September 2019     11am – 2pm  Chadswell Healthy Living Centre

Lower ground floor, Chadswell, Harrison St. LondonWC1H 8JE

http://www.kcbna.org.uk/locations/chadswell-centre/

FREE    – donations on the day much appreciated.

There is a maximum of 50 places so make sure you book your place.  These groups quickly get fully booked.  Click here to register

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/examining-whiteness-white-identity-and-racism-tickets-64422402139

This group is open to people from all backgrounds, heritages and ethnicities

‘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 anyone wanting to address the injustices and inequalities of racism through personal and collective work on White identity, power, privilege and entitlement.

For too long Black, African and Asian therapists and trainees have been experiencing racism and exclusion within the therapy profession. Change in the culture of therapy and training is slow and there are still trainees who are discriminated against: unheard, invisible, hurt, excluded.  We feel a need to continue to confront racism in the profession and in the world.

As part of addressing this oppression within the therapy professions, in 2018 Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility www.pcsr.org.uk organised a series of groups for therapists who identify as White to explore Whiteness and White aspects of themselves within the context of their own identity and skin. Being part of group conversations about racism, organised by BAATN (Black, African and Asian Therapy Network) we have seen how much work is being done by people of colour. The Examining Whiteness groups were initially conceived by White therapists attempting to own responsibility, expand their awareness, and strengthen their potential to become allies.

This year, 2019, we have been offering groups every 3 months to anyone who is wanting to examine White identity and racism, particularly within the therapy field

The groups are organised and facilitated by therapists Bea Millar and Suzanne Keys from PCSR (Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility)

Useful Resources

Layla f. Saad   Me and White Supremacy Workbook 2018

http://laylafsaad.com/meandwhitesupremacy-workbook

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/

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

 https://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/

 ‘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

https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/XIfdHRAAAKbQ_FWB

Article by Jennifer Loubriel        https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/4-ways-white-people-can-process-their-emotions-without-bringing-the-white-tears/

Tim Wise, US anti-racism activist, 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

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

 

 

 

PAST EVENTS

Examining Whiteness: White identity and Racism

Saturday 16th March 2019 11am – 2pm
Marchmont Community Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, Kings Cross, London WC1N 1AB
FREE – donations on the day much appreciated.
email beatrice@bmillar.com to book your place.

This group is open to people from all backgrounds and heritages

‘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 anyone wanting to address the injustices and inequalities of racism through personal and collective work on White identity, power, privilege and entitlement.
For too long Black, African and Asian therapists and trainees have been experiencing racism and exclusion within the therapy profession. Change in the culture of therapy and training is slow and there are still trainees who are discriminated against: unheard, invisible, hurt, excluded. There has recently been an issue of Therapy Today dedicated to Black Matters which is very welcome, and we feel a need to keep up the work to continue to confront racism in the profession and in the world.

As part of addressing this oppression within the therapy professions, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (www.pcsr.org.uk) organised, last year, a series of groups for therapists who identify as White to explore Whiteness and White aspects of themselves within the context of their own identity and skin. Being part of group conversations about racism, organised by BAATN (Black, African and Asian Therapy Network) we have seen how much work is being done by people of colour. The Examining Whiteness groups were initially conceived by White therapists attempting to own responsibility, expand their awareness, and strengthen their potential to become allies.

This year, 2019, due to popular demand, we are holding a series of groups open to anyone to examine White identity and racism, particularly within the therapy field
The groups are organised and facilitated by therapists Bea Millar and Suzanne Keys from PCSR (Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility)

Useful resources to check out online:
‘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

Article by Jennifer Loubriel https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/4-ways-white-people-can-process-their-emotions-without-bringing-the-white-tears/
Tim Wise, US anti-racism activist, Helm’s White racial identity development model and Peggy McIntosh on White privilege.

Recent relevant books:
White Privilege Unmasked: how to be part of the solution Judy Ryde March 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

 

 

PCSR Psychotherapy and Politics Conference   May 2019
Dissent and Collusion: therapy in an age of austerity

Saturday 11th May 2019       9.30 – 5.00

NCVO,  Kings Cross,  London

https://www.ncvo.org.uk/about-us/venue-hire/find-us

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dissent-and-collusion-therapy-in-an-age-of-austerity-tickets-51244723347

Queries:   beatrice@bmillar.com

Dissent and Collusion: therapy in an age of austerity

Although our professions are founded on a belief that people will find their own best ways forward in a trusting relationship, therapy itself is immersed in the dominant beliefs and attitudes of the cultures within which it  functions.

This conference will explore what these beliefs and attitudes may be and offer counter-narratives in an environment of curiosity and openness. In an era of increasing rigidity and conformity this is an opportunity to scrutinise, critique and develop what we offer clients, and why. 

Speakers   Jocelyn Chaplin, Dwight Turner, Seb Randall                Plus discussion groups, workshops and plenary.

