Newsletter January 2019

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

PCU newsletter


January 2018 News from PCU




Hello from the PCU committee! Since our last newsletter came out in January 2018, the committee have been incredibly busy. It has been a time of change in the Union, with some Exec Committee members standing down, and two new ones joining us at the AGM in May 2018 - welcome to Lou Futcher and Sasha Kaplin.  We now have ten Committee members, who are all volunteers: Jane, Richard, Juliet, Phil, Viviane, Robbie, Sasha, Andy, Lou, and Victoria. Jane is stepping down having been our administrator for 2 years and as our membership has been expanding, we now will have 2 administrators to help our 470 members. We will introduce the new administrators to you shortly.


So here’s our newsletter on everything PCU has been doing, what we’re currently working on, and where PCU as an organisation currently stands.


PCU’s Status

Most importantly, PCU has now been officially listed as a trade union.  This will consolidate and enhance our status as an organisation in representing our members, and should make it easier for us to build links with other unions, gain access to legal support and training. We are consulting with members about the changes that being listed bring -  there will need to be some changes to our rules, accounting and how we record membership, which will all be subject to consultation and ratification by members at the next AGM.


PCU have also been exploring a working partnership with a legal firm, Truth Legal, to give PCU members and their families access to legal services at reduced rates. The benefits to members will be explained via a pod cast hopefully available on our new website.


Member Support:

Since January 2018,  members have been supported by PCU representatives in cases involving complaints,  for workplace issues/grievances and for issues arising in training.  Sasha has taken over from Jane as first contact for members seeking support. Two or three members every month approach PCU.  The kinds of difficulties they encounter can range from things like incidents at work, bullying & harassment, and poor practice within oppressive employment circumstances, to concerns about members’ own safety from clients.  Members quite often ask if someone can accompany them to formal meetings or hearings, and occasionally cases do reach court. The union has had some outstanding successes and feedback which can be found on the union's website. This is a core part of our work as a union, and we will be continuing to develop our resources in this area.


Phil leads support for complaints against members. He writes, ‘In the last few months, my activities regarding complaints have included supporting therapists subject to a complaint from their professional body, supporting trainees/students who have received a complaint from their training institution, and also supporting trainees/students who have either made a complaint or are thinking of doing so.  A member who went through a long professional conduct process that dragged on over years and ended with a sanction, has returned to work. PCU has learnt a lot from involvement in a complete complaint process. It’s been really rewarding for all involved.’


Phil has been promoting  PCU’s work in complaints procedures at the Psychotherapy Protection Trust’s annual CPD/AGM, Nov 2018 and the Society of Psychotherapy Oct 18 and has offered to present to Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy. He and Robin Shohet gave us all a taste of the complexity and power of the work in ‘Mapping transferences in complaints procedures: The shadow of therapeutic work’ at the 2018 PCU AGM.


Those interested in joining the discussion on insurance & client complaints for non PSA accredited therapists in the accreditation/regulation category/group can look to:  https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/forum/regulation-accreditation/insurance-client-complaints-for-non-psa-accredited-therapists


PCU has a small and dedicated band of member support volunteerswhose work is greatly appreciated.We looking to expand the team of volunteers, so do get in touch, you might be able to use your experience to help fellow therapists….


An exceptional case: BPS Doctoral students can now gain BACP individual membership

For Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology and similar doctoral trainees, progression to ‘D’ level will henceforth be recognised as sufficient for Individual BACP Membership (BACP levels of accreditation). Please note that this initiative is intended to enhance professional opportunities and be an addition to BPS, UKCP or other memberships. This exception was arranged for BPS trainees by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union through Phil and Dave Dorey’s negotiations with BACP. In order to take advantage of this new way to join the BACP as an Individual Member, you will need to ask for a Letter of Confirmation regarding  your progression, from your Course Director. This exception was only made possible because the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union (PCU) liaised with BACP. For more details contact the union: pcu.union@gmail.com


PCU East London Group established

PCU East London has been busy - in September Joanna Ryan discussed with us her book ‘Class and Psychoanalysis’ and we look forward to continuing the conversation with her. Following this there has been some interest in looking into setting up a practice influenced by the Battersea Action and Counselling Centre, as discussed in her book. This practice combined social action with counselling, including a crèche. Watch this space!


