Welcome to Bulletin 5
We'd like to thank the many members who have written to express appreciation for these bulletins. We find that writing them, which often means leaning very heavily on the work of other people, gives us a good sense of 'the state of UKCP'. Please keep your feedback coming, whether negative or positive. We need it if we are to succeed in our aim of turning UKCP into a genuine members' organisation in which power and authority are appropriately spread throughout the whole system.
David Pink, UKCP Chief Executive, and Andrew Samuels, UKCP Chair
There's more to professional life than statutory regulation...
There is much debate in the counselling and psychotherapy professions about statutory regulation, discussion about the impact of NHS IAPT services, and proposals for changes in UKCP's role as an advocate for psychotherapists. In this edition of our email bulletin I ask for a few minutes of your attention for much less radical considerations.
UKCP's work as a national professional body
UKCP is, first and foremost, a national professional body. That means we do all those activities that you assume are done by professional bodies. That regular work includes:
- developing and updating standards of practice
- setting out principles and guidance on ethical issues
- inspecting and accrediting training organisations
- organising conferences and other professional events
- writing and publishing materials to inform and support professional practice
- reviewing developments inside and outside the profession and writing about their relevance for psychotherapy
- offering the advice of our profession to various government or other bodies.
This work needs to continue year in and year out, and UKCP relies on a band of volunteers to get the work done.
Voluntary work for the profession
This kind of voluntary work needs to be done by therapy professionals on behalf of their colleagues and the profession at large. It needs to stay grounded in an understanding of client work and professional training - but could not be more different from client work.
The work has the potential to be about as rewarding or as unrewarding as it is possible to imagine! Certainly not rewarding in the financial sense - no fee, just out-of-pocket expenses. But you get the opportunity to make a personal and lasting improvement to psychotherapy at a national level, perhaps in an area that has long been important to you. In fact there is remarkable scope for personal initiative in a small professional body like UKCP - most of our work is driven forward by individuals with a bee in their bonnet. If you feel that there is an aspect of national professional life that deserves more attention, why not step forward and make something happen?
On the other hand there are unrewarding and frustrating aspects of working within a small national professional body. There is only modest office support, and most of the day-to-day work does not attract much recognition, let alone plaudits or fame. And there is some inevitable bureaucracy, especially in work that involves setting or changing national standards. One of UKCP's great strengths is that it encompasses many different psychotherapy modalities, but that increases the work needed to agree any arrangements across our various colleges. So, even though the work itself is immensely important to psychotherapy as a profession and to our clients, sometimes the process and progress can seem slow. Here there may be a similarity with your client work - not much of our best work is completed in just a couple of sessions!
Maintaining our normal business
In recent times huge amounts of the energy of psychotherapy and psychotherapeutic counselling have been consumed with major external issues. Statutory regulation and developments in NHS therapy services are seen by many as being of central importance to the future of our profession. Even though there might be good reason to make these external interfaces into priority political concerns, we must not neglect the maintenance of our normal business as a professional body. (If HPC regulation does not go ahead, our clients and members will continue to rely on UKCP as the highest national authority in the field of psychotherapy. And even if HPC regulation does go ahead, their model of regulation relies on there being a professional body that develops the standards and practice of the profession which HPC regulates. So our work as a professional body needs to be maintained whatever the outcome on statutory regulation)
How to get involved
UKCP needs more volunteers for most of its areas of work. You can see some descriptions of our ongoing professional work on our website, under 'About UKCP' (www.psychotherapy.org.uk/about_ukcp.html). We have recently recruited very successfully for our work on IAPT, and on Diversity, Equalities and Social Responsibility. We now need to find fresh volunteers to help across all the other areas of UKCP's work. If you want to discuss options, then please do contact:
- the chair of the relevant committee (via )
- one of the two UKCP vice-chairs (Tom Warnecke, Vice Chair Information And Member services, ; Philippa Whittick, Vice Chair Education, Training, Practice And Research, )
- or me ()
We look forward to welcoming you into the little-known world of unsung heroes who do the real ongoing work that makes the profession a profession.
Update from the Diversity, Equalities and Social Responsibility Committee (DESRC)
I) Support groups for psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors from minority communities
Our DESRC has set up a workgroup to create support groups for psychotherapists from minority communities. There is evidence, based on projects already running, that psychotherapists from minority communities welcome the chance to join groups which enable them to share common experiences. But there is more than support to consider. These groups will also be able to generate fresh thinking about diversity and equality issues in the psychotherapy field, and their ideas will be played back into discussions in the workgroup and committee.
