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House of Lords February 2007 7.35 pm

Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counselling: Regulation

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in the statutory regulation of the professions of psychology, psychotherapy and counselling in the past six years.


Why this dissatisfaction with the HPC? The membership of the HPC is primarily concerned with those who treat physical illnesses, and the way that they deal with training and skills is much less variable. In general terms—and I know that I am not doing justice here—while there is largely a right way of doing physiotherapy, chiropody or microbiological or histopathological tests, there is much wider variation in psychological treatments. The HPC professions are also much more able to set out their skills in the form of protocols which can be followed by people of a range of personalities. It matters relatively little if one technician or physiotherapist has to be replaced with another. The personality of the therapist and the relationship with the client is, however, crucial—indeed sometimes central—to psychological treatments. Therefore, the training, assessing and monitoring of psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors needs to be quite different. A separate regulatory body is the best way to do that. Frankly, it is also difficult to conceive how such a wide range of psychotherapies, schools of psychology and counselling could be represented under the current HPC mechanisms.