Questions from Members answers from Martin

These were questions sent in by members to both myself and Pat.  They were published on the UKCP website on Feb1 2016.

They cover issues about Communication and Marketing,  Public Affairs, my attitudes to the Organisational Membership, a bit about Colleges, my attitudes to Ethics, Equality and Diversity, Statutory Regulation, our relationship with the BACP, more Strategy, plus questions on my own Competence, a query about my Arrogance and a little bit on Transparency…….enjoy

Communications/PR/Website

  1. Can you tell me what you propose to do to actively promote the UKCP within the public mind?  Currently if a prospective client or patient searches for a psychotherapist or counsellor on line, they are much more likely to find the BACP directory before they find the UKCP.  I think this is regrettable and I would like to see the situation change.

We will turn projects and research into human interest stories.  We have conferences and we create research but that is really talking to each other.  The public want drama and to see how psychotherapy helps in the triumph of the human spirit over adversity – it gives the message that real change can actually happen and that when you change your heart the world changes.  That’s the miracle for me as we change reality changes towards us.  The guy who could never get a date meets someone – the woman who was unemployed gets a job.  This is magic. 

The public love psychotherapy – they like reading about it they like seeing films with psychotherapy themes.  They see it as glamorous and mysterious and yet we seldom address the public except with five syllable words and graphs.  No wonder that have not heard of us.  

We will not only do that, centrally we will orchestrate and resource the OM’s and the Colleges and the members so that we are able to give one message.  I think that will be powerful.  

  1. How much, and what specifically, do you understand of members’ pleading for a better website and overall communication strategy for the 21st century? What do you regard as necessary basics, (beyond, of course, an interactive register and centralised UKCP broadcast facility)? What do you think such a strategy should/could produce that is aspirational and beyond the basics? What specifically will you do to cut through whatever has impeded the delivery of minimal standard internet structures to rebuild an interconnected UKCP community and a place for UKCP in the public’s and mental health professions’ consciousness in the 21st Century?

Often when people talk about websites they want to talk about software and social media connections.  I prefer to describe them like cities. 

Somewhere at home I have a book on the building of Washington DC on what once was swampland.   You see the houses and unpaved roads and the little town that became a mighty city.   And so our website will begin with its most desired building – let’s call it –The Commercial Centre– our fabled ‘find a therapist’. 

This one will work.   And if it does not then bearded hipster heads will roll. We also need lists of jobs, placements and consulting rooms. 

But let us look at the site a couple of year’s down-the-line. Here is what I want to create:

The Information Desk. This is for the public to find resources.   It will contain list of agencies and information on handling things like panic attacks. 

A Public Museum. This site will track the history of our profession. The ideas, the characters, the founders, the movers and shakers: how we changed to meet social change.   I see this as a place where schools can visit and where our students can get to see the links between the ideas. Our profession grew in the age of film.   We have the footage and this would be fascinating. 

This may sound stupid but I can see this being like MOMA or the National Gallery – somewhere beautiful – a filing container for our work, an international resource.

Then there are the meeting rooms and café’s. These are for our groups and organisations we can even host others there like user groups.  Some will be for members only; others will be open to the public.   Some may even be used for brief personal chats.   You may even find second-hand book shops there. 

The Newsroom. This is an ongoing new service which publicises your projects. 

On to the Theatre this is for holding webinars. What this means is that members from all over the country can stage lectures and webinars. Online, our perceived London bias will disappear.  I would like to see weekly lectures free or low cost. 

Then there are the Government Offices: this is where committees and the board can post their minutes so that there is transparency in what we do.

And then the Political Office… 

This is where we post ideas about mental health and human potential.   We put forward innovative solutions to contemporary issues.  So that when politicians and researchers are fishing around for help with issues, it’s all here for them to examine. 

I do not just want to build a website – I want to build Rome. 

  1. Please can you each say more specifically how you propose to promote psychotherapy opportunities for UKCP members at a time when increases in mental health money appear to disappear into the NHS black hole?

I am not sure what you are saying here. Surely more money coming into the NHS is good for our members who work there.  Personally I would love a job in the NHS but it never happened.   

What I would want to do is to work with the BACP to put pressure on those employers, including some parts of the NHS, who use volunteers on a long term basis.  It cannot be right to build a business model in which you employ a therapist, even a student therapist, with no pay.  The managers in charities get paid why should the workers live on air?  

If the government outsources their mental health work to charities then workers should be paid.

I also believe that in the private sector our work is coming back in fashion.  In my area at least demand is picking up.   We will run seminars for those who want them on setting up in private practice. It is my theory that if we can show that our psychotherapies are the ones that people who can pay choose, then I think that is powerful. 

