PCU Committee 2018 - 2019
Following the AGM on 5 May 2018, the Union has an executive committee of 10 people drawn from many parts of the counselling and psychotherapy field. You can contact the committee via firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Bagnall-Oakley - Chair
I work primarily with children and young people, currently in local schools in North London. Before I became a psychotherapist, I worked in play and youth projects (and was a Unison union rep) - play and creativity have always been central to my work and my values. I've been involved in various grass-roots, non-party political and community projects most of my adult life - for me, the most inspiring social movements are those which work in a decentralised, 'bottom-up' rather than 'top-down' way, empowering their members to make their voices heard and take action. I hope the union can also work in this way.
Juliet Lyons - Secretary
Having trained as Integrative Child Psychotherapist at the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education, my specialist interest is in children and families and how we care for each other as a society. I have a strong cross-over interest with the expressive and healing potential of creativity and the use of the arts. I would like to see politics in this country being much more representative of gender, ethnic, cultural and class diversity and I would like to see this widening of diversity in our profession as well. I have come to see PCU as an important protective, critiquing and challenging voice for our complex profession. My particular concerns are in the direction economically driven policies are taking us, impeding the quality of in-depth relationships.
Andrew Price - Treasurer
I was one of the founding members of the PCU and soon after its inception I became a committee member. I am now the National treasurer.Prior to qualifying as an integrative counsellor, I had been an operational firefighter for 30 years and a Fire Brigades Union official. I have experience of being a lay advocate, negotiator and experienced union activist. My practice thus far, includes working with young people as a school counsellor and with a recognise national charity. Currently, I am working at a doctors surgery as their in house counsellor. We need an independent voice for counsellors and psychotherapist so that we can effect change as to how our profession is regarded and rewarded. To take our profession forward we will need to have influence in the workplace, professional bodies and politically.Building the union further is vital if we are to achieve the goals of the founding conference of the PCU. Come join us and be part of making history.Unity is strength!
Jane Clements - Membership Secretary
Philip Cox, Lead for professional complaints
Phil (Dr Philip Cox, HCPC registered Chartered Psychologist and BACP Senior Accred) has been with PCU since its first meeting. He was part of PCU’s executive committee for over 3-years and took a lead on professional complaints, helping to develop the unions' response complaints support work. Phil has over 25 years of clinical experience and is Chair of the BPS Psychotherapy Section.
His research publications, conference presentations and lectures focus on unintended harm within psychotherapy, and how to support professionals who seemingly misjudge the delicate balance between good and less helpful practice. Philip is a passionate advocate for social activism and supporting marginalised groups, which includes therapists who experience difficulties – Phil’s philosophy is that by supporting therapists, we support clients.
I joined PCU in early 2018 and shortly after became an exec committee member, because in this era of Neoliberalism it is vitally important to come together for solidarity and mutual support. I believe it's hugely important that the exec committee represents as wide a range of life and professional experience as possible, and as a queer person who works with GSRD (gender, sexual and relationship diversities) and sex workers, I feel that I am ideally placed to represent more marginalised folk. I obtained a Certificate in Transcultural Counselling from London Met and a PGDip in Counselling from Goldsmiths, and work in private practice in east London, and provide workshops and training on GSRD. I believe that counsellors and psychotherapists tend to be undervalued, as emotional labour and support is feminised in our culture, and I feel it is vital that we are strong and unflinching in demanding better pay and conditions, especially with regards to being adequately compensated for our work. I am particularly committed to representing and amplifying the voices of oppressed and marginalised groups including BME people, LGBTQIA+ people, women and non-binary people, people with disabilities and chronic pain conditions, working class people, non-British people, and others.
Victoria Childs - Family Court
I am a founding member of PCU, after having been involved with the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2008. ACP formed as a response to the planned State regulation of counselling and psychotherapy via the (then) Health Professions Council. During the formulation of this response, the idea of a union began. I’d already been involved in a number of professional, academic, community and film projects since the 1990s, linking politics with psychoanalysis, which continue to date. I am a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and have been working in private practice for twenty-five years.
Initially forging a link with the Support Not Separation Coalition, my special responsibility is for liaising with the several campaign groups based at the Crossroads Centre, enabling us as a union to support their vital work, which includes campaign launches, regular protests and rallies.
I am particularly interested in a debate around class and the historic lack of class diversity within the psychotherapy profession. I have been involved in politics and campaigning around social justice since my early teens, when I grew up during the miners' strike in South Yorkshire. The union’s work to me is very much a continuation of the political commitment I encountered all around me during those important times and it is therefore something I feel very proud to be involved in. (Left the committee on January 2020)
Sasha - Member Support Coordinator
I began to contribute to PCU by phone-surveying members about their experience of PCU, & encouraging involvement. I joined the committee in 2018 and when Jane Clements stepped down as Membership Secretary I took on the member support aspect of that role.
After training as a social worker I spent 12 years working in a crisis house for women. Whilst there I studied Systemic therapy & went on to pursue a UKCP Integrative course. Through those years I was out about all aspects of my sexual identities and lifestyle. I enjoyed personal-political involvement and scene partying. A battlesome traumatic exit from my training course radicalised my perspective of therapy organisations, including the hegemony of various bodies & discourses.
Making links with Pink Therapy, and with the Independent Practitioner Network was an important part of self-repair. During training I became increasingly unwell; afterwards, I was diagnosed with long-term health conditions and now live with a significant disability. My training placement supported me to survive & thrive as a practitioner. My experiences root my connection to fighting for rights & against oppression.