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Some suggestions for resisting state regulation of Counselling and Psychotherapy from: Jill Hall, Sue Hatfield and Grace Lindsay, IPN, Norwich

A letter to MP’s, or GP’s

Neither practitioners nor clients need statutory regulation (SR)
• What we already have works and has worked for many years.

• We have a wide range of recognised training courses which are moderated and accredited.

• There are already various forms of accreditation recognised both within the profession and in a wider context of employing agencies – for example GP surgeries.

• There is a long established practice of supervision and accountability, and a variety of existing ways to deal with difficulties such as client complaints.

What must be safeguarded
• A sense of self–responsibility is crucial and deeply part of present training and practice in this field. This ethos is the most appropriate and effective means of safeguarding the security of clients and of ensuring standards of excellence/expertise for work which is based on the quality of relationship.

• Methods such as self and peer assessment, involving experiential knowledge of the practitioners ability, could fall by the wayside (be hedged out), as emphasis on external, quantifiable criteria are consolidated by SR.

• There would be less motivation for practitioners to engage in the existing, challenging, methods, which have proved effective in ensuring ethical practice, if formalised criteria, suited to SR, were thought to be all that was required. It is easy to mislead and make things look good on paper.

• There is a danger that practitioners will increasingly come to depend more on initial qualifications and/or academic attainment, and less on lived ethical principles, on-going self-development and personal responsibility. Reliance on the fact of SR could even encourage complacency rather than safeguard the interests of clients. It could lower standards.

• SR would limit variety and dampen down innovation. Any regulation demands harder definitions and thus narrows down what is practised and available to clients. Would this really serve the public?

• Would not SR require more unnecessary expenditure and time consuming beaurocracy, when the public is urging for a lessening of such procedures.

A message to send to other practitioners:

We need to really face how we can bring on ourselves something which will take the whole field in an inappropriate direction. It will become an academic subject of study, moving towards the medical model which we have spent the last 30 or so years trying to move away from. The whole humanistic movement was inspired by a recognition of the need to break away from that and go beyond it.

Do we really want to land ourselves with the necessary (unnecessary!) requirement to gain BA’s and MA’s. SR will push towards just that.

It is imperative that we do all we can to not let this happen.

The reality seems to be that it will only happen if we want it to, or believe we need it, or should acquiesce to it, or assume its inevitable; or unless we invite it in the belief that it will give us higher status – not seeing how it will distort the whole therapeutic endeavour.

The government itself has no great interest in implementing this; but will if we sit back and do noting and leave it to those within the profession who have come to the position of having a vested interest in making it happen.

Methods such as self and peer assessment, involving experiential knowledge of the practitioners ability could fall by the wayside. Be phased out as emphasis on external, quantifiable criteria are consolidated by SR.

Do we really want to bring restriction on ourselves?

The therapeutic endeavour, the profession of psychopractice as we have come to know it, would never have blossomed in the way it has if we had had some form of SR at the outset. Everything that is rich in this field of endeavour is so because we don’t have SR, because we have taken responsibility for our work and have cherished it.

A Post Card or Email message:

Do we really need SR?

We already have recognised training courses, established methods of accreditation and accountability, and the essential ethos of self-responsibility.

No wonder GP surgeries are happy to employ us!

The Government is not insisting on it and has no great interest in it.

It will only happen if we believe we need it or should acquiesce to it or assume it is inevitable.

The whole humanistic movement was inspired by the recognition of the urgent need to move away from the medical model. Why invite external control and unnecessary formalism which will drag us back there? Any regulation demands harder definitions that will limit innovation and narrow down what can be made available to clients.

Is this the way to serve the public?

Why not keep things in our own hands?

Ipnosis is edited, maintained and © Denis Postle 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,2007
January 23 2006

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