  1. Are you experienced in Marketing? How will you make UKCP known in our marketplace i.e. clients?

Actually I am very experienced in marketing – indeed from the ages of 22 to 46 I did little else. On the way I was CEO of a direct marketing agency, and was a co-owner and marketing director of a Call Centre outsourcing company which by the time we sold it in 1996, was the largest in Europe. During that period, I collected 13 creative awards and the company won 65.  In two years we also trained 400,000 people in telephone marketing skills – there is more but let’s move on… 

I think that psychotherapy is glamorous and mysterious. We are going to create stories around the projects that our people are running and we are going to place them in papers, magazines and TV.  It really is that simple.  We are going to make heroes of our members. 

  1. I am not a Facebook and Twitter user, but I’m aware how important the use of social media is and will be in both communicating with UKCP members about issues that concern them (e.g. election of new Chair?)and getting out to the public at large a sense of how we in UKCP see the world as it relates to our work.

So I’d like the candidates to speak about their experience of social and their sense of how social media can usefully and constructively in the service of both internal and external communication.

First off, I think we social media avoiders could do with some training or other guidance…..!

As you do not use social media yet – you probably do not know about my campaign on Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter or my Blog.  Or how in AHP we sold our seminars on Meet-up bringing in members of the public who were fascinated by what we did. 

As I have said in my manifesto, we will teach our members to publicise themselves using social media, books, newspapers video, articles, every form of communication.  These will be in the form of a series of low-cost workshops.  If we can harness the power of our members we can really make a difference. 

If you take a look at the questions that I have answered about the website you will also see how we can use it to link ourselves together.

  1. I would be interested to know what ideas the candidates have around raising the profile of the UKCP to the general public. It seems that most people have heard of the BACP and more and more therapists are registering with them in order to get work especially in the voluntary sector. When I mention I’m UKCP registered to clients and EAP providers, they either haven’t heard of UKCP or seem to promote or favour the BACP as a professional organisation. What are their thoughts on how to address this division especially as we are now working collaboratively?

Let’s start with some easy wins. We will ensure that the UKCP is recognised by insurers and EAPS.  We will also publish the contact names of these companies and what their requirements are for therapists, i.e. some will only work with people who have been qualified 5 years. 

The harder thing to do is to raise our public profile. The public do not read research they read stories.  And so we need to publicise our projects and turn them into tales of how people have triumphed over hardships.  We will not just be publicising psychotherapy we will be publicising UKCP accredited psychotherapy.  

We need to make heroes of our members.  And we need to publicise the interesting projects that we do have.  Then we need to create projects of national and international importance because they do hit the headlines. 

We will also create webinars and videos for the public. And publicise our existence through social media and meet-up. 

Right now our conferences are aimed at ourselves. We are not talking to the public. 

Our internal comms team is both small and new. They cannot do all this. If I get in I shall expand it but we need to join up with the colleges and the OMs to create a publicity machine. 

Public affairs

  1. Will you continue UKCP’s self-destructively welcoming stance with regard to IAPT, the existence of which is destroying psychotherapy in this country?

Okay let’s talk about this.  IAPT’s aim was never to find the golden standard for psychotherapy. It was to ‘Increase Access to Psychological Therapies’.  Only around 5% of people in the UK who needed it were getting any treatment at all.  If that were cancer there would be a public outcry.  IAP is a factory for therapy.  It is the quickest way of creating ‘reach’, it makes sense.  

It is not psychotherapy as we know it.  It’s different.   

So I am not going to war with the NHS.  It will not win us anything.  Already the CBT myth is breaking down.  Our role is to get on with providing high-quality therapy in the private and charity sectors and also to work in the NHS where we can. 

At some point the NHS is going to have to give clients choice of treatment.  We should be ready to compete in that market. 

  1. Please set out your plans for UKCP in relation to Whitehall and Westminster for your first hundred days?

Well first of all I am running for Chair.  We have a new comms department a new head of communications and a new Parliamentary liaison officer.  They already have plans for Westminster and Whitehall and I will be advised by them.

What I have learned however is that like the UKCP, Parliament is overstocked with ideas.  They don’t want more unless there is a specific issue and then they want ideas fast.  And so policy wonks and researchers comb relevant sites for those ideas.

We need to build a really interesting part of our web which deals with current political issues around mental health.  We build the pond and all the animals come to drink.  That’s my plan.

  1. How would you position the UKCP such that the term Psychotherapist would be legally protected in the future ensuring minimum qualifications and accreditation standards for the use of the term across the industry?

An interesting question… Without us becoming a statutory authority – i.e. we are therefore state regulated – I do not think we can have protected title. However we can have a title that is protected in the civil courts though a trademark, i.e. UKCP accredited psychotherapist.

There is some legal issue there but I think we can overcome it.   Please rest assured that when we talk about or promote psychotherapy we will be promoting UKCP accredited psychotherapy.

