Questions from the Society of Existential Analysis

Dear Martin,
 
As agreed, please find a list of questions from the SEA membership below. As I previously mentioned, the intention is that your response will be disseminated to all SEA members through our website.
 
1. What is your response to the current attempts to start a Psychotherapy & Counselling Union? How would they see such a Union in relation to UKCP and how do you understand the growing feeling that such a union may be necessary?

I am a paid-up member of this Union. In order to grow our profession we need jobs. Not just volunteer posts but jobs that pay the kind salaries that reflect the years of training that goes into the making of a Psychotherapist. If we want diversity – we need jobs. If we want younger people involved -we need jobs. 

And if you answer that Psychotherapy is a vocation then so is being a Doctor or a teacher – and they get paid.
Now, if you read my manifesto one of my aims is to create jobs and squeeze the voluntary sector so that we no longer have the government out-sourcing Mental Health to charities whose business model depends on long-term volunteers working for free. Its a scandal. I would even like to see student workers paid minimum wage. In the Westminster Ti-borough the NHS employ 130 plus honorary therapist many of whom are qualified and there is not a single job for them. But to make that squeeze means getting BACP on-side.
As for the relationship of the UKCP to the Union. There is yet to be the first meeting of the Union and no one knows what form it may take or even if there is enough interest, My fees are an investment in possiblity and I back the Union but………I would also like to renew our old alliance with Unison.
The purpose of the UKCP is to promote the profession of Psychotherapy in the UK – to do that we need to stop people taking advantage of our members and students. Right now we are turning out student into a world without jobs for them and not everyone is suited to private practice. Think of it our 7800 members giving 450 hours of their time for free that’s 3510,000 donated hours before we are even qualified – enough is enough.
 
 
2. What is your view towards research, and how do you aim to develop research that can support the counselling and psychotherapy professions by impacting upon policy and national guidelines?
 
We have lots of research. Really good research and we will continue to build upon that resource. But the public don’t read research and nor does it seem that policy makers do. If you want a piece of research that changes policy – read Lord Lanyards original proposal for the ideas that became IAPT. (His report on Depression). There he presents a simple idea – its cheaper to cure Depression through CBT than it is to keep people on benefits – that hist the spot. (Did you know his father was a Jungian Analyst) 
 
I want stories. I want drama and Narrative. We are quick to point our social ills but slow to show how our work has helped people move on with their lives. Our members are doing terrific work and we need to publicise that. In an age of child abuse financial failure and beheadings The public have empathy exhaustion – let’s give them Stories about our work. 
 
 
3. Why, and why not, do you believe you are an appropriate candidate?
 
I am a discontent insider. I served a full term as a trustee- I have been on the executive – served on committees – 
I have I have a good idea how UKCP works. My interest is in creating member benefits . I am an experienced Marketeer and have a good track record of being able to create. If you want to know why I should not be – ask Pat Hunt. 
 
You have three choices in this election. Don’t vote. Vote for Pat who is offering to continue Janet’s work. Or me – I have put forward some ideas, If you disagree with them vote for Pat. I am not a contestant in a Beauty Pageant simpering at the Judges. I am not looking for a job – I want to make a difference. I have put forward ideas. They are not radical in fact they take us back to the time when the UKCP had a clear purpose – to grow the profession of psychotherapy in the UK. I want to do that. And I need a mandate to do that. If you are hesitant – vote Pat. I can not make changes without a proper mandate not for me but for ideas. 
 
4. From both a personal and professional standpoint, what is the most radical shift you would like to see happen to, or within, the UKCP (and why)?
 
Right now the UKCP has no clear purpose, no strategy and no vision – the most radical shift we can make is to accept that we must return to our original purpose -‘ to Promote the profession of Psychotherapy in the UK’ when you do that – your priorities become clear. 
 
5. Do you locate/envisage a role for social activism and change within psychotherapeutic practice, and if so, what your current relationship to this is?
 
Absolutely – we are progressive organisation. We have some 80 member organisations we have Colleges and individual members and we encourage social activism. I am the Chair and my role is to empower others not to lead my own crusades. I have my own organisation www.thelongboathome.co.uk which offers low cost therapy to ex-services men and women and their families. I launched it 8 years ago at a UKCP -AGM. (I trained in Somatic Experiencing Babette Rothschild at the Cambridge Body Centre)
 
I run it, I am proud of that – the UKCP approves it but its separate. It’s not the UKCP’s thing, its mine. 
 
6. How do you propose to represent and promote those approaches to therapy, like Existential Analysis, that have been sidelined in the current NICE/IAPT understanding of ‘evidence base’ and their emphasis on therapy as a quasi-medical ‘treatment’? Are you more interested in aligning UKCP with government policy in order to promote the profession or challenging these policies?
 

Psychotherapy is not a science. It is informed by science and research but it is also informed by anthropology, ethics, philosophy, many other disciplines and sometimes social activism. We are or should be a stand alone profession able to work alongside Psychiatrists and Psychologists on a an equal basis but we will not pass muster at NICE. 

It is not our role to cow-tow to NICE or IAPT we have to create our own space. 

