The UKCP’s founding aim was to promote the profession of psychotherapy in the UK and this will be my priority if you elect me as Chair.
Let’s face it: we now have a regulation system backed by the Professional Standards Association and we have a strong centralised complaints system; that’s all good – but professionally members are suffering.
At a time when more and more money is going into mental health, opportunities for our members have not grown; they’ve shrunk. That’s going to change.
What you can expect from our Membership Organisation
From the moment anyone considers a career in psychotherapy, the UKCP will be there to help them choose a course with one of our training organisations.
Students enrolled on our courses will get free membership (more of that later). The UKCP will be there to help them find a placement, when they qualify help them find a job, find consulting rooms, put together a group or community practice and attract new clients.
At low cost – the UKCP will offer members training on how to create and build a website, work online, increase their earnings and also create opportunities for members to publish, promote, blog or broadcast. If you have a professional issue, the UKCP will be there to help you.
The UKCP do not see clients. We do not teach psychotherapy. Our members do that and by backing our members we are backing psychotherapy.
If unpaid jobs are the only ones on offer then, is that really volunteering?
This is a big issue, it upsets me. Many people regard psychotherapy as a vocation, but so is being a Doctor, a Nurse or Teacher – and they get paid.
If the government chooses to outsource mental health services to charities whose business plan is based on long-term unpaid volunteers – should we support that?
If we want diversity, then we need to put an end to the assumption that psychotherapists are wealthy people who work for free.
If we wish our time to be valued, we must first value our time.
Without well-paid jobs in the NHS, private and charitable sectors, we cannot further build the profession, and diversity becomes simply a pipe-dream. And so, we are going to target paid job-opportunities for our members and help our profession negotiate their relationship with NICE, so that we can return to work within in the NHS.
Diversity is a practical issue and we need practical solutions
In year one, we will set aside a small bursaries fund of £25,000 for those students and members who need a helping hand. £20,000 will go to students who are members of socially disadvantaged groups and £5,000 will be there to provide small grants or loans to members who fall on hard times. True, it’s a small start but it’s a start, because a real profession looks after its own members. (More about Diversity on my website https://martinforchair.wordpress.com)
Ordinary, Everyday Diversity
We are a progressive organisation. All people should be included in the same rights and protections ensured by our commitment to excellence and ethics in action.
At an equality level, that means upholding common ethical standards for everyone: honesty, competence and non-discrimination.
That means we train ourselves to recognise and responsively serve the infinite variety of needs of individuals and communities who are usually marginalised.
How does all this fit with the regulatory and charitable aim of protecting the public?
The UKCP is there to ensure that more people can gain access to safe and regulated psychotherapy. The safer people feel about psychotherapy, the easier it is to grow the profession.
Separating the Regulation and Membership functions
The regulator works on behalf of the public to police our members. This requires a culture of objectivity and detachment. In contrast, a good membership organisation encourages the creativity and success of its members: and we need to be a closer community and involve our members more.
That’s why we need to separate these conflicting cultures so both sides can flourish. How we do that is a subject for wider discussion.
Free student membership to everyone studying in our training organisations
As I said, we are going to offer everyone studying with our own training organisations, free UKCP membership, including online access to ‘The Psychotherapist’, discounts on our workshops, journals and CPD training and, hopefully discounts on research papers.
With many of our members now approaching retirement, we really need the involvement of the students just as we need to support our retirees.
Let’s do good things!
We are a charity, we can fundraise and there is no shortage of interesting projects that we can do that demonstrate psychotherapy in action. For instance the Caravan at St James Church is a tiny Consulting Room serving the homeless population of Central London. It’s for people who would never trust the NHS. Nigel Hamilton at CCPE started that some 20 years ago. It’s a terrific project that can be duplicated. In Camden Town there are therapists working with gang members out of coffee shops – it’s a brilliant idea. I’ve a plan that could help refugees right across Europe, and I am sure that you have good ideas – let’s choose a few, then the UKCP will go for raising the money to make change happen.
Let’s get together more
Psychotherapy is the most isolating profession. Personally I thrive in a collegiate environment so I want to create more and better reasons to get together – not just for CPD but for support, fun and companionship. I am perhaps best known for starting the Psychotherapy Clubs, which encourage members to put on their own very low-cost events. I want more of that, whether it’s Starbucks meetings or larger low cost-events. We have plenty of great speakers and facilitators and our members have fascinating tales to tell. I want to encourage members to become speakers, writers, bloggers, broadcasters and organisers. In other words – people who promote psychotherapy.
Thank you for reading: I hope I have your support.