Equality, diversity and ethics

  1. What will you do to open UKCP up to new members to be drawn from groups of professionals who do not belong at present?

I want us to create a new college for these professionals who wish to join from different mental health fields. Of course we have standards but we do not give enough prior accredited learning credits – I would like that to change.

I want our lectures to be frequent, fun and attended by the public as well as our members. We will advertise then on Meet-up.  And the psychotherapy club events can also be one Meet-up.  It would be great to have a BACP and UKCP psychotherapy pub quiz. And open that up also to others.

Over the past year we have been approached by different groups of wellness practitioners who were looking for regulation and a home. These guys tend to be younger, from diverse backgrounds and highly enthusiastic. I would welcome a college of wellness practitioners who become UKCP accredited wellness practitioners and later may wish to study for a Masters.

I think we have used the transference idea to hide away from the public – let’s stop that now and be brave enough to meet with members of the public.

  1. What are your ideas to improve UKCP’s performance in the diversity and equalities areas?

In my manifesto I have featured the idea of bursaries.  True the sums on offer are not enough but it’s a start and hopefully will provide the impetus for fundraising.   

You will also find details of my project for handling diversity decisions through principles – i.e. we treat everybody the same – Ordinary Ethics for Everyone (This is not yet the case).

 And I mentioned a Charter System of Acknowledgment for our OMs and head office. I am working on this with one of our experts.  It’s a nice way of engaging with diversity without having someone ram it down your throat.  We want to turn people on to this rather than force them into agreement.  If I am elected this is an idea that I will take to the board. So I do not want to go into details as it is only half complete at this moment. 

I am not a diversity expert but we do have quite a few in our midst, so I would empower them, resource them and give them administrative support. We will never have a big enough centralised machine to do all that is necessary.  We need to empower out members to act. 

Here I want to emphasise that I am running for chair.  I do not know all the answers but we do have members who are real experts and I want to enable them to help us. 

  1. Given the current ‘suspension’ of the Diversity, Equality, and Social Responsibility Committee (DESRC), by UKCP, how will candidates ensure that UKCP addresses the issues of concern including discrimination, inclusion of minority groups concerns and other matters the DESR Committee was set up to address, and how will the candidates ensure that the concerns the Committee has raised with UKCP are addressed?

The DESRC board has not had a lot of luck.   They had internal problems and they also been badly blocked in the past.  It’s not a happy story as the walking wounded can attest.  I have described what I am going to do about diversity as soon as I get into office.   I shall also listen to the ideas that the DESRC have and I shall take them to the board for discussions but I am not aware of what all these issues are and I cannot give you assurances (which I think you are seeking) that all these ideas will be taken up. But I do intend to empower and resource our experts.  

  1. What are your thoughts about whether and if so, how, UKCP needs to introduce ethical requirements about overlapping roles in psychotherapy training organisations and their boundaries around teaching/ providing personal therapy/ supervision and marking students’ work?

That’s interesting. When I went into training an American psychotherapist gave me this advice: “At college you will see a lot of unfairness. Ignore it. Do not rise to this bait.  Keep your eye on getting your license.  Do not get distracted by the injustices”.  

That worked for me.  From Foundation level onwards people left or were asked to leave because they had tripped over some college power-structure or other.  But it was not right.

When I was a student this was a bug-bear for me.  One teacher offered to coach a pupil for £65 an hour or else he would fail her?  A lot of stuff seemed unfair. But since graduating I have rather forgotten those issues. 

When I was Chair of the Minster Centre I suggested setting up a mentoring system for the students so that they would also have someone, apart from their tutor, to talk to.   This was rejected on the grounds that we would be creating splitting. 

You have brought up an interesting point and I would like to see just how many people see this as an issue.   I shall ask around and if you contact me on my email mpollecoff@mac.com I will get back to you.

Strategy/governance/the future

  1. I would like to ask the candidates to give examples of when they took difficult decisions to assert and reinforce good governance when in a position of leadership or authority, e.g.  It would be useful for us to have a sense of what worked better than before in this regard after their intervention.

Perhaps both candidates could also say what they feel would be their most urgent strategic goals for UKCP, say, in their first year of office?

I am reluctant to answer this in detail because examples of me enforcing good governance involve others who may be shamed by my words.

So let me say this:

  1. As a trustee of an organisation I found out that we were insolvent.  I then had to tell the Chair and take action.  The Chair resigned, I took up the role and whilst being trolled by any members who could not understand how this had happened I negotiated our way out of insolvency by selling assets which gave the organisation enough money to carry on for another year of life and find a new business model. 
  1. I also negotiated the transferred of power and assets from the charismatic but ageing founder of an organisation (he was not well) to a new management team, this involved the valuation of assets and extreme diplomacy. 

Put it this way I have chaired two EGM’s. An EGM is not an AGM. It’s where two sets of interested parties in an organisation come to do battle. 