If we do that and we fail – at least we have undertaken a proper task. Everything else is a fudge

 We do have evidence for our work and we need more in terms of outcome studies.  Some our members might wish to write therapies that can conform with Nice’s needs , Like DIT and Counselling for Depression  – that’s all great, but that’s not what we were taught and I do not think that is what is in our hearts. If we can demonstrate that what we are doing is effective, then we will win work.  

IAPT is a mental health factory that is bound by certain political promises to provide exactly the same level of service across the country.  I understand the need to increase access to psychological therapies, IAPT is a means to do that without bankrupting the NHS (any more than it is).   They need quantity of service rather than quality.  Most of us do not fit into or even agree with their model.  

7. Do you consider it within the UKCP remit to develop and provide telephone guidance and signposting to members on the various ethical and legal issues that individual practitioners encounter from time to time? (Currently members have to maintain a separate membership with BACP to obtain this service).
 
It would be nice however right now we are not even up to maintaining a ‘find a therapist’ site. 
 
8. What is your position regarding the continuing existence of the College structure in the continuing Shape Review, and do you have a view on how they should be constituted?
 
I support the college system as I support a plethora of therapies being developed – we need to encourage radical thinkers to create new therapies and develop old ones.  In the UK we are the only place supporting this diversity.   It’s a UKCP core strength.   (Right now I am discussing an Islamic facing therapy with some Islamic researchers- that would be new). 
 
In Irvin Yalom’s latest book Creatures of a Day,  he describes Psychotherapy as – ‘A good conversation’ and he fears that this conversation is ending under the influence of insurance companies and government advisors.  I want the UKCP to be the bastion of ‘the good conversation’. 
 
9. Assuming you support the continuing existence of Colleges, what steps will you be taking to curtail the increasing normalisation of psychotherapy, and to increase the freedom of Colleges to set standards of practice etc.  in line with their own philosophy?
 
By encouraging and promoting freedom and being inclusive.  I am interested in the Outliers.  I help organise the Transpersonal Special Interest Group Lectures and we get some way out characters there….thankfully.  But I shall also ask the colleges to promote their own ideas into the world . Central office can help and resource them but they are the only ones who have the knowledge to talk with confidence about their work. 
 
10. What is your view regarding Direct Membership (DM) to UKCP and the accompanying haemorrhaging of Organisational Members that this anomaly is causing, as well as the fact that responsibility for monitoring standards of DMs sits at College level? Or do you see the UKCP becoming a generic organisation in line with the BACP?
 
Let me answer the second part, first ….NO. 
 
The direct member thing,  is a can that has been kicked down a long road. We have to get together and do what works.  Having said that, many Organisational Members do very little for their annual fees.   From the top downwards we have to give our members value.   Education should not be a life time Tax.  
 
11. What is your stance on the current debate regarding DBS checks for all members and is this something that you think UKCP central should take a stand on? 
 

I am running for the role of Chair.   There are many things UKCP will do that I personally don’t like but I will be advised by our members and committees.  One of the problems of the past is that members are asked to research something and they do a lot of work then that is dropped,  simply because the Chair takes over the decision.  There has been too much of that. So I am reluctant to publicly pronounce on something like this –  I will check with our lawyers and our committees. 

 
12. Do you have a view regarding Mandatory Reporting, which, as you know, is currently being discussed at UKCP?
 
We already have Mandatory reporting on issues like Terrorism, Money Laundering and on-going abuse of minors.  On a personal basis I dislike anything that limits the therapeutic conversation, but again,  I await the recommendation of our committees which then has to be ratified, or not, by the Board.  I am being elected as Chair not Chief. 
 
13. Given the very clear message that came from the Psychotherapy Council last year that what members most want from the UKCP is that the high standards that the membership adhere to and uphold (in comparison to other entry level organisations) should be clearly articulated and more widely recognised (i.e. that the UKCP has been too inward looking, in that the majority of its resources have and continue to be taken up with regulatory matters), what steps do you intend to take to redress the balance and promote the UKCP to the benefit of both its members and the public in general?
 
We are going to start communicating what we are all about.   Richard is our ‘Head of Communications’ and it would be wrong to pre-empt his plans but my plan is to make heroes of our members in the press on TV, radio, on Bloggs in books, and sprayed on the sides of tall buildings.   If I define the purpose of the UKCP as building the profession of Psychotherapy in the UK – that points to finding ways to get our message and our values across to the Public.  
 

As I said in my manifesto, we will offer members low-cost training in social media, in writing, public speaking, web-site construction  – all the arts of communication because I want to harness the communications power of our members and member organisations and colleges.  The centre can not communicate for everyone but we can resource organise and train.  

 
I must emphasis here that for three of the past fur years there has been no-one in the role of Communications Manager.  Now we have a manager but its just the beginning. 
If you were to look at the UKCP today you would see a regulatory body with the bare remnants of a membership organisation just about recognisable.  For me its time to re-emphasise the purpose of the UKCP and to start to repair the damage.  
 

Best wishes Martin 

 

PS Paul I am writing this at 5am before driving to Birmingham for an EGM. Please excuse my spelling 

 
 
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond.
 
Kind Regards,
 
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Questions from the Society of Existential Analysis

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