State Regulation of Psychological Therapies Opposition

We were sent an email from Denis Postle informing us that Professor Louis Appleby, director of Mental Health UK has asked the Independent Practitioners Network for feedback on the regulation of counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis which, worryingly, is being proposed by the Government’s Department of Health.

Denis has prepared a Statement of Opposition to State Regulation of Psychological Therapy, with a brief summary of the range of arguments against such regulation, which will be presented before November the 12th of this year – the deadline for feedback.

The most vital arguments in my mind include:

1) Regulation based on training falsely promises that training guarantees good practice, and reliance on this unwarranted view in turn misleads the public: the ability to achieve good results ultimately counts for more than the level of training achieved, and this can only be effectively monitored through client feedback, supervision, case seminars and ongoing peer review.

2) It is not the proper business of the state to control the provision of counselling, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Such control can never be apolitical. State regulation of psychological therapies will compromise practitioner neutrality, lead to risk-averse practice and erode the client’s freedom of choice.

3) Existing research suggests a) that good therapeutic outcomes are not demonstrably related to levels or types of training; b) that good outcomes are strongly correlated with the successful creation of an effective helping relationship between practitioner and client.

4) No reputable or systematic research exists to demonstrate that counsellors, psychotherapists and psychoanalysts abuse or exploit clients on a scale that warrants the costs (financial, political, cultural and psychological) of state regulation.


MindFields College supports this Statement of Opposition wholeheartedly and we encourage anyone who feels the same to read the evidence (more to be found here) circulate these links and add themselves to the list of signatories (before Nov 10th) to oppose governmental regulation of counselling and psychotherapy in the UK.

Posted by: Eleanor

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