The only people who turn up are those with an issue: they want to ’sort it out’… it’s Insiders versus the Crazies or its Rebels verses Incumbents. To get these meeting to a successful conclusion –i.e. one that does not blow up the whole organisation – takes great skills.

If you wish greater detail you are welcome to contact me personally mpollecoff@mac.com.

  1. How will you ensure that UKCP is outward looking and does not get bogged down in internal issues?

My manifesto is about the outside world.  People at the UKCP work hard but it’s as if the wheels are spinning but they are not touching the road.  Shape changes are all very well but an organisation’s real shape is determined by the environment they serve, in our case the ever-changing world of mental health and human potential. 

  1. What changes would you make to ensure that the UKCP becomes a more outward looking organisation relevant not just to its members but the public as well?

I would get them out of the office and hearing what the members and user groups have to say.  Right now there is no CPD for the staff and there should be.  We do need to have more truth and reconciliation meetings, members are so angry and they need to make their feelings clear to staff but not on the phone. We need to meet up and hear each other. 

  1. What would you do to protect the long term financial future not just of the UKCP but of its individual members? What are your views on a Union for Psychotherapists to protect pay and conditions and prevent the exploration of the profession by the use unpaid volunteers in place of proper funding?

Let’s start with the union question. I am all in favour of a union and I recently joined the one set up by Andrew Samuels and Nick Totton.  Now whether that union attracts enough members to gain real clout we have yet to find out, but it’s a fascinating and brave development.  I would also like to get back in with Unison. 

There are several words that psychotherapists seem to hate – one of them is ‘money’, another is ‘sales’. 

It is narcissistic to believe that you do not have to sell yourself.  You do.  If you want to make a living in psychotherapy then you have to sell your services into the marketplace. 

And it is a lie to say that you are not interested in money – You are.  I know one provincial member who sees 35 patients a week at £90 a pop and has done since we left college.  I was talking to one member who charges £140 an hour and told me of her friend who charges £450 an hour.  I bet you are interested now.  Whether you think this is disgusting or wonderful – you are interested. 

I see members who have worked all their lives and given and given and now face retirement with fear because they are broke and resentful. They took care of others but not themselves.  There was this wonderful 1970s idea that if you did the right thing then a higher power would take care of the money – well sometimes it did and sometimes it did not. 

Members often talk about this being a vocation.   I think doctors have a vocation but they get paid – quite well actually. 

Until we are able to value our own time we will have problems getting others to value it.   And so I am going to go balls out to sell UKCP psychotherapy.  Both in the Private sector and into the NHS and Charities. 

The long term financial stability of the UKCP depends on the long term financial stability of our members.  They are married together which is how it should be. 

  1. Is the UKCP viable in the long term? Would we not be better seeking merger with BACP and or others? Please comment.

The BACP and the UKCP are competitors. That is to say they are like two brands in the same market place.   Our graduates compete for jobs with BACP graduates, our courses are also in competition for students. 

We are also in conversation and working together in various ways.  Together we are more effective at lobbying for mental health – together we could cut costs. Personally I would like to join the BACP for the member benefits. They have a find a therapist site that produces referrals.  They have a job service that sends opportunities to your phone.  Their magazine is better.  Need I go on?  But even if I did join, like many of our members I would still retain my loyalty to the UKCP – its personal.

And apart from my history in the UKCP there are also the issue of modalities.   What we do through the colleges and the MO’s is to support the growth of different strands of psychotherapy.   We support the idea that there is no one-way through within psychotherapy.  In this reductionist world that’s very important.  We are the last place in the UK where psychotherapies can flourish and find their own way. 

Plus the UKCP is more like a family.  Those people who are active in the UKCP tend to get to know each other and I like that. 

Should we merge?  Well, I am sure the PSA would love that but I do not see much enthusiasm from our members for such a marriage.  You would have to hold a UKCP referendum on such an important issue.  And to do that you would have to have members who really wanted to merge and I have not seen that groundswell.  As for me I want the Modalities and the Colleges to flourish and I would not let go of that.

If there is some wonderful offer on the table I would have to put it to the members but right now I think the competition is healthy.  And we need to improve to compete.   

  1. I would be interested to know what the candidates feel about how far the voluntary regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists go to protect the public from possible harm and how they see this as a good enough system instead of protected titles where you could not legally call yourself a psychotherapist or counsellor without accredited training and membership of a professional organisation.

I understand the intention behind the voluntary register and I see how this goes some way to protecting the public, but I do not understand what the rationale was for not pushing forward with protecting our titles legally.  I also understand the complex difficulties that this potentially presents for such organisations as BACP, UKCP and others in joining together to come to some kind of consensus.

