PCU have contributed to several campaigns that have affected our profession and our clients, over the past year. These have been:
1. Challenging Government Funding of Back-to-Work Therapy
PCU members along with Mental Wealth Alliance and other organisations are calling on the New Savoy Partnership to refuse collaboration with the DWP, challenging a psycho-economic policy from Westminster and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), a policy also accepted by the Scottish government, that dictates work is a good “health outcome”. The New Savoy Partnership frequently hosts conferences opened by keynote speakers from the DWP and Health ministers. Members of PCU have been involved in organising and attending protests at these conferences.
The five biggest national organisations representing the professions of counselling, psychotherapy and clinical psychology, initially having welcomed these policies and the state funding of back-to-work therapy, have responded to the campaigns, publicly calling on the Government to suspend the benefit sanctions system in their letter to the independent here https://goo.gl/vIwBoz . Continued campaigning is needed to see action over words.
2. Children and Social Care Bill
Members of PCU and PCSR (Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility) worked together with Women Against Rape and Legal Action for Women amongst other groups. Members wrote a statement for PCU evidence%20for%20mental%20health%20in%20schools.docx and attended protest meetings at the House of Commons and outside the Family Court in Holborn to express deep concerns about incentives to adopt and poor funding and psychological support to families who are struggling to look after their children.
3. Mental Health in Schools
Members of PCU have been aware of the current discussion by the Departments of Health and Education regarding Mental Health in Schools. Members have been concerned by a direction towards instating a Mental Health Lead in schools and the possibility of a 'mechanised' approach to School Counselling. This seems to show a severe lack of understanding about the role of the School Counsellor in schools, and the complexity of the roles of those that work with children who are struggling emotionally in schools and at home. PCU submitted evidence to the enquiry https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zrn7p6L-XnnofWsSmB914OFiGRrVxN35/view?usp=sharing
Members have also been very concerned by the cuts in schools budgets and the knock on effects for staff and students. A letter of support has been sent to Kevin Courtney at the NUT https://drive.google.com/file/d/11jqyBBkCFbgJgKDg1BOOE_0nku7Ck0yD/view?usp=sharing
4. The Rape Clause
Members of PCU have been extremely concerned about the Government Policy that caps the number of children for which a family can claim Child Tax Credit. Furthermore, PCU members regard the policy that a third party professional agency can agree to assess if women’s claim for Child Tax Credit has “demonstrated that their circumstances are consistent with those of a person whose child has been conceived as a result of non-consensual sex” is unacceptable. PCU has written a statement https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TLALkKoURywN4zXHHv_Uq5RsxsaV63KZ/view?usp=sharing on this matter which has been sent out to third party professional agencies that have agreed to assess women in this way.
5. Psychotherapy and Counselling Course Closures
Members have noticed and been affected by the growing number of Psychotherapy and Counselling course closures. In particular, we have noticed that in-depth, relational trainings are being replaced by ‘therapy-light’ ones. PCU is involved at the level of campaigning and supporting students and staff affected by these closures. This includes the current situation at UEA (University of East Anglia). There is much more work to do.
Here is current the current correspondence between UEA and PCU https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vX3MHi8xfu7jDXS1dLcJK_FFjphpejqF/view?usp=sharing
TO ADD YOUR VOICE TO THESE AND OTHER CAMPAIGNS, JOIN THE DISCUSSIONS ON THE NING OR GOOGLE GROUP!