A message from the Chair:
This newsletter gives you a brief summary of our activities in the last few months. In many settings, I have been struck by the enthusiasm for the idea of a therapists' union, and widespread support for our aims. I have the impression that our influence in the field is much greater than our size - there is a sense that we represent an idea whose time has come. However, we have a huge amount to do to turn goodwill into active involvement, and influence on professional bodies into policy changes. Our main aims in the next year are to significantly increase our membership, and to enable new and current members to play a more active role in developing the union. You'll be hearing more from us soon about this.
Unpaid and low paid work: There have been significant shifts in the public positions of BACP and UKCP around unpaid work. Martin Pollecoff, Chair of UKCP, has recently publicly stated that he views it as 'exploitation' and has pledged to review the system of 'honorary' and volunteer work (in his UKCP End of Year message, 21/12/17, where he also thanks PCU). We aim to contribute to further discussions with UKCP about this issue.
BACP's November AGM passed a resolution against advertising unpaid posts for qualified staff. We have been in ongoing contact with 'Counsellors Together', the Facebook group who initiated this resolution.
We also raised the issue of low pay for skilled work in a September letter to WPF; both Martin Pollecoff and Andrew Reeves (Chair of BACP) responded positively to this letter.
Members' meetings: We held our first local members' meeting at the Aashna Centre in November, discussing inclusion, diversity, and how we can involve a wider range of people in the union. Following discussion and suggestions at this meeting, further links between PCU and the Black African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN) are being explored. We hope that this will be the first of many local meetings across the country.
Developing the Union: In November the committee attended a training day, facilitated by Elizabeth Cotton (creator of Surviving Work http://survivingwork.org/ and The Future of Therapy https://thefutureoftherapy.org/), to discuss how we can organise effectively and grow as a union. We will be reaching out to members with new initiatives arising from the day.
The Future of Therapy: Two committee members reprsented PCU at this event at the Tavistock Clinic in November, where Elizabeth Cotton presented her research on the serious threats to the survival of therapy in the public sector (see https://thefutureoftherapy.org/ ). There was a very warm response to the Union, and the need for a body like PCU, able to campaign and take action, was widely acknowledged by those present.
UEA and course closures: Therapy Today in November published our letter highlighting PCU's central role in the campaign against the closures, and challenging professional bodies to be more outspoken on this issue
Counselling Directory: In response to pressure from our members and a letter from PCU, the Counselling Directory have pledged to review their use of the medical model of 'disorders' on their website. We will be following up on this to ensure that action is taken.
Support Not Separation: Committee members attended a meeting at Parliament and have been actively involved in supporting this ongoing campaign around forced adoptions and other issues relating to domestic violence, children, social services and the family courts, liaising with the Crossroads Womens Centre about these issues. Our support has been enthusiastically welcomed.
Justice Ministry: Responding to an issue raised by members, we wrote a letter to the Ministry of Justice, highlighting the unjust treatment of victims of sexual offences by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. We will continue to raise issues of injustice where they are likely to affect our clients.
Member support: Since July, 3 members have been supported by PCU representatives in cases involving complaints, 5 for workplace issues/grievances and 6 for issues arising in training. The union has had some outstanding successes and feedback from some of these members 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. The efforts of the support volunteers is greatly appreciated.
Website: We have made the following changes to the website:
1.We have introduced the interactive Members' Map, and urge all members to sign up, so that it becomes easier to find other PCU members in your area.
We have refreshed the look of the website and would welcome members feedback.
The events page now has an events calendar that members can add events to that includes a short "how to" video guide.
There is a new Join PCU membership page which we'd encourage members to share: https://pandcunion.ning.com/membership
A new codes of practice page for trainees and volunteer work that can also be shared widely: https://pandcunion.ning.com/codes
We are continuing to make improvements to the website in response to feedback and experience.
Response to Government Green Paper on Mental Health in Schools
Response to renewed questions about Registration
New members: 42 new members joined from July to December 2017.
Saturdays 20th January, 17th February and 17th March The Impact of IAPT on clients, practitioners, the therapy professions and society. 10am to 2pm organised by PCSR http://www.pcsr.org.uk
Saturday 3rd February PCU members join the NHS protest march
Meet at 11.45am at Pret a Manger opposite Heals on Tottenham Court Road.