PCU East London hosted its first  screening - John Akomfrah’s ‘The Stuart Hall Project’ and Audrey West has led on conversations about race and post-colonial experience, introducing the work of Jamaican psychiatrist professor Frederick W. Hickling.


Statement Against ‘Prevent’

Rosemary Risq came to discuss her paper on the government’s so-called anti-radicalisation program, Prevent, leading to a statement against this program on behalf of the union. You can read about it here: https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/notices/pcu-statement-against-prevent-p-posted-by-robbie-lockwood Please help by re-tweeting, sharing on Facebook and by posting a link to the statement on your website or organisation’s forums.


If you’re interested in joining PCU East London, contact: eastlondonpcu@gmail.com or if you would like to set up your own PCU group, we can provide some cost toward a venue. Contact pcu.union@gmail.com.


Protests with PCU banner at the NHS protest and New Savoy IAPT Conference

On a chilly day in March 2018, several members joined other organisations including our friends at Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR), to protest at the New Savoy IAPT Conference in Kensington. We handed out flyers and initiated conversations with many attendees, all of whom had a positive response to our concerns about IAPT, with some thanking us for protesting on their behalf. Several of us joined the NHS march back in February 2018. As well as supporting these causes, it has been a chance to meet and share ideas with other like-minded groups and individuals, such as Psychologists for Social Change.




PCU submission to the NICE ‘exceptional’ second consultation on its depression in adults draft guideline

In July 18 Phil organised PCU’s  submission to NICE, on their guidelines on depression which you can read on PCU’s website, which concluded, ‘When revising the guidelines, the PCU recommends: within the UK’s pluralistic society, consideration be given to how the above points impact notions and treatment of adult depression; that IAPT investigates the factors which lead to lower recovery rates in socio-economically deprived areas; that a greater consideration of diversity be given to all minority communities; that the strategic revision of IAPT monitors the lack of impact in the Muslim community and addresses the underlying mental health inequalities experienced; and the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) be applied where appropriate’.


PCU has been supporting the work that Dr Felicitas Rost, President, Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR) UK has been doing to keep the pressure up on NICE regarding this consultation, organising 31 stakeholder organsiations as well as individuals to give their support and sign a position statement.


Collaboration, submission and feedback to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Consultation on future mental health strategy

In June 2018 the Lateef Project, in collaboration with the Phil Cox of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Union, submitted a report to the All-Party Parliamentary Group Consultation on future mental health strategy - the five year forward view. Our contribution was regarding minority communities - specifically the Muslim community, for Mental Health is failing in its 2010 Equalities Act duties with regards to religion, beliefs, race and ethnicity. The specific duties it fails in relation to, when making decisions, are the duty to take into account the need to: eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation; and to advance equality of opportunity. This is not just a failure of the strategy - it is a systemic failure across statutory health provision that also impacts the strategy. https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/notices/pcu-s-consultation-response-re-appg-on-mental-health-posted-by-phillip-cox


PCU’s members have actively collaborated to respond to the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health’s recommendation toNHS England to recruit more psychology graduates to "deliver the most relevant psychology model for each person they see fit" (Chapter 7, p.25). We highlighted how this recommendation completely ignores the existing cohort of over fifty thousand counsellors and psychotherapists who are already qualified and experienced, and others currently in training.