Therapists and Equality      Jocelyn Chaplin

Therapists, like everybody else, are living in a world driven insane by the imbalances of late Capitalism. We are ruled by the prevailing paradigm of ruthless competition in which one person or group must win while another loses, one is superior while another is inferior. People are primarily valued as consumers rather than as human beings. The idea of endless economic growth at any cost, targets for everything and life as a series of ladders, pushes us ever upwards to some imagined rich heaven, with no counterbalancing.

We are faced with the disastrous results every day in our professional as well as personal lives. Depression is on the increase as some people find that more material wealth doesn’t make them happy. For others social and economic ‘failure’ is experienced as their personal fault.

Many of us feel frustrated by the limitations of the work we do, whether it’s private or public. All too often we are simply holding people in desperate situations largely created by the external structures of society. Or we are helping others through ‘quick fixes’ to return to ‘normality’ and be good consumers and workers.

Instead, we need to go to the very root of the paradigm/model that underlies it all and replace it with an alternative one. This means moving from hierarchy, competition and even aspiration to equality, co-operation and satisfaction. We all have both paradigms deeply embedded in our conscious and unconscious minds. Noticing the many complex, often subtle, hierarchies within and outside us, without shaming or blaming ourselves or others, is a start. Then we can promote the equality model as the heart of what we do. It can be in relationships with clients/people, as well as in our more overtly political activism outside.

Jocelyn Chaplin is a Feminist, Anarchist, Integrative Psychotherapist in Private Practice. She co-founded The Serpent Institute with John Rowan in 1989 to train therapists in both Humanistic and Psychodynamic approaches within a framework of Natural Spirituality. Her books include ‘Feminist Counselling in Action’, ‘Love in an Age of Uncertainty’ and ‘Deep Equality’.       www.serpentinstitute.com

Untouchable: Privilege, Supremacy and Shame in Counselling and Psychotherapy         Dwight Turner

Since its inception, the major thinkers within the world of Counselling and Psychotherapy have regularly emerged from positions of privilege.   More often than not, these great names, be they Freud, Jung, or Adler, were middle or upper class, white, heterosexual men. This also often meant that at varying times during its history our profession has itself medicalised and marginalised the other, be they women, gender minorities or of a different culture. This has led to a collective struggle for our differences to be seen and respected, actions which mimic society as a whole.

So, whilst the worlds of feminism, cultural and whiteness studies, and LGBTQ rights, to name a few, have often considered the positioning of privilege against the other, there has been little engagement within the counselling and psychotherapy mainstream as to what privilege actually is, how it creates and therefore oppresses the other, and how the difficult and often painful interaction of being othered for our clients appears within the consulting room.

Through the lenses of my own research and practice, this presentation considers how privilege has come into being, together with its deeper unconscious roots, before offering an exploration of how privilege and supremacy unconsciously form and interact within counselling and psychotherapy. This presentation then looks at how we can better recognise the inner oppressor within each of us, before offering a plea for counselling organisations to consider privilege studies as an integral aspect of their trainings, recognising that the decolonization and the decentralisation of the privileged then becomes a route towards greater engagement with the other both for ourselves as trainees and therefore for our future potential clients.

Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton

Psychotherapist and Supervisor in Private Practice

Lecturer at the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education (CCPE) in London

www.dwightturnercounselling.co.uk

Pseudoscience and Psychotherapy – oppression by numbers                                Dr Seb Randall

The privileging of evidence-based interventions for the rationing of therapy and justification of novel ‘branded’ methods is a form of oppression meted out to increasing numbers of therapists and their clients under the guise of empirical science.

Conjuring an illusion of certainty through an emphasis on measurement at the expense of meaning by attempting to represent human experience numerically contradicts genuine scientific scholarship. The commodification of therapy through the ‘payment by results’ scheme within IAPT is an example of this naïve doctrine in practice. Further concerns are the range of psychometric ‘tools’ used to assess subjective states of mind by following the epistemological contours of outdated psychologistic scientisms.

In this presentation I will argue that once these philosophically incoherent protocols are accepted and established they become ends in themselves – numerical methodologies predominate, and any notion of the client as humanly embedded within their social circumstances fades. Distressed people’s experiences are reduced to numbers, and the therapist-client relationship is reduced to ‘criterion adherence’. Under these oppressive, dehumanising and non-negotiable training and working conditions, it is unsurprising that there are high levels of therapist burnout in some therapy sectors.

This research-based presentation will illustrate the ways in which pseudoscience can tear the heart out of therapy – and offer some proposals for resistance.

 Dr Seb Randall, heterodox psychotherapist, lecturer, sociologist

PCSR Seminar and Annual General Meeting Sat 17th November 2018

Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility

            Annual Gathering and Annual General Meeting

                        Saturday 17th November 2018

9.30   Refreshments

10am – 4pm    AG and AGM

At St Pancras Community Centre
67 Plender Street, London NW1 0LG   www.spca.org.uk                          15mins walk from Kings Cross, Euston and Camden Road overground stations
Nearest tube: Mornington Crescent

The day will be in two parts
10 -1pm   Seminar by Arlene Audergon & Jean-Claude Audergon

2 – 4pm       AGM

It’s FREE to everyone.  Non-members welcome too.

