Speaking the unspeakable #1
The recent College of Psychoanalysts Conference on State Regulation generated an after-reaction in ipnosis that lasted several days.
We'd enjoyed and been intrigued by the event and eventually I realized that it was what the conference pointed to rather than the event itself that left me feeling... a lot... was it anger? Or frustration? Or was it merely anguish that something so apparently intelligent as psychopractice could be involved in such self-sabotage, or as one conference speaker called it, 'self-mutilation?'.
The political surface of psychopractice often seems too reasonable, like a client who tells of terrible exploitation and harm, without a trace of the appropriate feeling being connected. I want to try to break the surface of this reasonableness here, to speak the unspeakable.
Are you one of the 40,000+ of registered, qualified psychopractitioners living cosily in their professional walled gardens, delegating institutional structuring to leaders who don't consult with you? That is, are you resting, complacently cushioned by your qualifications, in undue, inappropriate deference?
How come, if you are so qualified and highly aware as a practitioner, that you don't decisively argue for disconnection from, rather than embrace of the Health Professions Council [HPC], a glorified complaints agency, a vehicle with no reverse gear, which is being lined up to take you to psychoperdition? Is it because, sadly, as with the process of PhD candidacy, doing a fullout psychotherapy or counselling training, or a psychoanalytic training, involved copious amounts of deference? Once such a dynamic of deference was installed, with the accompanying cascades of authority, patronage and supervision, it seems that many psychopractitioners like you will sign up to anything that the leadership says is inevitable.
Or are you a believer in a quiet life? Que sera, sera? Then I want to ask, did your training not touch on trance induction? Judged by the evidence of the last 20 years, talk of the inevitability of regulation by organizational leaders often looks like a trance induction which has sought (successfully, it seems) to shut down the faculty of discrimination.
For all your sharpened and extended consciousness of the psychology of persons, and knowledge about how early formation plays out in later life, has this bright light of psy awareness cast a shadow where political awareness should be? Leaving you willing, even enthusiastic, to outsource your distaste for engagement with professional and political power into organizations that sustain this denial?
I want to ask the DoH, how is it that your high status National Institute of Clinical Excellence [NICE], doesn't appear to have got hold of the essential core of counselling and psychotherapy and psychoanalysis? That client's safety is best served by people who have 'learned to be practitioners on their own skin'. And that such subjective, embodied, experiential soulwork, nourished by a loving presence, rapport, creativity, and intuition is out of the range of the compulsive levelling of your proposed statistical analyses. Given that all this seems to have passed you by, why should the DoH be so surprised that this kind of dissent is commonplace, even though many people feel so embedded in their professional structures that they are unable to give voice to their anguish?
But then, perhaps my anguish is misplaced. If you are asleep to the 'regime of truth' that you have purchased at such a high cost to yourself in a politics-free psychopractice training, and are looking forward to state endorsement of your professional expertise, perhaps you deserve the psycho-perdition that is once again on the horizon. Deserve to discover that the regulation being developed will make of you a canary singing in a cage. But the clients who will doubtless continue to show up definitely do not deserve such an atrophied tradition, and the pretty and attractive cagebird in whom they will invest so much trust, is likely to prove a grave disappointment to them.