I have seen many children who had been seen before by practitioners without any special training and even come across people doing “counselling” and “art therapy with children” in schools who have had no formal training at all – what these clients have often been left with is such a practitioner being able to open up issues that clients have (with little difficulty as I feel this is something that is relatively easy for most adults to do with children) but then they are left unable to get help from that person to process what they have started to talk about.  I realise that UKCP would not have direct jurisdiction over these practitioners but the law would and I see this as important for the public and also for public trust in our own profession

There is also the connected issue of a certain amount of exclusion from (particularly NHS) jobs as a child psychotherapist.  Most of the advertised jobs that I have seen specify that the therapist must be ACP registered.  This excludes very many Integrative Child Psychotherapists and other modalities.   If there were a protected title set up and therefore an agreed level of training by our professional organisations and government, then the modality your training belonged to would not need to become an issue and NHS could trust that level of training.

It’s my opinion that this would go some distance towards validating our work in the eyes of the NHS and other organisations who are likely to employ us and to boost the professionalism that I imagine most therapists aspire to.

This is a great big question – and a complex one, plus it’s about an issue around which our members tend to split. 

Let me break it down: 

No amount or method of regulation will totally protect the public from abuse.  Under State regulation, Dr Harold Shipman murdered at least 15 people and probably many more.  I know that self-regulation is always suspect- and that is why I intend to hive off the regulatory function of the UKCP from its membership and promotional activities.  

The problem that the NHS faces in mental health is not actually one of quality – rather it is one of quantity.  Only about 5% of those people who could benefit from psychotherapy can actually access it.   So do not ignore the IAPT title ‘Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies’.   It’s not about any gold standard it’s a factory to extend the reach of the NHS mental health service at a kind of affordable price.  Efficiency in a factory depends on being able to eliminate variance in process and so the work is manualised. 

As for protected title – that could only come with state regulation which is no longer on the cards.  

Having said all that some of the Masters courses that we run can be split to give the students a lower diploma in order to fit more easily into the NHS later on. So for instance, Metanoia offer their students a Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling after the first three year of the Masters.  This is to help them get jobs.  There is much we can do. 

Membership 

  1. Are we getting value for money?
  2. Given that there are more than 1,000 Direct members of UKCP, it is clear that the old college system is no longer working. What proposals do the potential candidates have for Direct Members going forward…?

Question 1: As a member I do not think I am getting value for money.  I have answered a number of questions on this so I do not really want to repeat myself but we concentrate on the mantra – The UKCP’s purpose is to build the profession of psychotherapy in the UK and then you realise that the only way an organisation of our size can do that is through growing the success of the membership… if we do that then I think we can make a terrific difference to the value we are offering.


Question 2:  The direct member issue is a can that has been kicked too far down the road.  Frankly I do not think that the colleges have had their day because they are organising hubs for ideas.  We are the only place left in the UK which values and encourages such diversity of approaches.  We are like a seed bank of ideas.  And thats how it should be. 

The central office cannot possibly communicate about all the different modalities and specialisations – that work will have to be done at college level.   When we turn outward and face the public then all the relationships within the UKCP look different.  Now despite my arrogance I do not have all the answers.  This is a question that can only be answered by working with the Colleges to make sure that they are not burdened by unremunerated work.

Other

  1. Do you believe that their candidates better suited to this role other than yourselves? If so what would you do to encourage greater participation in the next election?

Yes of course but those candidates did not want the job.  Over the year, I have invited three other people to run with my backing. The first said that she was too shy to do the public work. The second was looking after a dying relative. And the third said that she would rather stick knitting needles in her eyes.  So there we go…

The important thing to remember is that myself and Pat are the ones standing therefore we are the best candidates available. When I used to teach photography I would ask the class which was the best camera for taking those shots that you seem to stumble across.  They would answer “Nikon” or “Leica” or “Canon” but the real answer was: the best camera for those shots is the one you have with you.  

Anyway hats off to Pat for having the courage to stand.  We have 8000 members and only two have stepped forward.   Anyone member can stand – only two wanted this. 

Here is a passage from as speech given by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne on 23rd of April 1910. It’s known as The Man in the Arena

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Now in answer to the second part of your question: 

Over the past couple of years trustees have been elected without opposition.  Even the role of vice chair remained unfilled until Pat took it.  Members do not want to get involved right now and so we have to make the UKCP the most exciting place to be.  Psychotherapy is really exciting so why in the UKCP so dull.  Make this exciting again, harness the excitement we have over Psychotherapy, and you will be surprised at how many want the honour of being a trustee or the Chair.  

  1. What is your position on child therapy and how do you intend to proceed with regard to the position of the Child College within UKCP

My position on child therapy is that it needs increased funding.   We need to lobby for that.  Right now CAMMS is like legal aid, very difficult to access. As for getting a place in a therapeutic community – a child would have to burn down several schools to get on the waiting list.  