Lunch can be eaten on the premises and there are plenty of shops and cafes around.

BUT YOU NEED TO BOOK. THERE IS A MAX OF 50 PLACES FOR THE SEMINAR

Click below to book

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pcsr-seminar-agm-2018-tickets-45891211850

 10 – 1pm     Arlene Audergon and Jean-Claude Audergon are founders and directors of CFOR    http://www.cfor.info/

‘Our aim and hope is to contribute to conflict resolution, truth and reconciliation, transitional justice and violence prevention.  CFOR refers to the ‘force of community’ that comes through personal and collective awareness of how we each are part, and how we each make a difference.  Our methods are ‘Worldwork’, the application of Arnold Mindell’s Process Oriented Psychology to collective processes and conflict facilitation.’

Arlene and Jean-Claude are also co-founders and lead faculty of Processwork UK    http://www.processworkuk.org/

We are delighted that they are offering a seminar giving an introduction to the work they do – in the UK and Europe, the Balkans, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and to the underlying ideas and practices.  The seminar will include opportunities for experiential work.

1- 2pm    Lunch

2 – 4pm     Annual General Meeting.

All welcome at the AGM. Theres no limit on numbers,  but please register  – click on Eventbrite link above – if you’re coming.

Queries:   adrianscott@counsellingme.co.uk

Info about PCSR:    http://www.pcsr.org.uk

Examining Whiteness: White identity and racism
Saturday 15th December 2018 11am – 2pm

Marchmont Community Centre, 62 Marchmont Street, London WC1 1AB

FREE – donations on the day much appreciated.
Please email beatrice@bmillar.com to book your place.

‘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)

For too long Black, African and Asian therapists and trainees have been experiencing racism and exclusion within the therapy profession. Change in the culture of therapy and training is slow and there are still trainees who are discriminated against: unheard, invisible, hurt, excluded. There has recently been an issue of Therapy Today dedicated to Black Matters which is very welcome, and we feel a need to keep up the work to continue to confront racism in the profession and in the world.

As part of addressing this oppression within the therapy professions, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (www.pcsr.org.uk) have organised a series of meetings for therapists who identify as White to explore Whiteness and White aspects of themselves within the context of their own identity and skin. Being part of group conversations about racism, organised by BAATN (Black, African and Asian Therapists’ Network) we have seen how much work is being done by people of colour. The Examining Whiteness meetings were initially conceived by White therapists attempting to own responsibility, expand their awareness, and strengthen their potential to become allies.
The meetings are a space to explore and process what it means to be White, and working as a White therapist in a racist society, or to be read or misread as a person of mixed heritage and have identities ascribed. We invite you to come and share your experiences and deepen your understanding of the many complex aspects of White identity in a supportive environment.
These Whiteness meetings offer an opportunity to encourage and stimulate personal and collective work on White identity, power, privilege and entitlement and to address the injustices and inequalities of racism.

Useful resources to check out online:
‘Witnessing the wound’ (20 min video) 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
Continued on next page

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

Recent relevant books:
Being White in the helping professions Judy Ryde 2009
Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race Reni Eddo Lodge 2017
Natives: race and class in the ruins of empire Akala 2018
White Fragility: why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism Robin DiAngelo 2018
Being White in the helping professions Judy Ryde 2009

PCSR Psychotherapy and Politics Conference: York St John’s University.   12th May 2018.  10am – 6pm

More details and to book   https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/psychotherapists-and-counsellors-for-social-responsibility-12386018433

Change, Transition, Transformation: is another world possible?

PCSR’s Psychotherapy and Politics conferences emerged from an initial conference in 2008, organised by the Institute of Group Analysis, to commemorate the May 1968 uprising of students in Paris, when revolution was in the air and so many of us believed that a new world was possible. PCSR has been holding an annual Psychotherapy and Politics conference since May 2010

This year’s conference marks the 50th anniversary of the May ’68 uprising and we invite you to come and explore where we are now, as therapists and activists, in relation to the longed-for transformation. It is often said that the rate of change is speeding up, but are these changes moving us towards less oppression, less discrimination, more equality, justice and freedom?

When does change become transformation in therapy, and in society?  How important is it for us to believe that we are in transition to becoming fully functioning persons, mature individuals, that we are on our way to a better, fairer world.

