PCSR Response to SCoPEd

Published: 13 Mar 2019

Authored by: PCSR Steering Group

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.