I do not really understand the second part of the question about the position of the Child College within UKCP.  I am just delighted that we have C-CAP.   Like every other college we want you to have the resources and backing to gain publicity for your people – to make heroes of your members.  

The public have empathy fatigue.  Our papers are full of tales of child abuse and neglect.  They are right there alongside stories of redundancies and beheadings.  What we need now are stories about how UKCP accredited Child therapists are making a difference.   

And please if you want to let me know your concerns mpollecoff@mac.com

  1. Do you think that climate change, environmental degradation and the impact of both the direct effects of these and the concomitant anxieties and denials that abound around these issues is a proper concern for UKCP, and if so, what would you propose to do about it?

I think the climate change lobbyists have had a rough time in the UKCP.   I agree that climate change alongside terrorism, war, and financial failure are the existential main causes of anxiety in the 21st century. But if you are asking whether I will throw the full resources of the UKCP behind the climate change lobby or put climate change at the centre of our work, my  answer is No.  There are plenty of such organisations.  My role is to champion the profession of psychotherapy in the UK and frankly we are not doing that properly.  If however you wish to create a college of ‘Eco-Psychotherapy’ or provide information that colleges could use in crafting their diversity programmes, then I would welcome that. 

To Martin:

  1. To Martin:

You say in your manifesto that “Students enrolled on our courses will get free membership” and “In year one, we will set aside a small bursaries fund of £25,000 for those students and members who need a helping hand. “

As a charity governed by a board of trustees, of which the chair is just one, how can you state these with such certainty?

I have been around the UKCP for some time and I have a good feel for the finances.  The £25k is affordable – it’s 1.25% of our turnover.   

My purpose as Chair is to lead a happy board.  And so it’s important that I am able to get their approval. In a previous life I worked for two terrific chairs – Robert Fuller and Sir Kenneth Warren.  I have learnt what is needed to make things happen.  If I force things through there will be damage.  My role as Chair demands working through the board and I want to make changes. I do not think that will be problematic.

Look at it this way.  As you point out, we are a charity. We are concerned with and indeed we oversee education in this field.  And yet we do not offer any help to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Even the hated public schools give scholarships and help other poorer schools.   Even army regiments raise funds to look after those members who can no longer support themselves.   These issues go to the heart of being a charity and a membership organisation. We are family with all the difficulties and responsibilities of being a family. 

But it’s your money. If you do not want this to happen, if you think investing in student diversity and helping some of our elders is a waste of your money – do not vote for me.  I am not your man.  

Or, of course we could spend £25k plus on employing a diversity officer (We have already tried that).  If that is the choice – I know which one I would choose.   We can talk about diversity or do it – we can choose to do things ‘right’ or you can do’ the right thing.’  I have talked to quite a few people and I think the board will be behind this.

This is an election. This is one of my election pledges.  Like any election it’s about your chance to choose the future.  It’s about ideas for change.  It’s about doing the right thing and growing psychotherapy in the UK.  It’s about being part of an organisation you can be proud of. 

Now let’s look at the idea of free membership for students.   Frankly this is un-costed.   I need to work on this with the Treasurer – we may have to phase it in.   But we have very few student members when we could have thousands.  Two years ago a fortune was spent on trying to recruit student members.  It did not work; it is much cheaper to offer student membership for free. Let’s look ahead…. 

Over 3,000 of our members are aged between 60 and 80 – now do you see why the students are important if we are to stay relevant?  What’s going to happen when the baby boomers move on?  I want to find new ways to grow our membership and cement our future.  

Running an organisation is like chess.  The Chair’s job is to look to the future and keep the organisation moving towards its ultimate goal. The CEO runs the organisation on a day-to-day, month to month, budget to budget manner.  The Chair’s job is to look to the future for threats and opportunities.   The Chair has a vision and a leadership function.  

An election is not just about the person, it’s about ideas and the future.  It’s a chance to think the unthinkable.   If you vote for me I consider that you are giving me the mandate for change.  But these are not big changes or even new ideas of my own; I work with a group of advisers.  These ideas have been knocking around for some time – there is nothing new here, nothing radical.   

Perhaps the really radical stance would be to insist that the UKCP is a regulator ….full stop.  Now I do not say that’s what has been suggested or even discussed at board level but with the removal of membership benefits and the closure of the diversity committee that is about all we are left with right now. 

But I want you to be very sure.  If you feel that you do not want these changes please do not vote for me.  I am not looking for a job, I am not a contestant in a beauty pageant trying to please the Judges.   I have ideas about the future.  I have shared them with you.   I am looking to make a difference and I need your backing to do that.  

In fact I have already made a difference because people are talking about new ideas.  You are considering things that you have not considered before.  And even if you hate the idea I want you on board.  

