|"It is good of David Veale to acknowledge that lack of evidence for the effectiveness of non-CBT therapies is not the same thing as evidence of their ineffectiveness (therapy today, February 2008)" |
|"I found David Veale’s article on CBT (‘Psychoptherapy in dissent’, therapy today, February 2008) both odd and predictable" |
|"I had to smile at the title of David Veale’s article in the February issue of therapy today: ‘Psychotherapy in dissent’"|
I have to say ‘three cheers and then some’ in response to the letters by Nick Totton, William Johnston and Paul McGahey in the March edition of therapy today
Time for a sea change?
I have to say ‘three cheers and then some’ in response to the letters by Nick Totton, William Johnston and Paul McGahey in the March edition of therapy today. Paul’s letter in particular rang such bells for me. I am, as he suggests might be the case for many of us within the BACP membership, one of those who is indeed feeling ‘excluded, disheartened, disenfranchised’ and, yes, angry at the direction counselling as a profession seems to be going in – to the point where I have begun to think ‘well, if that’s what a counsellor is, I’m not one,’ despite my senior accredited standing.
I’ve even started wondering if it’s time to coin another word for what we do: those of us engaged in and committed to relational work, and to all the exploration possible through sensing, intuition, being, creativity and thinking outside the box, as the territory of ‘counsellor’ seems to be increasingly devoted to the notion that what we do, or should be doing, is applying techniques in order to ‘fix’ clients.
One of my points of greatest alienation was reading the ENTO Counselling Standards, which came across to me as based around counsellors’ ability to ‘diagnose and treat’. I don’t do diagnosis, I am not interested in diagnosis and I don’t have any wish to treat (in the medical sense) anyone. It’s not a question of whether I can do any of that, or can find ways of describing what I do in those terms; I’m not prepared to validate that kind of thinking by engaging with it. And this seems to me to be where the greatest difficulty lies.
People who are not counsellors are setting an agenda for counselling and counsellors, and we, collectively, are allowing them to dictate the terms in which the debate (about what counselling is and should be) takes place. And that needs to stop, now. Why do those of us engaged in relational work (etc.) allow ourselves to be pushed into defining what we do within the frame of reference of a medical thinking, which, in my experience, does not on the whole serve the needs of people with mental health issues? And for the record, in case this leads anyone to think that I don’t deal with the real world, I manage a counselling service for young people, funded and managed through the local youth service, and have done for the last 16 years or so.
A significant number of the BACP membership are, I believe, person-centred counsellors. Do those people (and/or others) feel represented by all the endless space given to Lord Layard’s proposals and related issues within
therapy today, a further example of which is printed in the March issue? Nick’s letter (amongst others I’ve seen) is a clear indication that there is nothing cut and dried about the pre-eminence of CBT. Is anyone else out there as frustrated as I am? Maybe it’s time for a sea change here.