As far as we know from the data our members provide, about 4% of UKCP members are 'non-white' and 11% have stated their sexual orientation to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Although a case could be made for a very large variety of specific diversity support groups, we are initially looking at:
Support groups for black and Asian psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors
Support groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors
Would you be interested in joining one of these support groups? In your email, please let us know:
- your views about the idea in general
- what sort of support you would prefer: face-to-face, SKYPE, online chat?
- whether the groups should be: UK wide, national, regional, local
- anything else you consider significant.
To tell us what you think, or to find out more, contact:
Support group for black and Asian therapists: Eugene Ellis ()
Support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender therapists: Deidre Haslam ()
II) General progress report
Things have really started to move within the DESRC workgroups. We are beginning to think in detail about what we want to do, and the process of turning great ideas into action plans and work projects. When we've got a bit further with this, we'll look at the resource implications and at pulling together an overall DESRC workplan for UKCP which we will share with you via this Bulletin.
We are making sure that the work of the DESRC will be incorporated into the work of other relevant UKCP committees and structures - for example, by ensuring that we have representation from other committees where appropriate and by liaising directly with the other committees. Hope Massiah, UKCP's DESR officer, has also started to work with UKCP's office staff to ensure that DESR is incorporated into all of our work practices. This is likely to result in an increased DESR input into work policies and practices policies.
However, there is clearly some concern about the Board of Trustees' decision to agree that David Pink and Andrew Samuels should co-chair the DESRC. Two white males chairing a diversity committee might seem to many an absurdity or even an insult. We would like people to understand that the Chair and Chief Executive are deliberately taking on this role jointly in order to indicate at both a symbolic and a practical/political level how important the work of the DESRC is going to be to UKCP going forward. There was much discussion about this at the Board, and the constitutional and procedural difficulties were carefully dissected. On balance, the Board supported the political thinking behind a move that consciously embraced a temporary dysfunctionality in order to privilege a particular area of work.
The joint chairs' appointment is for a period of ten months to run concurrently with Hope's contract. There is to be a review in eight months' by which time we may have identified candidates for chair(s) of DESRC.
DESRC is still evolving in terms of how it will operate. There is what we call a 'grand committee' of over 40 people that will probably meet a couple of times a year. This is a sizeable community within a community and contains many veterans of the diversity, equalities and social responsibility project within psychotherapy. In addition to targeted recruitment, UKCP members, including the members of the previous Diversity and Equalities Committee, were invited to put their names forward for this committee. There are seven workgroups populated by members of the committee in which the energy and activity is concentrated.
Each workgroup has a convenor or co-convenors. Members of the grand committee can choose to be in one or more workgroups, or just remain on the committee. Hope is co-ordinating the workgroups including the development of workplans, programmes of activity, and addressing issues of overlap.
Workgroup 1 Training issues including course content, student recruitment (access and eligibility), supervision, ethics and CPD. There are 17 people in the workgroup.
Workgroup 2 The image of psychotherapy in minority communities including access to psychotherapy, user groups and perceptions of 'talking therapies'. There are 11 people in the workgroup.
Workgroup 3 Children's issues with a focus on situations of extreme trauma and deprivation. There are five people in this workgroup.
Workgroup 4 Diversity support groups. For example, black, Asian, minority ethnic or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered members of UKCP. There are five people in this workgroup (see above for the invitation to join a support group).
Workgroups 5 to 7 are what we call social responsibility workgroups. They will seek partner organisations with which to work.
Workgroup 5 Environmental concerns including climate change and ecopsychology. There are five people in this workgroup.
Workgroup 6 Asylum, immigration and institutional discrimination. There are six people in this workgroup.
Workgroup 7 Economic inequality and class issues as these pertain to psychotherapy. There are four people in this workgroup.
Inaugural annual research conference
10 July 2010, City University, London
Self, other and society
3-5 September 2010, York University
Chairs' day (morning)
Members' forum (afternoon)
6 November 2010, London
The cost of not caring - responding to the psychological needs of children
5-6 March 2011 (location to be confirmed)
For more details about UKCP events, visit www.ukcp.org.uk, telephone 020 7014 9966 or email
UKCP offers sponsorship opportunities to organisations that provide products or services of interest to our members. If you would like to take an exhibition stand, advertise or sponsor any of our events, please contact or telephone 020 7014 9490.