But if you find my ideas too dumb, remember you have been offered a choice.  I am not the only candidate.  However I suspect that my colleague, Pat, the other candidate may also be interested in creating bursaries and perhaps free Student membership.  

If I lose, I promise to get out of Pat’s way.  I will not hang around sulking and making mischief.   But if I win, I don’t want you sulking either.  I want us to move forward together.   

When Kennedy was planning his ‘Get a man into space and bring him safely back again within 10 years’ initiative’ he had a meeting with all the experts who knew how to make it happen.  He also included those who said, it could not ever happen, because perhaps they could identify what they considered to be the pitfalls in this idea. Like Kennedy I want a big tent approach. 

To Pat:

  1. What do you think of Martin’s ideas of free student membership and bursaries?

Second document of questions:-

I wonder what your thoughts are on how to protect the position of independent trainers (not part of an RTE). I also wonder about recognition of supervision qualifications awarded by governing bodies like EATA within the UKCP and how they can be better acknowledged.

I have written 30 answers to thirty questions in two days.  I have also seen clients and attended hustings.   All the answers I gave were on areas where I had some insight and technical expertise.  Frankly I know nothing about the position of independent trainers so I am not going to pretend I can answer this first part.  However, when I have a moment to come up for air I shall investigate.  So if you contact me directly mpollecoff@mac.com I can answer you. 

As for the acknowledgment of accredited supervisions: I personally took a year’s supervisor certificate course at Metanoia and I have a marker next to my name on the UKCP website but as no one uses that website – I do not get the referrals I might have hoped for.  Now there is some legalistic issue why the UKCP does not have a UKCP accredited supervisors list but I would like the UKCP to grant such a title.  I think we should make a bid deal over supervisors.

~

What in your view is the preferred relationship with and difference between the BACP and UKCP; what changes to that relationship would you make and why?

I understand that the UKCP and BACP are in contact with each other and may join in dealing with issues regarding counselling and psychotherapy. I am myself a member of both and benefit from this, but I find it very frustrating that the BACP do not differentiate between counsellors and psychotherapists. Having trained through both professions I view there is a difference and this needs to be recognised, particularly for our clients. The term “therapist” has become common and I believe can be confusing. My issue is with the BACP but I would be very interested to hear the candidates’ views on this and would it be something they would consider raising with the BACP?

~

Firstly thank you both for standing. I find it reassuring there is competition for this role!

Could you both tell me what you think the challenges are for psychotherapy in the coming five years, and what opportunities do you see on the horizon?

The challenge for the UKCP is to regain the trust of its members. The challenge for psychotherapy is jobs and pay.  The challenge for the world is Refugees, War and Climate Change. 

I see an enormous task of resettling refugees and immigrants to the UK.  We need to do more than use our Westernised therapies. We need to develop new ways of working within a Muslim culture.   I think it will turn parts of our work upon its head as we struggle to move from our Euro-centricity.  

A second big game changer is the Internet.  More and more of us are using the one-to-one video conferencing to work at distance with clients.   I know a lot of our readers may find this appalling but look at it from the point of view as not being a substitute for face-to-face in-the-room meetings but an extension of that.  We can now work with people who are stuck at home or even in prison or those clients who have moved away.  

Look at the refugee issues. Now a Therapist in the UK can reach out and help someone in a camp in Syria, if they have the language skills. This is going to be big.  And as the NHS becomes more hidebound I see an increase in private client work, both for adult clients and children because parents who can avoid it, no longer want their child to get a diagnosis on their NHS records. 

~

Q. I understand that the UKCP and BACP are in contact with each other and may join in dealing with issues regarding counselling and psychotherapy. I am myself a member of both and benefit from this, but I find it very frustrating that the BACP do not differentiate between counsellors and psychotherapists. Having trained through both professions I view there is a difference and this needs to be recognised, particularly for our clients. The term “therapist” has become common and I believe can be confusing. My issue is with the BACP but I would be very interested to hear the candidates’ views on this and would it be something they would consider raising with the BACP?

This counsellor/psychotherapist question is a red herring.  The only differences that matter between psychotherapy and counselling are ones that might matter to the end user – i.e. the man or woman in the street.   Some time ago we ran a focus group on this subject and they considered a counsellor to be someone they could talk to and a psychotherapist as someone in a white coat.   That’s a problem – there are many more searches online for the word counsellor than there are for psychotherapist so we lose out.  To add insult to injury neither title is protected.    

Of course theoreticians can find some sort of differentiations but nowadays there are highly qualified Rogerian therapists who call themselves Counsellors in deference to their founder – there are counsellors with doctorates.  Must I go on? I would love to find some clear blue water between these terms but it has to be simple and clear and desirable and so far no one has come up with anything – anything simple or clear.

