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1st March 2005
Write to your MP about plans for statutory regulation of Psychotherapy and Counselling

If you feel concerned about the current moves towards the statutory regulation of psychotherapy and counselling why not write to your MP expressing this concern? Here are some paragraphs that might form the basis for such a letter.

If you are uncertain where to send the mail ( I was) the address is <MP name> House of Commons London SW1A OAA

Find your MP's name here

The Department of Health appear to be financing research by BACP and UKCP that is intended to form the basis of statutory regulation of psychotherapy and counselling. As a practitioner who feels considerable disquiet about the outcome of these inquiries, I'd appreciate answers to the following questions:

1) Why are counseling and psychotherapy being considered for regulation as health professions when there is overwhelming research evidence (Wampold, 2001, Mowbray, 1995 etc) that psychotherapy is a fundamentally different activity from medicine and allied professions?

2) Why have primarily self-interested practitioner trade associations (such as BACP and UKCP) been apparently invited and encouraged by the government to dictate regulatory criteria when there is no evidence that their members practice counselling/psychotherapy more effectively or safely than non-members? Also, research shows that these associations' existing accreditation criteria are spurious to competence as a practitioner.

3) Is it not the case that such ‘research’ funding of BACP and UKCP amounts to a misuse of public money? Apart from IPN, numerous other organizations have also been excluded from this process, perhaps as many as two dozen. Does this exclusiveness sound like a pointer to reliable, comprehensive, research by the BACP and UKCP? These two organizations are notorious for pursuing their members' interests at the expense of the other practitioners in the field and, as I understand, may be in breach of the articles of their constitutions that accord them charitable status and require them to present research findings responsibly.

4) Why has action on regulatory developments in the very diverse field of counseling and psychotherapy been carried forward in such a partial and opaque way by the government and the DoH, without open public consultation and the opportunity for wider discussion?

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