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:
- 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.
- 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.