PCU support the ‘Do No Harm’ event at the House of Commons


This event was organised by the Support Not Separation  Coalition in September. Amongst the speakers was Victoria Childs on behalf of PCU, making the case for the importance of the attachment bond and the psychological harm done by separating Mother and child.  The event can be watched on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezvg54JiLP0#action=share



The Government Green Paper, Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision

During the PCU webinar, March 2018, Juliet spoke about her concerns regarding this government paper published December 2017, commissioned by the Department of Health and Department of Education. Juliet raised further questions with Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner at the UKCP Child Psychotherapy and Counselling Conference, ‘Minding the Gap’, April 2018, regarding the lack of thought towards school counselling in this paper. The Children’s Commissioner’s official response to the Green Paper now includes a recommendation that there is a school counsellor in every secondary school in England.


Talking with our members

Sasha has  been contacting members individually, which means you may get a call from her asking whether you would be willing to talk about your experience of PCU and give some feedback.  Sasha is also inviting members to become more involved, and exploring what individual interests you have and what skills you could offer. Of course not everyone is in a position to do this, and we continue to be glad of everyone’s membership.  We are looking for more people to get involved in member support (a listening ear is the first thing that’s required), and we are looking for people to promote the Codes of Practice.


Sasha has found it really engaging to hear personal accounts and to discover what parts of the field members are in – this ranges from trainees, NHS practitioners, to private practitioners and people nearing retirement.  Members are offering a wealth of talents drawn from their working life and personal interests. Sasha has let the committee know about member’s motivations, appreciations, their frustrations, struggles, and the things that they think are important to be campaigning about.  By having these real conversations, we’ve been able to link members to the most relevant committee member or resource. A consistent bit of feedback has been that members would like a newsletter as alternative to the google forum and website.


Diversity & Equality, Conversion ‘therapy’ statement - MOU2

PCU has taken steps to let it be known that we do not support ‘conversion therapy’. We have written a statement explaining our stance: https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/notices/pcu-statement-on-conversion-therapy PCU has joined the coalition of signatories that have signed the  MOU2 (memorandum of understanding) regarding conversion therapy, chaired by Iggi Moon.


PCU declares itself resolutely opposed to ‘Austerity'

The PCU statement against the government’s policy and programme of ‘austerity’, proposed by a member, was adopted following amendments to the statement at the PCU 2018 AGM. The statement can be found on our website:

https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/notices/pcu-declares-itself-resolutely-opposed-to-the-government-s-policy-and-programme-of-austerity


Unpaid Work

There has been a significant shift in the professional bodies’ approach to unpaid work. UKCP  want to see real change and BACP have taken steps stop promoting voluntary positions for qualified counsellors. PCU and other grass-roots groups like Counsellors Together have had a crucial impact in pushing for change. We are thinking about how PCU can continue to push this further forward.


Website and promotional material

PCU now has a new website address and new design, banner, poster and updated promotional material. This project has taken a huge amount of time and energy, led by  Viviane and Jamie. The website makes it easier to join PCU, has a member’s map, calendar of events and archives PCU activities. To keep up-to-date with our news between our newsletters, take a look at  the News page on the website, and participate in our discussions in the PCU Google Group. The new website address is https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/forum


We have been working hard to let therapists know that PCU is here to help and that we are campaigning with and alongside other organisations. Richard and Juliet wrote an article published in December’s issue of Therapy Today, discussing politics and therapies, encouraging readers to engage politically.  The article can be found on our website.


If you would like to contact your training institutions and see if they would be open to us giving a short talk about the work of PCU and why they should join, or you are able to pass out promotional material for trainees, please contact the administrator.


PCU letters of support

The Psychotherapy and Counselling Union has stood in solidarity with various organisations over the last year  - the Time’s Up movement; UCU industrial action to defend the pensions of University staff; the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUSWP)


Get Involved

The Union is a collaborative organisation, based on mutual support and skill-sharing and we would like to encourage our fellow Members to continue to make suggestions, and think about strategies on how to implement those suggestions. This could be forming a working group, or a local group, to facilitate groups, run or support campaigns for and within PCU or something else.  Help us ensure PCU is  driven by our members.


Psychotherapy and Counselling Union (PCU)

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