While no-one would seriously argue that therapists, counsellors and psychoanalysts should be left alone, practicing with no external regulation, the case for statutory regulation by the HPC (Health Professions Council) is, in my opinion seriously flawed.
I will present my full argument in the next couple of days or so, but let me outline it here in the form of a number of questions.
- Does Psychotherapy (and I intend the term now to include everything, from simple life counselling to psychoanalysis) really constitute a "Health Profession" in all intents and purposes of the HPC?
- What constitutes quality control, quality assurance and outcome measures in Psychotherapy?
- What exactly do we mean when we expect that research and other evidence should inform one's (therapeutic) practice?
- What exactly constitutes evidence when we speak about Psychotherapy or Psychoanalysis?
This is the first draft of my questions. I will refine them and add more as I will be attempting to answer them. But let me stress just one thing, related to my "thing", psychoanalysis.
Psychoanalysis works with the hypothesis of there being a hidden, unknown part of our intellect, that which Freud called Unconscious.
Let us not, for a second, enter into a debate whether the Unconscious really exists or not. Let's assume that we accept it as a working hypothesis.
Now, the HPC did not set out to settle this question once and for all. Instead, it states explicitly that all theoretical approaches are accepted and that one's practice must be consistent with one's approach.
So, how do we reconcile this gallantry with the requirement to "review effectiveness of planned activity", to "formulate specific and appropriate management plans"? Are they not incompatible, these ideals, to the very tool that Psychoanalysis employs, namely the unconscious? (Remember, the HPC did not intend to correct a wrong (Freud's wrong in this case); it only wants to set out certain Standards.)
Unfortunately, the proposed Standards have many contradictions. We cannot allow these contradictions to inform future regulatory guidelines.
Anyway. I stop here.
But I will return.