Speakers

Claire Fox: writer and Director of the Institute of Ideas. Building Resilience amongst Generation Snowflake            http://instituteofideas.com/aboutus/person/claire_fox

Kris Blackpsychotherapist, supervisor.  Prejudice, Pride and Psychotherapy  http://www.arctherapy.co.uk/

Leyla Hussein: activist, Founder of the Dahlia Project, psychotherapist. Breaking the Cycle http://leylahussein.com/

Manu Bazzano: writer, psychotherapist.     Against Humanism: on Therapy and the Transhuman        www.manubazzano.com

Workshops 

The Go Deep Game: Play for Change!  A game developed to encourage people to make real sustainable community development.     Pat Black and Andy Smith

We are delicious    Turning up the volume on the voice of the silenced body to resource our incredible capacities for change.   Mo Brown and Fae Bee

Playback Theatre    A ritual space where a story of Change, Transition, Transformation can be told and made into theatre.   Leslie Davidoff

Racism in Therapeutic Spaces   How is the awareness and experience of racism changing in the 21st century.  Wayne Mertins -Brown

Change your story   Using storytelling, mindfulness and creative writing to take you on your own ‘Hero’s Journey’     Adam Sargant

Being present: the transformational, healing power of ‘I Am     Access to the emotional body through gesture and sound.   Graham Kennish

The Free Psychotherapy Network    A discussion about therapy for and by activists – where are we now in our passion to transform?  Paul Atkinson

The Shape of Change and Transformation   How we hold the notion of change and transformation within ourselves, creating a model of yourself using materials.  Christopher Alderton

Frack Free Ryedale  Local activists talk about the transition from concerned citizen to activist and how they sustain themselves    Leigh Coghill

Temple of Janus:  The spectrum of positions embedded in our collective psyche – living the experience of the interface between politics, society and psychotherapy Mandy Carr and Roshmi Lovatt

                         Descriptions of workshops

  1. The Go Deep Game: Play for Change! Pat Black and Andy Smith, from Diversity Matters and The Go Deep Project

The Game was developed in 2016 to support young-people to develop personal awareness, facilitation and leadership skills and make real sustainable community transformation. It was created by partner organisations in Spain, Scotland, Netherlands, Italy and Brazil, using a Deep Democracy approach to explore diversity inside ourselves as well as in community. Go Deep is played by a group over 2-4 days, building on successful community development tools and Processwork methods. Individuals and groups discover a freedom about how to deal with the difficulties and edges both within themselves and in other citizens that impact community transformation. The game values all voices, ideas and communication styles. It can involve, theatre, arts, music and more.

New versions are in preparation funded by the European Union and European Commission and it’s impact is being researched by University of Lisbon. It won a GENE award for innovation in global education in 2017, has run 14 times in different neighbourhoods with 18 more planned internationally. This workshop, run by two of the game’s designers, includes a short video, a chance to play a little and time for questions and discussion.

Andy Smith and Pat Black are Processwork facilitators and UKCP registered Psychotherapists and are co-founders of Diversity Matters, that has been working in Scotland since 2001 to find more inclusive ways to engage marginalised groups in change, particularly in the social care, health systems and community development. They are part of the original design team for Go Deep and are developing new versions to work on diversity and greater inclusivity. Both are registered training supervisors and teach in the Processwork schools in UK and Spain.

2   We are delicious!    Mo Brown and Fae Bee

Our complex social challenges, conditioning and the old body-mind split thinking, still profoundly undermine the health of our vital animal selves and interfere with our natural psychophysical balance. 1968 offered hope of a beautiful new world, but while there are new freedoms, much suffering still abounds, including within our own healing fields.

Neuroscientific work provides clear evidence – many are burnt out and even perhaps dying from preventable diseases, simply because we cannot switch off from our anxious brains. We urgently need to find values and methods that restore more inner serenity and gently resource our incredible capacities.

Drawing on the diverse pedagogy of East and Western somatic dance-movement education, this session offers the opportunity to turn up the volume on the voice of the silenced body, source of our intuition, evolutionary wisdom, and personal developmental story.   Within a deeply warm and safe structure, each participant will be invited to find more sensitivity to and familiarity with their immediate, moment to moment somatic experience.

Previous participants report an increased sense of pleasure, more openness to connect and mentalise, and more imaginative freedom from mental constraints.  This work can be emotional but participants are carefully supported in their self-care.

The session content    We move from a gradual process of breathing and deepening inner listening, into offering opportunities for movement, sometimes with music, sometimes alone or perhaps with others depending on the individual. The invitation is to then take our experiences into imaginative expression through drawing or making, and finally a coming together to share our experience.

Facililtators: Monkeyspirit Collective is based in the North-West. We use the tools of dance, touch, play and improvisation to help awaken soma. We seek to arouse embodied imagination and stir curiosity and discovery.

Mo Brown is a mover who is passionate about the need for more mindful somatic awareness for healing, recovery and interconnection. She works as a psychoanalytic Intercultural psychotherapist, and as a NHS manager and trainer in staff wellbeing.

