Guidance for psychological therapists to enable conversations with clients who are taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs.
This guidance was facilitated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD) in 2019 by bringing together the main professional bodies representing psychological therapists in the UK, with key academics and professionals.
This guidance was funded and steered by UKCP, BACP and the British Psychological Society (BPS) and, in conjunction with the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence Secretariat (all members of the Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry (CEP)), and the National Survivor User Network (NSUN).
It is endorsed by the main non-modality specific professional bodies, including the National Counselling Society (NCS), for use by their members and relevant training organisations
The aims of the guidance are to:
Drugs have been the mainstay of psychiatric treatments since the 1950s. It is assumed that the major types of drug used in psychiatry work to reverse, or partially reverse, underlying disease progress in a ‘disease-centred’ model. This guidance finds little evidence to support this model of drug action.
Where psychiatric drugs produce helpful effects, they are best thought of as a temporary tool or coping mechanism that can be a precursor to psychological change
The guidance aims to demystify legal and ethical concerns that therapists may have. For example, it establishes the difference between giving medical information and giving medical advice and is clear about the ethical considerations involved. This is a deliberate attempt to broaden therapists’ perceptions of what lies within their competence by providing relevant evidence and information.
To access the guidance for psychological therapists working with clients who are taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs, please visit our joint project website.