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March 28th 2005
First Quarter 2005 Developments in UK Psychopractice from IPNOSIS March 28th 2005
10th March 2005 The British Conferation of Psychotherapists [BCP] intends to negotiate directly with the Health Professions Council [HPC] to create a statutory register for their member population. The source for this information, the College of Psychoanalysts, includes much fascinating and relevant detail of the continuing elbow work between the contenders for statutory psychopractice status.

10th March 2005 British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies [BABCP] leave the UKCP details

11th March. Graham Cocking, Registrar of The International Society of Professional Counsellors [ISPC], posted on counselling.ltd.org the following Open Letter to professional organisations within psychotherapy and counselling from the Health Professions Council [HPC] compare what it says with the text of the UKCP press release of 22nd October 2004

Last autumn IPN heard that 19 psychopractice organisations were meeting to promote the Statutory Regulation of Psychotherapy and Counselling in the UK. Not having been invited, many of us in IPN wondered was being arranged by these organisations.

Finding out what they were up to proved to be surprisingly difficult. Letters to Rosalind Meade, the relevant DoH person went unanswered, copies of books mailed to her setting out the context and research on regulation went unacknowledged. When I tried to phone Ms Meade the DoH switchboard refused to give me her phone number, or an email address, even when I insisted I was calling on behalf of IPN, a stakeholder in UK psychopractitioner accountability.

A BACP press release was more informative, after listing the 19 member organisations it went on... various organisations representative of the whole profession have come together and united in a course of action.... a meeting was held of the NATIONAL ACCREDITING BODIES FOR COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY representing the Chairs and CEOs/Directors of all groups in the mainstream therapy spectrum... Present were key players Rosalind Mead, Project Manager for New Professions Regulation, Department of Health (DH), and Marc Seale, the CEO/Registrar of the Health Professions Council. With their support, it now looks as though this Register will form the nucleus of Statutory Registration and Regulation, which is currently anticipated in 2008.

A letter to my MP drawing her attention to the lack of openness of the DoH produced the following reply from Lord Warner, Parliamentary Under secretary of State, Department of Health

'...The Department has this year funded two of the main umbrella organisations within psychotherapy and counselling, the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). These organisations have been asked to map existing training and qualifications to identify agreed roles and competencies within the professions. This is a necessary first step towards defining standards of competence, training and practice that will form the basis of statutory regulation in the future.

Lord Warner went on to say that IPN should approach either of these organisations in order to register our interest and contribute to the work that is being undertaken.

'...My officials have passed the Independent Practitioners Network's name to BACP and UKCP and asked them to be inclusive in taking this work forward. We expect that once this work is complete and nationally agreed training and qualifications are available, statutory regulation of psychotherapists by the Health Professions Council should be possible by 2008.

Parallel to this an IPN participant discovered on a counselling.ltd.uk discussion list that someone had emailed the Health Professions Council about the BACP press release that claimed statutory regulation under the HPC was on the way, and got this reply:

Dear Mr. Byrne

I am not aware of the BACP or UKCP or any other counselling body applying to the HPC for statutory regulation. We certainly have not recommended to the Department of Health that they be regulated by the HPC. Please see our website for further details about aspirant professions and our role. If the title 'counsellor' was to be protected by law, it would make no difference what so ever which professional body or organisation they belonged to, if the HPC were to ever regulate counsellors, it would be a legal requirement for them to be registered with us to use the title.

Activity and Title
A colleague reminds me...what is missing from the discussion is the improbability of actually policing the activities of psychotherapy or counselling, even if the title (calling yourself a psycho-therapist or counsellor) were to become legal entities.
However, regulating the title will have an impact on the field of practice, though this may be self-correcting through the introduction of new names for the 'activity', therapy, coaching, personal development.
Victoria Nash
Health Professions Council

020 7582 0866


Dr Graham Cocking, the registrar of International Society of Professional Counsellors claimed on a counselling.ltd.uk discussion, that the list of relevant organisations in UK psychotherapy and counselling was more like 46, not the shortlist of 19 orchestrated by the BACP and UKCP and a forum member offered this list of excluded organisations.

In mid February 2005, an IPN participant phoned a contact at the HPC and was told that... Even if a body wished to make an application, that in itself would take at least 18 months. The Privy Council is booked until at least 2008 so any application from Counsellors and Psychotherapists may well take until 2010 or longer to be looked at. No psychotherapy organisation has applied to join HPC, but there was [a] discussion with BACP in 2004, but no more has been heard of it.

In a later conversation with the DoH, the same IPN participant formed the impression that... the DOH are well aware that in regulating psychotherapy and counselling they have a huge and complex situation to deal with. In an ideal world they wouldn't want anything to do with it, hence their strategy of asking BACP/UKCP to try to draw things together. Essentially someone started a very much not wanted ball rolling and everyone is trying to keep out of it's way!

The decades long pattern of trance-induction, 'be sure your are signed up otherwise you won't be able to practice', misinformation, disinformation and self-righteous exclusivity on the part of the UKCP, BACP and allied regulationists continues. In case you missed it earlier, here is BACP's October 2004 statutory regulation press release. Keep in mind that this document was emitted by an organisation that accredits practitioners without any face to face contact.

for all previous articles in ipnosis

for all previous articles in ipnosis

edited, maintained and © Denis Postle 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005