Fae Bee is a Chakra dance teacher. She works creatively with adults and children using movement as a form of expression. She also works holistically with young adults who experience emotional and behavioural difficulties. Mo and Fae are current students on the M.A in Dance and somatic wellbeing at UCLAN, Preston

  1. Playback Theatre Leslie Davidoff

I am proposing a 90-minute experiential Playback Theatre workshop. Playback Theatre is not therapy, but it has therapeutic, social, and spiritual dimensions.  It creates a ritual space where any story – however ordinary, extraordinary, hidden or difficult – can be told and immediately made into theatre.   Someone tells a story or moment from their life, chooses actors to play the different roles, then watches as their story is immediately recreated and given artistic shape and coherence.

The workshop involves movement, music, games and exercises leading to the acquisition of Playback Theatre skills.  Games and exercises provide a safe emotional container in which the skills of improvisation – basically, the skills of being present – are tried out, played with, and learnt.   A collective empathy develops, enabling trust.   Participants tell stories to each other.   They learn to listen and to express and reflect back the stories, the feelings, and the meanings they hear.

Playback Theatre creates a sacred/ritual/therapeutic space for people to share experiences, moments, and stories.  They are usually linked to a theme – in this case, the broad and easy-to-evoke theme of the conference, Change, Transition, Transformation.  And we can dramatically embody – show, not tell – a possible future world.

I am a counsellor, supervisor, and trainer of over 20 years’ standing (UKCP).  Previously Senior Lecturer in Counselling at Burnley College, Director of FACILITATE (personal development and counsellor training), and currently in private practice.  I am also trained in Playback Theatre, and Co-Director of Threadbear Playback Theatre (www.threadbeartheatre.com) which has been serving the West Yorkshire community for the last 5 years.

  1. Racism in Therapeutic Spaces   Wayne Mertins-Brown                                          In most therapeutic spaces there is still a glaring lack of awareness and therefore unwillingness to address the racism in the therapy profession. People of colour who want to train as counsellors and psychotherapists face a barrage of obstacles in the form of implicit and sometimes explicit racism in the processes in training.  Many therapists who speak and write about therapy and many of the people who run our professional bodies are unable or unwilling to recognise the pervasive impact of colonialism and slavery, and the ongoing racism that affects the dynamics between people of colour and white people. Theories are rooted in White Western thinking and assumptions, and finding a therapist whom you can trust to work with these dynamics is not easy.

There have been valiant attempts by individuals and groups of people to change this over the past 30 years, but is anything changing?  How do we transition from being a profession that simply reflects the racism in the culture around us, to one that actively challenges and dismantles that racism.

I will be facilitating a discussion where we can share our thoughts, feelings and experiences as people of colour and as white people, about what the situation is now and what we need to do to change it.

Wayne is a Psychotherapy Counsellor and Group-work Facilitator. Now working mostly in private practice, he has spent many years working within charitable organisations, focussed on the mental wellbeing and sexual health of those who identify within the LGBT+ family. In particular, he has developed a speciality in counselling Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), gay asylum seekers. To date, he has found this work to be incredibly rewarding; the most impactful of his career.

As a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, Wayne is embracing of his spirituality and has recently started a journey to explore this further through studying ancient African philosophies. In doing so, his intention is to develop himself and his practice, by incorporating these ancient principles into his clinical work.

5 Change your story  Adam Sargant

Change Your Story is a programme developed by Adam Sargant and Sita Brand, bringing together traditional storytelling, mindfulness practice and elements of NLP. Core to the programme is a creative writing exercise in which participants are invited to answer a series of questions identifying core beliefs about themselves and then coming up with metaphorical representations of these beliefs. They then use these metaphors to construct a story patterned on the Hero’s Journey, a story in which they enter the unknown and face a series of personal challenges, before achieving the goal of their quest and returning to the world, both personally transformed and able to transform the world. The programme has been externally evaluated and participants on average showed an overall increase of 7 points on the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS) over the duration of the programme. Participant’s feedback included statements like ● …it has actually improved my life so much and therefore the lives of all I come into contact with. ● It has changed my self- worth…gratitude for how we are all dependent on each other and interconnected. The proposed workshop would include a presentation of the evaluation and take participants through their own Hero’s Journey as a creative writing exercise, along with an overview of some of the other exercises used and a brief introduction to some of the mindfulness practices.

 Adam Sargant has a background of over two decades in mental health nursing. He has trained in Family Behavioural Therapy (FBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is a NLP Master Practitioner. He is also a storyteller and has told stories at festivals and hosted the Haworth Storytelling Circle since 201

