Both the UKCP and the HPC have got themselves and each other in a pickle. If you’re a not-very-useful organization, how do you decide what to do and how to go about it?
The UKCP is the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, an “umbrella” organization for psychotherapists who all belong to more specific organizations too. So the need for a UKCP has never been exactly clear.
Things got worse for the UKCP when one of the major organizations for CBT therapists, the BABCP, fell out with them, just at a time when CBT was becoming established as a major form of psychotherapy in the NHS. This little difficulty for the UKCP remains unresolved.
So the UKCP pursued a policy of encouraging government to “regulate” psychotherapists. In this context, “regulate” mostly means keep a big database, process complaints, and make psychotherapists themselves pay for all the resulting bureaucracy. Alas, keeping a big database, processing complaints, and making psychotherapists themselves pay for all the resulting bureaucracy has been the UKCP’s own role. Result? The UKCP has more or less talked itself out of a job.
Now the UKCP is casting about for ideas on what to do next, and organizing “Regional Connections Workshops” where members can discuss suggestions. “Making sure our voice as psychotherapist is heard in government,” according to the chairman’s letter, looks like it will be the new focus.
The HPC is the Health Professions Council, a quango that “protects the public” by keeping a big database, processing complaints, and making health professionals themselves pay for all the resulting bureaucracy. For example, an HPC news item reports that last week a psysiotherapist was struck off the register for acting in a way that seems almost certainly criminal in any case.
The UKCP’s loss is the HPC’s gain, as it’s expected that the HPC will get to “regulate” psychotherapists at some time in the future.
But the HPC, too, is now casting about for ideas on how to go about this task, which the UKCP’s umbrella role has failed to simplify, and arguably made more complex.
A central problem for the HPC is that not all psychotherapy is medical. For example, you might consult a psychotherapist to help with stress at work, or bereavement, neither of which is an illness. Some of the other issues are outlined in their Call for ideas.