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June12 2005

An Established Church of False Promises
Having been a UK psychopractice regulation watcher for over 16 years, Ipnosis find the current attempts by a self-selected group of trade associations to fence off and claim exclusive legal rights over a sector of the territory of counselling and psychotherapy the most shameless and corrosive of the credibility of the field in all this time. Yes, Lord Alderdice, even including your attempted coup.

Why shameless? Because the culture of domination that the active exclusiveness entails (see details here) is bizarrely incongruent with core notions of psychopractice such as mutuality, nurturance and cooperation, and I might add tolerance of, and respect for, dissent.

Especially and particularly they are shameless because what they are up to is claiming the exclusive and legal right to manage the transference of the population of this nation. I don't exaggerate. This is what it means. See Heron 1990

Statutory regulation of psychopractice would mean that only registrants would be legally able to sit with people and explore their inner worlds and their projections onto family members, partners, workmates, and you the practitioner.

Do you realize that if you are a member of the 19 colluding organizations, that is what you are signing up to? Can you not see that this is hubristic beyond imagining? As though licensing a single grouping of people to exclusively manage the fallout of the multiple trance inductions (projections, transference) of political life, advertising, marketing and daily imaginal and emotional life were a benign, let alone practical proposition?

Have you no knowledge of the impoverishment that such regulatory straight-jackets have caused in the US, and Germany and other parts of Europe? How would this Established Church of False Promises be more capable in managing the nation's transferences than the Established Church of England is in managing the nation's spirituality?

Coupled to this is the equally astonishing lack of awareness of how buying into state power corrodes the credibility of an activities such as psychotherapy or counselling that more often than not mediate, and explicate matters of power for many, if not most clients. How you do power in the institutions you sign up to shapes how you do power in your practice. Sign up to the safety of an archaic hierarchy such as the Privy Council, which is what is on the table—become an exponent of playing safe practice—how does this serve clients interests?

And then there is the unquestioned assumption that the proposed 'Health Profession' framing is even remotely appropriate for an activity such as psychotherapy and counselling. As though the medical model was an unchallenged and fixed North Star that everyone else had to steer by.

The shamelessness of cherry-picking a list of organizations who then collude to keep the group exclusive, is compounded by the extent to which, across at least the last decade and a half, these groups have steadfastly ignored the accumulative evidence that the competencies claimed are invalid, that any of them will significantly protect clients, or that statutory regulation of activities such as psychotherapy and counselling is not primarily about professional and economic aggrandizement for administrators and trainers with courses to fill. See also Douglas McFadzean's excellent Warning a short account of why the government's present approach to Statutory Regulation is bad news.

If you feel that these moves towards statutory regulation are mistaken, discriminatory, and bad news for clients' interests—what to do? If you are unhappy about your organization's participation, write to the chair and ask them to justify their actions. Write to your MP and set out your objections, You'll find some headlines of what other people have felt ready to say here. There is a listing of MPs names and constituencies here. Write to <MP name> House of Commons London SW1A OAA

ipnosis is edited and maintained by Denis Postle
June 12th 2005

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for all previous articles in ipnosis

edited, maintained and © Denis Postle 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003