6. Being present: the transformational healing power of ‘I Am’  Graham Kennish

  1. I work with a little-known modality, which allows access to the emotional body through gesture and sound.  Patterns of fear, anger and anxiety can be accessed safely through gesture. New gestures can be created which counteract them in the way that the immune system matches the protein structure of a disease organism.We can emotionally immunise ourselves against ‘reptilian instincts’ by discovering the gestures that exactly match our own emotional patterns. The effects are immediate – we actually see our own patterns, experience them and work creatively to match them, watching them dissolve.  We find we can respond and no longer just react. We become more present as ‘Captains of our ship’.The path is a self-directed one. It can be self-care for the carer and self-help for the sufferer. Above all it is experiential proof that we are an “I am” living in a mammal body. I am not my body.  This becomes a direct experience, not a philosophy or a religious belief but an experience of Empathy which deepens through this universal language of gesture. I think it has the potential to unite human beings across cultural and social divides.No-one (myself as practitioner included) does anything to anyone else in a workshop.  Everyone can follow their own process in emotional freedom, with no pressure, interpretation or analysis. It is entirely self-activated, with simple suggestions that one may choose to follow or not. It explains itself wordlessly, beyond language.Graham Kennish is a BACP Accredited psychotherapist, working with stress and anxiety issues, mainly among teachers and parents of schools, which he visits as a trainer of Steiner teachers in science in the UK, now also in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In all three countries, he gives talks on science and on Steiner education as well as conducting workshops and personal sessions in a little-known modality called Psychophonetics. This uses gesture to access emotional issues in one-off sessions, in which a client can, beyond language, create a gesture pattern to take away and practice, until a new habit of emotional response displaces the old reaction. Graham is a grandfather and lives in Gloucester with his partner Jane.  He is also a Driving Instructor!
  2. The Free Psychotherapy Network Paul Atkinson

The Free Psychotherapy Network was set up by activists, and activists are one of its main user groups. Is it a transformative experience? Does it change anything to work for free as a public political act? Apart from the Occupy moment, nothing for me has had the transformational energy of the post-68 decade –  but that was my twenties and it too was a moment. FPN has definitely played a part in transforming my practice as a therapist, and it has helped me integrate personal and political life in ways I would not have been able to imagine a decade ago. I’d say another world is not only possible, it’s in front of our noses. I suspect this may not be an experience unique to me (though I’m sure it helps if you’ve paid off your mortgage). If we look back a decade I wonder how many of us feel both a terrible penetration of futility and powerlessness and, alongside it, a growing sense of political empowerment and the threshold of big change. I’d like to talk about my experience of FPN and working with mental health activists and others over the last few years (hopefully with another FPN person or two) with the aim of encouraging a workshop group to share their own experience of the last decade and where they feel they are now in their passion to transform.

Paul Atkinson is an optimist, a father, husband and grandfather, a psychotherapist, a political activist and the rest – roughly in that order of priority, except “the rest” actually comes first.

  1. The Shape of Change and Transformation   Christopher Alderton

I set out to creatively explore how we hold the notion of change and transformation within ourselves as therapists/activists, exploring the impact this has on our clients and society. I believe that in order for change and transformation to take place we first need to look inwards to see: where we have come from, where we are presently and how we view our futures.

This will be an immersive exploration into our inner-world. I invite participants to hold the idea of how they are in the present moment in mind as they create a model of themselves using materials. Forming a group synthesis to reflect and discuss their change/transformation. How this impacts clinical work and whether or not this moves us toward more equality and freedom.

I ask what is the impact on our clients and the wider field, if we as therapists are unable to hold that we are moving towards a fairer world as a fully functioning person. Also, we consider how 21st century living impacts the rate of change. Considering how technology is shaping how we view change in society; whether or not change is dependent on technology or physical relationships.

About Me: I work as a counsellor for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) and NAZ, a charity that specialises in supporting people from ethnic minority backgrounds. I’ve also worked across several Counselling Centres in London. I’m in my final year of training in Humanistic Counselling at Metanoia Institute.

I’m particularly interested in using a creative approach to express our ‘inner-world’ through materials and objects. I also focus on supporting people with their sexual health, sexuality and healing from the effects of sexual trauma. As a survivor of sexual abuse I’m a keen advocate of rising awareness while supporting other survivors.

  1. Frack Free Ryedale   Local activists talk about the transition from concerned citizen to activist and how they sustain themselves in the activism.
  2. Temple of Janus: a creative exploration  Mandy Carr and Roshmi Lovatt

Has political life become polarised in the twenty first century with Brexit and proposed walls between peoples? Have we further deepened the sense of us and them, of the powerless and the powerful, of the articulate and the voiceless? If politics is about the power of the collective and psychotherapy about personal empowerment, how does the political respect the individual and how do individuals respect the political collective?

This workshop sets out to creatively explore a spectrum of positions, beliefs and ideas which are deeply embedded in our collective psyche. From oppressor to oppressed, activist to passive-ist, stuckness to transformation, how do we individually and collectively hold different aspects within this spectrum, and how do we flow between them, within ourselves and in relation to others? These notions will be explored playfully, as the group are encouraged to creatively devise their own spectrum through movement, artwork and drama, bringing into focus the lived experience of the interface between politics, society and psychotherapy. This workshop aims to begin with polarities and move towards finding balance within this creative spectrum.

