Regulating the Psychological Therapies - From Taxonomy to Taxidermy Denis Postle

Foreword by Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of East Anglia, Norwich

This collection of pages, covering the period from 1990 until the present time, constitutes a fascinating archive for those who in years to come will be concerned to write the history of counselling and psychotherapy in Britain. They bear graphic witness to a cultural shift among the therapists from an enthusiastic commitment to the flourishing of human potential to a consumerist mentality motivated by the desire for status and professional advancement. It chronicles the end of the pioneers, the arrival of the legalists and the march of those intent on professionalisation.

Denis Postle has been the ever-observant and relentlessly confronting watchdog of the changing scene throughout this period. This self-appointed protector of the client experience has viewed with increasing scepticism the emergence of the powerful therapy associations - most notably UKCP, BACP and BPS - and the seemingly irresistible movement towards the statutory regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists. With logical persistence and unquenchable fervour he has consistently exposed the spuriousness of the argument advanced for state control of the talking therapies. He has sniffed out the power-mongers, stripped the polite language of its veneer to reveal the aggressive vested interests of many practitioners and barged into the discourse conducted in government offices. His articles and editorials do not make for comfortable reading and it is clearly his intention in compiling this book to aggravate the uncomfortableness so that it reaches the point where, at the eleventh hour, rational, compassionate and fair-minded people will awaken from their trance-like state. For Postle, the many sleep-walkers are the victims of the oft-cited mantra which endlessly repeats that 'state regulation is inevitable'.

In the growing confidence of the Independent Practitioners' Network, Postle sees glimmers of light. It is his hope - and mine - that readers of this, at times, coruscating analysis of the current scene will not only awake out of sleep but, in the words of the ancient Advent Collect, put on the armour of light. That armour will be needed, there can be no doubt.

Brian Thorne

Norwich: Advent 2006