Now what we can say is the UKCP qualification for Psychotherapists and Counselling Psychotherapists is at Master Level or equivalent. I would love the BACP to make a similar distinction but it may not be in their interest to do so. 

~

Is social exclusion a matter of concern for the profession and how might it be addressed?

Yes, Yes ,Yes!  Of course, exclusion of any kind is always a concern in therapy but I think we need to start at home.

I hate to play this old tune, but we have problems with diversity and exclusion in our own membership.   Unless you have already made money, psychotherapy is not a career option. Our membership does not reflect the make-up of the wider society. 

Over 75% of our members are women, the black and Asian community are under-represented and a person without a strong separate income would find it difficult to do our training. 

The vast majority of our members are over 5O with 3,000 of them over 60….  What happens when these baby-boomers retire? (Figures show that that there is a big drop off in membership at 70). 

We are socially exclusive and that is where I would like to start.  

I know this is a blasphemy for some but I would like to see Psychotherapy BA’s developed so someone can be qualified by us in their early 20’s.  Age may or may not bring wisdom but youth also has much to give. 

We are a charity; one concern is with the education of our profession and yet the UKCP itself does not give bursaries to help aspirants from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

I find that strange.  We do not collect money for socially important projects.  I am suggesting that we do…  

~

I was wondering if any work was being undertaken to make the “find a therapist” more efficient.  It seems that the BACP’s “good to talk” search gets much higher ranking in Google and that if one searches for therapists in a specific area, the BACP results come up right at the top and the UKCP results come much much lower down. It would be good to know about your online media efforts to make UKCP in general more visible.

‘Find a therapist’ could not be less efficient.  It is non-functioning.   Our IT is out of date but right now the UKCP is investing in its replacement.   There is a team of good people working on this issue and we should see it up and running by early summer. As you may have seen my campaign is run on social media with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn working in concert.  I have a regular blog site too (Look out for the YouTube videos this week). 

Social media and winning on Google rankings require planning. We have some 80 Member Organisations.  If we can work together – and that is a big ‘if’ because you need staff to make this work – then we can top the rankings of a much bigger organisation like BACP.  

I have emphasised that the UKCP has a small core marketing and communication team.  

It is only by working in concert that the UKCP as a whole can deliver on this. 

Hello to both candidates and thank you for so generously offering yourself to take on such a very demanding and important role on behalf of myself and the UKCP membership. I wondered where you both now stand in relation to the issue of state regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists.

Good luck to you both.

When the Government announced that it intended that the Health Professional Council would regulate the profession I was all for it.   However our membership was very split.  And remember the HPC wished to exclude certain colleges from State Regulation. 

You may remember a petition that was signed against it.  Andrew Samuels led the charge on this and then on becoming Chair decided that we would offer our members the option.  They could join or not join.  I thought that was a wise solution.   

The problem as I see it is that in the UK medicine is social medicine.  The NHS is really the only game in town – a true monopoly supplier.   As one of the government team apparently said at the time – “turn your back on this and you consign your members to irrelevancy”.  Anyway for reasons that have nothing to do with us, the government dropped the idea all together.  

I have spoken to members of the BPS who now work under the HPC and they think it’s good but many of our members hate the idea and besides it is no longer on offer.   

The government have by-passed us.  Instead of dealing with the psychotherapists they have IAPT, their own home grown psychotherapy service.  Right now I think that the best way to preserve multi-modality psychotherapy is to make sure that our members have and take up opportunities in the private sector. 

~

Can you comment on the role of OMs in UKCP in the future and how OMs might be supported in their work?

I personally consider the OMs to be the heart of the UKCP.  It’s where the work is done.  I want to see the UKCP selling our OM’s to the public, that is to say from the minute someone begin to contemplate a career in psychotherapy I want prospective students to be looking at the UKCP route and working with our OMs.  Look at it this way; we have defined the standards for being a psychotherapist, so we should be promoting the organisation where that level of education can be received.  

This is my answer to the question from Andrew of Camden Psychotherapy

This is a question about transparency which is something we need.   We are a complex organisation and a lot of power here is created by retaining or concealing information.

The minutes and decisions from all committees, the executive and the board should be published.  All action decisions should be numbered and have a time line attached so that we can see if they are implemented as they pass from committee to the board.

This should be open to all the members but not necessarily to the public. The issue that lies behind this question is the PSA’s threat of suspension and how it was communicated to the members.   First of all there was a flurry on Linked in and some rather patronising messages from UKCP then a panic broke out.

A large team in the office worked on fixing the problems and they did it well, it’s just we did not communicate this to the members who are quite rightly upset.

So I intend to create trails around all decisions so that you can track them through and see where they are in terms of implementation.   That also means that committee members will see if and when their recommendations get considered.  And when there are issue that threaten your work we will let you know.

ENDS

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Questions from Members answers from Martin

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