With our openness, warmth and humour, we will draw from our joint experience of working relationally with groups, cultural story and archetypal meaning.

Mandy Carr is a dramatherapist, clinical supervisor and senior lecturer in dramatherapy at Anglia Ruskin University. Her background as a Liberal Jew from Liverpool is a key factor driving her passion for widening inclusion in society. She is fascinated by intercultural work and is currently convenor of the BADth Equality and Diversity Sub-Committee. A number of chapters and articles include her most recent (2016) ‘Dramatherapy across languages’ in D.Dokter and M. Hills De Zarate (eds.) Intercultural Arts Therapies Research: issues and methodologies. Routledge, Oxon. She is currently undertaking a professional doctorate in Practical Theology and is interested in the connections between politics, religion and dramatherapy.

Roshmi Lovatt is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist working in private practice in the UK. She is a qualified clinical supervisor and runs arts psychotherapy-based trainings and workshops around the UK. She is an Associate Lecturer Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge running experiential groupwork on the MA dramatherapy course, and also Associate Lecturer at the University of Northampton, teaching on postgraduate counselling courses. Previously she has worked within Asian Women’s organisations, with refugees and asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, with children looked after. Roshmi is a first generation British Asian of Indian parentage, having grown up in Singapore and then lived in the UK for the past 40 years.

 

The Impact of IAPT on clients, practitioners, the therapy professions and society

 17th March 2018  10am – 2pm   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-impact-of-iapt-tickets-39812242489

PCSR  (Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility   www.pcsr.org) is hosting a series of 3 monthly focused encounter groups for IAPT practitioners, counsellors,  psychotherapists and other psychological professionals, to explore the impact of IAPT.

The introduction of IAPT in 2007 has touched thousands of people’s lives, affected the shape of the talking therapy world, and influenced the ways in which the general population views mental health and talking therapies.

After a decade of IAPT, research has shown that nationally less than half of Clinical Commissioning Groups in England are meeting the national target for providing talking therapy to local populations, with just 7% of the population accessing the IAPT programme. Only 17% of that 7% completed a course of treatment and were judged to have achieved recovery.1

Research by the British Psychological Society showed that IAPT is positively harmful to practitioners.2 Nearly half of psychological professionals reported depression and feelings of failure and 70% say they are finding their jobs stressful. Incidents of bullying and harassment had more than doubled in two years.

Lord Layard, who introduced IAPT, is an economist specialising in the costs of unemployment. The implementation of IAPT was based on the understanding that it would pay for itself by increasing productivity and reducing state benefits.

Unemployment has become a symptom of mental illness.
Employment is now a cure for mental illness.

We feel a need to spend some time together as practitioners, counsellors, psychotherapists to explore, express and witness what our experiences have been, what our responses to the growth of IAPT has been, and what questions, advantages and dilemmas IAPT might raise.

We aim to create a safe, confidential space, facilitated by person-centred therapists, Clare Slaney and Beatrice Millar, with time to reflect, speak, listen and process, with a month in between meetings to digest the experience. The purpose is to gain information and understanding of the experience of IAPT practitioners and other therapists, and through observing what arises in the group, imagine how the discussion might play out in the wider field of counselling/psychotherapy.

http://healthcareleadernews.com/article/over-half-ccgs-fail-meet-talking-therapies-target-under-iapt

http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/Public%20files/Comms-media/press_release_and_charter.pdf

 17th February and 17th March 2018  10am – 2pm

The Tabernacle, 35, Powis Square, off Portobello Rd, London W11 2AY   https://www.tabernaclew11.com/visit-us

There is a café on site for refreshments.  We are asked not to consume our own food and drink on the premises.  Wheelchair accessible.

FREE   Donations a towards costs appreciated

Queries:  clareslaneycounselling@gmail.com    or beatrice@bmillar.com

Book:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-impact-of-iapt-tickets-39812242489

 

PCSR AG and AGM  Saturday 18th November 2017

BOOK HERE ON EVENTBRITE

At St Pancras Community Centre
67 Plender Street, London NW1 0LB           www.spca.org.uk                        15mins walk from Kings Cross, Euston and Camden Road overground stations
Nearest tube: Mornington Crescent

The day will be in two parts
10-1pm     Societal Constellation
2-4pm       AGM

It’s FREE to everyone.  Non-members welcome too.

Lunch can be eaten on the premises and there are plenty of shops and cafes around.

BUT YOU NEED TO BOOK FOR THE MORNING. THERE IS A MAX OF 30 PLACES

10-1pm
PCSR invites you to participate in a Societal Constellation facilitated by Janet Herman and Lynn Stoney, on a relevant political issue.

Systemic constellations is a powerful experiential process through which we can gain insight into systems and dynamics within them that have been hidden. The method is phenomenological and can be used to reveal dynamics in any system. It has the potential to clarify and transform embedded patterns.   Originally applied to family systems, it now has many applications, including wider societal and ecological issues.

