KEEPING OUR HEADS ABOVE WATER in the regulation dispute seems to require having a least some perspective from other cultures. One such that I have come across forms the title of this page, it was a commonplace cultural problem in mid 20th Century in Germany Vorauseilender Gehorsam translates as ‘anticipatory obedience’, an over-determined willingness to match the expected wishes of authority.

Why do I raise this? The thought was triggered by a paragraph in BACP chair Lynne Gabriel’s article in the June edition of Therapy Today replying to Andy Rogers and his colleagues quizzing the BACP re their attitude to Principled Non-Compliance with HPC regulation.

Her paragraph reads:

Your notion of taking a principled position of non-compliance is one that we recognise and respect as an individual’s right.

This would be very welcome if it were not for what follows:

It becomes more complicated if we take ourselves to a post-regulated landscape. Then, unless we are entered into the part of the statutory register that represents our occupational title (for instance, counsellor or psychotherapist), we cannot legally practise using that title. Of course, that does not prevent individuals from practising under another title; I’m sure we’re all aware of ways in which some individuals manoeuvred around the statutory regulation of podiatrists by calling themselves ‘sole doctors’ or ‘foot doctors’.

For people such as myself who have noticed that they have become conscientious objectors to state control of the human psyche, (if only in the UK), such an occupational rebirth seems a highly rational action. However as Lynne Gabriel continues:

… this whole area is in flux. For practitioners in a post-regulated landscape who choose not to register under a regulated title, but instead elect to adopt another title and continue their counsellor or psychotherapist work, it is likely that the regulator will focus on the practitioner’s role or function and take legal action if the work they undertake is that which would normally reflect the regulated title.

This sentence seems to speak from a position of knowing something that none of the rest of us know, that the HPC is intent on mutating regulation of ‘title’ into regulation of ‘function’, an altogether different legal and ethical issue. But let us pass over this apparent insider insight, denied to the wider world, to the last sentence, here the BACP Chair, riding herd on her membership, invites them into a Stasi style culture of denunciation.

Were this scenario to be the case, should we not be asking whether any of the professional associations and their individual and organisational members, BACP included, are willing to endorse illegal action?

The trouble with this, and riding herd generally on its membership which has been the BACP’s style for a decade or more, is that that human herd behaviour, and here I return to the title of this piece ‘anticipatory obedience’, has had a very bad human history. The herd of cattle as it is being moved up the field, willingly following the herd leader at its head doesn’t know where the truck at the gate is going to take it - to other more verdant fields? Or the abattoir?

July 23 2009 | LEGAL | ARCHIVE | IPN | CONTACT | HOME | CONTENTS.........
Love Matters pages
Regulation News and Views pages
Archive pages
18 videos and sound tracks
Reflections on the British Assocation of Counsellors and Psychotherapists preparations for life in a post-regulated counselling landscape
All I have is a voice to undo the folded lie.
W.H. Auden
eIpnosis is edited, maintained and © Denis Postle 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Vorauseilender Gehorsam
(eager anticipatory obedience)