The work draws on our embodied knowledge and participants often report gaining a deep experience of our interconnected nature as well as insights into the particular issue being explored.

In this short workshop, we hope that together, having agreed on a particular issue to explore, we will be able to uncover some of the underlying patterns and explore our own relationship to a large issue in which we are all involved.

1-2pm  Lunch

2-4pm   Annual General Meeting. All welcome, but please let us know if you’re coming so that we have numbers for refreshments

Reports and agenda will be sent out to all members nearer the time.

Queries:   adrianscott@counsellingme.co.uk

Info about PCSR :    http://www.pcsr.org.uk

 

 

PCSR pop-up :        Examining Whiteness: White identity and racism

Saturday 23rd September 2017   10am -1pm

Chadswell Healthy Living Centre Lower ground floor, Chadswell, Harrison Street, London WC1H 8JE 5-10 mins from Kings Cross and Euston mainline stations, wheelchair accessible

FREE – donations on the day for venue hire and refreshments much appreciated.

Please book your place in advance to know numbers for refreshments: beatrice@bmillar.com 

‘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)

For too long Black African and Asian therapists and trainees have been experiencing racism and exclusion within the therapy profession. The PCSR open letter and petition protesting about this and asking for change was sent to all therapy organisations and trainings in 2014 but had a very limited response. Change in the culture of therapy and training is slow and there are still trainees who are discriminated against: unheard, invisible, hurt, excluded.

As part of addressing this oppression within the therapy profession PCSR is having a pop up in London on 23rd September for therapists who identify as White to explore and process what it means to them to be White and working as a White therapist in a racist society. We would like to invite you to come and share your experiences and deepen your understanding of White identity in a supportive environment.

The idea for this pop-up comes from 2 white members of PCSR, Suzanne and Bea, who are also currently on the steering group. Having participated in conversations about racism through BAATN (Black African and Asian Therapists’ Network) they have seen how much work is being done by those who are a minority in the profession. This pop up is an opportunity to encourage and stimulate personal and collective work on White identity, power, privilege and entitlement and to address the injustices and inequalities of racism.

If you haven’t already heard or seen Tim Wise, US anti-racism activist, he is worth checking out online as is Helm’s White racial identity development model and Peggy McIntosh on White privilege. Also, UK journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge’s 2017 book Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race based on her blog.

Please remember that if you have an idea for a PCSR pop-up you are very welcome to put it forward. You do not have to be on the steering group or in London. PCSR will cover the costs of a venue anywhere in the UK for PCSR members to meet around a political subject they feel is important to discuss face to face.

 PCSR Psychotherapy and Politics Conference

MEN, PATRIARCHY and Mental Health

6th May 2017     9.30 – 5.30 pm

NCVO Kings Cross, London, www.ncvo.org.uk

£100 supporters fee, Standard fee £90, PCSR member £70, Concessionary £50, concessionary PCSR member £40

Please contact dearbhaile@phonecoop.coop

Refreshments included but not lunch. Fully wheelchair accessible. 
 Booking: https://pcsr_conference_men_patriarchy_and_mental_health.eventbrite.co.uk
The time has come to challenge the dysfunction that lies at the heart 
 of patriarchy, to recognise that power is not the same as oppression

Panel Speakers.

Ade Afilaka – clinical psychologist,researcher, ‘Black Men do talk’
Rebecca Asher – Author of ‘Man Up: Boys, Men and Breaking the Male Rules’, “Patriarchy undoubtedly does most harm to women, but it also damages men. If men were free of limiting cultural expectations they would be happier, better people”. www.rebeccaasher.com ;
Jesse Ashman – Writer, community development worker and trans activist. ‘Patriarchy and trans masculine experience’ www.genderedintelligence.co.uk ;
Nick Duffell – Psychohistorian, Author and Men’s Group leader. ’The impact of hyper-rationality on men’s hearts’  www.genderpsychology.com ;
Ben Hurst – Project Coordinator (Europe & UK) The Great Initiative. ‘Deconstructing/ reconstructing masculinity, and engaging men and boys in gender equality’  www.thegreatinitiative.org.uk ;
Andrew Samuels – Psychotherapist, Former Chair of UKCP, Co-founder (with Judy Ryde) of PCSR. ‘Sexual  Misconduct in Psychotherapy and Counselling’ www.andrewsamuels.com

CONFIRMED WORKSHOPS

Jon Blend ‘Rip it up and start again?

Nick Clements ‘Belonging’ Understanding male identity

Katherine Cox ‘ Supporting male survivors of sexual abuse and assault’

Phoebus Ebbini ‘Domination/submission: power and sexual roles’

Lakis Georghiou ‘The quiet coercive use of patriarchy in film’

Caroline Hearst ‘Men, autism and mental health’

Andy Metcalf ‘Working with Men in Couples Therapy: Dilemmas and Conduits’

Ben Scanlan ‘Banter, feelings and breaking from the crowd’